Associate Degree of Film

Film students working with a camera
Available at
Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
FEE Help available
Associate Degree of Film
Domestic Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $3,807
4 x $2,728
1 x $5,456
2 x $8,184

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$47,964 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

FEE-HELP Available
Associate Degree of Film
International Fees

Units x Costs ($AUD)
4 x $4,439
4 x $3,178
1 x $6,356
2 x $9,534

Indicative Total Course Fee*
$55,892 AUD
Plus Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

* The Indicative Total Course Fee & Indicative Annual Course Fees reflects that students are charged fees on a per unit basis and the fee for a unit may increase.

For more information view the SAE Fee Schedule or visit the Fee & Payment page.

4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

Associate Degree of Film
Course Durations
4 Trimesters Full Time (Fast Track)

Complete your course faster by studying units over 15 months. (4 trimesters)

6 Trimesters Full Time

Whilst still classified as a full-time study load, you will complete the units over two years. (6 trimesters)

Part-time option available

If you want to take a little longer, that’s ok too. We’ll help you work out the best study load to suit your needs.

Note: Part-time is not available for international students.

We understand that things can change, so you'll have the flexibility to change your study load throughout your course if you need to.
Start Date(s)
May 2024
Associate Degree of Film
Start Dates
  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

Byron Bay
  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

  • May 2024

  • September 2024

  • February 2025

Entry Requirements
Associate Degree of Film
Domestic Entry Requirements
Domestic students must meet one of the following criteria:
Completion of a Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (QCE, WACE, HSC, SACE, etc) (like your Year 12 certificate or equivalent); OR
Completion of a Diploma level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Completion of a Certificate IV level qualification issued under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); OR
Experience-Based Entry – for applicants who do not meet the requirements of entry criteria above.
More info
Associate Degree of Film
International Entry Requirements
International Entry Requirements
Minimum age requirements
International students seeking admission to SAE must be 18 years of age OR must be turning 18 during their first trimester of studies at SAE.
Academic requirements
Successful completion of secondary school studies (assessed as an equivalent of Australian Year 12 secondary studies). Minimum overall pass is required.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing Sydney (IELTS): An overall score of 6.0 or higher with no individual band lower than 5.5 (only the Academic Test is accepted), OR
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 73 overall (internet-based test), OR
Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic score of 46 or higher, OR
Completion of Year 12 English in an Australian secondary school or college or equivalent with a minimum result of “Satisfactory” or equivalent.
More info
Successful completion of an Academic English program with an SAE-approved Australian-based English partner. Please refer to our SAE International Study Pathways for more information.
More info


The Associate Degree of Film course at SAE puts you in the spotlight from day one, helping you gain the practical experience and technical knowledge needed to launch yourself in the world of motion pictures.

Starting with the fundamentals and rolling through to the finer, more complex aspects of cinematography, you’ll acquire a very particular set of skills during your time at SAE. Choose to specialise in either Production – where the focus is on directing and producing, or Post-Production – where you’ll refine your skills in editing, compositing, and colour grading.

Your growth and development as a creative practitioner will be assessed through the completion of industry-based projects. This will ultimately help you build up a body of work and portfolio to share with potential employers or your first client.

In preparation for an industry that commands agility and adaptability, you’ll cut your creative teeth on projects alongside your peers. As your skills develop and you work on more dynamic projects, you’ll apply your experience to cross-discipline projects in audio, games, design, or animation. By the end of your course, you could be collaborating with fellow students across all SAE’s disciplines.

With an Associate Degree of Film, you’ll be ready for cutting-edge industry roles using modern creative business concepts and strategies. Career options include Video Editor, Film Producer, Broadcast Specialist, or Camera Assistant.

Making the leap from being a fan of the film to becoming a force in the film happens at SAE.

Man with baseball cap pushes a cart on wheels. Backstage from main stage - curtains and other people under big top tent.

Career Outcomes

What jobs will this course lead to?

  • Director
  • Assistant Editor
  • Broadcast Designer
  • Production Designer
  • Production Assistant
  • Producer
  • Camera Assistant
  • Screenwriter
  • Visual Effects Artist
  • Creative/Content Producer

Why study an Associate Degree of Film at SAE?

Students Filming in Green Screen Wonder Room. SAE Sydney
Access and develop skills in world class studio environments Develop skills using equipment like 4K Red, Sony and Canon cameras and learn advanced techniques and management strategies to apply to industry software like DaVinci Resolve colour grading software, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Practical, immersive training Learn as you collaborate on real-world projects and briefs. Build a portfolio to share with an employer or first client.
Cross discipline collaboration Use your developing skills in film and collaborate with audio specialists, artists, designers, game developers and animators.
Flexible course options Completing two of the three stages of the Bachelor of Film, this course provides an excellent pathway into the Bachelor.


