University of Rochester - Film and Media Studies Program

5.00 star(s) 5 Stars (1 Member Reviews)
Degrees Offered
  1. 4 Year B.A.
  1. Film & Television Production
  2. Film Studies
Yearly Tuition
$50k to $60k
Tuition Detail
Deadline Details
Early Decision I - November 1
Early Decision II - January 5
Regular Decision* - January 5
* To be given highest scholarship consideration, please send all application materials to Rochester by December 1.

Film School details

The Film and Media Studies program offers students an opportunity to explore motion pictures, television, and the electronic arts as art forms and cultural phenomena.

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Latest reviews

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  • Curriculum Flexibility
  • Small Student Body
  • Interaction with people from MANY fields
  • George Eastman House and Little Theater
  • Lack of Equipment
  • Limited offerings in some fields
I graduated from UofR with a double major in Film and Media Studies and Economics. My experiences at Rochester really shaped my filmmaking career, and it definitely helped me get into UCLA's Production/Directing program, which I will attend this fall.

First off, if you're looking for a technical/hands-on type of film program, this is NOT for you. I gave the UofR Film and Media Studies Program (FMS) because of the OVERALL experience and value. As a program at the university, there is no dedicated film school within the university.

Curriculum: As a program, much of the curriculum focuses on theory and narrative. There are two tracks, one for FMS Studies (theory and history) and one for FMS Production (editing, production), but the only difference is 1-2 additional production courses. Overall, you are at least taking 12 classes over four years. With how the "Rochester Curriculum" is set up, you have a LOT of flexibility in terms of what you want to study. For the curious mind, this is perfect! I have taken classes in philosophy, history, economics, and astronomy, some of which crosses into film. However, one con I do have with the curriculum is the limited number of courses in certain areas of film. Production classes here leans on editing instead of on-set production. Screenwriting is only offered every other year. Sometimes, you will need to supplement credit with different areas, like photography or sound. Again, most courses are focused on theory and history.

(If you want to make a short film using high-end equipment, there is absolutely NOTHING from stopping you. I decided to sign up for an "Independent Study" class, which allowed me to make a short film, from pre-production to post, over the course of a semester. I HIGHLY recommend this because it helped me see how much progress I have made as a filmmaker)

Class size: My graduating class was 8 people if I remember correctly, and many of the classes themselves are around 10-15 people. If you want small classes, this is it! I was able to constantly interact with professors and other students, which offered a lot of useful perspectives and insights into different techniques, cultures, and movie recommendations.

Affordability: The price tag almost scared me away from UofR, but out of my choices (UC Berkeley, University of Denver) it was the cheapest after financial aid. The school is incredibly generous with its scholarships and grants, and I came out of school with only $30k over four years! Might be a lot to some, but as an out-of-state student from Colorado, it's a bargain for a top-notch education (ironically the University of Denver would have left me closer to $60k after graduation).

Resources: This is a complete toss-up. On the one hand, most of the equipment is poor, relying on DSLR's. There is almost no stabilization equipment, and lighting isn't the best. HOWEVER, these resources are readily available, with places like Rettner Lab, Sage Art Center, and the FMS Department. Also, I think it is important to highlight the ease of access to 16 mm film cameras and projectors, which brings me to my next pro. Rochester, NY is an incredibly underrated film city, and it makes sense with its connections to Kodak. The George Eastman Museum (a mansion owned by the guy who found Kodak) hosts an incredible collection of film prints and events. One of my favorites is the annual Nitrate Film Festival, where you can watch a lot of movies that many people believed to be lost. The Little Theater is also a great place to watch indie releases. Overall, the resources at UofR really depend on what you want to do.

**Forgot to mention Todd Union, but it's an on-campus theater that has an incredible number of talented actors/actresses. There is also a strong Audio Engineering program at the school, which is helpful for catching sound.

Extracurriculars: I am definitely a little biased here since I held executive board positions in URCG and UFC, but there are 3 film-related organizations on campus. URCG hosts weekly screenings of major releases for free. URTV focuses on TV-production and has episodes aired through WRUR, the school's radio station. UFC hosts a bunch of workshops, and it is a great way to meet other film nerds all over campus! Beyond clubs, if you're looking to get your hands on-set, the FMS department will send occasionally send emails about local productions. There is also a program called "Art NY," where you hold an internship in New York City while receiving class credit. I was able to do this program, and it definitely helped with my last point:

Career Preparedness: As a program that focuses on theory, you probably won't get on set immediately after graduation. However, it helped me a LOT with networking. There is a lot of UofR alumn working in the film industry, as well as marketing. In my opinion, if you want to work in the film industry, networking is the most important skill. The Art NY program will be a great way to start off, and it helped me get another internship during my undergrad. Overall, it really depends on which field you're looking into, as well as how productive you have been.

(SIdenote: I would probably be interning/working at a film company right now, but I wanted to save some money before moving to NYC or LA. Currently, I'm in CO)

Ending Thoughts: If you're looking to learn RED cameras and on-set production, UofR might not be for you. However, if you're looking more towards writing/directing, consider UofR! While my main complaint has been the lack of resources and certain courses, I really had a blast while going here! At one point, I did transfer to Colorado Film School because I wanted to make movies, not study them. However, within a week, I dropped out of CFS because I didn't enjoy the environment. I went back to the UofR, and it was the best decision I have ever made. As someone who takes a lot of initiative, UofR fosters a great environment for creatives to start learning about filmmaking, and collaboration is key if you want to experience any success!

(PS: Apologies if this review seems all over the place. If you have any questions, drop them below!)
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