Film with Practice - MA

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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 graduates from other disciplines with a passion demonstrated though amateur filmmaking. The programme is taught by award-winning filmmakers and internationally recognised scholars.

Overview

  • Experience our rich resources of world-leading research, superb library facilities and a campus-based film culture
  • We offer expertise in North American, European and Latin American cinema
  • 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.

About Film and Media at Kent

The Department of Film and Media Studies 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, Kent has an established reputation going back more than four decades. 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.

The Department maintains a range of cameras, lighting equipment, production studios and postproduction suites for students to use to complete their filmmaking assessments.

In 2014, the University opened a 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

Smiling female postgraduate student
You are more than your grades

For 2022, in response to the challenges caused by Covid-19 we will consider applicants either holding or projected a 2:2. This response is part of our flexible approach to admissions whereby we consider each student and their personal circumstances. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

Entry requirements

A first or second class honours degree, 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 must include a link to an example of your film practice (password-protected if necessary) and 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 Student website for entry requirements by country and other relevant information. Due to visa restrictions, students who require a student visa to study 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 short fact- and fiction-films, treating them as specific forms with their own aesthetic and narrative principles, and their 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- and screenplay-writing instruction and workshops 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 film practitioners. By the end of the module, students will also have completed both a screenplay and a documentary proposal portfolio (including a 3-minute pilot film). They will choose either their screenplay or documentary proposal as the basis for the short film they intend to develop for their dissertation.

Find out more about FILM8190

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 development of distinctive film language building on key technical skills such as camerawork, sound recording, lighting, and editing / postproduction gained in FI819 (FILM8190) (Filmmaking 1: Key Skills). Exercises advance 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 research, outline and 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 and documentary projects, and developing a professional profile.

Find out more about FILM8200

Optional modules may include

Since the advent of recorded moving images as a potent sociocultural phenomenon and aesthetic form in the late nineteenth century, film and cinema have inspired a voluminous diversity of writing: utopian celebrations of a new art and leisure activity, fan mail to stars, jeremiads of impending moral doom, reviews and critiques, and, eventually, theoretical and empirical scholarship in the context of an academic discipline. This module makes this writing and thinking about film its central focus. Although particular topics and emphases vary from year to year, responding to current public discussions and cutting-edge research, the course maintains its focus on empowering students to be able to better read, understand, test, apply and interrogate complex conceptual thinking on film; to recognise the purposes and audiences of diverse forms of writing about film; to rigorously debate and formulate theoretical questions about film and media culture; and to bring these insights to bear on exemplary film screenings.

Find out more about FILM8120

Film Studies, a relatively young academic discipline, traces its origins to both the humanities and social sciences. Although some of contemporary Film Studies derives from the literary traditions of genre, thematic or textual analysis, major swathes of the field are now delving into wider and often interdisciplinary investigations of aesthetic, technological, economic and/or social formations of cinema, film and wider media culture. This module acquaints students with a variety of sources, methods and methodologies currently used in film scholarship and how to talk about them in rigorous ways. It empowers students to read and understand how researchers in the discipline strategically use sources and methods to answer research questions and advance knowledge, and to be able to apply these insights in their own research and enquiry. In carrying out this investigation students will be encouraged to work with archives and primary sources, and to critically evaluate received histories by interrogating methodological procedures and assumptions. Students will apply their acquisition of knowledge, for example, by compiling annotated bibliographies, annotated portfolios of sources, short writing exercises and then writing an essay on an aspect of film history that includes a reflection on the sources and methods used. The choice of time period(s) and case studies will differ from year-to-year, depending upon the expertise of the module convenor.

Find out more about FILM8130

The course trains students to communicate confidently and professionally about film form, style, and technique in a variety of spoken, written, and audio-visual formats (e.g. oral presentations, writing, video-essays and/or podcasts). Students will study the theoretical frameworks and specialised terminology which they need to produce accurate, coherent, and effective film analysis. Students will also learn to reflect critically on filmmaking from a variety of modes, genres, historical periods and national traditions (including, where applicable, their own filmmaking).

Find out more about FILM8250

This module focuses on the skills of advanced research writing, providing the training needed to research, plan and communicate with confidence for an academic audience. The course will trace the process through which research is consolidated and prepared for the academic essay, highlighting the importance of structure, signposting and clarity of expression. The course will enable students to refine and develop the skills of constructing a sophisticated argument which engages critically with appropriate scholarship and is clearly articulating an intervention. The module is research-led, meaning the topic through which such skills are developed will be chosen by the course convenor to reflect her/his own research interests. The course will therefore also engage directly with current, innovative research and allow students to gain an understanding of the discipline's larger research community and activities.

Find out more about FILM8260

Compulsory modules currently include

The Dissertation (Filmmaking) is designed to develop each student's creative voice as a writer/director of fact and/or fiction film, their ability to contextualise and analyse their own creative practice and their ability to contribute constructively to films directed by others. 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 contributing to the realisation of fellow students’ films and by taking up roles such as researcher, producer, costume designer, sound engineer or editor, 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 FILM8990

Teaching

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 2022/23 UK fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9300
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time £4650
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

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.

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

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:

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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

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.

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. 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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