Top 10 Film Schools: Best Film Schools in the Nation

Film schools located in universities and colleges offer Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production and screenwriting. They may also offer Master of Fine Arts in Filmmaking or a Ph.D. in Critical Studies. This article provides information on various film schools within the U.S.

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Top U.S. Film Schools

1. University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA

The film school at the University of Southern California (USC) is known as the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It was founded in 1929 as the United States' first film school; today, it houses departments devoted to production for film and television, criticism, animation, screenwriting, producing and interactive media. Degree programs for undergraduates are available in all of these areas except producing and lead to either 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.). In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked USC as the 23rd-best university in its category 'National University Rankings'.

2. New York University in New York City, NY

New York University (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 areas such as film history, production, animation, directing, acting, audio production, editing, scriptwriting and film criticism. Graduate students may pursue an MFA in Filmmaking or a dual MFA and Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Producing. MFA students create at least five movies while in the program, and they gain practice working as crewmembers and camera operators on their classmates' projects. Overall, U.S. News and World Report ranked NYU as the 33rd-best university among national universities in 2011.

3. Ohio University in Athens, OH

Ohio University is public university that each year serves approximately 32,300 students who are spread across six different campuses. The main campus in Athens, Ohio has 11 different colleges. Ohio University was ranked 124th among national universities in 2011, by U.S. News and World Report. The School of Film at Ohio University is in the College of Fine Arts and offers several degrees in filmmaking, including a MFA, a Master of Arts (M.A.), an undergraduate minor in film and a Honors Tutorial College BFA. The honors tutorial program is a 4-year program that has two study specializations: film studies and film production. In addition to the coursework required for completion, there is also a final major thesis project for either of the specializations.

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

College/University Name Distinction Location
American Film Institute Conservatory The American Film Institute Directing Workshop for Women program Los Angeles, CA
California Institute of the Arts The Community Arts Partnership program Valencia, CA
Columbia University The multidisciplinary Arts Collaboration Lab summer program New York, NY
Florida State University The Torchlight Program for film business Tallahassee, FL
New York University The First Run Film Festival New York, NY
Northwestern University Film program offers interdisciplinary MFA in film and theater Evanston, IL
Ohio University The Honors Tutorial College BFA in Film Athens, OH
University of California - Los Angeles The MFA in Cinematography program Los Angeles, CA
University of Southern California The MFA Producer's Program Los Angeles, CA
University of Texas - Austin The University of Texas Film Institute (UTFI) Austin, TX
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  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
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    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
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        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Film and Cinema Studies
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    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
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        • Photography
  • School locations:
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    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
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        • Photography

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