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2021 Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts

Approximately 14,854 film, video and photographic arts degrees were granted to students last year in the United States. With so many options it can be a challenge finding the best choice. This year's Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts ranking analyzed 120 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor's degree in film, video and photographic arts. We look at over 20 factors to determine the top 15% of colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts students.

Choosing a Great Film, Video & Photographic Arts School

Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts Your choice of film, video and photographic arts school matters. This section explores some of the factors we include in our ranking and how much they vary depending on the school you select. Below we explain some of the most important factors to consider before making your choice:

Quality Overall is Important

The overall quality of a school is important to ensure a quality education, not just how well they do in a particular major. To account for this we include a college's overall Best Colleges ranking which itself looks at a combination of various factors like degree completion, educational resources, student body caliber and post-graduation earnings for the school as a whole.

The lowest ranked school in our list is in the top 32% of our overall quality ranking while the vast majority are in at least the top 19%.

Overall Best Colleges Rank  ( 298 to 25 )
Lowest Ranked Overall
Top Ranked Overall

Graduates Earn More After College

A film, video and photographic arts degree from colleges on this list usually results in above average earnings after graduation. While the average film, video and photographic arts bachelors degree from U.S. colleges results in an average starting salary of $22,656, graduates of colleges on this list average $26,828.

Starting Salary  ( 23126 to 31273 )
$0
$34,600

Other Factors We Consider

In addition to the above, you should consider some of the following factors:

  • Major Focus - How much a school focuses on Film, Video & Photographic Arts students vs. other majors.
  • Major Popularity - How many other film, video and photographic arts students choose this school.
  • Accreditation - Whether a school is regionally accredited and/or a recognized film, video and photographic arts related accrediting body.

Our full ranking methodology documents in more detail how we consider these factors to identify the best schools for Film, Video & Photographic Arts students.

Best Schools to Study Film, Video & Photographic Arts in the United States

The following list ranks the best colleges and universities for a Film, Video & Photographic Arts degree. Only those schools that rank in the top 15% of all the schools we analyze get awarded with a place on this list.

Top 18 Best Film Colleges

University of Southern California is a good decision for students pursuing a Film, Video & Photographic Arts degree. USC is a very large private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 40 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means USC is a great college overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, USC also offers 2 different higher degree levels in film, video and photographic arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. Graduates of the film program earn about $27,400 in the first couple years of working.

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#2

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Chapman University is among your best bets if you're planning on studying film, video and photographic arts. Located in the medium-sized city Orange, Chapman is a private not-for-profit school with a moderately-sized student population. This school ranks 197th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of California.

In addition to its bachelor's programs, Chapman offers a Master's Degree in film, video and photographic arts. Film, Video & Photographic Arts majors from Chapman University get a earnings boost of around $6,020 over the typical income of film, video and photographic arts majors.

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#3

New York University

New York, NY

Every student pursuing a degree in film, video and photographic arts needs to check out New York University. NYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York. A Best Colleges rank of 130 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means NYU is a great school overall.

There are about 539 film, video and photographic arts undergrads enrolled in this program at NYU. Grads of the film program state that they receive average early career earnings of $27,000.

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#4

American University

Washington, DC

Any student pursuing a degree in film, video and photographic arts has to take a look at American University. The American University is a large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington. This college ranks 164th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of District of Columbia.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, The American University also offers a Master's Degree in film, video and photographic arts. American University film, video and photographic arts students make $8,620 more than the typical film graduate.

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#5

Emerson College

Boston, MA

Located in the city Boston, Emerson is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 240th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Massachusetts.

There are approximately 460 film, video and photographic arts undergrads enrolled in this degree at Emerson. After getting their bachelor's degree, film students usually make around $26,300 in the first five years of their career.

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UCSB is a very large public school located in the midsize suburb of Santa Barbara. A Best Colleges rank of 133 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCSB is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCSB also offers 2 different higher degree levels in film, video and photographic arts, the most popular of which is a Doctor's Degree (Research / Scholarship). Students who graduate from this program state that they receive average early career income of $27,800.

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RIT is a large private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Rochester. This college ranks 178th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

With 142 undergraduates, Rochester Institute of Technology is one of most popular schools to study film in United States. Students from the film, video and photographic arts degree program at Rochester Institute of Technology make $2,920 above the average college grad with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#8

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

Vassar is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large suburb of Poughkeepsie. A Best Colleges rank of 39 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Vassar is a great school overall.

