Top Film Schools Around the World | Top Universities

Top Film Schools Around the World

By Laura T

Updated April 20, 2021 Updated April 20, 2021

Although not currently covered in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018, whifamuch is being released soon, film studies is a hugely popular area at universities and colleges around the world.

Course options range from undergraduate film studies programs at large universities, to more specialized postgraduate programs at specialized arts institutes or academies. Film studies qualifications include the BA (Bachelor of Arts), BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts), MFA (Master of Fine Arts) and, in some cases, an MPhil/PhD. It’s also possible to complete a one- or two-year diploma instead of a full degree.

Here are some of the top film schools around the world, divided by region, along with current tuition fee information (correct at time of publishing).

Top film schools in the US & Canada

Top film schools in the US

American Film Institute (AFI)

American Film Institute

Image Credit: Rudi Riet (Flickr)

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)

CalArts

CalArts

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

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 feesUS$40,270 (A.S film, domestic students program total); US$53,220 (international students)

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television, NYU

Kanbar Institute of Film & Television

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.

USC School of Cinematic Arts

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:

Top film schools in Canada

Toronto Film School

Dundas Square Toronto

The Toronto Film School is well established as one of the best film schools in Canada. With a wide curriculum covering everything from film and TV production to interior decorating, the Toronto Film School is a career-focused school with a strong commitment to providing practical industry knowledge. Programs at the Toronto Film School take between one and two years to complete and all students graduate with a diploma.

2019 tuition fees:

  • For 18 month programs: CA$35,158 (~US$26,450). International students pay an additional fee of CA$18,458 (~US$13,900).
  • For 12 month programs: $22,980 (~US$17,300). International students pay an additional CA$12,064 (~US$9,080). 

Vancouver Film School

Vancouver Film School

Offering 13 programs covering all elements of the entertainment arts industry, Vancouver Film School is another of the leading film schools in Canada. From 3D animation to sound design, Vancouver Film School offers its students a condensed one-year program focused on gaining practical skills alongside industry knowledge. Students of Vancouver Film School graduate with a diploma.

2017/18 tuition fees, Film Production:  CA$35,250 (domestic students); CA$53,250 for international students (approximately US$43,430)

Other top film schools in Canada:

Top film schools in Europe

Top film schools in the UK

London Film School

London

Open only to postgraduate students looking to gain a master’s degree or a PhD, the London Film School is one of the most highly reputed film schools in Europe, located in the heart of central London. Established for more than 60 years, the London Film School focuses on building craft and production skills in a practical environment, and has been named as one of just three Film Academies in the country by Creative Skillset, a UK governmental agency. Although the London Film School has only 220 students, the student base is a truly international one, with current students hailing from over 30 countries worldwide.

2018/19 tuition fees for MA Filmmaking: US$78,0620 (in total, for all students on the two-year program) plus £200/$280 for international students’ Visa Administration Fee.

National Film and Television School (NFTS)

National Film and Television School

Often lauded as the UK’s top film school, the National Film and Television School (NFTS)  is hidden away on the outskirts of northwest London, near Slough. The only film school in the UK with its own film and television studios, the National Film and Television School offers a wide range of specialized postgraduate degrees, including 17 master’s programs, 14 diplomas, five certificate awards and a number of short courses. 

Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park and Harry Potter director David Yates are among notable alumni of the National Film and Television School.

2018 tuition fees: £10,000-13,800 (€11,400-15,750) per year (MA programs, domestic students); £16,000-29,000 (~US$22,750-41,230) per year (MA programs, international students)

Top film schools in continental Europe

Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School (FAMU)

Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School (FAMU)

Established in Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, in 1946, the Academy of Performing Arts’ Film and TV School (FAMU) is one of the oldest and most prestigious film academies in the world. Responsible for nurturing filmmakers such as Milos Forman (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) and offering programs in both Czech and English, FAMU attracts an exceptional international cohort every year.

Tuition fees: Free for Czech students and students studying in Czech; US$21,120 for an English-taught Directing degree (international students)

La Fémis

La Fémis

Located in Paris on the site of the old Pathé studios where the infamous Lumiere brothers are said to have invented filmmaking in 1894, La Fémis is now considered to be one of the best film schools in Paris. La Fémis offers programs taught only in French, but also provides exchange programs with US institutions such as CalArts and Columbia University. The school has around 200 students, of whom 8 percent are international.

Tuition fees: €433 (domestic students); US$13,280 (international students)

Lodz Film School

Lodz Film School

Another of the best film academies in Europe, Lodz Film School, otherwise known as the Polish National Film, Television and Theater School, is the institution that produced a large number of Poland’s top filmmakers, helping to shape the Polish cinema industry. With new departments and modern equipment being added continually, Lodz Film School is one of Europe’s leading film institutes. By way of programs, Lodz Film School offers a full spectrum of full-time, part-time, postgraduate and PhD courses, ranging from two to five years of study.

Tuition fees: US$9,940-14,920 per year (all students)

Other top film schools in Europe:

Top film schools in Asia

Beijing Film Academy

Beijing Film Academy

With Avatar’s James Cameron as a visiting fellow and one of the world’s fastest-growing film industries as a setting, the Beijing Film Academy is well-placed as the only film academy in China and the largest in the whole of Asia. The Beijing Film Academy offers a BFA taught in English, as well as a large range of undergraduate and postgraduate Chinese-language programs. The school also offers an exchange program, a Chinese-language learning program and a short-term training program.

Tuiton fees: US$12,720 per year (English MFA, international students)

Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA)

South Korea’s flagship film school, established in 1984, the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA) is at the heart of the nation’s film industry. While many alumni of the Korean Academy of Film Arts currently dominate their home market, some, such as Bong-Joon Ho (Snowpiercer), are busy creating a buzz in the US.

Other top film schools in Asia:

Other top film schools around the rest of the world:

This article was originally published in January 2015. It was updated in February 2018.

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This article was originally published in February 2018 . It was last updated in April 2021

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Written by

Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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