This list focuses on affordable bachelor’s degree programs in film studies and closely-related topics. Degree affordability is based on the yearly average net price of each college’s undergrad programs, as recorded in the NCES.ed.gov Web database.
Careers in Film and Related Fields
A 2005 New York Times article asked is a cinema studies degree the new MBA? While that might be extreme, the fact is that a knowledge of film studies can be applicable for storytelling and/or marketing purposes in a number of other disciplines.
For example, politicians, Web-interactive storytellers, visual journalists, social justice practitioners, and many others can make short films and promote them on video sharing sites such as Google’s YouTube. Produce enough content on your Web video channel and get enough viewers, and Google might even offer you a revenue-sharing opportunity based on viewership and other factors. There *are* people on YouTube making millions yearly, so the potential is there. A bit of production value will go a long way in that regard, which might be learned through a degree or even a certificate in film/ TV/ video production.
However, if you’re set on a career in the film industry instead of a cross-disciplinary path, know that while new yearly jobs for film producers and directors are limited, there are five sectors (according to the University of Kent):
Within these sectors, there are many occupations where you might find a career. A partial list of film-studies-related careers is in the scrolling window below. The career list includes sectors/ industries/ organizations that have shown the need for graduates of a bachelor’s or advanced degree in film studies or closely related topics. We’ve compiled this info from the colleges ranked in this affordable degrees article, as well as made some of our own suggestions. Some of the occupations below may require studies beyond a bachelor’s degree, including special certificates, professional certification, or in some cases a graduate degree.
- advertising agencies
- archival science
- audio engineer
- camera operator
- casting supervisor
- commercial television stations
- creative executive
- digital animator
- educational services companies
- effects editor
- federal government agencies
- film critic
- film editor
- film production
- film/video editor
- independent film producer
- independent filmmaker
- journalism/ film criticism
- library science
- lighting designer
- media archivist
- media educator
- media marketing
- media publicist
- multimedia artist
- post-production technician
- private film production companies
- production assistant
- production coordinator
- production designer
- production equipment specialist
- production manager
- production sound mixer
- production supervisor
- public television stations
- script supervisor
- sound designer
- sound editor
- sound engineer
- sound mixer
- sound recordist
- studio engineer
- technical director
- television production
- U.S. military
- TV graphics designer
- TV studio floor manager
- video editor
- video game production companies
- visual effects designer
- entertainment writer
- entertainment host
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) has occupational profiles for some related occupations, with expected jobs growth rate for the period 2014-2024. Check the profiles for more info, and check the “Similar Occupations” tab for each.
This college rankings list may be of value to you if you are interested in a career in film/TV/video or a closely-related occupation. You can find a selection, below, of the 15 most affordable bachelor’s degrees in Film Studies related programs in the United States. A summary of available data follows the Notes section, preceding the actual list of ranked schools.
Some points to consider while using this college rankings article:
- As accreditation can change or only be valid regionally, please verify accreditation of any college to which you are planning to apply.
- See the “Methodology” section of the ranking list article 15 of the Most Affordable Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing for an explanation of the process we use to rank colleges in each list.
- NCES data is subject to change and some of these “affordable degrees” guides may use more recent data than described in the Methodology.
- For the full list of programs covered to date, please check our School Rankings page.
Statistics Summary for Film Studies Bachelor’s Degree Programs
This is a summary of data available for the colleges/ universities mentioned in this college rankings list for bachelor’s of game design or related degree programs.
|Yearly net price range:||$6,728 – 10,428.|
|In-state tuition range:||$3,486 – 7,602.|
|Out-of-state tuition range:||$10,633 – 19,272.|
|Lowest in-state:||#10 MDC.|
|Lowest out-of-state:||#15 ENMU.|
|Graduation rate range:||27-65%.|
|Transfer-out rate range:||2-32% (four colleges did not report).|
|Highest graduation rate:||#5 CSULB.|
|Lowest transfer-out rate:||#5 CSULB.|
|Student population range:||5834 – 66046.|
|Undergrad population range:||-.|
|Largest # students:||#10 MDC.|
|Largest # undergrads:||#10 MDC.|
|Oldest school:||#2 CCNY (est. 1847).|
|Youngest school:||#12 CSI (est. 1976).|
|# states covered:||8.|
|States covered:||AK, CA (3), FL, LA, MO, NM (2), NY (5), RI.|
Alphabetic list of schools covered in this ranking
The following college names (leftmost column) are based on NCES data.
|NCES Name (abbrev, estdate, rank)||location||$in-state||$out-of-state||$net price|
|California State University-Long Beach (CSULB, 1949, 5)||Long Beach, California||$6,452||$17,612||$7,672|
|California State University-Sacramento (CSUS, 1947, 4)||Sacramento, California||$6,648||$17,808||$7,446|
|College of Staten Island CUNY (CSI, 1976, 12)||Staten Island, New York||$6,458||$13,268||$9,575|
|CUNY Brooklyn College (BC, 1930, 3)||Brooklyn, New York||$6,536||$13,346||$7,220|
|CUNY City College (CCNY, 1847, 2)||New York, New York||$6,389||$13,199||$7,125|
|CUNY Hunter College (HC, 1870, 6)||New York, New York||$6,429||$13,239||$8,129|
|CUNY Queens College (QC, 1937, 1)||Queens, New York||$6,507||$13,317||$6,728|
|Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU, 1927, 15)||Portales, New Mexico||$4,858||$10,633||$10,428|
|Miami Dade College (MDC, 1959, 10)||Miami, Florida||$3,486||$12,015||$8,606|
|Missouri Western State University (MWSU, 1915, 13)||Saint Joseph, Missouri||$6,790||$12,420||$10,021|
|New Mexico State University (NMSU, 1888, 14)||Las Cruces, New Mexico||$5,950||$19,112||$10,299|
|Rhode Island College (RIC, 1854, 7)||Providence, Rhode Island||$7,602||$18,300||$8,372|
|San Francisco State University (SFSU, 1899, 11)||San Francisco, California||$6,468||$17,628||$9,356|
|University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF, 1917, 8)||Fairbanks, Alaska||$5,246||$16,238||$8,383|
|University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL, 1898, 9)||Lafayette, Louisiana||$6,872||$19,272||$8,463|
Interactive Chart: Tuition vs Net Price
The following chart compares net price against both in-state and out-of-state tuition for each of the 15 ranked colleges in this list. Here is a summary on how to use the chart:
- A modern browser is required for most of the charting features.
- The vertical Y axis represents cost in dollars, for net price and both in-state and out-of-state tuition per college.
- The schools are ordered left-to-right across the horizontal X axis by rank from #1 to #15.
- Blue bars: in-state tuition; orange bars: out-of-state tuition; connected green dots: net price
- When blue and orange bars for one school are the same height, the school is typically private (either nonprofit or for-profit). When they differ in height, the school is usually public.
- Hover your mouse over a tuition bar or net price point, and a tooltip will pop up that shows the institution name and the three cost values – net price and both tuition amounts. Use your mouse’s scroll wheel to zoom in on a section in the main chart. The sub-chart below the main chart will indicate what section you are viewing. Hover your mouse over either of the three labels, “in,” “out” or “net” underneath the sub-chart to visually highlight just the selected chart.
Circular “Circos” Non-Interactive Chart: Multiple Data Points
Don’t be intimidated by this chart. It is actually fairly easy to understand (see the “Tips for Use” box below for details) and allows you to compare all 15 schools on several data points simultaneously.
Per-College Stats Dashboard
Each ranked college in this list of affordable bachelor’s degrees in film studies has a dashboard summarizing NCES and other data. The dashboard consists of a left and right section. The left side displays a set of easily-scannable bullet points for that college, including graduation rate, tuition, student population and more. The right side shows a set of interactive charts for tuition vs net price, student population and graduation rate.
