Top 10 universities for film

Updated April 17, 2017

College-level study of film can include film production, screenwriting and theory. A degree from a top film school can provide vital contacts and experience in the pursuit of a film-related career. Whether your goal is to teach film or produce a motion picture, knowing the best film programs can help direct your applications to schools most likely to help you achieve your goals as a student of modern cinema. Consider the top 10 universities for film studies.

University of Southern California

One should expect a film school close to Hollywood to top the list. USC School of Cinematic Arts has a long history of close association with some of the film industry's leading directors, writers and producers. USC was named the top film school by The Princeton Review.

New York University

U.S. News and World Report lists New York University's Tisch Cinema Studies program as the best in the country. Notable graduates include Alec Baldwin, Spike Lee, Oliver Stone and Tony Kushner.

University of California, Los Angeles

The School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA features a broad range of graduate programs in animation, cinema and media studies, cinematography, production and archive studies.

American Film Institute

Also located in Los Angeles, AFI features graduate programs tailored to six disciplines: cinematography, directing, editing, producing, production design and screenwriting. The American Film Institute stresses mentoring relationships with working industry professionals and access to state-of-the-art production technology.

California Institute of the Arts

Known as Cal Arts, the film and video program emphasises all forms of film studies, including narrative, documentary and "out of the box" projects with independent artistic vision. Cal Arts has a strong reputation for producing the film industry's leading animators. The late Roy E. Disney, former senior executive for the Walt Disney Company, was a trustee at the California Institute of the Arts.

Columbia University (New York City)

The Master's of Fine Arts Film studies program at Columbia University describes an intensive curriculum that required students to have been directly involved in the production of at least three films in order to graduate.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

If a school in the Midwest is preferred, SAIC has a rich tradition of attracting talented film students seeking advanced degrees in film studies

University of Texas at Austin

Austin has emerged as a well-known destination for artists and musicians. The Department of Radio-Television-Film (RTF) at the University of Texas is a program worthy of the city's reputation for artistic innovation.

Florida State University

Documentary film students are attracted to the College of Motion Picture Arts at FSU. Its students dominate national documentary film festival awards

Northwestern University (Illinois)

Ann-Margret and Warren Beatty are among notable alumni of Northwestern University's School of Communication, the home to the prestigious Film and Television studies program.

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About the Author

Brent Watkins works as a writer, producer and production technologist for film and television. He began writing for "Church & Worship Technology" magazine in 2002. With more than 25 years of industry experience, Watkins is passionate about digital media and emerging production technologies. A graduate of the University of Iowa, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and theatrical arts.