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This Film Studies MA is an innovative programme which situates film at the centre of a range of critical and historical debates. The course covers a wide variety of classical and contemporary cinemas, including examples from British, American, European, and global traditions, exploring them through a range of theoretical approaches. The course enables you to develop your skills of critical and textual analysis, leading to greater appreciation and understanding of the central role cinema has played – and continues to play – in shaping our world.
This MA offers the opportunity to carry out research into a variety of areas, including gender and sexuality on screen; philosophy and film; industry and independents in New Hollywood; contemporary British, European and transnational traditions; and experimental and avant-garde cinema.
If you are interested in further research, this course provides an excellent foundation for MPhil/PhD study.
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
You will study all that is new, vital and innovative in contemporary and emergent cinemas. As well as evaluating and critically analysing a range of perspectives on cinema in light of contemporary developments, shifting cultural alliances and patterns of cross-fertilisations, you will be introduced to the main areas of debate in the history of film criticism.
Your dissertation will demonstrate your detailed research into a topic of your choice, including current theoretical and methodological debates relevant to the subject area, as well as an understanding of the historical and cultural context.
Current modules focus on European and transnational cinematic traditions, post-1960 British cinema, film and philosophy, film and adaptation, avant-garde and experimental cinema, and cinematic animals. You'll be expected to complete 180 credits altogether and can choose two optional modules worth 30 credits each.
You will be introduced to a range of ways of understanding cinema and encouraged to undertake original research into a wide variety of cinematic case studies. The course will equip you with the knowledge and skills to understand film from an historical perspective and to recognise its continued relevance in shaping contemporary debates.
This year-long module will provide the theoretical core to the MA Film Studies programme. It aims to explore a set of theoretical paradigms that have shaped the study of film and will approach the subject from an historical, formal, and theoretical perspective. It will introduce students to a range of cinematic examples that will provide the focus for discussion and analysis. Examples will be drawn from classical cinema, art cinema, and experimental cinema, and will encompass both historical and contemporary work. The module will be taught through a series of seminars that will give students the opportunity to explore both films and texts in considerable detail, allowing them to consider how the medium has engaged with a range of theoretical debates over the course of its history.
Film and Philosophy explores the many ways in which philosophy and film can form a productive relationship. Beginning in TB1 with a set of preliminary discussions of film aesthetics, it then looks at how cinema can be used to teach philosophy, to reflect philosophy, and to create philosophy. In teaching philosophy (weeks 3-4), we will look at recent 'high-concept' cinema as a teaching tool for philosophy. The films chosen will be mostly mainstream ones such as The Matrix, Memento, Total Recall, AI, Crimes and Misdemeanours, and Gattaca, and will look at the efficacy of film to teach topics such as time, personal identity, freedom, reality and appearance, the existence of God, and good and evil. Weeks 5 to 9 move beyond the mode of illustrating traditional philosophical arguments to examining some philosophical interpretations of filmic representation itself, be it as a physical medium (Deleuze), a metaphysical narrative (Cavell) or an unconscious symbol (Å½iÅ¾ek). We subsequently look at the way in which film can be placed within the context of philosophical aesthetics, forming a conceptual bridge with the philosophy lectures on the Philosophy of Art History and the film studies lectures on the Avant Garde.
The lectures in TB2 will focus on how film-art can create philosophy through its narrative, visual, and auditory structure: here we will discuss whether film itself can philosophise about the world without reducing itself to extant textual forms of philosophy. Concepts discussed include film ethics, phenomenological film of the body, gender and feminism, adaptation, Freudianism, and Comedy. We will also have lectures that build conceptual bridges with lectures ongoing in philosophy (Art Theory, Recent French Philosophy).
The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on skills of critical research, analysis and presentation, the capstone project enables you to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. It provides them with the opportunity to craft their own approach to the field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research, supported by a series of taught sessions, enabling a depth and breadth of engagement with research methods. The Major Project can accommodate research projects developed through a range of academic and professional contexts depending on the motivation and interests of the student. It can be presented either as a dissertation or as a creative project, such as a portfolio comprising a chosen medium or media, accompanied by a critical commentary. The intensity of the workload increases across the three teaching blocks, allowing increasing focus in line with the level of your expertise.
This module examines the way in which the genres of Horror and Cartoon Comedy splice animals and humans together to create frightening or comical visions of both. There is a long history in cinema of humanising the animal ('anthropomorphism') and animalising the human ('theriomorphism'), through hybrids of animal and human beings (werewolves, man-beasts from Greek myth), or animal and human behaviour, as when feeding (vampires, zombies) or in political behaviour (invading alien monsters). We will analyse the narrational methods, cinematic technologies, ethics, and politics of these films by looking at contemporary examples including Twilight, Daybreakers, Red Dragon, The Island of Dr Moreau, Splice, X-Men, Up!, Antz, Happy Feet, District 9 and Alien.
This module examines the hybrid and diverse nature of British cinema from the early 1960s to the present day. The central focus of this course will be the relationship between British cinema and national identity. Students will not only investigate the ways in which British cinema reflects national consciousness, but examine the ways in which it has shaped and contributed towards it. In so doing, students will explore the multiple ways in which British cinema has both reflected and produced sociohistorical, cultural and political change. This module will focus on a diverse range of key British film genres (related to British national identity), auteurs and movements, examining the socio-historical, cultural and cinematic not only their relationship with society, but the industrial and economic factors that have determined their production and reception.