Map for Schools Ranked
Note: the following Google Map is auto-generated from addresses listed in the NCES database for the schools referenced below and may not be 100% accurate. As well, the map may not render correctly in some Web browsers due to security issues. (Simply click on the map’s “view larger” icon at top right to be taken to the Google Maps page — which should work properly in all modern browsers.) We apologize for any inconvenience.
Rankings: Affordable Film Studies Bachelor’s Degrees
Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU) is a public, comprehensive university that was established in 1927 and opened in 1934 as Eastern New Mexico Junior College. It is a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and its main campus is located in Portales, New Mexico, about 230 miles southeast of Albuquerque, NM, and about 425 miles northwest of Dallas, Texas.
ENMU offers one Film Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Science (BS) in Digital Filmmaking (DFM) focuses primarily on the study of film production (supplemented with art, music, and theater courses) and provides the opportunity for a variety of first-hand experiences on film, media arts, and performing arts projects. The degree requires a minimum of 120 credit-hours, with 58 for required courses (incl. Acting for the Camera; Advanced Lighting for Digital Filmmaking; Art Design; DFM Forums; Directing for the Camera; Dramatic Analysis; Film History; Location Shooting for the Edit; Sound and Music Technology; and a Senior Portfolio workshop). Meanwhile, students in other majors who want to study film have ENMU’s 18-credit-hour Minor in Digital Filmmaking.
New Mexico State University (NMSU, NM State) is a public research university established in 1888 as Las Cruces College. Its main campus is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about 230 miles south and slightly west of Albuquerque, NM, and some 45 miles northwest of El Paso, Texas.
NMSU offers one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. Admission to the Bachelor of Creative Media (BCM) in Digital Film Making requires a formal application, creative work samples, an overall 2.5 GPA, and the completion of four prerequisite courses. The BCM requires at least 128 credits for graduation, with 63 for the core program, including 42 for creative media foundation courses (feat. such options as the Business of Filmmaking/ Animation; History of Cinema; Principles of Story Across the Media; Storyboarding; and a two-semester Final Year Senior Project: Production and Post Production). The major accounts for the other 21 core program credits (comprising such electives as Cinema Review and Criticism; Directing I and II; Film Crew Training I and II; Short Film Production; Writing for Animation; and an Internship). Finally, students in other majors who want to study film can take NMSU’s 18-credit Minor in Digital Film Making.
Missouri Western State University (MWSU) is a public university established in 1915 as St. Joseph Junior College. Its main campus is located in Saint Joseph, Missouri, about 50 miles north and slightly west of Kansas City, MO, and around 140 miles southeast of Omaha, Nebraska.
MWSU offers one Film Studies related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Theatre and Cinema requires at least 124 credit-hours and has a choice of three concentrations: Cinema, Musical Theatre, and Theatre. The major itself requires 57 hours, with 30 for the shared theater and cinema core (incl. courses in Acting; Costume and Makeup Technique; Production Participation; Script Analysis; Stagecraft; an Internship: Cinema, Theatre, or Summer Theatre; and the Senior Portfolio capstone). The remaining 27 hours are for the chosen concentration. The Cinema Concentration includes such courses as Audio Production; Cinematography and Lighting; Film Theory and Criticism; Editing I and II; and Producing. Finally, students in other majors who want to study film can take MWSU’s 21-credit-hour Minor in Cinema.
The College of Staten Island (CSI) is a public, senior college established in 1976 through the merger of Staten Island Community College (est. 1955) and Richmond College (est. 1965). CSI is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system and is located in Staten Island, New York, about 25 miles southwest of Manhattan, NY.
