30 Best filmmaking schools in US,their tuition and FAQs

The best filmmaking schools in US are for those who believe in the value of a bachelors degree. For such people, attending these best filmmaking schools in US is a way to fulfil their professional and personal goals.

There are students who learn faster through online video sources and as such would take the no-film-school path.

As obvious as it may seem, the no-film-school path tends to take a long time and requires high self-discipline than opting for a more traditional approach through college.

Of course, there are enough online resources that can get you to be a professional and that can as well land you a training certificate.

You might not need to be told that self-discipline is a defining factor for individuals who like to be self-taught.

Before we list the best filmmaking schools in US and answer some questions, we will outline some of the reasons why film schools is a good idea.

Reasons why film schools is a good idea

In this part of the article, we will be sharing the benefits film students can have by obtaining a degree in film production.

Opportunity to practice with a mentor

Though it is possible to learn online, one of the best things attending any of the best filmmaking schools in US will do for you is to connect you to the experts in this field. You’ll still get to learn from that infamous “school of hard knocks,”

During the process of learning, when there is a mistake, they will always be there to help decipher the real issue and provide ways to fix such problems while you learn through your failures.

Collaboration with your peers

Attending a filmmaking school gives you the opportunity to collaborate with your peers and in the process get to learn from them.

Sometimes they also get the opportunity to learn from you as well and in the process create together a reinforcement of the teamwork that keeps entertainment fresh.

Great learning structure

Learning processes are often built up with structures. These structures help students to build their skills.

You will likely be exposed to the foundations of filmmaking, audio or animation or whatever you have chosen to focus on which might be different.

The resources

In the best filmmaking schools in US, you will find incredible resources and of course, we don’t just mean the fancy camera equipment and professional studios, we also mean federal grants and scholarships as well as student’s advisors.

These resources when put in place can help you find the right resources that you need to be successful.

Guidance and experience

In terms of guidance, these best filmmaking schools in US will always be there when you hit a wall with a project or when you are overwhelmed with so many tasks; they will always be there to encourage you.

Also, experience is something you are certain to gain in any filmmaking school. Why is this so?

While you’re at school, you will have the opportunity to work with companies that sponsor projects, having that little ”in” can make a huge difference in an industry that is as competitive as the entertainment industry.

Will film schools land me a job?

In general, schools do not give you a job. You get the job from the certificates you have obtained from schools.

Basically what filmmaking schools will do for you is to give you exposure, networking, and connections that can prepare you to come out successful when you land your first entertainment industry interview.

Can I know the filmmaking school that is right for me?

To know the right or best filmmaking school in US that suits you, it is important that you do an underground study or proper study of these schools.

It won’t be a bad sea if you book a campus tour to see and explore the facilities of these schools. We also recommend that you call these schools and talk with them and equally ascertain what classes they have to offer.

Have a good look at their alumni and what exploits they are doing in the industry.

Is getting into a filmmaking school hard?

It is true that film schools are looking for the best candidates just as most universities do. The admission requirements of the school you are interested in is very vital. There are different categories of requirements and they include:

  • High school requirements;
  • English Language proficiency requirements, especially for foreign students and
  • Physical requirements.

Do I need to provide proof of my English Language proficiency in the best filmmaking schools in US?

Students whose first language is not English are usually required to demonstrate their level of competence in the English Language.

Usually, there are different ways your proficiency can be proven and it depends on the institution that you are applying to and what they are asking for.

Some of the common ways include:

a) if the applicant successfully completed course work in high school in the United States;

b) submits a diploma from a secondary school in a system in which English is the official language of instruction;

c) completion of an American standardized test (SAT, ACT, or GRE) exam evidencing English comprehension;

d) completed one or more years of postsecondary education at an English-speaking institution and can demonstrate completed coursework in English courses.

If the applicant does not meet one of the English language proficiencies listed above, the applicant must provide the minimum acceptable proof of English language proficiency by:

providing test scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based (iBT) or test scores on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

I am an international student

International students are required to meet admission standards just like every other student who is applying.

In addition to that, nonimmigrant students who are present in Visa waiver, B-1 and B-2 status are required to change their status to the F-1 visa prior to enrolling into the program of study.

Are you applying from your home country? You will need to obtain the F-1 visa from the embassy in your home country.

Before you can apply for the F-1 visa, you must ensure that you have received the I-20 form from the institution that you have applied to.

