List of All U.S. Colleges with a Film Major

Film majors study the history and practice of filmmaking. College programs focus on giving students a holistic education, incorporating theory, still photography, editing, and practical production skills. 

 

In this post, we’ll discuss what to look for when you’re choosing a film program, which U.S. colleges have a film major, and your chances of getting accepted to the program of your choice.

 

Overview of Film Major

 

Film majors usually begin their studies with introductory courses that lay out the core concepts and practices in production, writing, and theory—all of which approach the medium of film from a different vantage point. Once students have been exposed to foundational ideas and processes, they can take courses in more specific topics: 

 

Production

  • Sound design
  • Lighting design
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Cinematography

 

Theory

  • Genres
  • History
  • Critical approaches (i.e., feminism, realism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, cultural studies)

 

Some schools require students to choose a focus within the field in order to hone their skills, while others allow students to mix and match based on their own personal agendas.

 

What Does It Take to Succeed as a Film Major?

 

In general, film majors should understand the manifold nature of filmmaking and film studies. Because a film is made up of so many moving parts (literally), creating one is a vast undertaking, requiring a team effort, several pieces of equipment, settings or props, and editing to put it all together seamlessly.

Since film is a combination of several media forms, it’s important for film majors to thrive in an interdisciplinary environment, at least understanding (and preferably having practical experience in) all aspects of production.

 

The multimedia nature of film also means that there are a lot of technical skills involved in creating a film. Film majors should be comfortable with and highly motivated to learn technical skills. Those who lack technical aptitude might be able to focus on the screenwriting and theoretical aspects of film studies, but most film programs require all majors to take production courses.

 

One of the most important skills a film major can have is being able to work collaboratively. Films are a group effort; during production, each person’s individual role is fragmentary—satisfaction comes from the final product that emerges from a cooperative effort.


Finally, majoring in film requires a strong work ethic. Creating a film is a big time commitment that doesn’t always go according to schedule. When things go wrong, patience and problem-solving make troubleshooting and adapting much easier.

 

What About Grad School?

 

Because there is no single career path for a film major, the decision to go to grad school is largely personal. 

 

Film majors who focus on theory might be more inclined to go to grad school, or even make a career in academia. Otherwise, they may choose careers more geared towards humanities majors.

 

But the bulk of film majors aspire to careers in the film and television industry. In this case, it’s all about getting as much experience as possible. A degree is only worth what it provides in terms of training and practical experience. Going to grad school is useful for anyone looking for more specialized training or opportunities to build a portfolio.

 

What Can I Do With a Film Major?

 

Most film majors go on to careers in the film and television industry. Common roles include Director, Producer, Set Designer, Editor, Director of Photography, AV Technician, and Production Manager. These jobs have average or better projected growth.

 

What to Look for in a College as a Film Major

 

  • Course offerings that allow for both a broad foundation and specialized training
  • Hands-on approach to production courses
  • Networking, internship, and experiential learning opportunities
  • Resources, labs, studios, equipment, and funding/support for projects
  • Access to archives
  • Versatile location for shooting
  • Filmmaking community (both academic and extracurricular)
  • Professors who are industry experts

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

List of All U.S. Colleges With a Film Major

 

