The programme offers a thorough grounding in postgraduate-level film. We will be pleased to consider applications from applicants with either a background in Film or a related humanities subject.
It is taught by experts in Film and seeks to engage you with the key elements that make up the diverse nature of film and moving images.
The Film MA can also be studied between Canterbury and Paris, with the first term at our Canterbury campus and the spring term at our centre in Paris. It is also available in Paris only where you spend the entire year in the French capital.
Think Kent video series
This talk by Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani, Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Arts, focuses on a group of documentaries filmed in Poland and portraying journeys of postmemory to the sites of Jewish life before the war and Jewish destruction during the Holocaust.
About the Department of Film
The Film Department at the University of Kent is known for its excellence in research and teaching. It was ranked second in the UK for research power in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). One of the largest European centres for the study of film, it has an established reputation going back 35 years. Approaching film as a dynamic part of our cultural experience, we encourage thinking about film as it emerges at the intersections of art, document and entertainment. Through theory and practice, individual research, student-led seminars and visiting speakers, we promote an environment in which postgraduate students are able to engage with the continuing vibrancy of cinema.
Studying film as a postgraduate at the University of Kent will give you the opportunity to experience our rich resources of academic expertise, library facilities and a campusbased film culture. We currently offer expertise in North American, European and Latin American cinemas. Our research and teaching will engage you in a dialogue with aesthetic, conceptual and historical perspectives, as well as with digital media and practice by research.
In 2014, the University opened a new 62-seat cinema named after the pioneering female film director Ida Lupino, which students can enjoy as part of their experience during their studies. The Lupino has state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, and has been created to provide an intimate atmosphere for film viewing.
In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, Arts at Kent was ranked 1st for research power and in the top 20 in the UK for research quality.
An impressive 98% of our research was judged to be of international quality. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of world-leading research.
The programme consists of research training, two compulsory 30-credit modules and two 30-credit subject options. Teaching is primarily seminar-led, with some lectures. The dissertation is written under supervision.
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.
FI811 - Conceptualising Film (30 credits)
Conceptualizing Film will provide students both with an in-depth examination of certain key issues in film theory, as well as approaching them (predominantly) from a distinct perspective associated with an emerging 'paradigm' of theory, namely analytic philosophy of film. The module will be organized around a series of sub-themes within the general domain of the philosophy of film, including emotion and film, the aesthetics and ethics of film, the nature of photographic and filmic representation, and the ways in which films might themselves act as vehicles for philosophical ideas. Throughout the course we will also consider the different styles of philosophy and their relationship to film theory. Seminars will stress the importance of examining arguments with care and rigour, and will introduce students explicitly to certain formal philosophical 'methods' of assessing arguments (eg. spotting question-begging, understanding distinctions such as that between entailment and implicature, the use of counterexamples and thought experiments). The ability to acquire and put to use such skills will be central in students achieving module objectives.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
FI812 - Advanced Film Theory (30 credits)
This course examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art form and the particular ways in which it engages its audience. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, film's relationship with reality, the interdisciplinary reach of Film Studies, the particular kinds of engagement into which cinema invites its audience and/or French film theory. The students will benefit from having access to relevant institutions in Paris, such as the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the American Library in Paris and the Paris Diderot library. The course explores both the historical trajectory of the theory of film as well as how these conceptual frameworks inform contemporary scholarship.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
FI813 - Film History (30 credits)
This course examines film history and historiography through case studies. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archive and primary sources held in libraries, museums and archives, such as the Cinémathèque Française, the Bibliothèque Nationale, the American Library in Paris and the Paris Diderot library in order to help them to evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on aesthetic, technological, economic, and/or social formations. Through this investigation students will be better able to understand the role and value of the contextual study of film, while having the opportunity to research and write on an aspect of film history. The choice of case study will depend upon the expertise of the module convenor but will typically be from French film history.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
FI815 - Film and Modernity (30 credits)
This course examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art-form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by and influences other artistic and cultural forms in its historical moment. The emphasis of the course varies from year to year, responding to current research and scholarship, but it maintains as its focus the aesthetic strategies of film in contrast with other arts, film's relationship to historical change, the interdisciplinary reach of Film Studies, and/or the particular strategies used by the cinema to communicate with its audience. The course explores both the historical place of the cinema within the development of twentieth-century culture as well as how this historical definition informs contemporary scholarship.
Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).
FI998 - Dissertation:GPMS (60 credits)
The dissertation is your opportunity to really explore the aspects of Film Studies that interest you most. You are encouraged to read as widely as you can. Exploit the Templeman library resources, and all the on-line facilities available to you through the library portals. Of course, watch relevant films too. The more research you do, the richer your experience.
You can begin your independent dissertation research at any point and t is good idea to do have done some groundwork before you meet your supervisor.
The main period for supervision is in the summer term, when you can expect to meet with your supervisor to discuss the progress of your reading and writing. You can expect up to four supervisory meetings, reasonably spread across the term.
