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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Program in Film and Cinema

Majors Overview April 17, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in film and cinema and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Program in Film and Cinema

Students in bachelor’s degree programs in film and cinema learn about a wide array of functions that have to be performed to create motion pictures, in addition to motion picture forms, genres, and history. Students get busy creating and critiquing films, studying various time periods and styles of motion pictures, and learning about the different facets of film-making, including directing, writing, cinematography, and production.

Film and cinema bachelor’s degree programs are available through various institutes, universities, and public and private colleges, which offer Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees. After they complete the program, graduates can seek entry-level careers in the film and cinema industry, or they may opt for continuing education by earning a graduate degree.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma along with — in some film and cinema bachelor’s degree programs — the submission of a portfolio of work.


Coursework includes classroom instruction in the form of electives as well as core classes allowing students to select courses in accordance with their occupational goals. Many programs offer internships, whereby students avail the opportunity of working and networking with industry professionals. Participation in local festivals by students enrolled in some programs is also encouraged. Core coursework may commonly include topic areas such as:

•Film production
•Film theory
•International cinema
•Visual storytelling
•Motion picture history

Career Choices

The film and cinema industry offers a wide array of jobs involving editing, writing, distribution and exhibition, set design, lighting setup, and equipment operation, among other areas of expertise. Graduates of the program may pursue career options such as:

•Camera operator
•Film editor

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rate of 3% and 3% are predicted to be seen by producers and directors, and camera operators respectively (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, producers and directors brought home an average annual wage of $71,350, while film and video editors and camera operators earned an average annual wage of $46,280.

Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program can pursue continuing education by earning a master’s degree to gain advanced knowledge of the cinema and film industry. Schools typically offer them as a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) or Master of Arts (M.A.) program. Schools also offer doctoral degree programs for students interested in university-level research or teaching positions.

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