Top 25 Best Film Schools in America

Also in: 简中 (Simplified Chinese) 繁中 (Traditional Chinese)

Many of my students have thought about being a film major or minor in high school, usually following a film project at school or vlogging for a school event. If that sounds like you, here’s the latest list of Top 25 Film Schools according to, and you can use it as the first step of your college search. Some schools are exclusively film schools, meaning they do not offer other undergraduate programs besides film-related disciplines, while some are colleges with an excellent film program. Here’s the list:

RankSchoolLocationAcceptance Rate
1University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CA17%
2New York UniversityNew York, NY32%
3University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PA9%
4*California Institute of the ArtsValencia, CA24%
5University of California – Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA18%
6Wesleyan UniversityMiddletown, CT18%
7Loyola Marymount UniversityLos Angeles, CA54%
8*Columbia College HollywoodTarzana, CA54%
9*Rhode Island School of DesignProvidence, RI34%
10*University of North Carolina School of the ArtsWinston-Salem, NC 54%
11*Laguna College of Art & DesignLaguna Beach, CA39%
12University of Michigan – Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI29%
13Vassar CollegePoughkeepsie, NY 27%
14University of California – BerkeleyBerkeley, CA 17%
15Emory UniversityAtlanta, GA25%
16*School of Visual ArtsNew York, NY74%
17Carleton CollegeNorthfield, MN23%
18Emerson CollegeBoston, MA 48%
19University of MiamiCoral Gables, FL 38%
20Chapman UniversityOrange, CA 54%
21American UniversityWashington, DC 26%
22*College for Creative StudiesDetroit, MI47%
23*Art Center College of DesignPasadena, CA 69%
24*Nossi College of ArtMadison, TN51%
25*Minneapolis College of Art & DesignMinneapolis, MN65%

Schools with (*) are exclusively film schools or art schools.

Is the Acceptance Rate Accurate?
Just like music schools, some of these film schools tend to accept more students, such as School of Visual Arts in New York and Art Center College of Design in California. These schools have great film programs and, as a result of high enrollment, tend to have higher acceptance rates than usual.

On the other hand, some schools have low acceptance rates because they are competitive schools in general, not particularly because their film programs are hard to get in. USC (#1), NYU (#2), Penn (#3) and UCLA (#5) have low acceptance rates for this reason.

How Are Schools Ranked?
Visit if you want to know how these schools are ranked. Obviously, any ranking doesn’t tell the whole story. Just because a school is 2 or 3 spots below another doesn’t mean it’s worse. Keep in mind what you’re looking for in a school: The technical courses? Instructors? Which aspect of the film industry? Or perhaps, are you more interested in performing than behind-the-scene production? Look into the programs offered in each school and find your best fit!

Also in: 简中 (Simplified Chinese) 繁中 (Traditional Chinese)

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