A favorite major for film, video and photographic arts undergraduates, there are approximately 25 individuals studying this program at Vassar. Film, Video & Photographic Arts graduates from Vassar College earn a boost of about $4,720 above the typical income of film, video and photographic arts majors.

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#9

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Loyola Marymount is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 140 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Loyola Marymount is a great college overall.

A preferred major for film, video and photographic arts undergrads, there are approximately 105 students studying this program at Loyola Marymount. Students who graduate from this program report average early career income of $27,000.

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UNCSA is a small public school located in the city of Winston-Salem. This school ranks 168th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of North Carolina.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, UNCSA also offers a Master's Degree in film, video and photographic arts. Graduates of the film program state that they receive average early career wages of $17,500.

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UCLA is a very large public school located in the large city of Los Angeles. A Best Colleges rank of 65 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means UCLA is a great school overall.

For those interested in something more advanced, UCLA also offers 2 different higher degree levels in film, video and photographic arts, the most popular of which is a Master's Degree. After graduating, film students usually earn an average of $23,100 in their early careers.

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#12

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL

Located in the medium-sized city Tallahassee, Florida State is a public college with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 160 out of 1,715 schools nationwide means Florida State is a great school overall.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, Florida State also offers a Master's Degree in film, video and photographic arts. Students from the film, video and photographic arts degree program at Florida State University earn $2,820 above the standard college graduate with the same degree shortly after graduation.

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#13

School of Visual Arts

New York, NY

SVA is a small private for-profit school located in the large city of New York. This college ranks 498th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of New York.

There are approximately 230 film, video and photographic arts undergraduates studying this degree at SVA. Grads of the film program report average early career wages of $22,000.

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#14

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small suburb of Ithaca. A Best Colleges rank of 156 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Ithaca is a great college overall.

Ithaca College is a fairly popular school to study film in United States exceeding 97 graduates last year. Students who complete this degree report average early career wages of $25,800.

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#15

DePaul University

Chicago, IL

Located in the large city Chicago, DePaul is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population. This school ranks 270th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of Illinois.

For those interested in pursuing a higher degree, DePaul also offers a Master's Degree in film, video and photographic arts. Graduates of the film program make about $24,500 for their early career.

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#16

Taylor University

Upland, IN

Located in the distant town Upland, Taylor U is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population. This school ranks 212th out of 1,715 colleges for overall quality in the state of Indiana.

Taylor University is one of the most popular school to study film in United States exceeding 15 graduates last year. Film, Video & Photographic Arts students from Taylor University earn a boost of about $3,920 over the average earnings of film, video and photographic arts graduates.

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Located in the small city University Park, Penn State University Park is a public school with a fairly large student population. A Best Colleges rank of 112 out of 1,715 colleges nationwide means Penn State University Park is a great school overall.

There are roughly 73 film, video and photographic arts undergraduates enrolled in this program at Penn State University Park. Graduates from the film, video and photographic arts program at Pennsylvania State University - University Park get $2,120 above the typical college graduate with the same degree when they enter the workforce.

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Located in the large suburb Valencia, CalArts is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population. This school ranks 555th out of 1,715 schools for overall quality in the state of California.

A preferred choice for film, video and photographic arts undergraduates, there are about 113 individuals enrolled in this degree at CalArts. Grads of the film program report average early career income of $21,500.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts award.

Rank College Location
19 Southern Methodist University Dallas, TX
20 Savannah College of Art and Design Savannah, GA
21 University of Michigan - Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI
22 Massachusetts College of Art and Design Boston, MA
23 Brigham Young University - Provo Provo, UT
24 Pratt Institute - Main Brooklyn, NY
25 Maryland Institute College of Art Baltimore, MD

Film, Video & Photographic Arts by Region

View the Best Colleges for Film, Video & Photographic Arts for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 9 majors within the Visual & Performing Arts area of study, Film, Video & Photographic Arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Film

Related Major Annual Graduates
Fine & Studio Arts 40,751
Design & Applied Arts 36,179
Music 26,968
Drama & Theater Arts 17,726
General Visual & Performing Arts 5,720

View All Film Related Majors >

Notes and References

  • The bars on the spread charts above show the distribution of the schools on this list +/- one standard deviation from the mean.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard). More about our data sources and methodologies.

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