Top Film Schools In USA

Last Updated on January 18, 2023

Top film schools in the USA offer a fantastic opportunity to gain professional training in this technically driven craft. An education in film is about nurture as well as nature, so attending school alongside other like-minded individuals with a passion for movies, screenplays and the technical side of the industry will help you get inspired and sharpen your skills.  

There are an extensive number of cheapest colleges in kentucky out of state, postgraduate, and graduate degrees. You can find universities that offer tuition-free education, as well as international universities that are less expensive.

You can get more information on the top film schools in the world, best film schools u s news, and cheap film schools in usa for international students on Collegelearners.

The 20 Best Film Schools in the USA

Top film schools in the US

American Film Institute (AFI)

The school which David Lynch said he would give up everything “in a heartbeat” to attend, the American Film Institute (AFI)  is perhaps the most famous of all film schools in Los Angeles, if not the whole of the US, thanks to the fact it hosts festivals and star-studded events throughout the year.

The institute enables students to produce as many as four personal films during their studies and to get advice from visiting industry experts including the likes of 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen. Boasting 27 Emmy nominations among their alumni in 2017 alone, the American Film Institute also counts South Park producer Anne Garefino and Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky among its past fellows.

Tuition fees including production materials: US$57,340 (The AFI Conservatory Program, 1st year students); $59,348 (2nd year students)


The CalArts School of Film and Video, dreamt up by Walt Disney shortly before he died in 1966, is another of the most prestigious film schools in Los Angeles (CalArts is located in the suburb of Valencia) and is a stomping ground for many of the best animators and filmmakers in Hollywood.

Tim Burton, one of CalArts’ earlier graduates, has since been followed by a series of notable Disney animators including Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo), Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee (Frozen). Film studies degrees offered at CalArts include the BA, MA, MFA and DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts).

2018/19 tuition fees: US$48,660 (all students excluding M.A. in Aesthetics and Politics students)

Los Angeles Film School

Located slap-bang in the middle of Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, it’s easy to see how the Los Angeles Film School got its name as one of the most notable schools for budding Hollywood filmmakers. Offering bachelor and associate degrees in all areas of the entertainment industry, the Los Angeles Film School also encompasses the Los Angeles Recording School, home of the famous RCA building where Elvis Presley and The Rolling Stones once recorded their music. The Los Angeles Film School also offers online programs in digital filmmaking, graphic design and the entertainment business.

2017 tuition fees: US$40,270 (A.S film, domestic students program total); US$53,220 (international students)

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, NYU

Outside of Los Angeles, leading film schools in the US include New York’s Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, which is a part of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Located in the center of one of the world’s most culturally vibrant and renowned metropolises, Kanbar Institute of Film & Television boasts world-class alumni such as respected filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the much-praised creator of US TV series Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan.

In 2017, six members of the Tisch School of Arts’ alumni community were nominated for an Oscar. In addition to the film school’s main NYC campus, the school also has a campus in Singapore. As well as a number of undergraduate film studies degrees, the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television offers a postgraduate-level MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Filmmaking.

2017/18 tuition fees: US$26,451 (all students). Students should also expect to pay an additional US$1,261 for registration per term and US$1,655 per additional unit.

The 10 Best Film Schools In The U.S. - Videomaker

USC School of Cinematic Arts

The University of Southern California’s USC School of Cinematic Arts is a place where many of Hollywood’s most famed filmmakers started out. Receiving millions of dollars of support every year from the likes of George Lucas, the USC School of Cinematic Arts offers world-class media facilities such as an IMAX theatre and research lab, making it one of the most state-of-the-art film schools in Los Angeles.

Alumni of the USC School of Cinematic Arts include comedy writer and producer Judd Apatow and Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios. Film degrees offered by the USC school of Cinematic Arts include the BA, BFA and the MFA.

2017/18 tuition fees: US$53,448 (undergraduate level); US$32,927-48,247 (graduate level). Additional fees for equipment may also apply.

Other top film schools in the US:

  • Boston University’s College of Communication 
  • Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts 
  • Colorado Film School 
  • Columbia University’s School of the Arts 
  • Emerson College’s Department of Visual & Media Arts 
  • Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television 
  • New York Film Academy 
  • Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts 
  • UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television
  • University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts 
  • University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication 

top film schools in the world

Do you aspire to be a part of the best film schools in the world? Do you want to experience student life as shown in the High School Musical? If yes, then you have come to the right place. Film Schools are dedicated academic institutions which are specially designed to incubate, identify, develop and translate talent within students pertaining to various aspects of film studies. All Film Schools follow their own academic and training curriculum, having their own niche as per the Film and TV industry of their country. Although, all of them focus on the overall skill development of students, in whichever career they choose. Some may have a standard program, while others may offer vocational courses and degrees at various academic levels. However, the Best Film Schools in the world have more than just academic degrees to offer. 

Top 25 Film Schools in the World 2021 - Leverage Edu

Top 25 Film Schools in the World

From practical skill training to practice their knowledge to curate engaging films under the supervision of some of the best Directors in the world, film schools aim to impart learners with the technical intricacies of film making as well as a practical understanding of visual storytelling.

