Best Online Master’s in Film Programs

by TBS Staff

Updated September 29, 2022

TheBestSchools.org

thebestschools.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to discover your college program?

Students who love telling stories, immersing themselves in movies, and binge–watching television series may find themselves drawn to the film industry. With a master’s degree in film, these learners can turn their passions or hobbies into careers as directors, producers, editors, and writers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects each of these careers to grow at least as quickly as the average profession.

Featured Schools

Online Master’s in Film Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

Download the Best Online Master’s in Film Programs Badge
Download this Badge

We selected the degree programs based on the quality of program and range of courses provided, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation.

Our Methodology

Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.

Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.

While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.

  • Academics
  • Affordability
  • Online Enrollment

Data Sources

The data used in TBS rankings comes primarily from the federal government, and much of it is provided by the schools themselves. We aggregate and analyze this data to build our rankings.

The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) is our primary source. Its data comes from annual surveys conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every college, university, or technical school with access to federal financial aid must participate in these surveys, which include questions about enrollment, graduation rates, finances, and faculty qualifications. This is publicly available data, which you can access yourself through the College Navigator.

Additionally, because we value a personal touch and the professional experience of our staff and Academic Advisory Board, we vet all results and adjust rankings as necessary based on our collected knowledge of schools and degree programs. Depending on the ranking, we may obtain additional input from AcademicInfluence.com, subject matter experts, prior TBS ranking lists, or other sources we deem relevant to a particular ranking.

Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology

About Our Ranking Factors

Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.

Each of these factors are further broken down into weighted subfactors. For example, retention rates are weighted more heavily than availability of program options because they are a better indicator of student success.

We chose the following factors for our rankings because of their influence on learning experiences and graduate outcomes. However, students should always balance our rankings against their personal priorities. For instance, a learner who needs a fully online program may prioritize online flexibility more than our rankings do. Our rankings are designed to help you make a decision — not to make a decision for you.

Academics - 75%

Affordability - 15%

Online Enrollment - 10%

In all our school rankings and recommendations, we work for objectivity and balance. We carefully research and compile each ranking list, and as stated in our advertising disclosure, we do NOT permit financial incentives to influence rankings. Our articles never promote or disregard a school for financial gain.

If you have questions about our ranking methodology, please feel free to connect with our staff through contact page.

We thank you for your readership and trust.

The Best Online Master’s in Film Degree Programs

#1 Best Online Master’s in Film Programs

Lipscomb University

  • Nashville, TN
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Lipscomb University offers an online master's in film. The MA in film and creative media program draws on a rigorous curriculum that prepares graduates for leadership responsibilities. After completing a master's degree, candidates often advance in their current field or pursue new opportunities.

The master's curriculum incorporates theoretical and applied approaches to film. Learners specialize their course of study to prepare for the job market. The master's program recommends that applicants bring a background in film studies or a related field.

Online enrollees gain hands-on experience during professional internships in their local area. Graduate students also participate in networking events to expand their professional connections.

Lipscomb University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 63%

Total Online Master's Programs: 3

Program Name: MA in film and creative media

Graduate Tuition In State: $18,414

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $18,414

Average Tuition
In-state
$30,860
Out-of-state
$30,860
Retention Rate
83%
Admission Rate
63%
Students Enrolled
4,595
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 Best Online Master’s in Film Programs

Tiffin University

  • Tiffin, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Graduate students interested in a master's in film studies can earn their degree from Tiffin University. The master of humanities in film studies program helps graduates increase their salary potential and take on more professional responsibilities. Earning a master's degree can help candidates advance in their current career or pursue a new professional path entirely.

The master's curriculum emphasizes current research in film studies. Learners focus the program with electives or a concentration. The master's program builds on prior film experience gained during a bachelor's program.

Online enrollees participate in internship programs at approved locations in their local area. Graduate students expand their professional network through internships and online events.

Tiffin University at a Glance:

Type of School: Private, nonprofit, four-year

Admission Rate: 69%

Total Online Master's Programs: 24

Program Name: Master of humanities in film studies

Graduate Tuition In State: $12,600

Graduate Tuition Out of State: $12,600

Average Tuition
In-state
$25,710
Out-of-state
$25,710
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
2,926
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
51% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
Return to the top

Choosing an Online Master’s in Film Program

Students should consider their career path and then seek out film programs that will teach them correlating skills.

For example, some film programs focus on narrative, requiring students to complete courses in film history, current trends in cinema, classic theory, and storytelling. Some universities offer creative tracks for students who want to work in specific areas of film such as directing or producing. Other programs offer concentrations in editing and cinematography, allowing students to work with industry–standard programs and equipment. Finally, some schools focus on theoretical aspects of cinema, considering, for instance, the psychology and consumption behind filmmaking (these graduates often go on to earn doctoral degrees).

Regardless of which career path students pursue, they will likely need to complete internships or thesis projects.

Return to the top

What Else Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Film Program?

The content offered within online master’s in film degrees frequently depends on faculty and current events. In other words, professors may design courses that cover cultural moments and technologies in film so that students can stay up to date. That said, most programs offer some of the following common courses.

Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Film

Research for Film and Television
To make movies and television as believable as possible, writers and directors must conduct plenty of research before film production begins. These courses shows students how to find credible sources and organize their findings.
History of American Motion Pictures
These classes teach students the history of the film industry. Professors may cover the invention of the camera and storytelling trends.
Film Theory
Among other fields of study, these interdisciplinary classes combine philosophy, technology, and psychology to understand film.
Narrative Studies
These classes teach degree candidates to craft compelling narratives from the idea stage to final production.
Thesis
To earn an online master’s degree in film, a student may have to complete a thesis project. The classes for these projects may span semesters or years.
Return to the top

Online Master’s in Film Careers

A master’s degree in film studies, along with one’s interests and expertise, can lead to various career paths: those who love storytelling may become scriptwriters; those who enjoy overseeing projects may become directors or producers; those who are detailed may become editors.

Film and Video Editor
These professionals work in offices with the latest film editing technology. They piece together a director's takes to create cohesive stories. Most films require large teams of editors, with each working on a specific piece of the end product. A master's degree sets candidates apart in this competitive field.
  • Median Annual Salary: $58,210
  • Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Producer or Director
Both of these careers require professionals to oversee projects from screenplay to final product. Directors and producers often work side by side, with the former managing the creative side and the latter managing the financial side. Master's degrees give graduates the insight and skills they need to oversee such large projects without losing sight of the stories.
  • Median Annual Salary: $71,620
  • Projected Growth Rate: 12%
Writer
Before any film or television show can go into production, it needs a compelling script. These professionals create characters, develop stories, and write it down in the widely recognized format for film. While writers do not need diplomas to sell their scripts, master's degrees provide learners with the tools they need to excel.
  • Median Annual Salary: $61,820
  • Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Return to the top

Featured Image Credit: RicardoImagen | E+ | Getty Images

Featured Schools

Popular with our students.

Highly informative resources to keep your education journey on track.

Take the next step toward your future with online learning.

Discover schools with the programs and courses you’re interested in, and start learning today.

woman in an office