Tools & Software

Film Skills

High-level cinematography Directing Production Post production Lighting Sound Visual effects skills


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Course Structure

The Associate Degree of Film has two stages that provide foundational learning and applied skill.
Yellow. Infographic explaining Trimesters 1-6 for the Diploma, Associate Degree and Bachelor Film courses at SAE.
Stage 1: Foundations
Develop the essential technical film skills and the knowledge required to collaborate with other creative media students and professionals.
Credit points: 10

This unit introduces you to the fundamental principles of screen studies, including theory and history, to explore ways in which these principles are connected to screen practice. Emphasis is placed on how these concepts and approaches work within screen production, allowing you to develop analytical, critical reflection and creative thinking skills by applying your understanding of topics in project-based activities. Finally, this unit should assist you in becoming more critically aware of your craft and introduce you to ways of developing your knowledge of screen production.
Credit points: 10

This unit aims to instil a basic working knowledge of the structures, aesthetics and technologies involved in digital post-production. There is a particular emphasis on the editing process, as well as a general introduction to audio mixing, titling, colour grading and authoring processes within an industry-level non-linear editing tool.

Editing techniques and approaches vary between different mediums and this unit focuses on both documentary and drama workflows and file management protocols. Effective communication of narrative is the main focus of the unit, and you will learn to edit for narrative clarity, performance, subtext and dramatic effect. Historical and contemporary perspectives on montage theory and continuity editing theory will be explored to broaden your understanding and approach to the art of editing.
Credit points: 10

You will be introduced to the theory and principles of storytelling across a range of contemporary creative media contexts, which will then be applied to the creation of storytelling documents appropriate to your discipline. Theoretical approaches to plot, structure, character, story world, theme and genre will be explored and applied to a range of story development tools to engage your audience. Feedback processes and reflection are essential in the development of engaging stories, and you are expected to document your process and feedback from your facilitator and peers.
Credit points: 10

In this unit, students will draw upon practical theories of screenwriting and engage in industry standard iterative practices to produce high quality screenplays for short film production. The unit will introduce strategies for concept development, provide students with the opportunity to refine supporting documentation such a synopsis, outline or treatment, and guide students in applying stylistic conventions and narrative theories to their story ideas. The unit focuses on communicating strong characters and story worlds on the page, and crafting effective dialogue and scenes that engage audiences emotionally. Screenwriting is a learned craft that requires discipline, perseverance and an understanding of industry practice. You will engage with professional feedback processes as you develop your story concepts through to script stage, and then a pitch deck and final draft script.
Credit points: 10

In this unit, students will strengthen and consolidate their emerging filmmaking skills through the application of industry standard directing and producing techniques. The unit will introduce key principles of scene analysis and directing for students to produce a short showreel scene, and guide students to the best praxical application of directing and producing protocols.  The unit focuses on the essential collaboration of directors and producers to work together to deliver high-quality, on-screen outcomes such as complex and realistic actor performances, and a shared creative vision.  Understanding the roles of the director and producer and the need to support each other in a collaborative group to realise the best possible on-screen outcomes  is an essential part of professional filmmaking, and will establish and hone transferable skills necessary for your work at SAE and beyond.
Credit points: 10

You will be introduced to the craft of filmmaking through participation in practical film shoots. An introduction to camera, lighting and sound equipment will be supported by a study of the fundamentals of frame composition and cinematography. Key roles and responsibilities of a working film crew as well as production processes and protocols are covered, including workplace health and safety. Familiarity with the equipment and its safe assembly and use is as important in this subject as the technical and creative elements.
Credit points: 10

Sound in the environment is crucial in our daily lives and in the production of nearly all media. When working with sound, we constantly desire to control our acoustic environment in the first instance to obtain uncontaminated recordings and, secondly, to clinically listen to and work with these recordings. The goal of this Unit is to guide you through and expose you to various disciplines of sound and sound recording that exist outside of the controlled environment of the studio—to lead through sonic encounters with the world around us. From Film sound and its associated location recordings, documentary recordings and acoustic ecology to recreating these environments through Foley recording, this Unit aims to expose you to practical and theoretical experience with location sound. Exploring recording devices, microphones and microphone techniques to multi-track digital audio workstations (DAWs)– this course expands through ideas and practices of location sound, exposing these components and exploring their connection to various media.
Credit points: 10

This unit will introduce you to the mindset and skillset of the creative entrepreneur, and transform your approach to problem-solving. You will analyse historical and contemporary models of leadership and best practice in entrepreneurship, and use tools for project design that include ideation, problem framing, and pitching. The skills in this unit will assist you in developing your creative thinking, exploration, and experimentation methods, allowing you to experiment with project design and content for creative media.
Stage 2: Refine & Expand
Broaden your scope to work on complex multidisciplinary projects in accordance with industry standard practices.
Credit points: 10

