Best Film Schools in Michigan [2022 Review]

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Hollywood films are magical. They have the ability to plant an idea on their viewer’s mind that anything is possible. We all are guilty of believing the zombie bikers who exacted revenge on a Detroit suburb or feeling sorry for the lovesick couple on the sinking ship.

Films offer us an escape from our hectic realities. They have the power to induce strong feelings and emotions. It’s a lucrative field that pays well and receives appreciation. 

Michigan State also thought so too, that’s why it offered an extremely attractive incentives program even at its worst. The program did result in an explosion of blockbusters and helped launch some successful careers and businesses. However, it all faded to black in 2015 when the new government decided to end it. Now the gears are in motion to bring it back. 

Michigan has a great film industry. There are abundant educational opportunities for aspiring individuals who want to enter the arena as trained filmmakers. There are 15 large and small accredited film schools in Michigan that train aspirants for employment in the film industry.

We have compiled a list of the top film schools in Michigan for those who want to become top filmmakers after receiving quality training. These will prepare you for a successful career. 

taking picture of a school

Job Outlook in Michigan After Film School

When you enroll in a film degree program, you receive in-depth knowledge and training in different aspects of making a movie. Students who pass out from film programs can seek jobs in broadcast media, public relations, production companies, non-profit organizations, academia, and advertising. They are needed for camera work, directing, editing, and other facets of video production. 

Cinematographers set the desired visual aesthetics of a video. Editors are responsible for maintaining a coherent and engaging narrative. Producers manage the finances of a film while directors regulate the overall creative vision of the film making. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 82,430 overall employment in the film industry nationally. Out of these, 640 hirings were conducted in Michigan, making up the two percent of the national film employment ratio. 

Between 2006 and 2010, the field grew exceptionally well with a 36% growth while nationally, the field shrunk by 4%. The amount earned by the workers of the film industry also increased. It was $25,673 in 2006, which increased to a mean annual salary of $32,475 in 2010. This shows that salaries have improved by 18%. 

Educational institutions are also working hard to provide the industry with well-trained professionals. The number of pass-outs from film schools has also increased from 261 to 364.

List of the Top Film Schools in Michigan

Film studies is a nationally popular major. Michigan holds the eighth position for the most number of students studying it. Out of the total of 16,684 film, videos, and photographic arts degrees granted last year, Michigan schools gave 555.

The schools here offer some of the best film programs in the entire US. Here are some of the top film schools in Michigan. 

Best Overall: Michigan State University

Michigan State University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $14,460
  • Number of years for a degree, type of degree: 4-year, Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies 1-year and Film Studies Graduate Certificate 
  • Number of students: 50,344
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 16:1

Our Review of the Program

Michigan State University is a large public university that is located in the small city of East Lansing, Michigan. It operates on a semester-based academic calendar. It ranks at number 84 in the 2020 edition of the Best Colleges and National Universities.

It offers two comprehensive film programs. One is a degree program, while the other is a certificate. The Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies provides a detailed overview and disciplinary understanding of film production. They are taught to critically analyze films as interpretable texts.

This program is a cross-disciplinary course between English and Film departments. It briefly covers a wide range of different media genres. The graduate program focuses on the methods, practices, and concerns involved in conducting research and teaching in this field.

2. University of Michigan

University of Michigan

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $15,262
  • Number of years, type of degree: 5 to 6 years, Doctor of Philosophy in Film, Television, and Media, 4-years, Film, Television, and Media Honors Program, 2-years, Film, Television, and Media Major and 1-year, Film, Television, and Media Graduate Certificate
  • Number of students: 44,718
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 15:1

Our Review of the Program

The University of Michigan is located in Ann-Arbor. It is an enormous public university in a medium-sized city. It is a popular choice for film studies. It offers a number of film studies programs, ranging from a graduate certificate to a Ph.D. It educates and trains its students to become successful professionals in the film industry. The Ph.D. program allows students to create a personalized program of study.

Each one is unique and provides the applicant with in-depth knowledge of one particular field of interest along with a wide range of in-core subjects. The FTVM Honors is an exclusive program. The applicants applying for it have to undergo a rigorous admission process, and only the most deserving are enrolled. This program teaches them about all the ins and outs of filming.

The FTVM Major is an integrated program screen-studies and production. The students receive comprehensive theoretical instruction accompanied with creative, hands-on, practical training sessions.

The FTVM Graduate Certificate is a non-degree credential program that informs students about the specialized knowledge of various aspects of a moving film. It also provides them an opportunity to enhance their skills as potential teachers or scholars.

3. Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley State University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $12,484
  • Number of years, type of degree: 4-years, Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Production and 4-years, Bachelor of Science in Film and Video Production 
  • Number of students: 25325
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 16:1

Our Review of the Program

Grand Valley State University is a large public university in the suburbs. This public liberal arts university is located in Allendale, Michigan. It has a huge campus spread over approximately 1,322 acres. The two film programs offered by this university are quite similar. Both offer extensive training and knowledge to prepare the applicants for a successful career in the film industry.

They will have a number of employment options in front of them after the completion of these programs. The curriculum includes fiction and non-fiction filmmaking, animation, sound design, cinema studies, new media, and documentary. It utilizes expert production experience to provide them detailed insights about media history, criticism, and theory.

