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Top 9 Best Film Schools in Canada 2021 (Degrees, Diplomas and Tuition Costs)

9 Best Film Schools in Canada (2021)


The list of the best filmmaking colleges & universities in Canada in 2021!


Look:

For any aspiring artist looking to enter the film industry with a degree in filmmaking, choosing the right school to attend can be a daunting challenge.

As the Canadian film industry continuously proves it’s a force to be reckoned with, getting a formal education to enter the multi-billion dollar industry means getting an education from professionals who’ve spent their lives working in the field.

It also means getting hands-on experience working on various sets, learning how to cooperate, delegate, and operate in different roles and situations to create a shared experience under the guidance of industry veterans.

You’ll have the opportunity to take on the role of director, sound editor, cinematographer, camera operator, set designer… any and every role necessary to complete a film, be it big or small.

So, what are the best film schools in Canada? Here’s an overview:

9 Best Filmmaking Schools in Canada


  1. Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema (Concordia University, Quebec)
  2. Toronto Film School (Ontario)
  3. School of Image Arts (Ryerson University, Ontario)
  4. School of the Arts, Media, Performance, & Design (York University, Ontario)
  5. School of Media and Performing Arts (George Brown College, Ontario) 
  6. Department of Film, TV, and Journalism (Sheridan College, Ontario)
  7. School for the Contemporary Arts (Simon Fraser University, British Columbia)
  8. Vancouver Film School (British Columbia)
  9. Department of Theatre & Film (University of British Columbia, BC) 


In this article, you’ll find a list of the best film schools in Canada. Specifically, you’ll find information on the school, what degrees and diplomas they offer, as well as an idea of tuition costs.

Speaking of tuition, unless specified, all tuition costs reflect solely the cost of being a full time student for a whole academic year. Books, equipment, health plan, residence fees, and other ancillary charges are not included.

As a rule of thumb, though, books normally cost around $1,200 per year, give or take $200, while resources vary by type and individual school fees (film stock, props, etc…)

We’ll start off on the east coast and work our way west. Let’s begin!


Concordia University (Quebec)
Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema



Topping the Quebecois ranks in film education and boasting its 50,000+ annual students, Concordia lives in the heart of Montréal, Quebec, where Canadian-European landscape meets public art displays, a rich bilingual culture, and one of the most active scenes in the Canadian film industry.

The Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema offers degrees in:

  • Art History & Film Studies (BFA)
  • Film Animation (BFA)
  • Film Production (BFA)
  • Film Studies (BFA, MA)
  • Studio Arts – Film Production (MFA)
  • Film and Moving Image Studies (PhD)

With degrees reaching the post-graduate level, Concordia’s School of Cinema truly earns its title of being one of the best film production schools in Canada.

Small class sizes mean first- and second-years receive better mentorship; undergrads make a film a year, using either analog or digital techniques (or both); and with the help of a wide array of old and new technologies, students can specialize in an area of their liking in their later years.

Graduate and post-graduate students continue to expand the boundaries of the medium, trailblazing alongside their industry contemporaries.

Will it break the bank?

Tuition for the current 2021 academic year starts at:

  • $4,250 average for a BFA (Resident)
  • $12,600 average for a BFA (International)
  • $8,450 average for an MA or MFA (Resident)
  • $41,400 average for an MA or MFA (International)
  • $12,650 average for a PhD (Resident)
  • $57,300 average for a PhD (International)

Compared to other schools in the list, living in Montreal is relatively more affordable since accommodation and public transit fees are both comparatively low. If you’re wondering if Concordia is worth it, the living fees alone may answer that question for you.


Toronto Film School (Ontario)



Spanning five mini campuses across the city of Toronto, Ontario, one online college, and alumni in various popular Netflix Originals, Toronto Film School (TFS) offers various in-person and online diplomas in a variety of filmmaking fields.

