Postgraduate students are supervised via a research team through regular meetings. Research supervision draws on wide staff interests in North American, European, and Latin American cinemas, offering opportunities to study projects based in aesthetic, conceptual and historical perspectives on film and digital media, as well as practice by research. For further details, see staff research interests.
Research students participate in a series of regular events. These include work-in-progress seminars and professional development workshops, both of which are organised at School level. You are also able to enrol on the Graduate School’s Researcher Development Programme.
Our research students also actively participate in a research seminar, which brings leading scholars and practitioners to Kent. We also hold an annual postgraduate presentation day.
Our PhD candidates are pursuing ground-breaking work within the School and our Research Centres and many of our former students have been appointed to academic posts in some of the most prestigious national and international Universities, including UCL, Birkbeck, Queen's University, and the Universities of Queensland, Lethbridge, Bournmouth, Coimbra, Lancaster, British Columbia, and South Wales.
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 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.
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 in 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.
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. Among others, they have recently contributed to: 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, Palgrave Macmillan, Columbia University Press, University of Minnesota Press, I.B. Tauris, Wiley-Blackwell and Cineteca di Bologna. The peer-reviews journal Film Studies is edited by staff at the department.
Researcher Development Programme
Kent's Graduate School co-ordinates the Researcher Development Programme for research students, which includes workshops focused on research, specialist and transferable skills. The programme is mapped to the national Researcher Development Framework and covers a diverse range of topics, including subject-specific research skills, research management, personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and teamworking, and career management skills.
A first or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject for the MA; an MA for the PhD
All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, and professional qualifications and experience will also be taken into account when considering applications.
Please see our International Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information for your country.
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.
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 Film and Media Research
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.
Other Research Centres within the School:
Based at Kent, the UK’s European university, the European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) facilitates and fosters the exchange of theatre traditions, contemporary practices and academic discussion on theatre work from the European continent and also in the new European states. The MA Theatre Direction forms part of this expanding network, drawing for instance on our connection to the Schaubühne Berlin, the Grotowski Workcentre, and other European theatre institutions. For further information, please see www.europeantheatre.org.uk
Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance
The Centre for Cognition, Kinesthetics and Performance brings together Drama staff and staff in Engineering and Digital Arts; Psychology; Anthropology; and the Tizard Centre to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between researchers and practitioners in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, interactive performance, digital media, disability studies, and applied performance. For further information, please see www.kent.ac.uk/ckp
Popular and Comic Performance
The Popular and Comic Performance research centre brings together academics from a range of disciplines (e.g. Drama, Film, Social Anthropology, Philosophy). Their research investigates a real variety of related areas including: stand-up comedy; music hall and variety; 18th century popular theatre; melodrama; Greek Old and Middle comedy; community performance work; puppetry; TV and film production; and punk performance.
Aesthetics Research Centre
The Aesthetics Research Centre coordinates, enables and promotes research in philosophy of art and aesthetics at the University of Kent.
Art History and Visual Cultures
This Research Centre promotes and co-ordinates research amongst the growing community of staff and PG students active at Kent in the field of Art History.
Staff research interests
Kent’s world-class academics provide research students with excellent supervision. The academic staff in this school and their research interests are shown below. You are strongly encouraged to contact the school to discuss your proposed research and potential supervision prior to making an application. Please note, it is possible for students to be supervised by a member of academic staff from any of Kent’s schools, providing their expertise matches your research interests. Use our ‘find a supervisor’ search to search by staff member or keyword.
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.View 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.View 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.View Profile
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.View Profile
Dr Mattias Frey: Reader
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.View 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.View 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.View 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.View Profile
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.View 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.View 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.View Profile
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.View Profile
Dr Richard Misek: Lecturer in Digital Media
Screen technologies and aesthetics; postproduction; remix cinema; digital spacetime; urban space; video art.View Profile
The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
|Film Studies - PhD 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 email@example.com
General additional costs
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