MA Film Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

Our MA Film Studies course has been designed to provide considerable opportunities to study film theory, history and culture, as well as aspects of applied practice.

It caters for those who want to enhance their artistic and professional careers, or if you're planning to progress to doctoral study.

The course is also suitable if you're relatively new to the subject area and want to establish a solid foundation.

If you want to enhance your employability, it provides an excellent springboard for careers in film, screen media and the creative industries, as well as educational, social and community professions.

The research and teaching strengths of our scholars span film, screen and media studies from form and theory to historical and cultural approaches, and from national cinemas to the politics of identity, gender and sexuality, and film music, as well as film practice as research.

This considerable breadth of specialism offers students a wide range of options.

Whether you want to strengthen your academic foundation in this subject area or wish to pursue niche areas of research requiring specific expertise you'll find the MA in Film Studies has a considerable amount to offer.

The MA Film Studies also emphasises aspects of applied practice as research that allows you to apply knowledge and experience of film theory and practice to a professional setting such as in participatory video practice, and film curation and programming.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through seminars, small group tutorials, workshops and surgeries, offering opportunities for lively and engaged discussions.

One-to-one supervision is offered on all dissertations.

The Programme Director is Dr MaoHui Deng .

Coursework and assessment

Written coursework in each taught 30-credit unit comprises a 4500-word essay or its equivalent, such as video essays, log books, evaluation reports, project critiques and practice analysis.

The dissertation is a 12,000-word project on a topic chosen in consultation with the dissertation supervisor.

Course unit details

You will undertake units totalling 180 credits. Core and optional units combine to make 120 credits, with the remaining 60 credits allocated to the dissertation.

Apart from two mandatory core units, you are free to shape your course by choosing from a diverse range of options, including established study options within the arts, languages and cultures, a directed reading or practice option (enabling you to pursue a specific area of research with the careful supervision of specialist staff), and a work placement option.

Study options vary from year to year depending on staff availability.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Film Theories, Debates and Approaches DRAM71331 30 Mandatory
Film Cultures: Research, Industries and Practice DRAM71442 30 Mandatory
The AIDS Crisis: American Cultural Representation AMER62032 15 Optional
Screen Acting and Stardom DRAM60141 30 Optional
Social Lives of Cinema DRAM62842 30 Optional
Directed Reading (15) DRAM70011 15 Optional
Directed Reading (15) DRAM70012 15 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Film DRAM70022 30 Optional
Directed Reading (30) DRAM70051 30 Optional
Directed Reading (30 credits) DRAM70052 30 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking DRAM70062 30 Optional
Queer Bodies and the Cinema DRAM70312 30 Optional
Screening the Holocaust DRAM70482 30 Optional
Dissertation by Practice DRAM70980 60 Optional
Dissertation DRAM70990 60 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM71011 30 Optional
Global Television Industries DRAM72012 30 Optional
Contemporary Documentary Filmmaking DRAM72102 30 Optional
Directed Practice (30 credits) DRAM73211 30 Optional
Directed Practice (30 credits) DRAM73212 30 Optional
Queer Cinema and Beyond ENGL60152 30 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking in the Arts & Humanities HIST61132 30 Optional
Creative Learning SALC60502 15 Optional
Critical Ecologies SALC61082 15 Optional
Creative Producing SALC68812 15 Optional
Placement SALC70300 30 Optional
Elemental Media: Documentary and Sensory Practice SOAN60992 15 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN70771 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 28 course units

What our students say

Through my experience with MA Film Studies at The University of Manchester, I was confronted not only with stunning English and American cinema, but also-more importantly, in my eyes-with worldwide cinema, something I'd never really consumed before. I began to understand the gatekeeping that exists in the filmmaking industry and I experienced this firsthand in my (failed) efforts to gain access to works that, simply, could just not be watched in this country. I started to realise that a lot of my favourite Western directors used techniques borrowed from Eastern methods and art. While this was disheartening to realise at such a late stage of loving cinema, it opened my eyes to the way that a Western society typically consumes art-and how little investigation there is to what is handed to us. It was fascinating.

Emily Moscrop - MA Film Studies, 2021

For a part-time student, the course is structured such that you undertake one 30-credit module per semester for two years, followed by a 60-credit dissertation. The first of these, the compulsory Theories of Film, made it clear that I had chosen wisely with the part-time option! My previous BA was not in film, and whilst I have a good grounding in film history, my film theory knowledge was shallow, and improving this area was one of my main reasons for taking the course. The course structure, with a variety of assignment questions, permits significant leeway in allowing students to focus on the aspects they had found most interesting, which for me included semiotics and critical theory, the study of which has changed my perception of cinema. 

Jeff Billington - MA Film Studies (Part-time), 2021 


Facilities are available for video and audio production. Sony camera and sound kits, and kits for Virtual Reality production, including mobile workstations for VR editing, are available for coursework. 

The Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama supports the John Casken Lecture Theatre for film screenings and two studios for independent work with audio and video. In addition, there is a Film Lab equipped with edit suites and a lecture/screening room for the use of MA Film Studies students.  

The Media Services at The University of Manchester provides additional edit suites with on call teaching and technical support.

The Lenagan Library is a small reference library housed in the Martin Harris Centre that includes a range of popular and specialist titles available for students to loan, together with a viewing suite and a spacious work area. 

Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: