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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

Alternative broadcasting degrees

In countries such as the UK and Canada, it is common to study film as a stand alone degree, for example at bachelor’s, master’s or PhD level. However, in the US under a liberal arts education, you may study film as a major or minor meaning you need to dedicate a certain amount of credits to the subject.

Some programs will focus on a particular area of film such as film production or film criticism, which will have different amounts of practical and theoretical study and examination.

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

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    Film Directing - BA Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    42 months
    Tuition fees per year
    11,000 EUR
    Start date
    October
    Show program overview about Film Directing
  • false

    Film - BFA Long Island University Post, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    35,736 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Film
  • false

    Communication Arts (Digital Media: Film/Broadcasting/Journalism) - BA St. Francis College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    26,688 USD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about Communication Arts (Digital Media: Film/Broadcasting/Journalism)
  • false

    Digital Culture (Film) - BA Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,134 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about Digital Culture (Film)
  • false

    English and Film - BA University of Birmingham, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,700 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about English and Film
See all bachelor's degrees in film

Pathway in film

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

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    18,600 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Media and Film Studies - International Year One
  • false

    Computer Animation & Visual Effects (Foundation) - UGP Leeds Beckett University, UK

    Program type
    Undergraduate pathway
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    11,400 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Computer Animation & Visual Effects (Foundation)
See all undergraduate pathways in film

Diploma in film

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

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    15,412 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Acting for Film and Television
  • false

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

    Program type
    Undergraduate diploma
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    16,531 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Broadcasting - Radio, Television, Film & Digital Media
See all undergraduate diplomas in film

Film graduate programs

Master's in film

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

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    27,918 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Liberal Studies (Film and Media Studies)
  • false

    Film Studies - MLitt University of Dundee, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    18,150 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Film Studies
  • false

    Intercultural Communication - Intercultural Filmmaking - MA University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    22,896 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Intercultural Communication - Intercultural Filmmaking
  • false

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

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    13,000 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Wildlife Filmmaking
  • false

    Computer Animation and Visual Effects - MSc Bournemouth University, UK

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    15,500 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Computer Animation and Visual Effects
See all master's degrees in film

Doctorate in film

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    Film and Television - PhD University of Gloucestershire, UK

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

Diploma in film

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    Broadcasting - Television and Film Production - OCDip Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    14 months
    Tuition fees per year
    17,380 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Broadcasting - Television and Film Production
See all postgraduate diplomas in film

Certificate in film

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    Television & Film - Business - PGCert Centennial College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    16,531 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Television & Film - Business
  • false

    Advanced Filmmaking - OCGCert Fanshawe College, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    1 year
    Tuition fees per year
    26,742 CAD
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview 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