The students are facilitated with non-linear editing suites, a television studio classroom, a full range of field gear, and a digital audio studio. The students are also trained on a variety of software at Macintosh laboratories. They are also provided opportunities to intern at regional and national productions as well as post-production houses.

4. Western Michigan University

Western Michigan University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $12,483
  • Number of years, type of degree: 4-years, Bachelor of Arts in Film, Video, and Media Studies and 2-years, Film, Video, and Media Studies Major 
  • Number of students: 23,914
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 16:1

Our Review of the Program

Western Michigan University is a large public research institution. It is located in the small city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The huge campus is composed of over 150 buildings that are spread over an area of 1,200 acres. It offers a BA and a major in the Film, Video, and Media Studies. Both programs are very carefully planned to nurture successful future film industry employees.

The bachelor program focuses on the theoretical assumptions and practical assumptions of the factors that drive today’s mass media. The students are rigorously trained in radio and TV broadcasting. As broadcasting is an extremely competitive field, the students are carefully trained to think of better ways to gain an edge over the competition.

The major focuses on teaching students about the influence film, media, and videos combined have on the culture and society. Their production skills are also polished for working in the industry. Applicants are taught through theoretical learning as well as a practical demonstration. They learn about media from a cultural perspective by indulging in production activities.

5. Eastern Michigan University

Eastern Michigan University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $12,508
  • Number of years, type of degree: 3-years, Electronic Media and Film Studies Minor and 4-years, Bachelor of Science in Cinema Studies 
  • Number of students: 21,105
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 14:1

Our Review of the Program

Eastern Michigan University is a large public research university that is located in the large suburbs of Ypsilanti, Michigan. It also utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. It is consistently named as the Best in Midwest University for 16 consecutive years. It offers two filmmaking programs. Both are designed to train students in different facets of film production and cinematography.

The Electronic Media and Film Studies Minor is centered around teaching the students about the different aspects of the media industry. It broadens their knowledge about how films are influenced and shaped by history and cultural influences. It draws the best faculty to train their students to become experts in their fields.

The Bachelor of Science in Cinema Studies focuses on providing all the necessary skills and knowledge required for a successful filmmaker. It is designed to create a balance between critical studies and production courses. It cultivates a critical perspective of national and international movies. They are also taught about the history and advancements in this field to help this art form grow.

6. College for Creative Studies

College for Creative Studies

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $44,110
  • Number of years, type of degree: 4-years, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation, 4-years, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Film, 4-years, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Concept Design and 4-years, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Design
  • Number of students: 1,400
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 10:1

Our Review of the Program

College for Creative Studies is a private institute that is specially geared for setting a path towards creative careers. Its film programs are no different. It offers a total of four varying programs that are directed at various aspects of filmography. Animation is all about telling a story. Students learn to do this via different software designed for 2D and 3D applications.

They will also learn about CG design and animation as well as stop-motion graphics and experimental media. Props, scenery, costumes, etc. are an important part of films. In concept design, students learn everything about it. They are responsible for designing everything that the audience experiences on the screen. Applicants learn about the history, theory, and technique of filming Digital Film.

Students who pass out from this program are ready to take on the different jobs offered by the industry. Games are the hottest trend these days. With this program, students learn about 2D and 3D CGI and use it to produce impressive gameplay.

7. Wayne State University

Wayne State University

School Info

  • Average tuition cost: $13,097
  • Number of years, type of degree: 3-years, Minor in Film and 2-years, Major in Film  
  • Number of students: 27,222
  • Student-Teacher ratio: 16:1

Our Review of the Program

Wayne State University is a large public university in Detroit, Michigan. It is the third-largest university in Michigan State. It has 13 different schools and colleges and offers around 350 different programs in various disciplines. With a number of quality undergraduate programs, this institute has made a good name for itself. The film programs offered by this institute are very popular.

These programs specialize in teaching students everything about filmmaking and production from screenwriting to video development. The minor is more centered on the history and cultural aspects of film production. It is a detailed and complete program that teaches the students every aspect of filming with a theoretical explanation and practical demonstration.

This institute has state-of-the-art facilities for its students. They get to work with quality cameras and sound systems and utilize all the advanced equipment used in modern filmmaking.

Best Film Schools in Michigan Comparison Table

The film industry has always been a popular career choice. Even now, applications for enrollment in film programs are huge in number. The field has grown very competitive, so the number of film programs offered by different schools has also increased.

With so many options to choose from, where do you apply? To answer this query, we have compiled a comparison table of the best film schools in Michigan. 

Other Film School Reviews 

Looking for film schools in other areas? Here are a few other reviews:


Michigan was the epitome of recession. Now, the state is trying to find a level footing. The film industry is one of the fields it is relying on to lay a solid foundation for its economy. All the film schools are doing their part to sustain the industry with well-educated and fully trained professionals. But some schools really stand out from others for their comprehensive film programs. 

We have reviewed them for you above. If you are a Michigan resident who is aspiring to build a successful career in the film industry, you can start by enrolling in any of the programs mentioned above.