Why This Matters

  • DEMAND FOR DIRECTORS WILL INCREASE BY 5%

    The demand for more TV and film content from streaming services and foreign audiences is driving job growth for directors and producers, with an additional 7,200 jobs expected by 2028.

  • THE INDUSTRY NEEDS 7,900 MORE FILM EDITORS

    Film and video editing is another occupation within the entertainment industry that is anticipating faster-than-average job growth over the next decade. Employment is expected to rise 14%.

  • PREPARE FOR OVER 20 POSSIBLE CAREER PATHS

    Filmmaking is a collaborative art form that includes a range of jobs. An online master’s in film can also prepare you to be a screenwriter, visual effects artist, production designer and more.

Our Research

For this list, we focused on master’s degrees in film. These degrees include Master of Fine Arts (MFA), which are terminal degrees, and Master of Arts (MA), which are liberal arts-oriented programs. Some programs concentrate on film theory and criticism, while others are oriented towards advanced technical skills for filmmaking.

As a measure of quality, we only included programs that have regional accreditation. Degrees and credits from regionally accredited institutions are generally widely recognized and accepted by other schools.

The programs on this list are offered in both online and on-campus formats. Some programs allow students to earn their degree in a combination of online and in-person classes.

Once we narrowed our list of programs, our team reviewed each of them based on their reputation, faculty, flexibility, course offerings, outcomes, and cost. We assigned each program an Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Our top picks for the best online master’s in film degrees are well-respected, customizable, and affordable. (For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.)

  • 80 hours to write this article
  • 155 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 342 education programs we compared

The Top 5 Best Online Master’s in Film Programs

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What You Should Know About This Degree

Hands-on experience and professional networking are critical to entering and obtaining jobs in the film industry. This is a competitive field where having a strong portfolio of work, practical skills, and the right professional contacts give you a major advantage in getting ahead. While online programs may offer convenience and flexibility, there are benefits to attending an on-campus film program, particularly for those who are just entering the field. If you cannot attend an in-person program, find out if there are experiential learning components like internships that can help you network and gain practical experience.

Another important consideration in the film industry is geographic location. Los Angeles and New York are the main entertainment industry hubs in the U.S., and job prospects are best for filmmakers in those cities. Even if you are earning your degree remotely from your current location, be prepared to relocate in the future to put your degree to work.

Filmmaking requires special equipment including cameras, lights, microphones, editing software, and more. Students in on-campus programs usually have access to this equipment through their schools. If you are enrolled in an online program, find out if you will need to purchase or rent your own equipment to complete your filmmaking assignments.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Online Master’s in Film programs:

  • Do you need to submit a portfolio for admission? Film schools generally accept students from all educational and professional backgrounds, but applicants must demonstrate some experience with film-making in the form of a portfolio. This can include a short film or reel, a writing sample, or other related material. Visit the program’s website or talk to an admissions representative to find out exactly what type of creative work you need to submit.
  • How are online courses delivered? Online programs typically deliver classes synchronously or asynchronously. In synchronous courses, students attend classes remotely at specific meeting times. In asynchronous classes, the lessons and assignments are accessible at all times, giving students more flexibility. Assess your scheduling needs, and choose a course delivery method that works best for you.

You will also want to review application deadlines, and start gathering your application materials at this point. Submitting your application ahead of the deadline will help ensure a smooth admissions process.

Now is also a good time to investigate options for funding your graduate education. Resources can include student loans, assistantships, scholarships, grants, and employer tuition assistance benefits.