NYU Tisch: How to Apply for 2024, Acceptance Rate, and What To Expect as an NYU Film Student


As one of the best film schools on the East coast, the Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at New York University Tisch School of the Arts gives film students the chance to turn iconic landscapes into low-budget film shoots and connect with world-renowned industry players.

In 2022, FilmSchool.org named NYU Tisch the Best East Coast Film School, and in 2023, The Hollywood Reporter ranked NYU Tisch the no. 3 best American film school. Notable faculty include award-winning filmmakers such as Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Malcom X, BlacKkKlansman), Mary Lambert (Siesta, Pet Semetary), and John Canemaker (The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, You Don’t Have to Die).

NYU Tisch School of the Arts offers a uniquely student-driven experience. In small courses instructed by experts, film students learn how to use state-of-the-art equipment and achieve their creative aspirations. Undergraduates have the flexibility to self-design most of their curriculum. And the film program welcomes students without prior filmmaking experience who demonstrate a passion for the craft.

The application for 2024 is now open to undergraduates and graduates. The University encourages applicants to prepare their creative materials and submit as soon as possible (see "NYU Tisch Application Deadlines (2024) and What to Expect After Applying").

What is it like attending NYU Tisch School of the Arts?

The Kanbar Institute of Film & Television at NYU Tisch is located at 721 Broadway, New York, NY at Washington Square, alongside many of the University's Student Life and Academic buildings. Many film students have taken advantage of vibrant locations around campus to shoot Student Academy Award-winning films, such as Karhisma Dube’s (G‘20) thesis film Bitta.

NYU has 20 residence halls for 11,500 undergraduate and graduate students; living on campus is optional. Themed engagement communities throughout residence halls, such as Big Apple, Big Screen for first-year film lovers, help students make lasting connections. NYU is also one of the most diverse universities nationwide: 31% of the student body is international.

Film students can participate in three Tisch-based student advocacy groups: the Tisch Undergraduate Student Council, the Tisch Undergraduate Black Student Council, and the Graduate Student Organization (GSO). NYU also offers more than 800 student clubs within and outside of the arts and humanities.

High school students interested in studying film at NYU Tisch can learn more in its hands-on summer workshop (see "Young Filmmakers Get a Head Start in the Tisch Summer High School Program").

Earn scholarships and take virtual production classes at the Martin Scorsese Film Institute

In December 2021, NYU Tisch announced the development of the Martin Scorsese Film Institute. Scorcese earned his MFA in 1968 and taught undergraduate filmmaking courses, such as Sight and Sound, to Oliver Stone (Natural Born Killers, Snowden, Born on the Fourth of July) and other future award-winning filmmakers.

The Martin Scorsese Film Institute houses a virtual production center, the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies, and film student scholarships. And in 2023, the University expanded the Institute with a second location in Brooklyn's Industry City Complex, where film students have additional space to learn the art and pedagogy of film.

NYU Tisch information sessions and events​

NYU is hosting an open house on October 14th. Prospective students can attend sessions, programs, and activities to help you understand what it's like to attend NYU as a film student. Click here to RSVP.

Undergraduate applicants can sign up for these information sessions:
  • Wednesday, October 11, 3:30 p.m. EST: RSVP
  • Wednesday, October 25, 3:30 p.m. EST: RSVP
Graduate applicants can sign up for these information sessions:
  • October 24th (in-person), 4:00-5:00 p.m. EST: RSVP*
  • November 7th (on Zoom), 1:00-2:00 p.m.: EST: RSVP
(*Note: Space is limited and advanced registration is required in order to be granted a visitor pass to enter our school building.)

Commonly asked questions about NYU Tisch

1. How important is the portfolio?

The portfolio is the best indicator that NYU Tisch is the right choice for you as a filmmaker and an academic. However, the admissions committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications. Note: (The portfolio differs for undergraduates and graduates.)

Graduates must submit film samples, writing samples, a one-page resume, and a statement of purpose. Read more about the unique requirements.

Undergraduates must submit the "Tell us about your selfie" autobiographical film, one-page resume, two short stories, and one creative submission that showcases cinematic/visual storytelling. Read more about the unique requirements.