CSI offers one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Cinema Studies (CS) requires 120 credits, with 6 for pre-major courses and 39-49 for the chosen concentration. The Critical Studies Concentration requires 39-43 credits, with 0-4 for a foreign language requirement, 6 for intermediate production electives, 10 for CS electives, and 11 for core courses. The other 12 are for film history, theory, and aesthetics (FHTA) electives (incl. such options as African Americans in Media; Japanese Cinema; Postwar Italian Cinema; and Women and Film). The Production Concentration, meanwhile, requires 45-49 credits, with 0-4 for a foreign language requirement, 6 for intermediate production electives, 12 for FHTA electives, and 15 for core courses (incl. a Senior Project thesis). The other 12 are for advanced production electives (incl. such options as Advanced TV Studio Production; Introduction to 16 mm Filmmaking; Screen Writing; and a Media Internship). Finally, CSI also has an 18-credit CS Minor for students in other majors.
San Francisco State University (SFSU) is a public, comprehensive university that was established in 1899 as San Francisco State Normal School. It is part of the California State University System and is located in San Francisco, California.
SFSU has one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Cinema — and one minor. The BA requires 120 units, with 12 for complementary studies (courses outside the major), which can be used in several ways, including for a second major, a minor, a certificate, a single foreign language, study-abroad courses, or courses in related disciplines. The major requires 45 units, with 13 for core courses (Introduction to Cinema Studies; Introduction to Filmmaking with a Lab; and Film History I and II), 4 for foundation courses (Critical Studies with a Discussion Group), and 3 for a graduation writing assessment requirement (GWAR). Cinema/ cinema-related electives (incl. internship opportunities) account for another 10 units of the major. The remaining 15 are for one of five areas of emphasis: Animation (which requires a portfolio review to select); Documentary Filmmaking; Fiction Filmmaking; Media and Culture; and Screenwriting (Experimental Filmmaking and an Individualized choice may be available, as well). Finally, students in other majors can take SFSU’s 20-unit Minor in Cinema.
Miami Dade College (MDC) is a public college established in 1959 as Dade County Junior College. MDC, the largest post-secondary school in the U.S., is part of the Florida College System and its main campus is located in Miami, Florida.
MDC offers one Film Studies-related Bachelor’s program — its Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Film, Television, and Digital Production. This BAS is a completion degree for students with a suitable Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree (incl. MDC’s own AS in Film Production Technology or AS in Radio and Television Broadcasting). Students without a relevant AA or AS degree must have completed at least 60 credits/ semester-hours (incl. 43 covering the BAS’s lower-division curriculum requirements). Overall, the BAS requires a minimum of 120 credits, with 41 for the major. Thirty-five (35) of those are for upper-division core courses (incl. Advanced Cinematography; Advanced Sound Design; Advanced Writing for Film and Television; Broadcast Design and On-Air Promotions; Business Proposals for Film and TV; Digital FX and Compositing; and Production Workshop 1 and 2). The remaining 6 credits of the major are for electives (incl. such options as Radio and Television Announcing; a Film Internship; and a TV Internship).
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) is a public research university established in 1898 as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute. UL Lafayette is part of the University of Louisiana System. Its main campus and several key facilities are located in Lafayette, Louisiana, about 140 miles roughly northwest of New Orleans, LA.
UL Lafayette offers one Film Studies related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (MIA) is a broad-based study of cinematic arts covering the film, television, advertising, animation, and video game sectors. This BA requires at least 120 credit-hours, with 18 for a required minor. The major requires 42 hours, with 18 for the core curriculum: 6 each for courses in theory and scholarship (e.g., History of American Cinema); the practicum core (e.g., Single Camera Production and Editing); and the commercial core (e.g., Film Development and Distribution). Another 18 hours are for MIA electives, drawn from seven areas of study: Business; CGI and Animation; Image/ Visual Production; Performance; Scripting; Sound and Music; and Theory and Scholarship. The remaining 6 credits of the major are for the program’s capstone requirements. Finally, students in other majors can take UL Lafayette’s 18-21 credit-hour Cinema Studies Minor, which draws from six of the MIA’s seven areas of study.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is a public research university established in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines. It is part of the University of Alaska System and its main campus is in Fairbanks, Alaska, some 360 miles northeast of Anchorage, AK.
