Updated on Wednesday 27 February 2013
With the hundreds of colleges and universities in the United States, finding a graduate program in film is an easy task. Many of the best graduate programs are located in California and New York City. But there are more affordable options located in other states as well.
You’ve already survived four years of tedious film studies. You’ve master the frustrating aspects of a video camera. You’ve learned how to digitize, log and capture. You’ve written your own scripts and have had them torn apart by the professors. You’ve cried salty tears when you realized your footage got erased. And you’ve cried tears of joy when you were finally done with a headache of a short. Now you’re onto graduate school. With so many colleges and universities in the United States, international students are bound to find many graduate programs in film.
After studying film for four years, you probably already know the direction you want to take with a concentration. Many institutions where you can receive a bachelor’s in film studies also offer master’s degree for international students. Critical or film studies and TV production are two major areas of graduate studies. The difference between critical studies and TV production are vast. Critical studies graduate programs in film allows students to analyze the effects of the TV and film industry from social, economic and political aspects and examines pop culture, the mass media and the art of the film industry. TV production graduate programs in film teach international students the creative process which includes directing, producing, cinematography, writing, editing, sound and much more. Higher learning institutions, among others, that offer critical studies MAs and PhDs are Boston University, New York University, Syracuse University, Temple University, Northwestern University , Texas A&M University, University of Iowa, the University of California Los Angeles, and Florida State University . Notable Universities and colleges that offer TV production graduate studies include the University of Miami, American University, Loyola Marymount.
Each graduate program also has a different culture. Schools like the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles are more commercial, whereas, California Institute of the Arts is more experimental, focusing on the “craft” and less on fundraising and budgeting. Each school has a background and teaching style that can fit your needs as a film student. You just have to do your research. There are several questions to ask yourself while you’re re researching potential schools. Have the professors worked or are currently working in the industry? What kind of alumni does the institution have? What kind of credentials does the institution have? Has the film school been around for awhile? All these questions can help determine if a film school is worth your time, energy and money.
Preparing for graduate programs in film can be an easy task, especially if you paid attention to your undergraduate studies. Taking writing courses and brushing up on writing can help aspiring film school graduate students get into a good graduate program. If you already know how to write, then you can spend more time directing, editing and working the camera. Acting classes are also beneficial especially if you’re going to graduate school for directing. It allows you to communicate better with your actors. Some graduate schools also request films and sample work, so make sure to have a great reel when you start to apply for graduate schools. While still finishing your undergraduate studies, ask a professor if you can be an assistant. Not only will you further your skills, knowing a professor on a deeper level will help you get a better letter of recommendation than other students that just show up to class. Many graduate programs also require high exam scores. Buy a study guide for exams such as the GRE. It will help give you a direction to study. Also, you’ll want to apply to more than one graduate film program. Six is a recommended number.
There is a wide array of graduate programs in film to choose from in the United States. Doing thorough research and preparing early can make sure you can get into one.