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BA Film Studies and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course description

BA Film Studies and English Literature aims to develop your understanding and awareness of the rich possibilities of this creative medium and encourages you to approach the study of film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives.  

Film Studies

  • You will expand your experience of film 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 mainstream and non-mainstream films in order 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.
  • As you enhance your skills of close analysis, 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. 

English Literature

  • You will explore more than 1,000 years of literature and culture: from medieval romance to the postcolonial and postmodern.
  • You can specialise in English Literature, American, Irish and post-colonial literatures, cultural theory, creative writing and film.
  • You will engage with a range of literary/non-literary genres including film, music and texts, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.
  • Benefit from our research activity in English and American Studies, with more than 12 active research groups ranging from Anglo Saxon literature to 21st century writing and film.
  • Enjoy creative writing course unit options in your second and third years of study.

Aims

  • Develop your understanding and awareness of the rich possibilities of Film
  • Broaden your approach to the study of Film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives.
  • Give you an in-depth understanding of English Literature and works published over the course of the last millennium by English, Irish, American and post-colonial writers.

Special features

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. 

Connect with likeminded students

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

Or you could join The University of Manchester Drama Society, which is for anyone with an interest in drama, be that acting, directing, writing, filmmaking, costume, set building, stage managing or just watching. One of the largest in the Student Union, the society has links with many of Manchester's award-winning theatrical venues, including the Contact Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Each summer the society showcases at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The English Society also puts on social and cultural events. Its annual programme usually includes talks, readings, parties, theatre visits and a play production. Together, these societies run an annual Student Ball.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through tutor-led lectures, seminars and tutorials. For some course units you'll join in group work and other forms of collaborative learning.

Classroom time is frequently supplemented by new media, such as the virtual learning environment, Blackboard. You will also have access to other digital resources to support your learning.

There's emphasis on attending film screenings, which are compulsory and designed to enable you to better understand the distinctive qualities of film as a medium.

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

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study. You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations.

A significant part of your study time will be spent reading, taking notes, preparing presentations and writing essays (which examine particular aspects of a subject in greater depth).

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • small-scale practical assignments;
  • seminar presentations and participation;
  • library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection.

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you can choose to write a dissertation.

Your second-year work counts toward 33% of your final degree result. Your third-year work accounts for the remaining 67%.

Course content for year 1

In Year 1, you will take three compulsory course units that establish the conceptual building blocks of studying film before progressing into the various new wave movements and contemporary cinema.

The Art of Film covers the core concepts and terminology in studying film. The unit addresses the distinctive properties of film as a medium and engages with debates about film's status as an art. Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema covers the origins of cinema up to the 1950s. Introduction to World Cinema covers a range of film cultures from different countries with an initial emphasis on the various new wave movements, which began to emerge around the world in the 1950s and 1960s, addressing significant post-Second World War developments in the cinema of countries such as France and Japan.

This is alongside the core and optional English Literature course units, enriching your awareness and understanding of the work of English, American, Irish and post-colonial writers throughout history.

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
The Art of Film DRAM10031 20 Mandatory
Introduction to Early and Classical Cinema DRAM13331 20 Mandatory
Reading Literature ENGL10021 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Optional
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In Year 2, you take one compulsory unit - Screen, Culture and Society - which covers more advanced theoretical debates about the relationship between film and society. 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?

This is alongside your core and optional English Literature course units, including the option to study Creative Writing.

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
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Mandatory
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
American Literature and Social Criticism, 1900-Present AMER20481 20 Optional
Visual Cultures in China and East Asia CHIN22521 20 Optional
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20031 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Video Project 1: Documentary DRAM21091 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Virtual Realities DRAM21282 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL20002 20 Optional
Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts ENGL20231 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20482 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20491 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20901 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20902 20 Optional
Medieval Metamorphoses ENGL21022 20 Optional
Renaissance Literature ENGL21151 20 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL21161 20 Optional
Satire and the Novel: English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century ENGL21182 20 Optional
Modernism ENGL21192 20 Optional
Romanticism (1776-1832) ENGL21521 20 Optional
French Cinema to 1980 FREN20142 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
God at the Movies RELT20631 20 Optional
Hispanic Cinemas SPLA20841 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 26 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Your remaining units in your final year are all optional and you can select from a wide range of units covering different countries, genres and issues. You can also choose to write a dissertation.

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
Climate Change & