Film Studies MA

Why choose this course?

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.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2022
Part time 2 years September 2022
Location Penrhyn Road

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • You will study a wide variety of classical, contemporary and emergent cinemas including examples from British, American, European and global traditions.
  • Kingston's location is ideal for accessing the many film-based resources in London, such as the British Film Institute (the largest film archive in the world).
  • You will be able to attend Kingston's specialist film conferences on wide-ranging topics, from gothic voyages to Stanley Kubrick and Iris Murdoch to Literary London.

The Art School Experience

As part of Kingston School of Art, students on this course benefit from joining a creative community where collaborative working and critical practice are encouraged.

Our workshops and studios are open to all disciplines – enabling students and staff to work together, share ideas and explore multi-disciplinary making.

The Art School Experience

What you will study

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.

Modules

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.

Core modules

Film History Theory and Analysis

30 credits

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

30 credits

Film and Philosophy is one of the two core modules on the Film Studies MA. It explores the many ways in which Philosophy and Film can form a productive relationship, from using film to illustrate key ideas from the history of philosophy, to suggesting ways in which film can itself be said to engage in new types of philosophical thinking. The module will provide you with an overview of many of the central debates in the field, and will illustrate them with reference to a wide range of cinematic examples, but it will also encourage you to develop your own Film-Philosophical investigations. The module runs for the whole of the academic year, and is divided into a set of Module Topics, each with their own particular focus, but which build to provide you with a broad understanding of the subject.

Major Project

60 credits

The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on critical research, analysis, and presentation, the capstone project enables students to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. The module provides students with an extensive programme of training and resources which are designed to aid them in the development, planning, research, and writing of their projects. It brings together students from several MA programmes in the School of Critical Studies and Creative Industries and embeds a range of interdisciplinary and practice-led approaches to their respective fields of study. It provides students with the opportunity to craft their own approach to their field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research. 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 written 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.

Optional modules

Cinematic Animals: Monsters, Beasts, and Humans on Film

30 credits

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, insect-men, lizard men), or animal and human behaviour, as when feeding (vampires, zombies, cannibals) 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 The Fly, Red Dragon,  District 9,  Antz!, and Beauty and The Beast.

British Cinema 1960s to Today

30 credits

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. We will not only investigate the ways in which British cinema reflects national consciousness, but we will examine how it has shaped and contributed to it. In so doing, we will explore the multiple ways in which British cinema both reflects and produces socio-historical, cultural and political change. 

On this module you will study various key post-1960 British film genres including social realism, the gangster film and the British pop/rock film. We will consider various British and transnational auteurs such as Joseph Losey, Stanley Kubrick and Ken Russell and will address significant debates in British film studies around stardom, Queer Cinema, Black and Asian cinema, women directors and regional British film. In doing so the module will explore not only their relationship with society, but the industrial and economic factors that have determined their production.

Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Cinema

30 credits

The module will explore the relationship between cinema as a cultural phenomenon of the modern age, and the production of gendered identities and stardom. The module offers a survey of the forms of identification the cinema has provided, and examines some recurring popular types and their meaning in relation to the contexts that produce them. The module draws from  feminist ideas and semiotics to discover continuities in terms of traditional representation and meanings in the construction of gender. It examines how popular discourses attempt to resolve the tensions between traditional moral and feminist positions and commodification, as well as identify the cinematic practices that might challenge these.

Film and Adaptation

30 credits

This module introduces students to key theories around the adaptation of novels (and graphic novels) to film (and TV and theatre) through a varied range of case studies from Shakespeare to James Joyce, from Alice in Wonderland to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, from Pride and Prejudice to Watchmen. It engages with ideas like fidelity - can an adaptation ever be truly 'faithful' to the original? - and theoretical concepts such as structuralism, poststructuralism, and intertextuality. The assessment offers students a choice between traditional essays, creative scriptwriting or a combination of the two.

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A 2:2 or above honours degree 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.

Additional requirements

Interviews

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.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Country-specific information

You will find more information on country specific entry requirements in the International section of our website.

Find your country:

Teaching and assessment

You'll be assessed through a range of essays, presentations, research projects, and a dissertation.

Guided independent study (self-managed time)

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.

Support for postgraduate students

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.

Your workload

Year 1: 11% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of learning and teaching

Type of learning and teaching
  • Scheduled learning and teaching: 161 hours
  • Guided independent study (self-managed time): 1312 hours

How you will be assessed

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

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

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.

Who teaches this course?

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:

  • courses designed in collaboration with industry professionals – keeping you up to date with the latest developments;
  • established connections with the London arts and media scene – with a range of guest speakers, professors and lecturers visiting the University; and
  • committed and enthusiastic staff – many of whom are expert practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers.

The Faculty's combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career.

Fees for this course

2022/23 fees for this course

Home 2022/23

  • MA full time £8,560
  • MA part time £4,708

International 2022/23

  • MA full time £16,300
  • MA part time £8,965

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MA full time £7,685
  • MA part time £4,227

International 2021/22

  • MA full time £15,800
  • MA part time £8,690

Tuition fee information for future course years

If you start your second year straight after Year 1, you will pay the same fee for both years.

If you take a break before starting your second year, or if you repeat modules from Year 1 in Year 2, the fee for your second year may increase.

Funding and bursaries

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:

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs that are not covered by tuition fees which students will need to consider when planning their studies. Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, access to shared IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Textbooks

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to buy your own copy of key textbooks, this can cost between £50 and £250 per year.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses. You may wish to purchase your own computer, which can cost £100 to £3,000 depending on your course requirements.

Photocopying and printing

In the majority of cases written coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing, binding and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees, this may cost up to £100 per year.

Travel

Travel costs are not included in your tuition fees but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses, Surbiton train station, Kingston upon Thames train station, Norbiton train station and halls of residence.

Facilities

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.

General facilities

The library, based in our fantastic new Town House, offers:

  • Subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area
  • Online database subscriptions
  • A wide selection of resource materials.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30-minute train journey from central London. Here you can access a wealth of film-related resources, including:

  • Specialist cinemas – such as the National Film Theatre and the IMAX cinema
  • Organisations such as the British Film Institute (BFI)
  • Film festivals – including the annual Raindance Film Festival and events run by the BFI.

What our students and graduates say

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.

John Sells

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.

Sonja Gabriel

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.

Andrew Rutherford

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.

Mari Zadeh

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.

Michelle Carr

After you graduate

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:

  • Film Programmer/Exhibitor
  • Film Journalist
  • Lecturer/Academic
  • Archivist/Curator

Research areas

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:

  • explore the expanding points of intersection between these three areas;
  • examine the new cultural forms that will emerge from them, especially in the field of digital media culture; and
  • create innovative and cross-disciplinary projects from these developments.

Research in film has a particular expertise in:

  • Contemporary cinema;
  • Spanish and Latin American cinema;
  • British cinema;
  • Film philosophy;
  • Feminist film theory;
  • Digital cinema; and
  • Space and place in cinema.