International students requiring an I-20 must submit the following items in addition to the standard documents required for admission:

Original or official copies of all educational transcripts and diplomas (secondary and postsecondary if applicable).

English language translation(s) of education transcripts and diplomas, if applicable.

For non-U.S. transcripts or diplomas, and properly evaluated ( This evaluation can be prepared by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)-member organization) to confirm that prior training is equivalent to the prerequisite for admission.

Proof of English Language Proficiency (check the English Language Proficiency Policy).

Proof of financial responsibility to cover costs of tuition and fees and living expenses for at least one academic year.

List of the 25 best filmmaking schools in us and their tuition

These best filmmaking schools in US has over the years continued to gear up, VR labs and greenscreen studios and stocking up on 3D stereoscopic cameras. These schools are considered the best filmmaking schools in US because they are schools that offer professional training in filmmaking.

  1. USC
  2. New York University
  3. American Film Institute
  4. UCLA
  5. Columbia University
  6. Chapman University
  7. California Institute of the Arts
  8. Loyola Marymount University
  9. Wesleyan University
  10. Emerson
  11. University of Texas, Austin
  12. Stanford University
  13. DePaul University
  14. Boston University
  15. Ringling College of Art and Design
  16. Savannah College of Art and Design
  17. Rhode Island School of Design
  18. Columbia College
  19. Florida State University
  20. ArtCenter College of Design
  21. San Francisco State University
  22. Syracuse University
  23. Pratt Institute
  24. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  25. University of Colorado

The best filmmaking schools Their tuition
USC$55,320 (undergrad); $33,981 to $44,837 (grad) per year
New York University $54,352 (undergrad); $58,712 (grad)
American Film Institute$59,348 to $61,425
UCLAUndergrad $15,775 (in-state), $44,767 (out-of-state); grad ?$16,848 to $28,437 (in-state), $31,950 to $40,682 (out-of-state)
Columbia University$60,784 (grad)
Chapman University$52,340 (undergrad and grad)
California Institute of the ArtsTuition $48,600 (undergrad and grad)
 Loyola Marymount University$47,470 (undergrad); $22,824 (grad)
Wesleyan UniversityUndergrad $69,704 to $71,764
Emerson$46,016 (undergrad); $30,024 (grad)
University of Texas, AustinUndergrad $11,294 (in-state), $38,972 (out-of-state); grad $9,800 to $11,536 (in-state), $18,448 to $21,832 (out-of-state)
Stanford UniversityUndergrad $69,704 to $7l,764
 DePaul University$39,369 (undergrad); $44,200 to $68,000 (grad)
 Boston University$53,948 (undergrad); $52,816 (MFA Film and Television Studies); $78,304 (MFA Cinema and Media Production)
Ringling College of Art and Design$42,330
Savannah College of Art and Design$36,630 (undergrad); $37,530 (grad)
Rhode Island School of Design $49,900 (undergrad)
Columbia CollegeUndergrad $26,090; grad $35,960 (Creative Producing), $39,572 (Directing)
Florida State UniversityUndergrad $6,516 (in-state), $21,683 (out-of-state); grad $21,569 (in-state), $49,982 (out-of-state)
ArtCenter College of Design$42,816 (undergrad); $45,250 (grad)
San Francisco State UniversityUndergrad $7,254 (in-state), $8,688 (out-of-state); grad $13,184 (in-state), $14,628 (out-of-state
Syracuse University$46,016 (undergrad); $30,024 (grad)
Pratt Institute$49,810 (undergrad)
University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeUndergrad $9,494 (in-state), $19,85 (out-of-state); grad $11,788 (in-state), $24,826 (out-of-state)
University of Colorado Undergrad $28,700 (in-state), $53,404 (out-of-state)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the number one film school in America?

So many ranking bodies have different schools as their number one filmmaking school using different criteria, however, the schools listed above are very good schools that you can consider.

But in our own estimation, USC, UCLA, NYU, Emerson, AFI, and Florida State University have very intensive programs and solid alumni contacts all over the industry.

Which is the best film school in the world?

According to collegegazette.com, the following schools are the 10 best film schools in the world.

