Film with Practice - MA

Overview

The MA Film with Practice is a taught programme suitable for graduates in film, practitioners who want to advance their practice in an intellectually stimulating environment and non-film graduates with a passion for film practice demonstrated though amateur filmmaking. The programme is taught by award-winning filmmakers, internationally recognised film scholars.

About the Department of Film

The Department of Film 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

Applicants will be expected to have achieved at least a strong 2:1 in their undergraduate degree. Your application must include a link to an example of your film practice (password-protected if necessary).

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: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

This programme includes two dedicated film practice modules and a dissertation by Film Practice that includes the making of a fiction film. You also choose two modules from the existing Film MA to create a practice-theory mix that accommodates your own interests.

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 module explores the short film, treating it as a very specific form with its own aesthetic and narrative principles, and its own creative possibilities and challenges. The module combines intensive analysis of short-form films with historical contextualisation; instruction in the use of the School's technical facilities; treatment-writing instruction and workshops; and bespoke Masterclasses from practicing film professionals in areas such as cinematography, sound recording, sound design, production design and editing. Students are thus equipped with the key skills required to make MA-level short films and are enabled to develop creative ideas grounded in rigorous critical enquiry alongside dedicated technical and professional knowledge delivered by a wide range of film practitioners. By the end of the module, students will also have completed a treatment for the short fiction film they intend to develop for their dissertation.

Find out more about FI819

This module provides advanced technical, creative, and logistical skills required for students to produce their dissertation films. It is divided into two sections. The first half of the module focuses on the key technical skills of camerawork, sound recording, lighting, and editing / postproduction. Workshops provide hands-on practical experience in each of these elements of the filmmaking process, and take place in tandem with seminars exploring their creative potential. The second half of the module prepares students for their dissertation project and their subsequent creative careers. Workshops provide a framework for students to commence pre-production on their dissertation films, and develop their projects through activities including synopsis writing, location scouting, casting, shot listing, budgeting, and scheduling. These are complemented by weekly seminars which place short film production within a broader industrial context. Areas explored may include short film distribution, navigating film festivals, initiating feature projects, and developing a professional profile.

Find out more about FI820

Optional modules may include

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

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

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

Compulsory modules currently include

The Dissertation (Filmmaking) is designed to develop each student's creative voice as a writer/director of film, their ability to contextualise and analyse their own creative practice and their ability to work as a crew member on films directed by others. Students can work either alone or in pairs on their dissertation film. Throughout their studies on the MA Film with Practice, students will have developed their own film idea in relation to solid research strategies and advanced knowledge of Film Studies as well as developing the technical and production management skills required to realise their creative practice. Under the supervision of an appropriate member of staff, students will then complete pre-production and production of their own film and the associated critical analysis. By also crewing on fellow students’ films, students will graduate with a range of skills that can be applied to future professional work or post-graduate practice-led research projects.

Find out more about FI899

Teaching and assessment

Assessment at MA level is 100% course work: that means you will be assessed through essays, treatments, project proposals, seminar participation and a dissertation by film practice.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • Develop the understanding and skills possessed by students entering the programme to a notably higher level of sophistication and achievement (appropriate to an M-level award) than would be expected at degree level, such that all leave the programme with a substantial analytic, critical and practice-based understanding of Film.
  • Develop the ability of students to think independently, argue with clarity and force, initiate and complete creative work and to discern areas of research and practice-led research within the field.
  • Provoke reflection on practical, critical and theoretical approaches to Film and its context.
  • Nurture intellectual and creative skills through written work (essays, dissertations, treatments, scripts), creative practice (DV films) as well as in the context of interpersonal interaction (seminars, research papers, supervision, filmmaking processes).
  • Develop existing and new areas of teaching informed by and in response to developments in film practice, research and scholarship.
  • Provide an excellent quality of higher education
  • Attract outstanding students irrespective of race, background, gender, and physical disability, from both within the UK and from overseas.
  • Support national and regional economic success by producing graduates in possession of key knowledge and skills, with the capacity to learn.
  • Provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication and research skills and other key skills appropriate for both graduate employment in industry or further study.
  • Provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences and involve realistic workloads, based within a combined research and practice-led framework
  • Offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • Provide high quality teaching in a supportive environment with appropriately qualified and trained staff?