In CIM210 you will be working on interdisciplinary projects that relate to some of the most important concepts in contemporary media production. You will learn practical and analytical skills in order to help you develop your creative powers and meet briefs that take you out of your comfort zone. You will need to bring all of the skills you have learned so far: technical skills, research skills, communication skills and a growth mindset, and be prepared to encounter new concepts and new ways of working.
Credit points: 10

Media and culture are not simply entertainment, but something that affects the “real world”, our everyday lives, and our worldviews. As such, we will not ask whether media accurately reflect the real world but instead ask how media shape, reinforce, and challenge power structures that influence our understanding of the world and ourselves. This unit takes a ‘critical theory’ approach to analyze media and culture. In this unit, you will explore media texts, contexts and meaning, society and subjectivity, pop culture aesthetics, and critical cultural discourses that inform creative media practices.

Drawing on a range of creative content and analytical frameworks, you will be encouraged to develop ways of thinking about media and culture that demonstrate a broad awareness of aesthetic principles and stylistic trends; subjectivity, agency, ethics, and relations of power; contexts, disciplines and discursive formations. In support of this exploration, you will produce a range of media artifacts that explore and contextualize the relationship of media to culture through individual analysis, collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practice, and critical reflection.

Credit points: 20

In this unit, you will step into the dynamic world of filmmaking, mirroring industry processes from conception to distribution. Through hands-on experience, you will navigate the stages of development, pre-production, principal photography, post-production, and distribution. Emphasising a real-world approach, you will collaborate on creating a short film, honing your skills in creative leadership and teamwork as you specialise in a critical production role. FLM216 fosters a holistic understanding of the filmmaking craft and prepares you for the challenges and opportunities in the landscape of the industry.
Credit points: 10

In this unit, you will expand your knowledge in the areas of camera and lighting, which are essential skills required to have a career as a Director of Photography. The skills you learn in this unit can be applied to any form of film/TV production; short films, documentaries, music videos, TV commercials etc. You will learn to use technically advanced cameras, prime lenses and follow-focus units, as well as learn to shoot in LOG format and utilise LUTS to enhance the look of your footage. Lighting fixtures will be introduced, starting with standard three-point lighting set-ups, and then utilised in studio shooting scenarios including day/night interiors and also green screen sequences. Further focus will be placed on effective shot coverage and framing techniques in both drama and documentary settings.  
Credit points: 30

FLM213 introduces you to the world of documentary filmmaking. This unit has the same delivery structure as Film Studio 2, but the focus shifts from narrative fiction to documentary. You will need to draw on all the storytelling and technical skills you have learned to date, while being introduced to new concepts and practices that are applicable to the documentary genre. During the delivery of this unit, your facilitator will oversee a number of theory sessions and practical workshops that will increase your knowledge and practical skill base. Then, solo or in collaboration with your peers, you will develop and deliver a documentary project.
CRICOS Course Codes
103290F (4 TRIMESTERS) 080181E (6 TRIMESTERS)
Australian Qualifications Framework
We consult closely with industry professionals so you can expect a course that’s highly relevant and equips you with sought-after skills.


Here are some frequently asked questions.

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FEE‑HELP* is an Australian Government loan scheme that assists eligible fee paying students pay all or part of their tuition fees. It cannot be used for additional study costs such as accommodation or text books. The total amount of FEE‑HELP a person can use is known as the ‘FEE‑HELP limit’.

Once a person begins using FEE‑HELP, the amount of FEE‑HELP they have left to use is known as their ‘FEE‑HELP balance’.

* Terms and conditions apply. For the latest updates regarding FEE-HELP please refer to

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Equipment is available for on and off campus production work, with some changes to the hire and use of equipment, guided by health and hygiene protocols. We have made some slight adjustments to teaching and assessments to ensure that projects will not be impacted. For more information about hiring equipment and booking studios, please contact Student Services or the Tech Team at your campus.

SAE film students

Easy transition into the Bachelor of Film

SAE Diploma, Associate and Bachelor Degrees are structured in an integrated course framework.

This means that when you complete an SAE Associate Degree of Film you will be awarded the maximum credit points available, providing you with the opportunity to seamlessly transition into the higher level Bachelor degree qualification if you choose to do so.


SAE may recognise your prior learning and may grant credit towards satisfying the requirements for a higher-level program. This is applied where previous learning is considered equivalent to the content and learning outcomes prescribed for units within the program.
For full details, please refer to SAE's policy on recognition of prior learning and credit transfers.
A multidisciplinary creative industries work set including film, audio, music, performance, project managing and directing.


With our industry connections, specialised teachers and personalised education in world-class facilities, you can unleash your creative future with confidence.
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