Here are some of the Best Film Schools in the world:

  • University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts
  • American Film Institute
  • National Film and Television School
  • La Femis
  • Beijing Film Academy
  • Lodz Film School
  • Tisch School of the Arts, New York University
  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • London Film School
  • Kanbar Institute of Film & Television
  • University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication
  • New York Film Academy
  • Toronto Film School
  • Vancouver Film School
  • University of British Columbia’s Department of Theatre and Film
  • National Film and Television School
  • Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School
  • National Film School
  • Screen Academy Scotland
  • Film and Television Institute of India
  • Australian Film, Television and Radio School
  • Sydney Film School
  • Korean Academy of Film Arts
  • Whistling Woods International Film school

USC School of Cinematic Arts

Affiliated with the celebrated University of Southern California, USC School of Cinematic Arts is a premier film school located in the heart of Hollywood. It is the oldest and most prestigious film school in the United States and offers various degree filmmaking courses such as,

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Writing for Screen and Television
  • BA in Cinema and Media
  • PhD in Cinema and Media Studies
  • BA in Animation
  • MA in Animation and Digital Arts
  • The John H. Mitchell Business of Cinematic Arts Program

Tuition Fees: $42,000

Their Alumni have been constantly nominated for Emmy and Academy awards over the years, winning a number of awards and accolades. Not just critically acclaimed, 17 top-grossing movies of all time have an SCA alumni among their creative or executive positions.

American Film Institute

American Film Institute aims to train young and budding filmmakers in various aspects of filmmaking, while also educating them about the rich past of Hollywood. AFI is specifically known for its Conservatory, which is a graduate-level film school headed by notable filmmakers who provide hands-on experience and training to students. It also features a notable Film School, specially designed to teach Filmmaking concepts exclusively to women. Alumni from AFI have been recognised with various awards throughout their career, be it Academy, Guild or Emmy awards. It is also one of the best film schools in the world and offers specialized Master of Fine Arts courses in six major specializations, i.e. Editing, Production, Cinematography, Direction, Screenwriting and Production Design.

Tuition Fees $38,416 for first year

National Film and Television School

NFTS is a Film, TV and gaming school established in the UK in 1971. Affiliated by CILCET, this school offers a number of academic programs to its students. These courses include Bachelors and Masters degrees, as well as Vocational programs and certificate courses. There are more than 20 full-time MA specialisations a student can choose between, like film direction, film editing courses, amongst others as per their career orientation. Here are some of the prominent courses offered by NFTS:

  • MA in Cinematography
  • MA in Directing Science and Natural History
  • MA in Directing Documentary
  • Diploma in Directing Commercials
  • Diploma in Sports Production
  • Diploma in Script Development
  • Certificate in Screenwriting
  • Certificate in Filmmaking
  • Certificate in Character Animation

Tuition Fees $14,300 for residents; $32,000 for overseas

The student films made by members of NFTS have been nominated for Oscar awards thrice within the last few years. The school has also had technological upgrades in the past few years, adding a 4k theatre to its fold. Alumni from this Film School are especially known for their contributions in Directing, Editing and Production. 

The 25 Best Film Schools Rankings – The Hollywood Reporter

La Femis

La Femis was founded in 1943 as IDHEC, before being restructured and renamed to its present name. It is a celebrated film school in Paris, known for its professional approach in integrating professional growth, technical training and artistic expression, leading to all-round growth of students. All students are inducted into the courses with a common curriculum for the first year, teaching them the basics of filmmaking and fine arts. The second and third year are designed as per student’s choice of departments, teaching them the nuances of the subject while applying it in practical training at the same time The fourth year is where students indulge in independent projects, learning how to work with a team to create their own work. This unique curriculum makes it stand apart among the best Film Schools in the world. There are numerous celebrities in the French film and TV industry who are alumni of La Femis. Here are some of the popular filmmaking courses offered by La Femis:

  • Initial Training courses like Distribution/Cinema Management course, TV Series Development course, SACRe PhD programme (PSL), etc.
  • Workshops in Documentary Filmmaking, Production, Theatrical Film Exhibition, etc.

Tuition Fees $517 for French citizens; $15,334 for foreigners

Beijing Film Academy

Established in 1950, Beijing Film Academy is the most prominent Film School in China, and one of the best Film Schools in the World. Comprising 9 schools which provide courses divided into 8 departments, it is one of the most diverse academies in terms of education and training. It offers courses at high school, undergraduate and graduate level as well as vocational and associate certificates in some of these areas:

  • Sound Art
  • Animation
  • Cinematography
  • Script Writing
  • Film Directing
  • Film Actor

Tuition Program fees range from $1,240 to $1,550 for local students; international students pay $6,665 to $7,905 per year

It is a more academic centric institution when compared to other mentions in this list, while still providing students with adequate training and real-world exposure.

Top Film Schools in USA | Best Film Schools in America | Digital Film  Academy | Film academy, Film class, Film school

cheap film schools in usa for international students

Affordable film schools in USA for international students

Of course, the USA is known for its expensive studies. What if you get a few best affordable film schools in USA? For those who are interested in film schools in USA at an affordable cost, we have mentioned a few cheap film schools in USA:

  • ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena
  • Barnard College, New York
  • Chapman University, California
  • Colorado Film School, Colorado
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • CUNY Brooklyn College
  • Dominican University, Illinois
  • Emerson College, Massachusetts
  • Ferris State University, Michigan
  • Fordham University, New York
  • Ithaca College, New york
  • Ferris State University, Michigan
  • Fordham University, New York
  • Kean University, New Jersey
  • Loyola Marymount University, California

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