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2021 Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools

262 Colleges
$22,714 Avg Salary
$31,549 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 16,756 people earned a degree or certificate in film, video and photographic arts, making the major the #72 most popular in the United States.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. You're no longer limited to schools in your local area, either, since online programs are becoming more prevalent. Or you may find the programs at a trade school to be a better alternative for you.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools ranking. This report analyzed 262 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for students. To come up with a school's ranking, we analyzed numerous factors related to post-graduation wages, the quality of education offered by the school, average accumulated student debt, and more.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Film

Our analysis found New England School of Photography to be the best school for film, video and photographic arts students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the small city of Waltham, NESOP is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

While working on their degree, film majors at NESOP accumulate an average of around $12,000 in student debt. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $125, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Compass College of Cinematic Arts. It ranked #2 on our 2021 Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Grand Rapids, Compass College of Cinematic Arts is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend American Film Institute Conservatory. It ranked #3 on our 2021 Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. American Film Institute is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles.

After completing their degree, film graduates from American Film Institute carry an average student debtload of $148,474. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $1,730.

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#4

American University

Washington, DC

A rank of #4 on this year’s list means American University is a great place for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the city of Washington, The American University is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

While working on their degree, film majors at The American University accumulate an average of around $43,000 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $486.

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#5

Vassar College

Poughkeepsie, NY

A rank of #5 on this year’s list means Vassar College is a great place for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the large suburb of Poughkeepsie, Vassar is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that film majors at Vassar take out is $19,000. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $197, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#6

Valencia College

Orlando, FL

Valencia College ranked #6 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Valencia College is a fairly large public school located in the city of Orlando.

On average, film graduates from Valencia College take out $12,000 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $125, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#7

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT

Fairfield University ranked #7 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Fairfield, Fairfield U is a private not-for-profit college with a medium-sized student population.

Film majors at Fairfield U take out an average of $25,651 in student loans while working on their egree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $266.

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With a ranking of #8, KD Conservatory College of Film and Dramatic Arts did quite well on this year’s best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the city of Dallas, KD Conservatory is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

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#9

Emerson College

Boston, MA

Emerson College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. It came in at #9 on the list. Emerson is a small private not-for-profit school located in the city of Boston.

After completing their degree, film graduates from Emerson carry an average student debtload of $21,500. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $223.

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#10

Chapman University

Orange, CA

Chapman University ranked #10 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Chapman is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Orange.

While working on their degree, film majors at Chapman accumulate an average of around $78,927 in student debt. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $904.

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University of Southern California came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools ranking. USC is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Los Angeles.

The average amount in student loans that film majors at USC take out is $74,860. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $859.

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#12

Taylor University

Upland, IN

With a ranking of #12, Taylor University did quite well on this year’s best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. Taylor U is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Upland.

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With a ranking of #13, University of Wisconsin - Madison did quite well on this year’s best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the large city of Madison, Wisconsin is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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University of California - Santa Barbara landed the #14 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best film, video and photographic arts programs. Located in the medium-sized suburb of Santa Barbara, UCSB is a public college with a very large student population.

While working on their degree, film majors at UCSB accumulate an average of around $19,250 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $200.

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#15

Ithaca College

Ithaca, NY

Ithaca College landed the #15 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best film, video and photographic arts programs. Ithaca is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the small suburb of Ithaca.

Film majors at Ithaca take out an average of $24,500 in student loans while working on their egree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $254.

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Southern Methodist University ranked #16 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Dallas, SMU is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#17

University of Houston

Houston, TX

With a ranking of #17, University of Houston did quite well on this year’s best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the city of Houston, U of H is a public college with a fairly large student population.

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Rochester Institute of Technology did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. It came in at #18 on the list. Located in the suburb of Rochester, RIT is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, film graduates from RIT carry an average student debtload of $27,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $280, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#19

Loyola Marymount University

Los Angeles, CA

Loyola Marymount University landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best film, video and photographic arts programs. Loyola Marymount is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Los Angeles.

After completing their degree, film graduates from Loyola Marymount carry an average student debtload of $47,448. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $538, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#20

Endicott College

Beverly, MA

With a ranking of #20, Endicott College did quite well on this year’s best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. Located in the large suburb of Beverly, Endicott is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools ranking. U of Michigan is a fairly large public school located in the medium-sized city of Ann Arbor.

While working on their degree, film majors at U of Michigan accumulate an average of around $16,979 in student debt. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $176, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Pennsylvania State University - University Park did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for film, video and photographic arts students. It came in at #22 on the list. Penn State University Park is a very large public school located in the small city of University Park.

On average, film graduates from Penn State University Park take out $27,000 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $280, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#23

Clemson University

Clemson, SC

Clemson University ranked #23 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Clemson, Clemson is a public school with a very large student population.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst ranked #24 on this year’s Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools list. Located in the large suburb of Amherst, UMass Amherst is a public college with a very large student population.

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University of California - Los Angeles came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools ranking. Located in the city of Los Angeles, UCLA is a public school with a fairly large student population.

After completing their degree, film graduates from UCLA carry an average student debtload of $50,548. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $579.

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#27

New York University

New York, NY
#29

Stevenson University

Stevenson, MD
#30

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN
#31

Northwestern University

Evanston, IL
#33

Florida State University

Tallahassee, FL
#34

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#35

Lindenwood University

Saint Charles, MO

Additional Noteworthy Schools

Here are some additional great schools for Film, Video & Photographic Arts students that almost earned our Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
40 Bradley University Peoria, IL
41 University of Nebraska - Lincoln Lincoln, NE
42 Minnesota State University - Mankato Mankato, MN
43 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS
44 University of California - Davis Davis, CA
45 Texas State University San Marcos, TX
46 University of Iowa Iowa City, IA
47 Arizona State University - Skysong Scottsdale, AZ
48 University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh Campus Pittsburgh, PA
49 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA
50 University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL
51 University of North Carolina School of the Arts Winston-Salem, NC
52 Belmont University Nashville, TN

Film, Video & Photographic Arts by Region

View the Best Film, Video & Photographic Arts Schools 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 area of study, film, video and photographic arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

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

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • 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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