Develop the tools essential for working as a cinematographer. Gain a thorough understanding of current cinematography and camera techniques.

This program is perfect for...

  • Aspiring cinematographers/directors of photography
  • Individuals pursuing careers as camera operators
  • Entertainment professionals interested in expanding their filmmaking expertise
  • Students seeking insights about the technical craft of shooting films

What you can learn.

  • Fundamental principles of cinematography
  • Learn how to effectively tell a visual story by utilizing tools such as lighting, composition and camera movements
  • Understand digital camera formats and how to select the right one for your project
  • Develop a personal aesthetic and visual style across film genres

Become a visual storyteller.

camera operator

The UCLA Extension Cinematography Certificate program is designed for aspiring cinematographers or camera operators. The curriculum includes foundation courses, camera techniques and digital technology skill-building and the space to develop an individual aesthetics and artistic points of view. Certificate program students will gain a strong foundation in the theory and tools of cinematography, and have many opportunities for hands-on experiences.

Courses are taught by industry experts who combine real-world experience with the latest techniques and technology.

Duration: 9 months (full-time) to 3 years
Unit Requirement: 36
GPA Requirement: Minimum 3.0 for certificate completion

This certificate is approved for international students to study full time in the U.S. on an F-1 visa.

International students must meet English language proficiency requirements for admission into the program.

While most certificate programs begin each quarter, some have limited intakes for students studying on F-1 visa. Find this program on the Browse Certificate Programs page to confirm entry quarters before applying.

Learn more:


Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

Foundation Courses
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
FILM TV X 476.581
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Required Cinematography Courses
FILM TV X 478.27A
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
FILM TV X 478.27B
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
FILM TV X 479.302
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
FILM TV X 478.283
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
FILM TV X 478.282
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
FILM TV X 478.301
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
Elective Courses
Complete 1 elective (4 units) from courses number X 400-499 in Film & TV. Below is a list of suggested electives. 
Suggested Electives
FILM TV X 478.9
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
FILM TV X 476.95
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
FILM TV X 475.44
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
FILM TV X 479.613
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
FILM TV X 477.84
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Entry Quarter

  • Domestic students may begin the program in any quarter.
  • International students (F-1 student visa) are only eligible for entry in the fall or spring. Plan your studies.

Required Materials

Cinematography students must have access to a digital video camera, light meter, and other photographic equipment.

Students are responsible for their own production costs.

Choosing the Best Camera

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee


Estimated Program Tuition


Estimated program textbook/materials


*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

**Federal Financial Aid Gainful Employment Disclosures

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our Financial Aid page.

An internship in film and television can provide you with practical experience in a variety of job functions. Certificate students must complete a minimum of 12 units of program curriculum (3 courses) before completing the application for approval to enroll in an internship.

Learn More

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

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