Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

BA Film Studies and Archaeology / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

Our BA Film Studies and Archaeology course will enable you to study film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives while exploring archaeology from the Palaeolithic period to the recent past.

You will learn through taught units and screenings that focus on both classical and contemporary films, covering a wide range of film cultures from around the world. You will study both mainstream and non-mainstream films to broaden your understanding of the history of film, as well as the debates and issues that are informing and generated by current practice in film and shaping its future.

You will also develop an understanding of how film engages with socio-cultural and political concerns, placing the films you study in their historical context, as well as thinking about current debates and future challenges for cinema as a medium.

The course emphasises historical and theoretical approaches to studying film rather than practical production, encouraging you to develop as an independent critical thinker able to work in a diverse range of assessment scenarios, taking in solo written assignments, presentations and, on certain units, group work and creative projects that enable you to put theory into practice.

Combining insights from humanities and science, our Archaeology units offer the opportunity to explore humanity from its earliest origins right up to the impact of industrialisation and globalisation on society.

You'll consider the key challenges of modern society - from climate change to new technologies, clashes of religion, violence and warfare - by examining the long-term record of our past.

You will also use scientific techniques to examine ancient objects, human remains and landscapes.

Fieldwork training will give you the opportunity to dig for four weeks, joining research teams at sites in England, Scotland, Jersey and the Mediterranean while learning about staff research in the Near East and Scandinavia.


In Archaeology, we aim to:

  • fulfil the University's undertaking to provide high quality teaching and a research environment that enables students to develop their full potential;
  • encourage you to take increasing charge of your own learning, develop critical skills and broaden your intellectual horizons, and to foster an enthusiasm for the subject;
  • provide you with a knowledge of a range of past societies and cultures, and an understanding of archaeological theory, method and interpretation;
  • foster a critical understanding of the place and importance of archaeology and material heritage in contemporary society, including the issues and controversies which they provoke;
  • introduce you to the archaeological inheritance of Manchester and the north-west;
  • harness the wide range of staff expertise to provide innovatory and stimulating course units appropriate to the courses;
  • monitor, review and update courses regularly to ensure that they meet appropriate academic standards;
  • respond positively to the needs and concerns of students from a range of backgrounds;
  • provide effective pastoral and academic support;
  • develop in students a range of transferable skills to meet career demands, including careers in archaeology, and provide a foundation for lifelong learning;
  • equip capable students to participate in taught master's courses and prepare you for independent research at a higher level.

In Film Studies, we aim to help you:

  • gain a good knowledge of a range of contemporary and classical film cultures, taking in mainstream and experimental film as well as Anglophone and non-Anglophone cinema;
  • enhance your understanding of film history, theory and relevant interpretive methods;
  • display a critical understanding of the place and importance of film in contemporary society, including the issues, debates and controversies which film has contributed and responded to, including an awareness of the contribution film can make to communities at both a local and wider level;
  • develop your critical skills, broaden your intellectual horizons, audio-visual literacy and imagination, and deepen your enthusiasm for the subject;
  • develop a range of transferable skills to meet career demands and begin to make a worthwhile contribution to relevant fields and provide a foundation for lifelong learning.

Special features

Experience digs in the UK and abroad

Fieldwork training is an integral part of our course in all years, and you'll be introduced to excavation techniques by experienced archaeologists.

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Explore in-depth collections on campus

Discover artefacts, architecture, ancient texts and beliefs using our well-equipped laboratories, our own departmental teaching collections and the exclusive archives and curatorial expertise of Manchester Museum.

Learn from the experts

You will be taught by world-class researchers with archaeological specialisms in identity, landscapes, monuments, material culture and social complexity.

Connect with like-minded students

Join The University of Manchester Filmmaking Society, which provides a platform for aspiring filmmakers to meet, exchange ideas and create their own cinematic productions.

The Archaeology Society is open to anyone with an interest in archaeology, including students and the wider community.

Teaching and learning

In Film Studies, you'll attend film screenings, which are designed to enable you to advance your interpretive skills and better understand the distinctive qualities of film as a medium.

There is also emphasis on close analysis, through which you'll learn to interpret films and their discursive surround, including relevant paratexts (eg promotional material such as trailers and posters).

In Archaeology, a variety of teaching methods are used, including:

  • tutorials
  • seminars
  • laboratory sessions
  • lectures
  • fieldwork
  • one-to-one tutorials
  • group exercises
  • presentations
  • reports
  • original research guided by academic tutors.