There is an alternative history of cinema to the one written by Hollywood: this module sets out to explore the tremendous range of films made by avant-garde and experimental filmmakers, and to give a sense of cinematic imaginations unconstrained by the vicissitudes of commerce and conformity. The module will provide both a broad survey of the historical avant-garde, and to explore contemporary developments in experimental film and video.
This module will provide an insight into the classic Hollywood cinema's approach to issues relating to female sexuality. It will investigate the studio star industry with case studies of female stars, including Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. It will trace the development of the depiction of gender and sexuality on screen within their socio-political contexts (such as the Hays Code).
The module will explore the principal features of some of the archetypal ‘bad' women on screen, investigating the ideologies and aesthetics which have shaped the cinematic representations of femininity. The module will also map the development of specific female archetypes on screen from the screen ‘goddess' or diva (and her appeal for the male and female fans), through the stereotypes of the man-eating vamp and the female tramp to the child woman or ‘Lolita' type.
This one semester module is an elective primarily offered to students taking an MA in Media & Communication or an MA in Film but it is also relevant to those taking postgraduate degrees in politics, political communication, human rights and conflict. It deals with some of the most hotly debated issues in different societies about how to balance core freedoms (expression, press and protest) with the state protecting what and who may be potentially harmed by certain forms of expression through censorship. Even then these remain open debates as new forms of subversion and resistance emerge with new technologies or through the use of the body to express protest. The module explores these at two levels. The first outlines different approaches to and principles governing censorship depending on whether expression is through images; words, ideas and beliefs; information; and action. These are then explored in more depth in sessions that draw on staff specialisms here, for instance, in film, news, information-privacy, protest movements, etc.
The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a Master's programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific professional skills in their chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for their subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform their decisions about future careers.
The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject-specific professional skills in your chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
A second class degree or above in a humanities subject (Film, Media Studies, Languages, History, English, etc) or in the History of Art, Fine Art or other studio-based subjects which include an art historical or contextual studies component, or another area appropriate to the degree.
Consideration is also given to non-standard entrants with relevant work experience that demonstrates the necessary skills and intellectual achievement required to undertake the course.
We warmly welcome mature students.
We normally invite applicants for an interview with the course director or another senior member of the teaching team. International students based overseas can arrange for an interview by email or telephone.
You'll be assessed through a range of essays, presentations, research projects, and a dissertation.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
Year 1: 11% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Type of teaching and learning
Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation/major project). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 10-12 students and lecture sizes are normally 8-15. However this can vary by module and academic year.
The Faculty's combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career. The Faculty provides a vibrant and forward-thinking environment for study with:
The Faculty's combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including our specialist film and media labs, equipped with iMacs running software including Final Cut Studio Pro and the Adobe Creative Suite.
Students also have access to a film studio facility with backgrounds and green wall, as well as a fully equipped audio recording facility running Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
The library, based in our fantastic new Town House, offers:
Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of film-related resources, including:
It is difficult to imagine a film studies course with more to offer... The wide and varied range of notable guest lecturers is just one aspect of this course that demonstrates the care and planning taking place behind the scenes. You'd be hard pressed to find a better course in this particular field.
After completing the Film Studies MA I went to work at the BBC as a broadcast media co-ordinator, in its Information and Archives Department.
I really enjoyed the course at Kingston as it was so varied and very focused on world cinema, which I am particularly interested in. I found the tutors very supportive, especially whilst I was researching my dissertation. The University also has a wealth of resources to support various research interests.
As well as helping me to continue developing my academic writing skills and personal interest in the diversity of cinema, this course gave me the opportunity to study and contribute within an intimate, mature working environment with a group of like-minded people week after week, which made a welcome change from previous years of being part of a crowd. The tutors in particular were always accommodating and willing to help me shape essay ideas and understand initially difficult theoretical concepts. They consistently struck me as being knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their respective subjects.
My year as a film student at Kingston University has been a very positive experience. We studied a wide variety of interesting modules, from European Film to Asian cinema, and I enjoyed every single one of the classes throughout the year. The fact that we were such a small class allowed us to fully participate and made the modules even more interactive and interesting. To sum up, this masters has been a very interesting and enjoyable experience that I would not hesitate to repeat.
Patricia Pérez Álvarez
The MA is a rigorous academic programme that offers a great deal of intellectual stimulation. I've really enjoyed the research element and getting together with fellow students for discussions. Many of the students are younger than I am, and are aiming to use the MA to progress their careers. I was not planning a career change, but it was always fun working with the younger students. As I work full-time, studying in my spare time was quite onerous. But after two years' hard work I've achieved an MA and it was worth it.
I came to Kingston as an international student from America. During the course and after graduation, I worked for the British Film Institute, assisting the facilities manager at the National Film Theatre and IMAX Cinema in Waterloo. I also had the opportunity to work on location during the filming of '28 Weeks Later' under the supervision of the location manager.
I very much enjoyed my experience at Kingston, which has given me the background in film theory that I didn't have before, being on the technical end of filmmaking.
Graduates from the MA in Film Studies have gone on to a variety of roles within industry and education. This includes work in film marketing and distribution, film programming, journalism, and editing, and a variety of roles in archiving and curating. Several students developed ideas first encountered on the Film Studies MA into successful PhD projects, and have gone on to pursue careers in education and research.
Many of our Film Studies postgraduates have progressed to exciting roles as:
Many of the staff in the Kingston School of Art are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies. Research in film aims to:
Research in film has a particular expertise in:
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.