Among other design programs, TFS offers diplomas in:

  • Film Production
  • Acting For Film, TV, & The Theatre
  • Writing For Film & TV
  • Graphic Design and Interactive Media

Online, TFS offers diplomas in:

  • Video Production
  • Writing For Film & TV (Associate Diploma)
  • Visual Effects For Film & TV
  • Graphic Design & Interactive Media

What makes TFS stand out among other film schools is the length and availability of their programs. Terms are three months long, with a full program taking 6 terms to complete; 18 months if done continuously. Programs begin in January, April, July, and October.

Students can expect to work one-on-one on camera and on stage, on their improv and acting skills, and on filling in different roles.

They will gain valuable industry skills in pitching, auditioning, video editing, screenwriting, and managing their career, among other skills. Film Production students are even offered work placement to complete as part of their diploma.

Will it break the bank?

TFS calculates tuition based on the number of terms a student takes, either 4, 6, or 8. Tuition as of October 2020:

  • $22,980 for 4 terms (Resident)
  • $35,044 for 4 terms (International)
  • $35,154 for 6 terms (Resident)
  • $53,610 for 6 terms (International)

Film Production students need 8 terms to complete their education and either 2 or 4 terms for work placement:

  • $40,454 for 8 terms + 2 term work placement (Resident)
  • $58,910 for 8 terms + 2 term work placement (International)
  • $46,072 for 8 terms + 4 term work placement (Resident)
  • $64,528 for 8 terms + 4 term work placement (International)

Is Toronto Film School worth it? Well, TFS’s Film Production work placement grants students valuable real-world experience. It’s worth looking into for a more streamlined career path.


Ryerson University (Ontario)
School of Image Arts



Located at the heart of Toronto, Ontario, Ryerson University is perfect for anybody looking to get involved in the downtown film scene. Their Film degree ranges from sound to cinematography to art production. Third-year-and-up students even have the opportunity to partake in their new Integrated Digital Option.

Working closely with active members of the filmmaking scene, the curriculum is designed to launch the students’ careers with their personal vision at hand.

Ryerson students have a leg-up in defining their work early, with opportunities to showcase their work to the public as they make their mark on the Toronto film scene.

Should they opt for the Integrated Digital Option, students will have the chance to combine analog with digital. They will develop a firm grasp on the creaton of digital content: web-based comic design, video titling, and live streams making up just a few of their options.

Will it break the bank?

Full time tuition for the current 2021 academic year is:

  • $7,271 for Canadian citizens and permanent residents
  • $29,068 for International students

Ryerson’s core downtown location means nearby galleries and indie theatres, limited parking and congested streets, and lively neighborhoods around. The hustle and butle is real, and it’s all around Ryerson.


York University (Ontario)
School of the Arts, Media, Performance, & Design



Another Toronto-based university, York University offers some of the most comprehensive film programs housed in one of the best film colleges in Canada. Offering degrees in all academic levels, the department for Cinema & Media Arts is made up of these programs in filmmaking:

  • Media Arts (BA)
  • Film Production (BA, MFA)
  • Screenwriting (BA, MFA)
  • Cinema and Media Studies (BA, MA, PhD)

As members of the university’s Fine Arts college, students will work alongside both their program’s and fellow AMPD classmates in realizing their passion in film.

Courses in film history, post-production, and sound and video editing are only some of the topics York students can expect to take.

With class sizes never exceeding 25 students in their first years, 15 in their later years, mentorship is a staple at York. Students will be working close with their supervisors and peers as they take advantage of everything York has to offer.

Master’s and PhD students can expect to work in an environment where interdisciplinary students and faculty members expand on the conversations leading the state of film and cinema today.

Will it break the bank?

Tuition fees for the current 2021 academic year are:

  • $7,037 for a Bachelor’s Degree (Resident)
  • $32,416 for a Bachelor’s Degree (International)
  • $8,550 for a Graduate and Post-Graduate Degree (Resident)
  • $32,750 for a Graduate and Post-Graduate Degree (International)

York University’s main campus resides in the northern part of Toronto, meaning it’s a great place for anybody looking to join a tight-knit community. Getting downtown is just a simple 30 minute public transit ride away.


