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Graduate Film Programs in California

Various schools throughout California offer graduate programs in film. Graduate film programs may lead to a doctoral or master's degree and may enable students to choose specific areas of study such as directing, editing, and producing.

American Film Institute Conservatory

Students can earn a Master of Fine Arts at the American Film Institute Conservatory with a concentration in editing, producing, directing, cinematography, screenwriting, or production design. The program takes two years to complete and enables students to work with classmates in writing, producing, shooting, and directing a number of films.

Art Center College of Design

The Art Center College of Design has a Master of Fine Arts in Film program that gives students an immersive experience and expands their storytelling skills in filmmaking. The program consists of 69 credit hours completed over two years and allows students to choose a concentration in screenwriting, directing, editing, producing, or cinematography.

California College of the Arts

The Master of Fine Arts in Film program helps graduates thrive in an evolving cinematic environment by providing an interdisciplinary and collaborative experience. The program consists of 60 units, takes around two years to complete, and includes courses in directing, production, film history, and aesthetics in film.

California Institute of the Arts

The California Institute of the Arts offers a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Video program as well as a Master of Fine arts in Film Directing program. Both programs take three years to complete and provide students with instruction and practice in various film methods. The curricula culminate in a final film or body of work.

Chapman University

Chapman University offers seven master's degree programs relevant to film, which can typically be completed in two years, as well as two dual-degree options in film at the Orange, CA campus. Students can earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Film Studies, a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Television Writing and Producing, an M.F.A. in Production Design, an M.F.A. in Screenwriting, an M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking, an M.F.A. in Film and Television Producing, an M.F.A. in Film Production, or a dual degree in M.F.A. in Film and Television Producing with an MBA (Master of Business Administration) or a JD (Juris Doctor).

Loyola Marymount University

Students can earn one of three film master's degrees in three years of full-time study at LMU. Students can choose to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production, an M.F.A. in Writing and Producing for TV, or an M.F.A. in Writing for the Screen.

Mount Saint Mary's University

The Master of Fine Arts in Film, Television, & Photography program at Mount Saint Mary's University consists of 52 credits and includes core courses in editing, production, and audio. Students can choose a program concentration in directing, documentary, producing, screenwriting, cinematography, acting, photography, editing, musing & sound design, and visual effects.

University of California - Santa Cruz

The University of California - Santa Crus has a Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media program that consists of 108 units and explores the relationships between various types of media, including television, internet media, and cinema. Students can alternatively pursue a Master of Science (M.S.) or Ph.D. in Computational Media to develop knowledge and skills relating to computer animation and media.

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California offers seven master's degree film programs as well as three Ph.D. program options. Students can pursue an M.A. in Cinematic Arts - Media Arts, Games & Health (36 credits) and an M.A. in Cinema & Media Studies (36 credits) as well as an M.F.A. in Animation & Digital Arts (32 credits), Cinematic Arts, Film, & Television Production (52 credits), Interactive Media (50 credits), Producing for Film, Television, & New Media (44 credits), or Writing for Screen & Television (34 credits). Students may also choose to pursue a Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies (68 credits) or a Ph.D. in Cinematic Arts with a concentration in either media arts & practice (64 credits) or critical studies (68 credits).

School Name Programs Offered Average Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
American Film Institute Conservatory M.F.A.
Cinematography
Directing
Editing
Producing
Production Design
Screenwriting
$57,340
Art Center College of Design M.F.A. in Film
Cinematography
Directing
Editing
Screenwriting
$45,250
California College of the Arts M.F.A. in Film $51,210
California Institute of the Arts M.F.A. in Film and Video
M.F.A. in Film Directing
$48,660
Chapman University M.A. in Film Studies
M.F.A. in Documentary Filmmaking
M.F.A. in Film & Television Producing
M.F.A. in Film Production
M.F.A. in Production Design
M.F.A. in Screenwriting
M.F.A. in Television Writing & Producing
$31,168
Loyola Marymount University M.F.A. in Film & Television Production
M.F.A. in Writing & Producing for TV
M.F.A. in Writing for the Screen
$17,822
Mount Saint Mary's University M.F.A. in Film, Television, & Photography
' Acting
Cinematography
Directing
Documentary
Editing
Music & Sound Design
Photography
Producing
Screenwriting
Visual Effects
$11,508
University of California - Santa Cruz M.S. in Computational Media
Ph.D. in Computational Media
Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media
$11,442 in-state
$26,544 out-of-state
University of Southern California M.A. in Cinema & Media Studies
M.A. in Cinematic Arts (Games & Health)
M.F.A. in Animation & Digital Arts
M.F.A. in Cinematic Arts, Film, & Television Production
M.F.A. in Interactive Media
M.F.A. in Producing for Film, Television & New Media
M.F.A. in Writing for Screen & Television
Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies
Ph.D. in Cinematic Arts (Critical Studies)
Ph.D. in Cinematic Arts (Media Arts & Practice)
$44,712

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Students can earn a doctoral or master's degree through one of several graduate film programs offered in California. Programs may be completed in two to three years of full-time study and enable students to focus their education in areas such as screenwriting, producing, and directing.