Film

Film: Practice as Research - PhD

Film at Kent is known for its dynamic and inclusive research community. Whether you are interested in theories, histories or aesthetics of film and digital media, we have the academic expertise to support your research.

Overview

With access to specialist supervision, excellent resources and a vibrant research community, your time at Kent will be enjoyable and stimulating.

You conduct original research under the guidance of a team of specialist supervisors. We welcome enquiries on any topic, and provide you with excellent research resources to enable you to complete your research. You produce a piece of film practice, which may be a digital film, a screenplay, a series of exploratory audio-visual works, audio-visual documentation of creative processes relating to film or a combination of these, and a written thesis of up to 40,000 words.

You will have a minimum of two supervisors who support and guide you through your academic and professional development throughout your studies. You meet regularly with your supervisors, who not only supervise your research project but help you to identify parts of your research and development where you may require further training or support. A series of reviews take place throughout your studies in order to ensure that your research project stays on track and that you have all the necessary support and resources required to successfully complete it.

Recent and ongoing research supervision projects include 'Creating Imaginary Media’, ‘A Sense of Place: Identity and Cinematic Representation of Britain’s Forgotten Towns and Non-Places’, ‘Essaying Place: Landscape, Time and the Journey in the Essay Film’, ‘To Observe, to Interfere or to Collaborate: Reframing the Notion of Home Through Documentary Film’, ‘Images of the Future: Interpreting the Ballardian World through Film’ and ‘Intimate Cinema: Techniques, Conventions, and Aesthetics of Screen Performance in Digital Film'.

You may be eligible to apply for a fully funded PhD scholarship. Scholarship opportunities may include the Vice Chancellor’s Research Scholarship (GTA) and the Consortium of the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) collaborative doctoral award. For further information and eligibility requirements, please see our scholarship website.

About the Department of Film

Film at Kent is a vibrant and supportive international community of academics, practitioners and students, connected through our shared passion for film and digital media. Our staff are able to support a wide range of research covering histories, aesthetics and theories of film and digital media, while at the same time fostering an inclusive and welcoming culture. 

We also partner with the Gulbenkian Cinema, part of the University of Kent’s Arts Centre, to offer innovative, engaging and high quality arts activities for the public, staff and students. The School of Arts also has the Lupino, a 62-seat cinema named after the pioneering female filmmaker Ida Lupino, which Film 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.

Film at Kent students also benefit from our fantastic location. Based in the cultural city of Canterbury, we are less than one hour from London by train and forty minutes from the Eurotunnel, making us close to both London and Europe.

Entry requirements

An MA 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 or the Director of the relevant Research Group.

All applicants are considered on an individual basis and additional qualifications, professional qualifications and experience will 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 for your country.  Please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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.

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes.

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:

3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £8100
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4050
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

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

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

The Complete University Guide

In The Complete University Guide 2021, 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 2021 for more information.

Complete University Guide Research Intensity

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.

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.

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

Throughout your time at Kent you will be supported by two experienced PhD supervisors, and you will have a monthly supervision meeting (or every two months for part-time students).In these meetings you will have the opportunity to discuss, debate, and develop your ideas in exciting new directions. As well as supporting the development of your PhD, your supervisors are also there to guide you in your wider career development. This includes presenting your work at international and national conferences, publishing your work, and applying for jobs.

Beyond your supervisory team you will also be supported by the wider School of Arts community. You will join one (or more) of the School’s four Research Groups and will have the opportunity, in both the regular meetings and larger annual symposia, to share your research, network within and outside your discipline, and hear about the range of research taking place both within the School and beyond. Through the Research Groups there are also opportunities to organise conferences and events, or apply for small grants.

A programme of Research Seminars takes place throughout the year which students are encouraged to attend. The seminars will be relevant to Film students but also to students studying History of Art, Drama and Media Studies. Leading scholars and practitioners are invited to present papers which enable networking opportunities to our research community.

Work in Progress Sessions offer the opportunity for you to present your work to a small group of colleagues. They are a key part of academic life and give you the opportunity to practice your presentation skills to your peer group in an informal and supportive way. The School also hosts an Annual Presentation Event which provides a platform for students to present their work to colleagues. 

Filmmaking

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.

Research resources

Film PhD students are based in the School of Arts’ award-winning Jarman building where you will find a professional film studio, two further studio spaces and a dedicated postgraduate study hub.

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.

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.

Apply now

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

Once started, you can save and return to your application at any time.

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