Archaeology fieldwork includes one-day site visits as well as extensive periods of excavation in locations as close as Stonehenge and Orkney or as distant as Africa and the Middle East.

The University subsidises the cost of fieldwork.

Coursework and assessment

In Film Studies, assessment includes:

  • essays
  • seminar presentations and participation
  • exams
  • practical work.

In Archaeology, assessment includes:

  • written examinations
  • coursework essays
  • research reports
  • practical tests
  • fieldwork workbooks
  • individual projects
  • oral presentations
  • third year dissertation
  • digital posters
  • audio performances.

Archaeology field training involves a variety of assessment over a range of skills and techniques.

Course content for year 1

Take three core units that establish the conceptual building blocks of studying film, as well as providing you with a thorough grounding in major developments in early and classical cinema, before progressing into the various 'new wave' movements and developments in contemporary cinema.

Gain a broad based understanding of archaeological history and the methods and theories involved in the interpretation of past societies. Discover the process of archaeological fieldwork and the principles of excavation through lab-based study, artefact handling sessions, and hands-on field trips.

Course units for year 1

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
Discoveries and Discoverers: Sights and Sites CAHE10282 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 1 CAHE10501 20 Mandatory
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema DRAM13331 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You will be able to select from a range of specialist study options on specific issues in Film Studies and focus on aspects of American, British, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian or Spanish and Portuguese language cinema with a particular interest in questions of identity and representation - how have films perpetuated or subverted notions of gender, sexuality, national identity, ethnicity and class?

Explore the emergence of archaeology from antiquarianism, and the 'big ideas' from philosophy and theory - power and ideology, phenomenology and materialism - that help analyse past societies.

Course units for year 2

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
Thinking Archaeology CAHE20111 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20502 20 Mandatory
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Mandatory
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Sanctuaries and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE20221 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
Origins and Transformations: Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Europe CAHE20561 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE20992 20 Optional
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20031 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
French Cinema to 1980 FREN20142 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
Hispanic Cinemas SPLA20841 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You can select from a wide range of Film Studies units covering different countries, genres and issues.

Gain an understanding of the power of the past and the importance of heritage in the modern world, addressing the issues faced by archaeologists.

You can also choose to undertake an in-depth piece of solo research on the topic of your choice, whether in Film Studies or Archaeology.

Course units for year 3

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
The Emergence of Civilisation: Palaces, Peak Santuaries and Politics in Minoan Crete CAHE30221 20 Optional
Artefacts and Interpretation CAHE30362 20 Optional
Why the Past Matters CAHE30501 20 Optional
Upper Palaeolithic and Mesolithic Europe CAHE30561 20 Optional
The Archaeology of Ritual CAHE30992 20 Optional
From Documentary to Mockumentary DRAM31011 20 Optional
Falstaff and Gandalf go to the Movies: Adapting Fantastic Texts to Screen DRAM31042 20 Optional
Screen Acting & Stardom DRAM33302 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Political and Cultural History of Italy ITAL30342 20 Optional
God at the Movies RELT20631 20 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31132 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 3


Study with us and you'll have exclusive access to award-winning learning resources, including some of the city's key cultural assets such as John Rylands Library, Manchester Museum and the Whitworth.

For Film Studies, the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama is a purpose-built creative facility that includes a flexible, fully equipped performance space, workshops, rehearsal rooms and screening rooms, as well as the Lenagan Library - our dedicated performing arts library.

In Archaeology, Our dedicated archaeological laboratories contain a wide range of equipment you can use during your degree.

Get to grips with our extensive archaeological artefacts, ranging from the Early Palaeolithic to the 20th century.

Use microscopes, professional photography and measurement equipment, a 3D scanner and printer, and portable XRF to analyse and record artefacts. Or try out our GPS equipment, total stations and drones when out in the field. 

Learn how to combine these with software for digital illustrations GIS analysis of maps and spatial data and 3D digital models to enhance your analysis and understanding.

Throughout your degree, this equipment will be available for loan from our dedicated lab technician, who can also offer any extra training you need.

Our separate teaching and research labs are used for teaching thorough our degrees, and are available for independent student study and research. They also host our experimental archaeology group, which regularly meet to make and use types of artefacts from a range of archaeological periods. 

Disability support

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