Syracuse University Reviews & Admissions Statistics

4.00 star(s) 4 Stars (1 Reviews)
School Website
Degrees Offered
  1. 4 Year BS
  2. 4 Year BFA
  3. 1 Year MA
  4. Ph.D. Program
  1. Communication
  2. Film & Television Production
  3. Film Studies
Tuition Range
$50k to $60k
Undergraduate Deadlines
Early Decision: November 15
Early Decision II: January 5
Regular Decision: January 5
Spring: November 15
Graduate Deadlines
January 15

Film School details

Start of Production Classes
  1. Freshman
Camera Equipment
  1. Canon Professional Camcorders
  2. Canon DSLRs
Software Used
  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Adobe Premiere
  3. Avid Media Composer
  4. Final Cut
  5. Pro Tools
Filmmaking Facilities
  1. Sound Stage(s)
  2. Green Screen
  3. Sound Recording Studio
  4. Editing Bays
  5. Sound Mixing Room(s)
  6. TV Studio
  1. Semester Internship in Los Angeles
  2. Semester Internship in NYC
Job Placement
  1. School Provides Career Development Training
  2. Unknown
Application Fee
Graduate Application Fee
GRE Required?
  1. No
SAT or ACT Required?
  1. No
Portfolio Required?
  1. No
Minimum GPA
  1. None
Letters of Rec Required
  1. 2 (Graduate)

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 listed as one of the best film schools 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.

The television, radio and film graduate program will show you how movies are directed, how TV and film scripts are written and how radio programs are produced.

In this one-year program, you’ll learn how to tell stories with visuals and audio. You’ll study systems of production, distribution and exhibition. You’ll benefit from experiential learning–working in state-of-the-art studios, operating high-end digital equipment, and participating in hands-on production experiences. You will work with our experienced faculty to build your own program based on your interests and goals.

Graduate Application Requirements

  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcripts
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • Online video interview

Tuition Details

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Latest Film School Reviews

Syracuse Film and Media Arts - BFA Film
Reviewed by: Current Student
Degree: BA/BS/BFA
Concentration: Film
  • High level of program flexibility
  • Resources of a large university mixed with the community of a small art school
  • Good faculty/peers, as of 2024 Guinevere Turner (co-writer of American Psycho) is a member of faculty
  • Fantastic abroad opportunties
  • Unique, in-depth approach to the art of filmmaking and storytelling
  • Exposure to different kids of media than a traditional film school (Iranian cinema, New Queer cinema etc)
  • Very expensive (almost $70k/year without a scholarship)
  • Generalist film degree means limited specialization opportunities
  • Lackluster alumni network
  • Serious lack of logistical production skills training
I'm in my last year at Syracuse University as a member of the department of Film and Media Arts, and it's been a lot of ups and downs. There's a lot to like about this program, the primary virtue being a result of its core philosophy: molding the student into a "total filmmaker" by teaching them all aspects of the production process, therefore allowing them to be more effective directors and producers. As someone who is looking to work as an independent writer/director, this was perfect for me. I learned more at Syracuse in my first year working on Senior Thesis sets than I ever did in high school, and the program's intense focus on production gives each student plenty of on-set opportunities. It's my understanding that some other film programs don't let students even touch a camera until their Junior year, and I'm grateful that Syracuse gave us a chance to start making films from day one. You continue this focus on production throughout your time at the school, culminating with each student being required to write/direct their own Senior Thesis film.

The program has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance the last few years (in 2020, long-time department chair Owen Shapiro retired, and only now in 2024 do we have a permanent new department chair, David Tarleton) and as a result it's been a little inconsistent about the curriculum and expectations for students. Prior to 2020, Syracuse was known for being pretty cutthroat, with a mandatory "Sophomore Critique" session taking place at the end of your second year, where faculty members would review your work and decide if you were allowed to continue in the program. Since the change in leadership, this culture has been walked back a lot, and the program is much more focused on fostering collaboration over competition. It's hard to tell what the biggest changes will be in the next few years, but it's safe to say that the program will be changing!

The biggest benefits of the program for me personally were the access to equipment (I work part-time at the school's rental house, which pays well and gives you good hands-on experience with professional gear) and the abroad opportunities. Syracuse has a unique partnership with FAMU in the Czech Republic, allowing students to spend the Fall or Spring semester of their Junior year in Prague shooting a short film on 35mm. If shooting on celluloid is an important factor to any prospective student, I would almost recommend attending Syracuse just for this one opportunity.

The biggest issues with the program are its cost (nearly $70k a year!), its underwhelming alumni network, and its lack of proper real-world production logistics training.

The cost is due to the fact that Syracuse maintains (or attempts to) a top-tier NCAA basketball & football team, in addition to offering an expansive, well-maintained campus and other university facilities. The unfortunate reality of this is that very little of your tuition fees will go directly towards the Film and Media Arts department, resulting in slightly outdated gear (the equipment cage offers Canon C300's and Sony FX6's, but nothing from Arri or Red) and requiring you to provide the financing for all of your class projects.

In terms of the alumni network, FMA is just too young to have any real notable alumni. One of the few exceptions is Dan Silver '01, who currently works as the head of non-fiction content for Netflix, but connecting with him and other alumni is a difficult process that isn't really facilitated by the university. Additionally, because the university is located in Syracuse, New York (barely a city in itself and four hours by car from NYC) your connections don't end up being particularly valuable outside of the niche Central NY film scene. Syracuse has one major production company, American High, which is known for producing a series of teen comedies, most notable 2019's Big Time Adolescence starring Pete Davidson. However, getting a position at this studio is nearly impossible, as you're competing with every other member of the FMA department, not to mention students in the entirely separate Communications degree at the Newhouse School. Syracuse does offer a semesterly Los Angeles program where they assist you with finding an internship, but if you're planning to go anywhere but LA when you graduate, this isn't very helpful.

Lastly, the film program really struggles to teach practical production skills to its students. A lot of my peers have learned the skills they need to write/direct, but very few of them were taught the process of running a set, resulting in unorganized shooting schedules and logistical catastrophes. I recognize that these are skills you could learn from a few months working in the industry, but I really believe that this gap is actively harming student productions and subjecting student workers to unfair treatment like 16hr+ work days. This is not only limited to students sets however, as I spent the summer working on a faculty member's feature film, which was marred by numerous incidents of unsafe behavior, ineffective prep work, and abuses of power. I don't believe the school does a very good job of teaching students the right way to run a set, and I wish the school would focus more on this.

The bottom line is, Syracuse is not perfect, but I think if you take it for what it is, you can get a lot out of it. Unless the school changes substantially in the next few years, I would say it's a great fit for the aspiring independent writer/director/producer who wants to learn everything they can about the production process. For those who want to specialize more in a specific field, like cinematography or production design, I would not recommend Film and Media Arts and would instead push those people to find a program with better facilities and a more specific focus on that field. Additionally, you should expect to have to work on your own to fill in the gaps in the school's education when it comes to production logistics (find yourself a good producer!) and alumni networking.

If there are any current SU students or alums out there, I would love to hear your thoughts! Also, if you're a prospective student, feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.
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Alumni Network
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Career Assistance
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Facilities & Equipment
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