The roads to becoming a filmmaker are many. In the early days of cinema, moviemakers were taught through experience. Still, the education system has evolved for aspiring filmmakers to find other training means. Yet, many wishing to master the art of filmmaking go to schools and film-related programs. Nevertheless, whether through funding from loved ones or scholarships, many have to consider their options in finding affordable film schools.

Aspiring filmmakers get into this industry because of their love for cinema. It affords them a level of creativity that some can only dream of. Filmmakers bring a magical world of entertainment to life. Many pursue this goal through a bachelor’s in filmmaking or film studies to turn their love of movies into a career. Although earning a bachelor’s degree is one of the best ways to achieve this, one must consider different options to avoid the pitfalls of student debt.

Film schools offer degrees in film and media studies that’ll give an ambitious filmmaker the skills to pursue a career in the movie industry, but It won’t be free. Affordable film schools require tuition fees ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per year, and potential undergraduates also must consider other costs. For example, in-state, out-of-state, or international students, but schools offer a breakdown of their price per unit, technology fee, textbooks, and health services.

Affordable film schools have many programs from which to choose, and these suggestions aim to help prospective undergraduates narrow down their options. In addition, these options can help find a bachelor’s in film degree that meets their professional and academic goals and one step closer to building stature in the entertainment industry.

University of California-Irvine

Irvine, California

The UCI Department of Film and Media Studies holds an award-winning faculty who are leaders in television, gaming, film, and new media. Students who attend the school will undergo a solid liberal arts background and teachings necessary to traverse the complex film, broadcast, and digital media. Many of their programs will help by analyzing film, television, popular music, and new technologies while offering professional internships in their fields. In addition, the school provides a screening room for students, editing labs, and film production equipment.

Also, many helpful student organizations open great collaborative experiences like the student-created film festival and celebration, ZOFEST.

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

This university features school filmmaking that has been ranked among the top film school in the nation. The affordable filmmaking program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in producing, sound design, screenwriting, production design, editing, directing, cinematography, and animation. To accomplish this, UNCSA will place the students in their first two years on an intense hands-on course in every area of modern film production. In addition, part of the UNCSA’s curriculum is for the undergraduates to work with their peers on an original short submitted to worldwide film festivals.

Many of their students have gone to work on productions such as Pineapple Express and Despicable Me; their impressive roster of film and television credits continues to grow.

CUNY City College

New York, New York

CCNY’s mission states, “Embedded in a liberal arts academic environment, the program nurtures students to discover their unique voice and provides them with the knowledge and diverse skills to enter an ever-changing media world.” The city college is the only one of its kind to offer a low-cost Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film/Video and is the oldest in the country. In addition, the CCNY offers classes in critical approaches to film directors, screenwriting workshops, sound production and design, and many more.

Students will be part of an intensive and rich academics comprised of an affordable BFA course with 120 credits, a thesis project, and an optional internship.

DePaul University (School of Cinematic Arts)

Chicago, IL

DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts has been ranked as a Top Film School by The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. The film program features state-of-the-art facilities that include three professional soundstages, green screen cycloramas, and Arri and RED cameras. In addition, some consider the private research university the best place to learn and start their filmmaking career with DePaul Cinespace Studios—a 32,000-square-foot production facility. The school also offers a two 6-week summer program to the youth in public housing to develop skills in documentary filmmaking and screenwriting through their partnership with the Chicago Housing Authority.

University of California-Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California

For decades, UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television has been a driving force for creating new and innovative filmmaking for its students. UCLA TFT environment has helped creatively blossom many of those in the entertainment industry like Justin Lin, Alexander Payne, and Patricia Cardoso. As a result, their cingulum is constantly evolving to match the needs of the film industry. It includes degrees in Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Ph.D. in Cinema and Media Studies. In addition, UCLA TFT offers students several internships and community engagement programs with truly interdisciplinary experience that will make them thrive in filmmaking.

Eastern New Mexico University

Portales, New Mexico

The New Mexico university offers a digital filmmaking program for those searching for a bachelor of Science in Digital Filmmaking. Their production-focused curriculum helps students develop their skills to apply across platforms like short films, music videos, web series, and more. In addition, the programs cover several aspects of production, dramatic analysis, and theatrical. As a result, their education system is designed to help undergraduates achieve their Science in Digital Filmmaking degree or a bachelor’s degree in theater.

The digital filmmaking majors will also have a chance to participate in two student-run film festivals, Fear Fest and the Sci-Fi Festival.

Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts

Tallahassee, Florida

The FSU Motion Picture Arts department has received praise for its far-reaching and accomplished alumni network and opportunities for underrepresented filmmakers. The school features production and animation and digital arts in their BFA programs, as well as graduate programs in writing and a deeper dive into production. Students in writing will go through a 61-hour lockstep program to sharpen their talents in writing and a 90-hour lockstep program for those wanting to master their production skills. In addition, regularly showcase FSU CMPA in their top ranks for its exceptional education and commitment to affordability.

California State University-Long Beach

Long Beach, California

The California State University-Long Beach Film and Electronic Arts have prepared future filmmakers for over five decades. The affordable 120-unit BA in Film and Electronic Arts is taught through a diverse range of industry professionals and media historians. CSULB also features an array of guest artists for in-class sessions like Geoff Haley, Michael Engler, Adele Lim, and Effie Brown. In addition, the university has since become a hub for showcasing aspiring artists by creating the CSULB Arts Listening initiative.

This program will digitally share the FEA community’s art, writing, music, video movement, and stories to those willing to listen in the entertainment industry.

The University of Texas at Austin Moody College of Communication

Austin, Texas

The award-winning faculty at Moody College prioritizes attracting and retaining talented and diverse professionals to teach future filmmakers. UT Austin is considered the best university in Texas with its seven undergraduate degrees, 17 graduate programs, and 11 research centers and institutes. The Department of Radio-Television-Film program has garnered national recognition for its excellence in helping students learn the ins and outs of the industry. The groundbreaking college continues to pioneer and produce confidently prepared creatives who have successful careers in filmmaking.

San Francisco State University School of Cinema

The Wrap’s annual list of the top 50 film schools has ranked the SFSU film program 29th in America. The university strives to prove that the film industry is not limited to Los Angeles and Southern California with their impressive curriculum. Those attending the school will are fully immersed in an education system that will push their creative expression, critical thinking, and social engagement beyond its limits. Many of their alumni feature Academy Award Winner Screenwriter Steven Zaillian, Producer Jonas Rivera, and Documentarian Steven Okazaki. Their motto “One world. Many voices” has been a longstanding commitment to equality and diversity and continues that proverb to this day.


These nationally celebrated, highly affordable BA, BFA, and BS programs are accepting new students and avant-garde filmmakers every new semester. Global demand for professionally produced entertainment is always on the rise with no signs of slowing down. Therefore, a bachelor’s degree in film studies is an ideal starting point for entry-level positions in directing, writing, producing, and other aspects of filmmaking. Always check out the universities’ sites for the most up-to-date program cost and what each course will be better suited for your career needs and goals.