Why This Matters


    Thanks to the increase in streaming platforms, as well as the continued demand for wide-release films, the job outlook for film and video editors is bright through 2028, with 5,500 new jobs expected in this field.


    The film industry employs people in a variety of different capacities. With a film degree, you can become a director, cinematographer, screenwriter, producer, production designer, film critic, and more.


    The amount of money spent on movie tickets around the world hit record numbers in 2018, increasing almost 3% from the previous year. In the U.S. alone, moviegoers spent almost $12 billion to go to the movies.

Our Research

The most common degree students get in film or film studies is a bachelor’s degree, although certificate programs as well as associate’s and master’s degrees also exist in this field. Our list includes bachelor’s, associate’s, and certificate programs, which you can choose from based on your current education level and career goals. All of the programs on this list are offered online; some are available in person as well.

The schools on our list have either regional or national accreditation. If you are considering transferring credits or pursuing an advanced degree after your bachelor’s, it is recommended to attend a regionally accredited school. Degrees and credits from regionally accredited institutions are more widely accepted by other schools.

We reviewed the film programs on the basis of faculty, flexibility, coursework, cost, and reputation. Each school received an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 83 hours to write this article
  • 196 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 334 education programs we compared

The Top 10 Film Degree Programs

Best Online Film Programs Badge
Intelligent Pick
San Francisco State University
Best in the West
Los Angeles Film School
Best in the South
Lamar University
Best for Transfer Students
Arizona State University
Best Bachelor's Degree
University of Montana
Most Affordable
Camden County College
Best For-Profit School
Full Sail University
Best Christian University
Grand Canyon University
Best for Collaboration
Academy of Art University
Best for Accelerated Classes
National University

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Individuals who are interested in film careers can pursue two types of programs. A degree in film focuses on technical and practical film-making skills. A degree in film studies takes a theoretical approach, teaching students how to think critically about film-making. Both programs will prepare students for film and TV careers, but it’s important to think about the skills and knowledge you want to get from your program.

Perhaps more so than other industries, hands-on experience and networking are key to entering the film industry. This is a popular field where job competition is stiff. Having the right experience and knowing the right people can give you an advantage when job-hunting. While online programs may be attractive for their convenience and flexibility, find out if there are any experiential components like internships. These experiences are worth the time investment for the connections and practical knowledge they provide.

Geographic location is also another important consideration for filmmakers. In the U.S., the film and TV industries are concentrated in New York and Los Angeles. While there are other markets for film and TV production, job prospects are best for people in those locations. Even if you earn your degree from home, be prepared to relocate at some point to put your degree to work.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Film programs:

  • Are you expected to have your own equipment and software? Film-making requires a lot of special equipment, including cameras, lights, microphones, and more, as well as software for editing and visual effects. Many on-campus programs allow students to access this equipment and software for free through the department. However, if you are enrolled in an online degree, find out what you are expected to have in order to complete film-making assignments.
  • How are online courses delivered? If you’re taking an online course of study, find out if classes are delivered asynchronously or synchronously. In asynchronous courses, students access lessons and assignments on their own schedules and work independently. In synchronous programs, students attend classes at set times, but do so remotely. Depending on your learning preferences and schedule, one of these delivery methods may be better for you.

Now is also the time to start gathering your admissions materials, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and essays. Visit the school’s admissions and financial aid websites, or talk to a counselor at the school, to get more information about the application process, financial aid, and scholarships.

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