George Brown College (Ontario)
School of Media and Performing Arts



George Brown College is as hands-on as it gets. This Toronto-based college is designed to encourage its students to mingle amongst themselves: film students working with sound designers, video game artists, and fashion designers, among other fields. They offer:

  • Acting for Media (Diploma)
  • Video Design & Production (Diploma)
  • Media Foundation (Certificate)
  • Media Acting (Graduate Intensive Certificate)
  • Screenwriting & Narrative Design (Postgraduate Certificate)
  • Visual Effects (Postgraduate Certificate)

As all colleges go, mentorship in George Brown is one of its strongest suits. Students will receive specialized education in the field they enter.

Coupled with multiple campuses across Toronto, courses in storytelling, motion-capture, and new media are just a taste of the kind of rich education provided here. Students will have ample opportunity to begin their filmmaking careers as they see fit.

As a bonus, George Brown also offers Homestay options, including airport pickup and a couple of packages to choose from for your convenience.

Will it break the bank?

Tuition costs widely vary by program and academic level. Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year start at:

  • $5,000 for Certificates and Diplomas (Resident)
  • $15,190 for Certificates and Diplomas (International)
  • $12,000 for Graduate and Postgraduate Certificates (Resident)
  • $15,480 for Postgraduate Certificates* (International)

* Media Acting (Graduate Intensive Certificate) is not offered to international students.

George Brown’s Homestay options are a leg-up for any international students looking to study in Toronto. They’ll facilitate the process for you, a plus given Toronto’s relatively high living expenses.


Sheridan College (Ontario)
Department of Film, TV, and Journalism


Located just outside of Toronto in the city of Oakville, Ontario, Sheridan boasts its many oscar-nominated and oscar-winning alumni as proof of its influence on the Canadian film industry.

Its department of Film, TV, and Journalism specializes in just those, directing students in the ways of producing attention-worthy documentaries, dedicated broadcast TV anchors, gripping journalists, and more. Among other programs, they offer:

  • Film and Television
  • Makeup for Media and Creative Arts
  • Media Fundamentals
  • Advanced Special Effects Makeup, Prosthetics, and Props (Graduate program)
  • Advanced Television and Film (Graduate program)

While program lengths vary, much of Sheridan’s education relies on real-world experience. Students in Makeup for Media and Creative Arts undergo a work practicum in their second year, much like Film and TV students who participate in a 14-week work placement.

For the graduate programs, they were designed for any type of student in mind. Whether they are freshly graduated, or just looking to add to their working knowledge in the field, anybody is welcome to enrol in these programs.

Will it break the bank?

Tuition costs widely vary by program, length, and level of study. Costs for the entire program starting this current 2021 academic year range from:

  • $5,000 to $9,500 for a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree (Resident)
  • $18,000 to $26,000 for a Certificate, Diploma, or Degree (International)
  • $12,000 to $14,500 for Graduate Certificates (Resident)
  • $24,000 to $31,000 for Graduate Certificates (International)

These fees do include health insurance and ancillary charges. They do not include other resources or equipment fees, though.


Simon Fraser University (British Columbia)
School for the Contemporary Arts



Located in Burnaby, British Columbia, sitting just outside of Vancouver, Simon Fraser University (SFU) provides students with an interdisciplinary experience, as film students work together with other School for the Contemporary Arts students in realizing their projects.

The university’s suburban location is a filmmaker’s dream, balancing Vancouver’s urban visuals in the west with Admirality Point Park’s natural grace in the north.

SFU offers three film programs:

  • Film (BFA)
  • Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts (MA)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts (MFA)

Students at SFU gain the upper hand in their close relationship with both their teachers and classmates. Small class sizes, peer support, and frequent artist visits and talks ensure students graduate equipped with the right filmmaking, networking, and trailblazing skills.

SFU maintains strong connections with broadcasters, festivals, and various industry professionals, making it a great choice for anybody looking to work in different fields in film.

