25 Best Film Schools 2020

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The 25 schools on this list offer the top Bachelor's Degrees in Film Production, based on median salary one year out of college. The school with the highest median salary for this degree is American University, at $34,600. The lowest median debt on the list is $11,645, at Brigham Young University. Students who graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Film Production from these schools had a median starting salary between $25,800 and $34,600.

Tuition, median salaries, and median debt were reported by the U.S. Department of Education. View our methodology for more details about these rankings or read more about the top-ranked schools.

Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Salary and debt data reported by the U.S. Department of Education
Rank School Annual Tuition Median Debt Median Salary
#1 #1 American University $48,459 $24,500 $34,600
#2 #2 Chapman University $52,724 $23,250 $32,000
#3 #3 The Art Institutes $17,316 - $18,648 $42,035 $31,000
#4 #4 Vassar College $56,960 $19,000 $30,700
#5 #5 Taylor University $34,114 Not Reported $29,900
#6 #6 $36,242 $27,000 $29,000
#8 #8 $18,786 $22,000 $28,800
#9 #9 $48,350 $25,651 $28,400
#10 #10 $12,508 $25,000 $28,200
#12 #12 $54,492 $21,441 $27,900
#13 #13 $43,383 $19,250 $27,800
#14 #14 $56,225 $20,940 $27,400
#16 #16 $45,280 $20,748 $27,100
#17 #17 $11,800 $21,500 $27,100
#18 #18 $51,828 $21,493 $27,000
#19 #19 $48,522 $24,721 $27,000
#21 #21 $24,450 $30,500 $26,400
#22 #22 $46,852 $21,500 $26,300
#23 #23 $22,308 Not Reported $25,900
#24 #24 $43,978 $24,500 $25,800

2020 Best Colleges Highlights

Learn more about the top five colleges for a Bachelor's in Film Production degree. You can also read student reviews of each school by clicking on the stars. Although student reviews were not used as a ranking factor in this list, we provide ratings and reviews so students can consider the experience of alumni in their decision-making process.

Median Debt
$24,500
Median Salary
$34,600

The Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Arts at American University is completed through the School of Communication (SOC). Students in this program can gain academic and work experience through classes and internships. A bachelor’s degree at American University requires students to complete 120 credit hours. For a bachelor’s in film and media arts, 42 of these credit hours must be from courses in the major. There are three introductory courses that every student must take, which are about understanding media, visual literacy, and writing for visual media. Students will all also take five foundation courses. After that, there is more flexibility involved. For example, a student will choose between two foundational cinema courses, one of 12 history or media courses, 6 units from 24 different courses in production skills, one of three writing classes, and a capstone project.

For students who would like to complete both their B.A. and M.A. (assuming the master’s degree is in a similar subject), SOC allows for up to six credits from the student’s Bachelor of Arts degree to be applied to their master’s degree. 

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Median Debt
$23,250
Median Salary
$32,000

Chapman University’s Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies teaches students about the historical and critical aspects of film. The major requires students to complete 54 semester hours, which includes 36 credits of core requirements and 18 credits of elective courses. One of the core requirements is the senior capstone project. This is a three-unit course that focuses on research to help students apply the culmination of their studies to a final written paper. 

The bachelor's degree in film studies is completed through Chapman’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. The film studies major covers the history of film, genre, international cinema, important filmmakers, film analysis, film-making practices, and film’s role in society. 

For a more hands-on focus in film studies, where the artist’s voice and practice are emphasized, Chapman also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production. In this program, students have 42 semester units of core requirements and 24 units to complete in their specialization of choice. The specialization options include directing, cinematography, editing, sound design, or production design. The final piece of the program is a thesis film that functions both as a learning experience and a portfolio piece. 

Visit Chapman University’s website.

Median Debt
$42,035
Median Salary
$31,000

Studying film and video production at The Art Institutes gives students the skill sets necessary to support their passions for creating. The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Film and Video Production requires students to complete 180 quarter credit hours over 12 quarters (typically four years, if no summer quarter classes are taken). There are different campuses to choose from: two in Florida, four in Texas, one in Georgia, and one in Virginia.

The Art Institutes' BFA in digital film and video production recognizes that the world of media is constantly changing, so the program is designed to help students engage in the latest developments in film and videography, teaching students how to use new technologies and apply up-to-date knowledge in the field. Courses students will take include Fundamentals of Audio, Conceptual Storytelling, Lighting for Digital Film, Studio Production, and Media Delivery Systems and Distribution. Students also participate in a final project to complete their major requirements. One course will be for senior project preparation, and another course will follow for senior project production. 

Visit The Art Institutes' website.

Median Debt
$19,000
Median Salary
$30,700

The Bachelor of Arts in Film at Vassar College is designed to teach students theoretical and practical aspects of film and filmmaking. The unit system at Vassar College is different from the typical semester-hour unit – at Vassar, 32 units of coursework is about equal to what is typically categorized as 120 semester hours. Each one-semester class counts for one work unit, and there are some that are half a unit (which can take either half a semester’s time, or be stretched out over the course of the semester). That being said, a student looking to earn a BA in film will need to complete 32 units, and at least 10 (or 10.5) must be in their major.

Students with a film major will complete a class on world cinema and do a research seminar in film history and theory. In addition to those two classes, students can choose two other film studies courses at the 200 level or higher, one non-US cinema course at the 200 level or higher, and five film electives. 

Visit Vassar College’s website

Median Debt
Not Reported
Median Salary
$29,900

Taylor University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Production that emphasizes visual storytelling with a foundational understanding of the history, theory, and practice that stands behind compelling filmmaking. This program looks at film and media production through a Christian lens and provides students with opportunities to explore how skills, faith, and work can positively influence one another. 

To earn a bachelor’s degree at Taylor, students need to complete at least 128 semester hours. For the film and media production major, students need to do 51 semester hours in their major. Courses teach students how to use tools like Photoshop and InDesign, how to engage in audio and visual production, and how to write narratives in various genres. 

Taylor University also offers a Bachelor of Science in Film and Media Production with Systems Curriculum. In addition to similar courses found in the BA in film and media production program, this course includes classes in information systems and analytics. 

Visit Taylor University’s website

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