Top 10 Cinematography Schools in The U.S.

Explore the art and science of filmmaking with a cinematography degree. Gain hands-on experience and learn the technical skills needed to bring your creative vision to life on the big screen. Discover the best programs and start your journey to becoming a skilled cinematographer today.

A cinematography degree is a specialized program that provides students with the technical skills and creative knowledge needed to become a skilled cinematographer. Cinematography is the art of visual storytelling through the use of lighting, camera angles, and composition. With a degree in cinematography, students learn to effectively capture a scene on camera, utilizing different techniques and equipment to achieve their desired effect.

Students pursuing a cinematography degree can expect to learn a range of technical skills, including camera operation, lighting, color theory, and post-production editing. Additionally, they will also develop a critical eye for analyzing and interpreting film, allowing them to create compelling visual stories that resonate with audiences.

Career Opportunities After Graduating With a Cinematography Degree

Career opportunities for graduates with a cinematography degree are diverse, with potential roles ranging from director of photography (DP) to camera operator or lighting technician. Cinematographers can work in a variety of industries, including film and television production, advertising, and even corporate video production. They may also work as freelancers, collaborating with different directors and production teams to bring their creative vision to life. With a cinematography degree, graduates have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding and dynamic career in the world of filmmaking and visual storytelling.

Best Universities to Get Your Cinematography Degree

If you're interested in pursuing a career in cinematography, there are many schools that offer degree programs to help you gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. Here are a few examples:

  • New York University offers a three-year cinematography program that prepares students for careers in film and television production. The program has a student population of 500, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. The total on-campus cost is $73,566, and the school is ranked 21st overall. Students have the option to complete their thesis during an additional year of study.

  • Emerson College is another school with a strong cinematography program. The program is 2-3 years long and offers advanced standing opportunities for students with prior experience. The total on-campus cost is $68,392, and the student-to-faculty ratio is 21:1. Tuition is $29,344 per year, with additional fees for room and board.

  • Columbia College Chicago also offers a three-year cinematography program, with a student population of 308 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 32:1. The total on-campus cost is $45,644, and the school is ranked 214th overall.

  • The University of Southern California is a prestigious institution with a four-year cinematography program. The program has a student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1, with a total on-campus cost of $74,825. USC is the most expensive option on this list, but it's also one of the highest-ranked schools overall, with an overall score of 93.6.

  • Finally, Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in film and media studies program that takes four years to complete. The program requires 120 credit hours and costs $14,166 in tuition. The graduation rate is 14%, making it the least expensive option on this list.

There are many great universities and colleges that offer cinematography degree programs, each with their own unique strengths and features. Whether you're interested in a prestigious program like the one at the University of Southern California, or a more affordable online option like Arizona State University, there are plenty of choices to fit your needs and goals. When considering schools, it's important to take into account factors such as program length, student-to-faculty ratio, and total cost to make an informed decision. With the right education and training, graduates of cinematography degree programs can go on to have successful careers in film, television, advertising, and other visual media industries.