UAF has one Film Studies related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film requires at least 120 credits and provides students with an “understanding of the history, theory and technologies of cinema and new media arts.” The major accounts for a minimum of 36 credits, with 15 for core courses (incl. such options as Digital Video Editing; Directing Film/ Video; Introduction to the Study of Film; Let’s Make a Movie; and Reel Workshops/ Reviews). Six (6) credits are for additional film studies courses (incl. such options as Film Criticism; Studies in French and European Cinema; and Topics in American Film History). Nine (9) credits are for additional film production courses (incl. such options as Cross-Cultural Filmmaking; a Film Thesis; Fundamentals of Acting; SFX Up Your Video; and an Internship in Film Production). The remaining 6 credits of the major are for approved electives. Meanwhile, students looking to supplement their non-film majors can take UAF’s 18-credit Minor in Film Studies.
Rhode Island College (RIC) is a public college that was established in 1854 as the Rhode Island State Normal School. This college, the oldest public institution of higher education in the state, is located in Providence, Rhode Island, some 50 miles southwest of Boston, Massachusetts.
RIC has one Film Studies related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film Studies requires a minimum of 120 credit-hours (with internship opportunities) and combines a critical study (analysis, history, and perspectives) of the cinema with the art of filmmaking. The major requires 44 credit hours, with 28 for critical studies courses and electives (incl. such options as Film Genres; Film Theory; History of Film I and II; Major Directors; Methods of Film Analysis; and National Cinemas). The remaining 16 hours are for critical studies or production electives (incl. Digital Audio Production; Film Production: 3D Animation; Film Production: Documentary Form; Film Production: Experimental; Screenwriting I and II; and Topics in the Study of Film). For students in other majors, RIC has its 28-credit-hour Minor in Film Studies.
Hunter College is the largest senior college within the City University of New York (CUNY) public university system. It was founded in 1870 as the Female Normal and High School. Hunter College’s main campus is located in the Upper East Side section of the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, in the Lenox Hill neighborhood, less than a mile east of Central Park. The college also has nine other campuses and facilities situated throughout Manhattan.
Hunter offers one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. Its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film requires 120 credits for graduation. To declare this program, students must first complete two foundational courses — Introduction to Cinema (with a grade of B or better) and Media and Film in a Digital Age II/ Part 2 — and then meet with an undergraduate film advisor and have their transcripts reviewed. Once in the program, the major itself requires 30 credits, with 12 for analytical course requirements: 6 for film style and close analysis courses (such as Practical Film Analysis and Styles and Theories of Film Acting) and 6 for film history courses. Another 12 credits are for production course requirements (incl. such courses and options as Film Production I and II; Screen Directing I; and Screen Writing I – The Short). The remaining 6 credits are for analytical and/ or film production electives. Finally, students in other majors can study film through Hunter’s 15-credit Minor in Film.
California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) is a public university established in 1949 as Los Angeles-Orange County State College. It is now part of the California State University system and is located in Long Beach, California, about 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles, CA.
CSULB has one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film and Electronic Arts (FEA) — and one minor. Entry into the FEA’s upper-division (UD) requires nine pre-requisite courses, an overall 2.75 GPA, and a portfolio review (for the Narrative Production Option/ NPO). The BA requires 120 units, with 54 for either program option, incl. 15 from the prerequisites. For the NPO, the other 39 credits includes 12 for the UD core, 21 for junior-year courses (feat. Audio Production; Lighting; Media Editing; and Writing the Short Script), and 6 for a senior-year specialization track in Cinematography or Production and Directing. For the Theory and Practice of Cinema Option, the other 39 units include 6 for the UD core, 9 for UD Culture and Media electives, 9 for UD International Cinema electives, and 15 for one of nine tracks: Audio; Broadcast Production; Creative Nonfiction Production; Critical Practice; Digital Arts; Editing; Production Design; Production Management; or Screenwriting. Finally, students in other majors can take CSULB’s 21-unit FEA Minor.
California State University, Sacramento (Sac State) is a public, comprehensive university established in 1947 as Sacramento State College. It is part of the California State University system and is located in Sacramento, California, some 90 miles northeast of San Francisco, CA.
