12 Best Colleges for Film Production Majors| 2020

12 best colleges for film production majors have helped in increasing pupil engagement, inspiring writing, improving literacy attainment, and improving behavior.

Graduates of Film Studies are well-equipped to create innovative media (individually, or as a team) and see long-term projects through to fruition.

The major also prepares them to write clearly, think analytically, and conduct research. For that reason, Film majors not only go on to careers in the film sector, but also other fields involving media, such as marketing, business, and design.

In this post, jobreaders.org we’ll be sharing the top 12 best colleges for film majors, why their film departments stand out, and what it takes to get into these schools.

About Film making

The production of motion pictures and television films; the principal branch of cinematography.

Film production takes place at motion-picture studios—enterprises that specialize in various types of films, such as feature motion pictures, documentaries, popular science films, educational films, and animated cartoons.

Motion pictures are classified as black-and-white, color, wide-screen, large-format, multiscreen, or stereoscopic films, depending on the cinematographic systems and technological means used.

Film production is characterized by close interaction of art and technology in the production process; the high labor input of production and the relatively high cost of films; the large number of creative workers and technical specialists who take part in making films.

The use of complex technology and expensive materials; the dependence of outdoor motion-picture filming on weather conditions; and the necessity of assembling actors from various theaters, military units, means of transport, and museum displays during filming.

With respect to film technology, the most complex films are feature motion pictures. Their production process consists of the following basic stages: preparation of a screenplay setting out the content and artistic ideas behind the film.

Development of a director’s script, in which the screenplay is divided into scenes, with detailed descriptions of how each scene is to be filmed; a preparation period, which includes the preparation of sketches for costumes, scale models of the stage sets, and stage props.

The cast of actors, the selection of film crews, and the development of a detailed plan and cost estimate for production; the filming period, during which all location and studio filming takes place.

And the editing period, during which the final footage is edited, the soundtrack is created and synchronized with the film, and copies of the film are made, after which the finished film is released.

Film production came into being in the years immediately after the invention of the motion-picture camera. In the early 20th century, enterprises for the production of motion pictures were organized in France, Russia, Great Britain, the USA, and Germany.

They were originally located in buildings ill-suited to filming and used primitive equipment, cameras, and sets. Films were made in the traditional manner of theater productions. However, the ever-increasing output of films fostered the accumulation of experience in film organizations and technology.

Film production was heavily influenced by the development of motion-picture technology and the appearance of new techniques and equipment. The motion picture moved steadily away from the experience of the theater (see FILM-MAKING) and perfected its own specific methods, which were characterized by a combination of artistic and technical processes.

Film production played an important role in the development of cinematography and television all over the world. It was particularly important in the developing countries of Asia, Africa, and South America, where the increasing number of films produced greatly influenced the growth of national cultures.

In practice, modern film studios are organized as enterprises with a complete production cycle encompassing the entire production process—from the preparation of the written script to the release of film copies ready for viewing.

The studio production of a motion picture or television film is carried out by the studio’s primary production team—the film crew—which is a group of creative workers and technical specialists responsible for the film’s artistic quality, technical level, production schedule, and cost:

This form of production organization permits the most efficient use of creative personnel and of the film studio’s technical facilities.

Such an organizational structure is used in the USSR, Bulgaria, the German Democratic Republic, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia.

In capitalist countries, the same system is used for the most part in the USA, Great Britain, and, with some variations, in Italy, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, India, Argentina, and Mexico

Is Film making a good major?

Starting your career in film production can be challenging as there’s strong competition for roles. Work experience is essential for building your CV and portfolio/showreel, as well as increasing your networking opportunities.

Working as a runner, supporting production staff on film sets, is a good way to learn about the production process and gain valuable contacts in the industry.

Make use of the projects you take on at university to build up a portfolio of work. There may be opportunities for work experience or field trips both in the UK and overseas as part of your degree course. You could also help out at local film festivals.