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • Key production processes and professional practices relevant to film
  • The technical and formal choices that realise, develop or challenge existing practices and traditions; advanced knowledge of the possibilities and constraints involved in production processes
  • The role of technology in terms of media production, content manipulation, distribution, access and use
  • The processes linking production, distribution, circulation and consumption
  • The student's own creative processes and practice through engagement in one or more production practices
  • The narrative processes, generic forms and modes of representation at work in film
  • Film and the way in which it organises understandings, meanings and affects
  • The development of film in a local, community, regional, national, international or global context
  • Critical approaches to film, including an advanced understanding of the historical and contemporary debates within film theory
  • The historical evolution of particular genres, aesthetic traditions and forms, and of their current characteristics and possible future developments
  • New and emergent film forms and their relation both to their social context and to earlier form
  • The ways in which films and their attendant technologies make possible different kinds of aesthetic effects and forms

Intellectual skills

Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Engage critically with major thinkers, debates and intellectual paradigms within the field of Film Studies and put them to productive use
  • Understand to an advanced level film forms as they have emerged historically and appreciate the processes through which they have come into being, with reference to social, cultural and technological change
  • Analyse closely, interpret and show the exercise of advanced critical judgment in the understanding and, as appropriate, evaluation of these forms
  • Carry out various forms of research for essays, presentations, and creative productions involving sustained independent enquiry
  • Evaluate and draw upon the range of sources and the conceptual frameworks appropriate to research in the chosen area
  • Consider and evaluate their own work in a reflexive manner, with reference to academic and/or professional issues, debates and conventions

Subject-specific skills

Graduates will demonstrate the ability to:

  • Initiate, develop and realise distinctive creative work in digital film that demonstrates sophisticated manipulation of sound and image and that, where appropriate, experiments with forms, conventions, languages, techniques and practices
  • Produce work showing capability in operational aspects of digital film production technologies, techniques and, where appropriate, professional practices
  • Manage time, personnel and resources effectively by drawing on planning, organisational, project-management and leadership skills
  • Develop creative ideas and concepts based upon secure research strategies
  • Produce work that demonstrates an understanding of media forms and structures, audiences and specific communication registers
  • Produce work that is informed by, and contextualised within, relevant theoretical issues and debates

Transferable skills

Graduates will be able to:

  • Work in flexible, creative and independent ways, showing self-discipline, self-direction and reflexivity
  • Gather, organise and deploy ideas and information in order to a) formulate arguments cogently and b) develop creative ideas effectively and express a and b at an advanced level in written, oral and creative forms
  • Organise and manage supervised, self-directed projects
  • Communicate effectively and work productively in a group or team, showing abilities at different times to listen, contribute and lead effectively
  • Deliver work to a given length, format, brief and deadline, properly referencing sources and ideas and making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach
  • Put to use a range of information communication technology (ICT) skills and develop proficiencies in audio-visual production technologies that can be applied beyond filmmaking

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

You are required to cover additional costs that your filmmaking may incur. The Department of Film supports MA Film with Practice students with their filmmaking for the programme by providing additional funds for filming expenses of up to £300 per student. Please be aware that this is paid retrospectively: you are required to keep receipts and proof of purchase in order to claim from these funds.

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 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 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 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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Dr Dieter Declercq : Lecturer

Popular media, with a specific focus on satire, comedy, irony, cartoons, comics and graphic novels, animation, memes and video games.

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Professor Mattias Frey : Professor of Film, Media and Culture

Media industries; film (esp. distribution, regulation, exhibition); film and media audiences; promotional media and cultural intermediation (esp. film marketing, criticism); digital culture (e.g. ‘big data’, algorithms, recommender systems)

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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 Frances Kamm : Lecturer

Film history and early cinema; technological developments in the film medium; digital cinema and animation; theories of the uncanny; and the experience of cinema.

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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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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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Dr Dominic Topp : Lecturer

French cinema, modernism, film authorship and classical Hollywood cinema.

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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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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 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.

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. 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, 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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