Film

Overview

The programme offers a thorough grounding in postgraduate-level film. We are happy to consider applications from applicants with a background in either film or a related humanities subject.

The MA Film programme 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. Arts at Kent (including Film) was ranked 1st in the UK for research power in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. 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 campus-based 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.

Entry requirements

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.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and relevant experience may also be taken into account when considering applications. 

International students

Please see our International website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, international fee-paying students cannot study part-time unless undertaking a distance or blended-learning programme with no on-campus provision.

English language entry requirements

The University requires all non-native speakers of English to reach a minimum standard of proficiency in written and spoken English before beginning a postgraduate degree. Certain subjects require a higher level.

For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

Need help with English?

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.

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Course structure

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time

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.

Modules

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.

Compulsory modules currently include

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, and/or the particular kinds of engagement into which cinema invites its audience. The course explores both the historical trajectory of the theory of film as well as how these conceptual frameworks inform contemporary scholarship.

Find out more about FI812

This module 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, for example, the online resources of the Media History Digital Library, as well as the British Film Institute Library or British Library. This will help them to evaluate and contest received histories, which may be based on an 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 giving them 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

Find out more about FI813

Optional modules may include

This course examines the medium of film, considering its specific qualities as an art and industrial-form and the particular ways in which it is influenced by 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, technological developments, 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.

Find out more about FI815

This module studies the central concerns of film history and historiography. It focuses specifically on the theoretical, textual and contextual issues of films as they are played out in representations of selected historical events (as case studies). The ways in which other critics and historians have approached these representations and the concerns they raised forms a second focus of the module. Lastly, the course will enable students to analyse the narrative conventions and concerns which mark given films' representations of the past and present. Key issues to be analysed are; the documentary film as history and film as a document of history; the status of realist representation in the search for truth of historical events; the interrelation of historical memory and public history as they are explored through representations of historical events; the ethical responsibility of the filmmaker and film viewer in the construction of historical events.

Find out more about FI822

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about FI998

Teaching and assessment

Assessment is by coursework and the dissertation.

Programme aims

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.

Learning outcomes

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.

Intellectual skills

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.

Subject-specific skills

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.

Transferable skills

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.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £7900
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £3950
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

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 information@kent.ac.uk

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent. 

Funding

Search our scholarships finder for possible funding opportunities. You may find it helpful to look at both:

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2020, the University of Kent was ranked in the top 10 for research intensity. This is a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research in the university.

Please see the University League Tables 2020 for more information.

Independent rankings

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.

Research areas

Film, Media and Culture Research Group

The Group’s main objective is to support and produce cutting-edge research in the areas of film, media and culture. The Film, Media and Culture Research Group has interests in aesthetics, social roles, discursive formations, cultural meanings, psychological effects and/or economic realities. Drawing together scholars from across the University – including Arts, European Culture and Languages, Digital Arts and Engineering, History, English and American Studies, Law, Sociology and beyond – the Group has a lively,  research culture. Through our journal Film Studies and pioneering research projects and outputs we actively seek to shape the field, open lines of communication with the local community and engage with colleagues worldwide.

Aesthetics Research Centre

The Aesthetics Research Centre (ARC) coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent. It is embeeded in the analytic tradition, and it is deeply committed to making connections and exploring synergies with  other approaches to thinking about art and culture. ARC comprises a vibrant community of staff and postgraduate students across the School of Arts and the Department of Philosophy, and its activities include an annual programme of research seminars, workshops, symposia and conferences.

Histories: Art, Drama and Film Research Group

The Histories Research Group brings together staff and post-graduate students from across the School of Arts whose research involves a cultural historical approach to their field. It holds regular research seminars and supports student-led initiatives, such as organizing conferences.

Performance and Theatre Research Group

The Performance and Theatre Research Group’s mission is to create a warm and dynamic research community, welcoming everybody from 'Fresher to Professor'. We are a delightfully broad church, with well-established expertise in a broad range of subjects, including theatre history, performance and health, theatre and cognition, physical acting, applied theatre, performance and philosophy, performance and politics, European theatre, Greek theatre, theatre and adaptation, audience studies, cultural industries, variety theatre, puppetry, dance theatre, popular performance and stand-up comedy. We embrace a diversity of methodologies including, for example, Practice as Research, archival and participatory methods.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dr Maurizio Cinquegrani : Senior 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.

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Professor Mattias Frey : Professor of Film, Media and Culture

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.

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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.

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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.

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Dr Tamar Jeffers McDonald : Reader in Film

Genres, including romantic comedy, melodrama and the gothic; stardom; film costume; strategies and representation of sex and virginity; performance. 

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Dr Cecilia Sayad : Senior 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.

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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.

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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.

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Professor Aylish Wood : Professor of Film

The impact of digital technologies on moving images in animation, film and digital games and mixed-media gallery installations; creativity and technology.

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Dr Richard Misek : Senior Lecturer

Screen technologies and aesthetics; postproduction; remix cinema; digital spacetime; urban space; video art.

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Careers

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.

Study support

Postgraduate resources

Film at Kent has excellent viewing and library facilities, with a large number of films screened weekly during term-time the custom-designed Lupino Cinema. 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 and Blu Ray, with individual and group viewing facilities. The Department also benefits from the presence of the Gulbenkian Cinema on campus, which runs a varied programme of new releases and classics.

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.

Film-making

The Department embraces filmmaking and practice-based research in film and media. Clio Barnard’s 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. Richard Misek is a leading video essayist. His feature-length documentary Rohmer In Paris (2013) has been screened at over twenty film festivals on five continents, and exhibited at venues including the British Film Institute, the Barbican Centre, the National Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.), the Museum of Moving Image (New York), Forum des Images (Paris), and the Louisiana Museum (Denmark). He has been Primary Investigator on two Arts and Humanities Research Council projects exploring audiovisual film and media studies (2016-18), and has recently produced a series of virtual reality video essays in collaboration with world-leading Melbourne-based VR studio Vrtov and the British Film Institute. 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. They have recently contributed to journals including: Screen; Cinema Journal; October, The Moving Image; Animation; Games and Culture; Journal of Film and Video; Film History, Film Criticism and Early Popular Visual Culture. They have recently published books with Oxford University Press, University of Amsterdam Press, Rutgers University Press, Palgrave Macmillan, Columbia University Press, University of Minnesota Press, I.B. Tauris, Wiley-Blackwell, and Cineteca di Bologna. The peer-reviewed journal Film Studies is edited by staff at the department.

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.  

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Learn more about the applications process or begin your application by clicking on a link below.

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