Sac State offers one Film Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. The Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film requires 120 units for graduation and provides a choice of two concentration options: Digital Film/ Video Production (DF/ VP) or Film Studies. Both concentrations share the same 21-unit core (incl. courses in Avant Garde Film; DF/ VP with Lab; Film Theory and Criticism; Hollywood and America; and Survey of World Cinema). The DF/ VP option then requires an additional 24 units of courses (incl. such options as Audio Production with Lab; Staging and Lighting Digital Video; Video Production Management; and Writing Short Scripts for Film/ Video; plus a Senior Practicum in Video Production capstone). The Film Studies option requires an additional 18 units over the shared core, comprising 15 units of options and electives, plus the Senior Seminar in Film capstone. Finally, students in other majors can take Sac State’s 18 unit Minor in Film Studies.
Third on our list of schools offering the most cost-effective Film Studies-related degrees is Brooklyn College, a public college established in 1930. Brooklyn College — which is located in Brooklyn, New York, about four miles southeast of the Barclays Center — is part of the CUNY (City University of New York) system.
Brooklyn offers one Film Studies related Bachelor’s program — the Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film — and one minor. The BA requires 120 credits for graduation, with each of the five concentrations (Documentary Production, Film Production, Film Studies, Industry Studies, and Screenwriting) requiring 33 to 39 credits. The Film Studies Concentration requires 33 credits (incl. such courses and options as Film Genres; Global Cinema; History of Film I and II; The Director’s Cinema; and Women in Film). The Film Production Concentration requires 39 credits of courses and electives (incl. a Cinematography Workshop; a Film Directing Workshop; Film Editing; and three Thesis Films: Production, Postproduction, and Screenplay). Each of the other three concentrations require 33 credits, and while students cannot officially take more than one concentration, they can take as many film courses, in as many areas of study, as desired. Finally, students in other majors can take Brooklyn’s 12-credit Minor in Film.
The second-most affordable Film Studies related degree on our list comes from the City College of New York (CCNY), the oldest of all City University of New York (CUNY) institutions. CCNY — a public, senior college — was established in 1847 as the Free Academy of the City of New York. It is located in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, New York, some two miles north of Central Park.
CCNY offers one Film Studies-related Bachelor’s program and one minor. Admission into the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Film and Video Production is through a formal application and portfolio review, and requires the completion of three pre-requisite courses (Introduction to Film Studies; Introduction to Media Production; and Introduction to Media Studies) before entry. In total, the BFA requires a minimum of 120 credits for graduation, with at least 54 for the major (including the pre-requisites), and a thesis project. Core program courses include Critical Approaches to Independent Cinema; Directing for Film and Video; Digital Post Production; Documentary Workshop I and II; History and Theory of Film I and II; Motion Picture Workshop I and II; a Screenwriting Workshop; and an Internship option. Finally, students in other majors who want to study films/ movies can take CCNY’s 15-credit Minor in Cinema Studies.
Topping our list of schools offering affordable Film Studies-related degrees is Queens College, a public, senior college that was established in 1937 and is now part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. It is located in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City, NY (but generally goes by its postal designation of Flushing, Queens).
Queens has one Film-Studies-related Bachelor’s program — its Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Film Studies — and one minor. (Students with a particular interest in film production/ editing/ directing should consider a dual major in Film Studies and Media Studies; or a major in one and a minor in the other.) The Film Studies BA requires at least 120 credits, with 36 for the major, including 15 for required courses (such as History of Cinema 1 and 2; Principles of Sound and Image; and Theory of Film). The remaining 21 credits are for electives that suit one’s career goals and interests (incl. such options as 16mm Film Production; Advanced Video Production: Documentary and Fiction; American Politics and Film; French Cinema; Great Directors; Italian Cinema; Literature and the Movies; Producing Independent Movies; Screenwriting; and Sociology of Cinema). Meanwhile, students in other majors can take Queens’ 21-credit Minor in Film Studies.