You should also arrange to meet your supervisor once in the Spring term in order to discuss the focus of your project, and also the kind of research you could begin to undertake in the Spring and Summer terms.
The summer vacation period is a period of independent research, and supervision is not available.
Your supervisor may agree to give you email feedback on a section of your draft during the summer vacation period, but you will need to arrange that with them well in advance.
Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).
Assessment is by coursework and the dissertation.
The programme aims to:
- develop your understanding and skills to a notably higher level of sophistication and achievement (appropriate to an Master’s level award) than would be expected at degree level, such that you leave the programme with a substantial analytic and critical understanding of film and film studies
- develop your understanding and skills to the level necessary for entry into a research programme in Film Studies
- develop your ability to think independently, argue with clarity and force, to discern areas of research interest within the field and be able to frame viable research questions
- provoke reflection on areas of critical and theoretical approaches to cinema and its context
- nurture the intellectual skills cited above in the context of written work (essays and dissertations) as well as in the context of interpersonal interaction (seminars, research papers, supervision)
- attract outstanding students irrespective of race, background, gender, and physical disability, from both within the UK and from overseas
- develop existing and new areas of teaching in response to the advance of research and scholarship within the subject, as well as new developments in filmmaking practice.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the techniques which comprise film and related, moving audio-visual media, and the ways in which they are used to create meaning and experience
- concepts and practices integral to the production and reception of films, including authorship, genre, industry, stardom, style, modernity, national and transnational cinemas
- conceptualisations of our engagement with film, including the cultural, aesthetic, industrial and economic contexts in which viewing and exhibition occurs
- critical approaches to film, including an understanding of the historical and contemporary debates within film theory
- film histories and historiography, particularly as it informs the concepts and practices cited in the second point above.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- constructing arguments and produce evidence appropriate for research at Master’s level
- the ability to reflect critically on debates within the conceptual practices of the discipline
- designing and implementing research projects informed by interdisciplinary approaches in the humanities.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- articulating, in written and oral contexts, an understanding of film commensurate with the first four programme aims noted above
- analysing narrative and other forms and structures shaping films
- the ability to draw on interdisciplinary intellectual knowledge, methods and techniques drawn from other disciplines (such as psychoanalysis, philosophy, and literary theory) in the study of film
- mastery of the vocabularies developed to enhance the analysis and understanding of film and related media
- analysing, with precision, the images and sounds which comprise films.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- the ability to communicate effectively in both oral and written contexts, at a level appropriate for the conduct of original research
- the ability to create, manage and self-direct essays and research projects, with the advice and supervision of teaching staff
- the ability to integrate skills of argument and reasoning with those of empirical observation
- the ability to contribute effectively to the exploration of a question or problem in the context of group discussion and analysis, through a combination of intervention, leading of discussion, and focussed attention to others
- the ability to deploy the subject-specific understanding of the nature of film and related media – in relation to, for example, social and ethical questions – in the context of participation in society as workers and citizens
- the ability to use various IT skills, ranging from word-processing and audio-visual presentation to research through web-based sources, at a level of sophistication commensurate with the production of original research.
Arts graduates have gone on to work in a range of professions, from museum positions and teaching roles to film journalists and theatre technicians. Our graduates have found work at Universal Pictures, the London Film Festival and other arts, culture and heritage-related organisations, as well as in film production, as editorial assistants and as web designers.
Film at Kent has excellent viewing and library facilities, with a large number of films screened weekly during term-time on 35mm and Blu-Ray. The Templeman Library has extensive book and specialist journal holdings in film and related areas; there is also a large and growing reference collection of film on DVD, with individual and group viewing facilities. The Department also benefits from the presence of the Gulbenkian Cinema on campus, which runs a programme of new releases and classics, in addition to first-rate viewing facilities within our new Lupino Cinema.
In 2010, we moved into the purpose-built, and RIBA award-winning, Jarman Building. The new building is home to a range of professional standard editing and studio facilities, plus a dedicated postgraduate centre and teaching and social spaces.
Internationally recognised research
Our staff produce internationally recognised research at the intersection of film theory, history, practice, and the conceptual and stylistic analysis of moving image media. Based on this expertise, we are able to support research across a wide range of topics, including: moving image theory, history and criticism; American, European and Latin American cinemas; British Cinema; the avantgarde; and digital media and animation. There are also close connections between Film and the Aesthetics Research Group.
The Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Film and the Moving Image promotes our excellence in research and hosts a range of research events including symposia, visiting speakers and workshops.
A recently established affiliation with the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London offers the possibility of collaborative projects, internships, postgraduate events and activities as well as free membership to all postgraduate students.
