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Study Film abroad

An in-depth guide to studying film as an international student.

Film degrees abroad

For international students, film degrees can provide insight into the world’s most successful visual industries. Whether you’re interested in studying film for the practical area of production, or the analytical side of film criticism, film qualifications are available across the globe in universities, colleges, and even specialist film schools.

Film program structure

Wherever you decide to study film abroad, you will have a selection of film modules to choose from, which defines your focus on the subject. Film studies modules require many different methods of assessment and ways of learning, including film screenings, lectures, dissertations, seminars, filming, and editing.

You may be required to watch many films in your spare time, which may sound easy but can take up hours of your free time. There will also be many opportunities at university to get involved with film societies, or student media groups to use your skills and knowledge.

Depending on the country you study in, a typical bachelor’s degree in film will take between three and four years, and a master’s degree will take one to two years to complete.

The program curriculum of a film degree would be split into years of study with each year having some compulsory modules, in addition to optional modules to choose from; they would typically focus on the following areas:

  • Sound and composition
  • Filming and editing
  • Culture and identity
  • Foreign language cinema
  • Genres of cinema
  • Film criticism

Why study film abroad

Studying film requires at least an interest in film, but it may be a particular career path that brings you to study it.

Choosing to study film abroad means you'll have a wide range of programs to choose from, and you could study in a country famous for cinema, or a specific style of film you are passionate about.

It will also give you a unique perspective on how another culture approaches film making that could help you stand out in a competitive market.

Where to study film abroad

Where you study film depends on a few factors and reasons why you are choosing to study it.

Most places in the world have educated notable directors, producers, and filmmakers, so you shouldn’t entirely rule out studying anywhere just because it isn’t known for film.

In all cases it is important to look at the exact details of a university or school’s programs in film to check what you’re interested in is covered.

Best countries to study film

There are many countries and areas with large film industries, making them some of the best countries to study film in. These include:

  • USA
  • UK
  • India
  • China
  • Japan
  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain

Countries with large film industries can be good options for studying get practical experience through work experience, or even stay on in the country to look for work following completion of your degree.

Best universities to study film

There may be a particular director whose films you love, or a particular film academic whose work you admire. In both cases there will be specific universities that focus on relevant areas to these interests.

The university or film school you decide to apply to will also depend on how practical you want your studies to be. Traditional universities may focus on film in an academic sense, and not the process of making films, as a dedicated film school would.

See all universities offering film programs

How to study film abroad

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Film study abroad programs

Film courses at all qualification levels are available across the world to international students. The country, language, and specific university you study in will affect the content of the program, including the types of films focused on and the methods of making them.

At bachelor’s level a film degree would typically sit under a Bachelor of Arts (BA) award, or within a bachelor’s in liberal arts as a major or minor. Master’s degrees in film can be either taught or research.

A doctorate or PhD program in film is likely to be research intensive, with a focus on a very specific aspect of cinema.

Film undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in film

  • Long Island University Post Logo

    Film Long Island University Post, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 35,736 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Film
  • Macromedia University of Applied Sciences Logo

    Film Directing Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany

    • Tuition fees per year 11,000 EUR
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 3 years 6 months
    • Start date October
    Show more details about Film Directing
  • Arizona State University Logo

    Digital Culture (Film) Arizona State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 30,134 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, May, August
    Show more details about Digital Culture (Film)
  • University of Liverpool Logo

    Film Studies University of Liverpool, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 16,550 GBP
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 3 years
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Film Studies
  • University of Vermont Logo

    Film and Television Studies University of Vermont, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 41,280 USD
    • Program type Bachelor's
    • Duration 4 years
    • Start date January, June, August
    Show more details about Film and Television Studies
See all bachelor's degrees in film

Pathway in film

  • University of Sussex Logo

    Media and Film Studies - International Year One University of Sussex, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 18,600 USD
    • Program type Undergraduate pathway
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Media and Film Studies - International Year One
  • Leeds Beckett University Logo

    Filmmaking (Foundation) Leeds Beckett University, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 10,900 USD
    • Program type Undergraduate pathway
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Filmmaking (Foundation)
See all undergraduate pathways in film

Diploma in film

  • Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning Logo

    Acting for Film and Television Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada

    • Tuition fees per year 15,412 CAD
    • Program type Undergraduate diploma
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Acting for Film and Television
  • Centennial College Logo

    Broadcasting - Radio, Television, Film & Digital Media Centennial College, Canada

    • Tuition fees per year 16,531 CAD
    • Program type Undergraduate diploma
    • Duration 3 years
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Broadcasting - Radio, Television, Film & Digital Media
  • Fanshawe College Logo

    Broadcasting - Television and Film Production Fanshawe College, Canada

    • Tuition fees per year 17,380 CAD
    • Program type Undergraduate diploma
    • Duration 1 year 2 months
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Broadcasting - Television and Film Production
See all undergraduate diplomas in film

Film graduate programs

Master's in film

  • Arizona State University Logo

    Liberal Studies (Film and Media Studies) Arizona State University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 27,918 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date August
    Show more details about Liberal Studies (Film and Media Studies)
  • University of Dundee Logo

    Film Studies University of Dundee, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 18,150 GBP
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Film Studies
  • University of the West of England - UWE Bristol Logo

    Wildlife Filmmaking University of the West of England - UWE Bristol, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 13,000 GBP
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Wildlife Filmmaking
  • Bournemouth University Logo

    Directing Film and Television Bournemouth University, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 14,000 GBP
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Directing Film and Television
  • Central Michigan University Logo

    Film Theory and Criticism Central Michigan University, USA

    • Tuition fees per year 15,300 USD
    • Program type Master's
    • Duration 2 years
    • Start date May, August
    Show more details about Film Theory and Criticism
See all master's degrees in film

Doctorate in film

  • University of Gloucestershire Logo

    Film and Television University of Gloucestershire, UK

    • Tuition fees per year 13,200 GBP
    • Program type Doctorate
    • Duration 3 years
    • Start date January, September
    Show more details about Film and Television
See all doctorates in film

Certificate in film

  • Centennial College Logo

    Television & Film - Business Centennial College, Canada

    • Tuition fees per year 16,531 CAD
    • Program type Postgraduate certificate
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Television & Film - Business
  • Fanshawe College Logo

    Advanced Filmmaking Fanshawe College, Canada

    • Tuition fees per year 26,742 CAD
    • Program type Postgraduate certificate
    • Duration 1 year
    • Start date September
    Show more details about Advanced Filmmaking
See all postgraduate certificates in film

Entry requirements to study film abroad

As it’s unlikely you would have studied film specifically at high school level, university’s and film schools won’t need a specific score for a film class for admission to a bachelor’s, but may want you to show you have experience with media and/or art.

At master’s and doctorate levels, the admission process may need you to prove you have sufficient practical or academic experience with cinema.

Studying film abroad will require an admission process that is set by the specific university for the exact program want to study. Every institution will want you to have passion and an interest in film, but you may also need to provide the university with the following:

  • Academic transcripts
  • An English language proficiency test (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS)
  • Proof of finances
  • References
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Future film careers

Film degrees have a wide range of careers associated with them, as well as transferable skills that are useful in other industries. You’ll have a good ability to analyse and organize following a film studies course.

Common film degree jobs include:

  • Journalist
  • Camera operator
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Broadcast engineer