Become a critical thinker and skillful filmmaker. Learn everything from scriptwriting to pre-production, production, and post-production techniques.

Admission + Portfolio Requirements

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Our bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A.) degree program encourages independence, debate, and originality. Our approach to film is an aesthetic one rather than a commercial enterprise. We’re proud that Syracuse is ranked among the top 25 film schools in the United States by The Hollywood Reporter and the top 50 film schools by TheWrap. We are also listed as one of the top film schools in North America by Variety. 

Our program focuses on independent filmmaking, providing an exceptional, hands-on education on the film production process from development to post-production (scriptwriting, budgeting, pre-production and storyboarding, cinematography, directing, sound design, and post-production, including 2D and 3D animation) Using our facilities, students pursue various modes of production, including narrative, documentary, experimental, and animation. In addition, all of our students are required to take history and theory courses, where they develop conceptual, critical, and aesthetic skills that empower them to become the top filmmakers of tomorrow.

Our film students are able to:

  • Study with faculty members who have premiered films all over the world at such venues as Sundance,  Black Maria Film Festival, Lisbon International Film Festival, Shanghai International Film Festival, and Guadalajara International Film Festival, Interfilm Berlin, and the National Gallery of Art, among many others.
  • Take classes taught by working professionals in screenwriting, directing, sound design, creative producing, and all aspects of independent film production.
  • Study and intern in Los Angeles via our VPA LA Semester program or at Syracuse-based Hollywood production companies under the mentorship of renowned producers and directors.
  • Study filmmaking in Prague, Czech Republic, and Bologna, Italy, via Syracuse Abroad.
  • Take a creative producing class; design look-books, sizzle reels, and submit via our first look deal with Hollywood producers.
  • Learn from guest speakers, from presidents of studios and streaming companies to Academy Award-nominated individuals
  • Join the numerous Syracuse alumni now working in the entertainment business.

In addition to core study and study abroad, students have various opportunities for involvement with the Syracuse International Film Festival, which has brought a number of guests to the classroom, including Nancy Schreiber, ASC; Michael and Karla Shamberg; Jim Morris ’77 G’78, Bryan Buckley ’85, Chris Renaud ’89, David Gray ’90 (ADD), Daniel Baldwin, Tom Bower, Rob Nilsson, and Giancarlo Esposito.

Our students go on to become independent filmmakers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, educators, and work in a wide variety of media-related fields.

Student Work


The first two years of the program are rigorously structured. In addition to hands-on filmmaking workshop courses, first-year students follow the Department of Film and Media Arts core curriculum, which includes film history and an introductory film production course. Sophomore classes concentrate on essential filmmaking skills.

Juniors and seniors have additional flexibility to choose from menu-structured course offerings according to your academic and professional interests and, in essence, construct your own path with your faculty advisor. This structure permits you to study abroad for one semester.

Students participate in portfolio reviews, which are held at the end of each semester. The student and faculty members evaluate creative and academic work and assess student progress.

Below are the general program requirements for film.

View official major requirements.

Core: 21 credits
Depth: 39 credits
Studio electives: 18 credits
Studies in culture: 21 credits
Writing: 6 credits
Academic electives: 24 credits
Total Credits: 129