Will it break the bank?

Tuition costs for the current 2021 academic year start at:

  • $6,000 for a Bachelor’s Degree (Resident)
  • $29,400 for a Bachelor’s Degree (International)
  • $4,000* and up for a Graduate Degree (Resident)
  • $4,000* and up for a Graduate Degree (International)

* Tuition costs for Graduate Degrees vary by program. You can visit their website for more information.


Vancouver Film School (British Columbia)



With 15 post-secondary programs to choose from, and 8 campuses across the city, Vancouver Film School (VFS) is made for those looking to hone their filmmaking skills further.

Mainly located in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia, students can expect to work alongside one another in a multitude of programs, including:

  • Acting Essentials
  • Acting for Film & Television
  • Film Production
  • Makeup Design for Film & Television
  • Sound Design
  • Writing for Film, Television, & Games
  • 3D Animation & Visual Effects
  • Classical Animation

Most of VFS’s programs are considered Advanced Programs, as they are dedicated to improving and expanding on the student’s existent skill and knowledge in a field.

The school’s workload is highly involved, spanning everything from pre-production, to planning and shooting, and completing post-production. Students will be specializing in a couple different roles of their choosing throughout their education (e.g. directing or cinematography.)

VFS also offers industry, joint, and “Short Duration” programs for those looking to get additional experience in the field. VFS’s curricula ensure students will have usable demo reels and real-world experience to boost their chances of making it beyond academia.

Will it break the bank?

Depending on your program, tuition costs will widely vary. For example, for the current academic year:

  • $20,500 for a 12-month Diploma in Acting for Film and Television (Resident)
  • $30,500 for a 12-month Diploma in Acting for Film and Television (International)
  • $37,000 for a 12-month Diploma in Film Production (Resident)
  • $53,750 for a 12-month Diploma in Film Production (International)

Vancouver is well-known for its expensive living conditions. Is it worth attending college for a 12-month diploma? It could just be what you’re looking for to get a leg-up in your skill base and experience.


University of British Columbia (BC)
Department of Theatre & Film



Hosting 65,000+ students across two main campuses, and producing some of Canada’s most celebrated film industry members, University of British Columbia (UBC) has no shortage of opportunities for any aspiring filmmaker.

It’s proudly been a staple of filmmaking for decades, easily making it one of the best filmmaking universities in Canada. The university offers the Theatre and Film Degree, with programs in:

  • Film Studies (BA)
  • Acting (BFA)
  • Directing (MFA)
  • Design and Production (BFA, MFA)
  • Film Production (BFA, MFA)
  • Film Production & Creative Writing (MFA)
  • Theatre Studies (BA, MA, PhD)
  • Cinema and Media Studies (MA, PhD)

Education at UBC is interdisciplinary and streamlined. Students have access to industry standard resources, such as the video editing softwares Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, as well as green screen technology, among other things.

The curricula are designed to arm the students with working knowledge and experience.

Students are encouraged to foster a sense of independent curiousity and reliability. It paves the way to their success, with comprehensive Master’s and PhD programs available to them should they seek to specialize.

Will it break the bank?

Much like any other university, tuition costs vary by program and citizenship. An example of tuition for the first year of study for Bachelor’s students for the current academic year is:

  • $5,500 for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • $39,600 for an international student

Consider staying at UBC’s residence for the first couple years. One of the best opportunities at a university is getting to live the dormitory experience. You never know what long-term friendships will be born in those halls.


Best Film Production Programs in Canada 2021



Let’s face it:

Careers in film are challenging yet rewarding, especially if it’s something you love.

Should you want to do cinema studies bachelor/master’s/graduate programs, refer to this list of the best filmmaking schools in Canada, with starting information on tuition costs and what to expect going in.

Regardless of your choice, rest assured your education from any one of these schools will involve mentorship from industry veterans, access to all the relevant resources, and the knowledge to succeed in the ever-expanding Canadian film industry.

Good luck!

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