Develop essential tools for working as a cinematographer. This program will provide 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 looking to expand their filmmaking expertise
  • Learners interested in delving into the technical craft involved in shooting films

What you can learn.

  • Fundamental principles of cinematography
  • Utilizing lighting, composition, camera movement, and other tools to effectively tell a visual story
  • Understanding digital camera formats and selecting the right one for your project
  • Adapting to different film genres and developing a personal aesthetic and visual style

Visual Storytelling

camera operator

The Cinematography Certificate is designed for those who want to become cinematographers or camera operators. After taking a series of foundation courses, students build skills in camera techniques and digital technologies while developing an individual aesthetic and artistic point of view. Through this certificate, students gain a strong foundation in the practical theory and tools of cinematography and have many opportunities for hands-on experience.

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

What our certificates have done for our students.


feel a certificate helped them enhance their careers

1 in 4

received a salary increase after starting a certificate program


switched careers after completing a certificate program


recommend a certificate program to others

Source: UCLA Extension Certificate Graduates Survey


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.

Additional 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

This certificate is approved for international students (F-1 student visa).

International students may only start this certificate program in fall or spring quarter only.

Students participating in courses offered solely by UCLA Extension must meet the English Language Requirements outlined below. Any international student interested in taking classes on UCLA’s main campus must adhere to the English Requirements outlined for UCLA courses.

Acceptable tests and minimum scores

Scores that are equal to or higher than the listed minimum scores from the following tests, taken within the past two years, can satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

  • TOEFL: 80 (iBT)
  • IELTS: 6.5
  • iTEP: 4.5
  • CAE: B (CEFR C1)
  • CPE: C (CEFR C2)
  • TOEIC: 685
  • DUOLINGO (DET): 105

While no other type of test score is accepted in general, students who are affected by test center closures may request an exception to submit an alternate test score.

International Baccalaureates (IB) students or students currently enrolled in an academic institution where the primary language of instruction is English may submit an official academic transcript or verification of enrollment from their school as proof of English proficiency.

Learn more:

International Students: How to Apply

Academic Requirements & English Language Proficiency

Contact Us

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