Showcase your work to industry professionals at every opportunity, for example at competitions and festivals. Make the most of all opportunities to network and develop your contacts

Not only are there plenty of successful directors who bypassed film school (among them Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino, and James Cameron), but there are also plenty of film school graduates who never make it in the film business.

Why spend tens of thousands of dollars on a film school education when it is obviously no guarantee of success, and when there are so many people who are succeeding without it?

How can I be successful in Film Production?

The film industry is actually a very practical, hands-on profession, not an academic one. This means that at the end of the day, what is going to make you successful as a filmmaker is not whether you went to film school, but whether you can make movies.

Where you learn filmmaking is not all that important, as long as you learn it. (Even the directors who bypassed film school learned how to make movies in some way.)
Because the film industry is such a practical field, a structured film school education is really only worth it if it accomplishes two things:

  1. If it successfully teaches you the skills of moviemaking; and
  2. If it successfully connects you to a career in film.

One other drawback with most traditional film schools is that even if they teach the skills effectively, they are not really connected to the film industry itself—and without connections, it is very difficult to get a job in this business.

One reason why many industry professionals recommend on-the-job training over traditional film school is that learning on real film shoots helps you make connections while you learn.

An alternative learning approach called the mentor-extern approach is actually helping to bridge the gap between film education and the film industry.

Instead of placing students in classrooms or simulated studios, a mentor-extern school actually places students as apprentices in real production companies, where they can go through the curriculum while working on actual film projects.

This approach gives students the experience and connections they need, along with education, better positioning them to launch their careers. (It also costs considerably less than most film schools.)

The bottom line is that you need a film education and you need a connection but it is possible to get both of these without going to film school. Is film school worth it? Only if it ultimately helps you launch your filmmaking career

What do film production students do?

Just over three-quarters of film and television production graduates are in employment in the UK six months after graduation.

Three of the top five jobs held by graduates are art officers, producers and directors, and photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators.

Further study6.7
Working and studying3.3

Graduate destinations for film production

Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media47.2
Retail, catering and bar work23
Marketing, PR and sales7.3
Secretarial and numerical clerks4

12 Best Colleges for Film Production

1. University of Southern California (USC)

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Acceptance Rate: 11.4%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 19,907

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1270-1490 SAT, 28-34 ACT

The USC School of Cinematic Arts is divided into seven divisions, allowing students to focus on:

Animation & digital art

Cinema & media studies

Film & television production

Interactive media & games

Media arts + practice


Writing for screen & television

Business of cinematic arts

The school offers B.A. or B.F.A. degrees in nearly all of the divisions, minus Producing (it’s a graduate program only). The USC School of Cinematic Arts is the only media school in the world to offer programs in all major components of cinematic arts.

Students take courses across all seven divisions and get to work hands-on in their specific fields of interest.

2. University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA)

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Acceptance Rate: 12.3%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 31,577

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1510 SAT, 27-34 ACT

The UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television offers a B.A. in Film and Television. Students will receive a liberal arts education, along with taking courses in cinema and media studies, production, and film and television craft.

In their senior year, Film and Television majors focus on their area of specialty, from directing to animation. As part of their degree, they must also complete an internship as an upperclassman.

3. Chapman University

Location: Orange, CA

Acceptance Rate: 53.6% (2018)

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 7,281

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1190-1380 SAT, 25-31 ACT

The Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts offers a highly-respected B.A. in Film Studies, among many other films- and media-related programs. 

majors at Chapman will study film history, genres, and diversity in the industry. They will learn to analyze films using classical and contemporary theory and produce high-quality research papers. 

4. New York University (NYU)

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate: 15% (2020)

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 26,733

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1350-1530 SAT, 30-34 ACT

NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts has one of the most prestigious film programs, and its alumni have many impressive accomplishments, from directing The Handmaid’s Tale to Harry Potter to Beyonce’s Lemonade. Students in the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television will gain a liberal arts education along with their specialized film instruction.

Interested students may also apply for the dual degree (B.S. in Business and B.F.A. in Film and Television) offered by Tisch and NYU’s highly-selective Stern School of Business.