2. What is the NYU Tisch Kanbar Institute of Film & Television acceptance rate?

The film program's acceptance rate is on par with NYU as a whole: about 13%. However, FilmSchool.org members have reported much higher acceptance rates (see "NYU Tisch Acceptance Rate").

In addition, FilmSchool.org's Application Database provides NYU Tisch acceptance rates from our members and tabulates additional data, such as accepted applicant demographics, prior filmmaking experience, lowest accepted GPAs, test scores, and more.

3. Does NYU Tisch have early action and early decision?

NYU Tisch offers Early Decision (I and II) and Regular Decision. Both waves of Early Decision are given equal consideration. If you are accepted, you must withdraw your applications from all other institutions.

NYU Tisch also offers Early Action. Early Action is non-binding. If you are accepted, you are not required to withdraw your application from all other institutions.

4. What equipment and technology do NYU Tisch film students use?

Film students learn to use creative tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer. Access to equipment depends on your course, not your class standing or division. The Stage Equipment Room contains 35mm & 16mm film and a variety of HD video cameras, grips, and lighting gear. The above-set grid contains lights on rolling stands that range from tiny Fresnels to HMI's.

5. Does NYU Tisch have a minimum required GPA?

There is no minimum required GPA to apply to the film program at NYU Tisch. However, NYU ranks among the top 50 post-secondary fine arts universities in America; admissions is highly competitive. Explore our Application Database to discover the lowest accepted GPAs for the undergraduate and graduate film programs (and see "NYU Tisch Acceptance Rate" for additional statistics).

6. Who are notable NYU Tisch graduate film alumni and undergraduate film alumni?​

NYU graduate film alumni include Chloé Zhao (Nomadland, Eternals, Songs My Brother Taught Me), Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York, The Wolf of Wall Street), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X), Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain), and Debra Granik (Winter's Bone, Leave No Trace).

NYU undergraduate film alumni include Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Gremlins), Joel Coen (True Grit, Bridge of Spies, The Big Lebowski), and Rachel Morrison (Mudbound, Cake, Black Panther).

Graduate-specific FAQ​

1. Can I include additional creative samples in my portfolio?

Including additional creative materials will disqualify your application.

2. Is an interview required for acceptance?

Select semi-finalists must sit for a formal interview conducted online.

3. Does NYU Tisch offer graduate student housing?

NYU Tisch offers limited graduate housing. The Office of Graduate Admissions also recommends prospective graduate students look for a roommate and subletting opportunities among current NYU students. For active listings, visit the NYU Roommates Facebook page and the New York University (NYU) Housing, Sublets & Roommates Facebook page.

4. How many graduate applicants are accepted to NYU Tisch each year?

The Kanbar Institute of Film & Television accepts 36 graduate students each year.

Undergraduate-specific FAQ​

1. Does submitting a film increase my chances of acceptance?

The undergraduate application requires one creative submission, and applicants can elect to submit a film or video with a total run time of five minutes or fewer. However, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions states that providing a film does not automatically increase your chances of acceptance.

2. Can I double major or take a minor?

Film students can double major and/or complete a minor from NYU College of Arts and Science. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions recommends choosing a complementary major, such as English Literature and Drama. Talk to your academic advisor as early on in your degree as possible to pick the right courses.

3. Can I attend NYU Tisch for undergraduate film if I already have a BA, BS, or BFA?

If you have earned an bachelor's degree in any subject, you must apply to the Kanbar Institute of Graduate Film and Television. Additionally, the undergraduate division does not accept undergraduate transfers beyond the sophomore year.

4. How important is the Common Application?

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions advises undergraduate applicants to place equal importance on the creative portion and Common Application. Excellent creative samples do not cancel out a poorly completed Common Application.

Editor's Note: This article has been revised to reflect 2024 application instructions. Undergraduates and graduates can apply now.

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Alexa P.
Alexa Pellegrini (she/her) is a freelance copywriter, editor, poet, and essayist. Keep up with her latest musings on Twitter.


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