Top 10 Film Schools: Best Film Schools in the Nation

Read about the top film schools in the United States, including two that are located in Los Angeles and New York City. Learn about the degree options at three leading universities, and find a handy table that provides a snapshot of the programs available at other schools around the country.

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School Information

Film schools can typically be found in colleges and universities, such as the three highlighted below. They include the University of Southern California, New York University and Ohio University. In general, programs in film production and screenwriting can lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts. Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Critical Studies programs may also be available.

Top U.S. Schools with Film Programs

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

In 2011, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles 23rd among national universities. USC's School of Cinematic Arts was the first film school established in the United States and includes a number of departments devoted to the study of film and television production, criticism, producing and screenwriting, as well as animation and interactive media. Aside from producing, undergraduates can pursue programs in all of the aforementioned fields of study, which lead to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA). Graduate offerings include the producing program and primarily lead to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA); the critical studies program leads to a Master of Arts or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

2. New York University in New York City, NY

According to U.S. News & World Report, New York University (NYU) ranked 33rd among national universities in 2011. NYU is home to the Tisch School of the Arts, which offers film programs through its Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television.

Undergraduate students majoring in film and television take classes in film criticism and history, audio production and animation. Courses in acting, directing, editing and scriptwriting are also part of the program. Graduate students may pursue an MFA in Filmmaking or a dual MFA and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Producing. Aspiring professionals in the MFA program create at least five movies while acquiring practical experience as crewmembers and camera operators on their classmates' projects.

3. Ohio University in Athens, OH

Ohio University is a public institution that U.S. News & World Report ranked 124th among national universities in 2011. The College of Fine Arts includes the School of Film, where students can pursue an undergraduate minor in film or earn an MFA or a Master of Arts (M.A.). A 4-year BFA program is available through the Honors Tutorial College. The program offers two specializations in film studies and film production, both of which require completion of a final thesis project.

List of Ten Great Film Schools in the U.S.

College/University Name Distinction Location
American Film Institute Conservatory American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women program Los Angeles, CA
California Institute of the Arts Community Arts Partnership program Valencia, CA
Columbia University Multidisciplinary Arts Collaboration Lab summer program New York, NY
Florida State University Non-degree Torchlight Program acquaints students with the business practices associated with the film industry Tallahassee, FL
New York University First Run Film Festival New York, NY
Northwestern University Interdisciplinary MFA in Film and Theater program Evanston, IL
Ohio University Honors Tutorial College offers a BFA in Film Athens, OH
University of California - Los Angeles MFA in Cinematography program Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California MFA Producer's Program Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas - Austin University of Texas Film Institute (UTFI) Austin, TX
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