School City State
University of California, Riverside | UC Riverside Riverside California
University of California, Irvine | UC Irvine Irvine California
Claremont McKenna College | CMC Claremont California
Lawrence University Appleton Wisconsin
Clemson University Clemson South Carolina
Connecticut College New London Connecticut
Rhodes College Memphis Tennessee
Vassar College Poughkeepsie New York
University of Alaska Fairbanks | UAF Fairbanks Alaska
University of Idaho Moscow Idaho
University of Hartford West Hartford Connecticut
Pennsylvania State University | PSU University Park Pennsylvania
University of California, Santa Barbara | UCSB Santa Barbara California
University of Richmond University of Richmond Virginia
Champlain College Burlington Vermont
University of Vermont | UVM Burlington Vermont
Middlebury College Middlebury Vermont
Bennington College Bennington Vermont
Brigham Young University | BYU Provo Utah
University of the Arts | UArts Philadelphia Pennsylvania
University of Kansas Lawrence Kansas
Brandeis University Waltham Massachusetts
Wellesley College Wellesley Massachusetts
University of Chicago Chicago Illinois
DePauw University Greencastle Indiana
Purdue University West Lafayette Indiana
Denison University Granville Ohio
Kenyon College Gambier Ohio
Ohio Wesleyan University Delaware Ohio
University of Michigan Ann Arbor Michigan
Eastern Michigan University | EMU Ypsilanti Michigan
Rutgers University–New Brunswick | Rutgers New Brunswick New Jersey
Union University Jackson Tennessee
Eckerd College Saint Petersburg Florida
Colorado College Colorado Springs Colorado
Fordham University Bronx New York
Franklin and Marshall College | F&M Lancaster Pennsylvania
Gettysburg College Gettysburg Pennsylvania
Chapman University Orange California
University of Georgia Athens Georgia
University of Nevada, Las Vegas | UNLV Las Vegas Nevada
Stanford University Stanford California
Tufts University Medford Massachusetts
Boston College | BC Chestnut Hill Massachusetts
Harvard University Cambridge Massachusetts
Northeastern University Boston Massachusetts
Boston University | BU Boston Massachusetts
Calvin College Grand Rapids Michigan
Grand Valley State University | GVSU Allendale Michigan
Lipscomb University Nashville Tennessee
Vanderbilt University Nashville Tennessee
Ohio State University | OSU Columbus Ohio
Lafayette College Easton Pennsylvania
Swarthmore College Swarthmore Pennsylvania
Cornell University Ithaca New York
Dartmouth College Hanover New Hampshire
University of Rochester Rochester New York
University of Missouri | Mizzou Columbia Missouri
Stephens College Columbia Missouri
California State University, Long Beach | Long Beach State Long Beach California
University of Oregon Eugene Oregon
Hollins University Roanoke Virginia
University of California, Davis | UC Davis Davis California
University of Arizona Tucson Arizona
Michigan State University East Lansing Michigan
Miami University Oxford Ohio
University of California, Berkeley | UC Berkeley Berkeley California
Whitman College Walla Walla Washington
Eastern Washington University | EWU Cheney Washington
Clark University Worcester Massachusetts
College of the Holy Cross | Holy Cross Worcester Massachusetts
Wheaton College (Massachusetts) Norton Massachusetts
Carleton College Northfield Minnesota
University of New Mexico | UNM Albuquerque New Mexico
Tulane University New Orleans Louisiana
Dillard University New Orleans Louisiana
Portland State University | PSU Portland Oregon
George Fox University | GFU Newberg Oregon
Muhlenberg College Allentown Pennsylvania
Morehouse College Atlanta Georgia
Baldwin Wallace University | BW Berea Ohio
Oberlin College Oberlin Ohio
Bowling Green State University | BGSU Bowling Green Ohio
San Francisco State University | SF State San Francisco California
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee | UWM Milwaukee Wisconsin
Smith College Northampton Massachusetts
Amherst College Amherst Massachusetts
Mount Holyoke College South Hadley Massachusetts
University of Pittsburgh | Pitt Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Carnegie Mellon University | CMU Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
Maryland Institute College of Art | MICA Baltimore Maryland
University of Oklahoma Norman Oklahoma
Oklahoma City University | OCU Oklahoma City Oklahoma
Emory University Atlanta Georgia
Georgia State University Atlanta Georgia
University of Nebraska–Lincoln | UNL Lincoln Nebraska
Rhode Island College | RIC Providence Rhode Island
University of Louisiana at Lafayette | UL Lafayette Lafayette Louisiana
Occidental College Los Angeles California
Coe College Cedar Rapids Iowa
University of Iowa Iowa City Iowa
Hamilton College Clinton New York
Webster University Saint Louis Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis | WashU Saint Louis Missouri
Wayne State University | WSU Detroit Michigan
Columbia College Chicago Chicago Illinois
University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA Los Angeles California
Pepperdine University Malibu California
Loyola Marymount University | LMU Los Angeles California
University of Denver Denver Colorado
University of Colorado Boulder | CU Boulder Boulder Colorado
University of Maryland, College Park | Maryland College Park Maryland
Oakland University Rochester Hills Michigan
University of Tulsa Tulsa Oklahoma
University of South Carolina | USC Columbia South Carolina
University of Utah Salt Lake City Utah
University of Toledo Toledo Ohio
Wright State University Dayton Ohio
Westminster College (Utah) Salt Lake City Utah
Willamette University Salem Oregon
Wesleyan University Middletown Connecticut
University of Pennsylvania | UPenn Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Southern Methodist University | SMU Dallas Texas
University of Southern California | USC Los Angeles California
Barnard College New York New York
Hunter College | CUNY Hunter New York New York
Pace University New York New York
New School New York New York
University of the Pacific Stockton California
University of Washington Seattle Washington
Seattle University Seattle Washington
Yale University New Haven Connecticut
American University Washington Washington DC
Howard University Washington Washington DC

 

What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?

 

Undergraduate film programs don’t typically require students to have any special film-related qualifications prior to application. Instead, grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and essays will determine the likelihood of acceptance.

 

  • Most selective schools first screen applicants by their grades and test scores using a tool called the Academic Index. It is therefore important that your numbers fit or surpass those of previously admitted students.
  • If your quantitative data looks good, the next step is to make sure your extracurricular activities and essay topics demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the school and film major. While it’s not necessary by any means, having a portfolio of film-related work can help your overall application and might give you an edge over other applicants who intend to study film.

 

If you want to know your personal chances of acceptance, we recommend using our Chancing Engine (it’s free). Unlike other calculators, it takes into account a large portion of your individual profile, including academic stats and more qualitative factors like extracurriculars.

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Alura Chung-Mehdi
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Alura Chung-Mehdi graduated from Amherst College with a degree in English. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking, rock climbing, and daydreaming.