The Department includes film-makers among its members of staff. Clio Barnard’s recent film The Arbor was nominated for a BAFTA and Clio received the best newcomer and original debut feature at the London Film Festival and best new documentary film-maker at the Tribeca Film Festival. Her most recent work, The Selfish Giant, was chosen as one of only two films to represent the UK in the Directors’ Fortnight line-up at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Virginia Pitts’ films Trust Me (2001) and Fleeting Beauty (2004) were selected to screen at 25 international film festivals, toured US art galleries and sold widely to television. Her latest film, Beat (2010), a narrative-dance piece exploring dialogism as an ideal for human interaction, is currently on the international festival circuit where it has been nominated for awards in New Zealand, Canada, the US and Greece. Lawrence Jackson worked in various crew capacities in the UK film industry for three years before working in-house, then freelance as a Bi-Media Producer for BBC Northern Ireland Drama. As writer-director, he has five short films and as producer-director, around 50 hours of radio drama to his name. The shorts, shot in locations from Margate to Northern Ireland and Prague to Newcastle, have been shown at the Munich Film Festival, London’s ICA Cinema and on BBC2.
Dynamic publishing culture
Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: Screen; Cinema Journal; The Moving Image; Animation; Games and Culture; Journal of Film and Video; and Early Popular Visual Culture.
Global Skills Award
All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.
An upper second-class honours degree or better, usually in a relevant humanities subject. In certain circumstances, the School will consider candidates who have not followed a conventional education path or who may have relevant experience in the industry. These cases are assessed individually by the Director of Graduate Studies.
Your application should include a sample of your academic writing. Ideally this will be an essay, on a similar or related topic, that you have recently written as part of your undergraduate degree programme. Please upload this to your application portal.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
English language entry requirements
For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.
Research in both theory and practice is currently centred in five broad areas:
- national cinemas – form and history: North American, European, Latin American
- the moving image in a digital context
- documentary film
- film aesthetics
- avant-garde and experimental cinema.
Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Film and the Moving Image
The Centre draws together scholars from across the University who use film and the moving image as an integral part of their research. We are open to ideas that extend the reach of the Centre and seek to support projects that promote collaboration between individuals and other research centres. Our aim is to produce a more proactive engagement with other disciplines, to open new lines of communication and to produce innovative knowledge formations through the activity of pioneering research projects.
Staff research interests
Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.
Clio Barnard: Reader
The relationship between documentary and fiction, in particular the subjectivity of recollection.Profile
Dr Margrethe Bruun Vaage: Lecturer in Film
Spectator's engagement with fictional films and television series, and more specifically the imagination, the emotions and the moral psychology of fiction.Profile
Dr Lavinia Brydon: Lecturer in Film
Issues of space and place within film culture, notions of mobility, questions of identity, auteurship and the concept of national cinemas.Profile
Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani: Lecturer
British cinema; non-fiction films; early cinema; the intersection between cinema and urban culture, in particular London in film; cinema and architecture; amateur film-making; Swedish cinema; Italian cinema.Profile
Dr Mattias Frey: Senior Lecturer
European cinema (with particular emphasis on German and Austrian film); historiography; matters of media reception and consumption; the history of ‘classical’ and contemporary film theory; movie criticism and cinephilia.Profile
Dr Frances Guerin: Senior Lecturer
Silent cinema; pre-cinema; German cinema, film and history; documentary film and its intersection with history, cinema and the other arts; modernity and cinema.Profile
Lawrence Jackson: Lecturer
Genre storytelling, with particular focus on ghost stories, thrillers and westerns; the work of new British film-makers Andrea Arnold, Shane Meadows, Ben Wheatley and Paddy Considine.Profile
Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald: Reader
Genres, including romantic comedy, melodrama and the gothic; stardom; film costume; strategies and representation of sex and virginity; performance.Profile
Dr Virginia Pitts: Lecturer
Processes of creative collaboration; hybrid cinematic genres and forms; the relation between technology and creativity; scriptwriting; improvisation for screen; innovative screen development techniques; cross-cultural creative practice; indigenous praxis; embodied engagement with cinema.Profile
Dr Cecilia Sayad: Lecturer
Film authorship; theories of national and transnational cinemas; Third Cinemas; narratology; self-reflexivity; realism; the French New Wave; Latin American cinema (especially Brazilian); post-war American cinema; the modern American horror film.Profile
Professor Murray Smith: Professor of Film
Philosophy, film and film theory; cognitive theory, evolutionary theory and film; sound and music in film; avant-garde and experimental film/video; contemporary independent American cinema.Profile
Professor Peter Stanfield: Professor of Film; Head of School of Arts
The cultural history of American film, with a twin focus on cycles of formulaic movies and the synergy between cinema and other forms of popular culture, including music, comic book and sequential art, pulp novels and material culture.Profile
Dr Aylish Wood: Reader
The impact of digital technologies on moving images in animation, film and digital games and mixed-media gallery installations; creativity and technology.Profile
Enquire or order a prospectus
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F: +44 (0)1227 827846
The 2016/17 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Film - MA at Canterbury:|
For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact firstname.lastname@example.org