5. Wesleyan University

Location: Middletown, CT

Acceptance Rate: 19.8% (2020)

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 3,009

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1450-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Wesleyan University is a liberal arts college with an open curriculum, meaning that there are no required courses outside of your major. To be eligible for the Film Studies major at Wesleyan, you must take two prerequisite courses and get a B+ or higher.

The major is interdisciplinary and involves history, analysis, and production. Students of the College of Film and Moving Image also have access to the Wesleyan Cinema Archives, the Wesleyan Film Series, and the Filmmaking Club.

6. The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)

Location: Austin, TX

Acceptance Rate: 31.8%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 40,804

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1170-1400 SAT, 27-33 ACT

The Moody College of Communications at UT Austin is ranked the #2 public film school by The Hollywood Reporter. It offers a B.S. in Radio-Television-Film, where undergraduates participate in major festivals, conduct media studies research, and participate in internships with large production companies.

Alumni go on to not only work in the film industry but also other media sectors, like app development and game design.

7. Columbia University

Location: New York, NY

Acceptance Rate: 5.3%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 8,216

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1480-1560 SAT, 33-35 ACT

Film Studies majors at Columbia can expect a curriculum that is “scholarly, international in scope, and writing-intensive.” Students will be exposed to the technology, art, and cultural significance of the field.

They’ll have the chance to participate in internships with film companies, join the Columbia Undergraduate Film Productions, and work on graduate student films.

8. ArtCenter College of Design

Location: Pasadena, CA

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 2,008

Average SAT Score: 1216

Film students at the Art Center College of Design have access to the latest technology and tools at the college’s facilities in LA. Students receive foundational instruction in film before going on to specialize in cinematography, editing, or directing.

During the program, students are given the chance to write and direct a film, and develop a reel of original work.

9. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

Location: Providence, RI

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 1,994

Average SAT Score: 1343

RISD offers a B.F.A in Film/Animation/Video that exposes students to the basics of the field through a series of shorter projects. Students then go on to focus on live action, animation, or open media, all while working on more intricate projects involving skills from interactive programming to character design.

RISD students have the added benefit of attending a college right next to Ivy League Brown, where they can cross-register for courses.

10. Ringling College of Art and Design

Location: Sarasota, FL

Acceptance Rate: 67%

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 1,561

Average SAT/ACT Score: N/A

Ringling College of Art and Design offers a B.F.A in Film that teaches students not only the technical aspects of filmmaking, but also the art of telling engaging stories.

Film majors can choose from two areas of focus: Narrative and Branded Entertainment. The Narrative emphasis is more centered on the art of filmmaking, while the Branded Entertainment emphasis prepares students for the marketing/business side of the film along with producing media.

11. Syracuse University

Location: Syracuse, NY

Acceptance Rate: 50% (2018)

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 15,226

Average SAT/ACT Score: 1270 SAT, 28 ACT

Film majors at Syracuse have access to faculty who have premiered films at prestigious festivals around the world.

Students are offered a wide variety of unique opportunities, including the Syracuse International Film festival, domestic exchange programs in LA, and study abroad programs in the Czech Republic and Italy. 

Related Post: Syracuse University Application| Deadline

12. Emerson College

Location: Boston, MA

Acceptance Rate: 35.6% (2018)

Total Undergrad Enrollment: 3,855

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1220-1380 SAT, 27-31 ACT

Aspiring filmmakers at Emerson College have the choice between a degree in Media Studies (B.A. or B.F.A.) or Media Studies Production (B.F.A.). During the program, students will learn history and theory, create their own original media, and conduct research and analysis.

B.A. students have the option of participating in a one-semester capstone project, and B.F.A. students must complete a year-long thesis. Students who wish to study abroad may also be interested in the Global BFA in Film Art in conjunction with the Paris College of Art.


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The process of filmmaking has changed more since the early 1980s than it did in the preceding eighty years.

Changes from analog to digital technology have increased the variety of ways in which images and sounds are recorded, manipulated, and edited.

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There is no longer (if there ever was) one standard process for making a film. The only certainty about the future is that further changes are inevitable.

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