These Are the 10 Best Schools for Film Studies

Do you know what Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, David Lynch, and Spike Lee all have in common?

You might be thinking Oscars, accolades, box office blockbusters…

Sure, all of that is true.

But the other common thread among these absolute titans of modern cinema?

They all went to top film schools.

For his graduating thesis, George Lucas submitted a 2-minute movie all about a yellow car going fast. Spike Lee’s NYU thesis took place entirely inside a barbershop in Brooklyn.

Sure, these early films were perhaps not on the level of their later works, such as Lucas’ Star Wars or Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing.

But nevertheless, these movie masters started their creative careers inside the classroom, as do many of today’s greatest directors.

Are you looking into film schools, or at least interested in finding out which ones are the very best for producing top student talent?

Today, we reveal the top 10 Bachelor’s degree granting schools in the entire country for filmmaking and television, as well as three honorable mention schools that are worth of consideration among the best in the world.

How did we make this ranking? We create an “averaged” ranking – we looked at 7 “top 10 film school” rankings lists from leading publications, then made a new list based on where each school ranked in the other lists.

This list is essentially an aggregate of the seven other lists we researched. The sources, as well as the methodology, are available at the end of the article.

These are the schools producing alumni who are working on films that win Oscars, awards at Cannes, the biggest box office hits and the most memorable cinema we know.

10. Boston University (Boston, MA)

Boston University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Boston University’s Film & Television studies program, located in their College of Journalism, is characterized by small classroom sizes with numerous 1-on-1 opportunities for interacting with professors.

At BU, students can concentrate in one of four concentrations in film: Production, Screenwriting, Film & Television, or Management/Producing. This allows students to pursue a specialized interest based on their future goals.

One of the awesome hands-on experiences available at Boston University is being able to participate inside BUTV10, a tv production studio where students can create television programming as well as content.

Additionally, the school offers internship opportunities in Los Angeles, London, and even Sydney, Australia.

Faculty at the school are incredibly accomplished filmmakers; Professor Joel San Juan’s work has been showcased on network television and HBO, while professor Scott J. Thompson is an internationally recognized screenwriter.

9. Wesleyan University College of Film and Moving Image (Middletown, CT)

Wesleyan University
Smartalic34, College row at wesleyan, CC BY-SA 3.0

A gem of a facility stands in the midst of the Wesleyan University campus; The Center for Film Studies, completed 11 years ago, houses two professional-quality cinemas, a gallery, cinema archives, and more. This facility is used as the focal point for the film studies major at Wesleyan.

One of two liberal arts colleges to make this list, Wesleyan’s approach to film includes study, according to the website, in “genre, authorship, industry, and technology.”

Widely regarded among the best schools for film in the country, Wesleyan is a liberal arts campus noted for its diversity and creativity; many alumni from Wesleyan have pursued successful careers in the arts.

In film, many alumni are among the most famous filmmakers today. They include Michael Bay (Transformers) as well as Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman.

Film Studies is among the most desirable majors at Wesleyan; as such, admission to the program is not easy. Only students already at Wesleyan achieving good grades and having taken the proper prerequisite classes can gain admission.

HONORABLE MENTION: University of Arizona Hanson Film Institute (Tucson, AZ)

University of Arizona
Jesuiseduardo, U Arizona Alumni Plaza, CC BY-SA 4.0

One of the top film schools in the country, the University of Arizona’s Hanson Film Institute is an impressive facility for aspiring filmmakers.

Complete with film creations labs, studios for recording video and sound, and even a set design construction area, the resources are seemingly limitless for students interested in this path.

A hallmark of this school is its integration with the professional world of film.

The University of Arizona regularly brings in professionals who are producers of majors films.

In recent years, producers and actors from major films such as Pan’s Labyrinth, The Usual Suspects, and even James Cameron’s Avatar have made appearances at the school, teaching the next generation of film students the art of filmmaking.

The Hanson Film Institute is not just active inside the classroom; in addition to standard curricular activities, the school hosts screenwriting seminars, “creative development” workshops, and even has its own film financing panel, a group students can receive funding from to create their own original films.

The Hanson Film Institute is directed by Vicky Westover, an active member in the professional field of cinema who has served on committees for the American Film Institute as well as NALIP in Los Angeles. She founded the program in 2004.

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