  • University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Beijing Film Academy (Beijing, CN)
  • New York University Kanbar Institute of Film & Television (New York, NY)
  • American Film Institute (Los Angeles, CA)
  • UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television (Los Angeles, CA)
  • London Film School (London, England)
  • California Institute of the Arts (Valencia, CA)
  • Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts (Orange, CA)
  • Sydney Film School (Waterloo, Australia)
  • La Fémis (Paris, France)

The above-listed schools lead the world in innovation, reputation, and in the creativity of their faculty as well as their students.

Films started on these campuses are seen around the world, from the festivals at Cannes and Venice to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Interestingly, a lot of them are among the best filmmaking schools in US.

Is UWM a good film school?

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Department of Film, Video, Animation and New Genres is recognized as one of the “Top 25 American Film Schools” by Hollywood Reporter and has been included in Variety’s “Best Film Schools” list for the past three years.

This is because their students benefit from dedicated attention from internationally recognized faculty. Students are also given access to resources at one of the nation’s top 115 research universities.

Their programs maintain artistic and intellectual collaborations and they equally have partnerships with Milwaukee Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Milwaukee Art Museum, UWM Union Cinema, and beyond.

UWM’s Union Cinema is one of 23 theatres nationally recognized as a local community based independent theatre by the Sundance Film Institute Art House Project. 

Are film degrees worth it?

Often times you find people asking if film degrees are worth it. Though film degrees have their pros and cons, Yes, film degrees are worth it.

This is earning a degree in filmmaking yields more success significantly through the networking opportunities you stand a chance of gaining as well as the hands-on training.

The doubt that studying film in any of the best filmmaking schools in US provides incredible careers in very little.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages. It is expensive and gives you a limited chance of working outside the film industry.

“filmmaking is like sex, there’s no one way to do it, and the only way to learn it is by doing it.”

Ana Lily Amirpour

Ana Lily Amirpour went on to say that she thinks a film school is a tool, and a tool by itself is useless.

A tool needs many other things in order for it to have a purpose, it’s there to create something else.

There are so many tools. You can watch movies, you can read scripts from your favourite movies, watch bonus features of your favourite directors and see how they do things, get a camera and try filming things, you can travel the world, read books, listen to music.

Use everything and anything to put yourself in a place where you feel creative and fascinated by what you’re doing and by life.

Films really are about living life, and that part doesn’t happen inside a film school.

Herzog said it best: “A boxer in Africa would be better trained as a filmmaker than if he graduated from one of the ‘best’ film schools in the world.”

Is it hard to get into the film industry?

After attending the best filmmaking schools in US it is important you note that the film industry is notoriously hard to get started in.

There are a lot of jobs to do on set but landing your first can be a little difficult, especially if you have little idea of where to start from.

Is UCLA a good film school?

UCLA is another Los Angeles film school with a stellar reputation. It has been around for more than 60 years and was the first to combine theatre, TV and film programs into one. No wonder it’s often ranked as one of the top three best filmmaking schools in US.

As the highest-ranked public university in the nation, UCLA is a sought-after destination for students from all walks of life who share the same goal.

How do I get into film school with no experience?

Attending any of the best filmmaking schools in US might not require 100% experience. The fact is that some programs require previous experiences and some don’t.

But in general, you can get into any of the best filmmaking schools in US without having made some great short films in high school. 

The best way to get into any of the best filmmaking schools in US without having any experience is to search for universities that don’t need a portfolio for film school when you apply. It’s just a matter of finding the right ones.

which schools require portfolio?

Here are some of the best filmmaking schools in US that will ask for portfolio.

NYU requires a portfolio when applying to their Tisch School of the Arts, where the film major is housed. 

Columbia does not require any supplemental materials on their applications, but they do have the option for students to send them if they wish.

Pratt requires a visual portfolio for its film major and all of its other majors as well.

 Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications does not require a portfolio, reel, or any experience on its application.

The list also names seven of some of the best filmmaking schools in US located in Los Angeles and California:

USC does require an additional portfolio of applicants to its School of Cinematic Arts.

 AFI requires lots of supplemental work and experience from its applicants.

 UCLA‘s film and television major does require a portfolio and puts more emphasis on special talents through a review of portfolios and/or auditions, which are the most significant admission factors for that major.

Chapman requires supplemental materials for its Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

The CalArts film program also requires a portfolio of supplemental materials. 

LMU offers specific majors that require a portfolio including its production major.

Lastly, Stanford has an optional art portfolio option for any of its art majors.

Tell us what you think about these best filmmaking schools in US in the comment session.

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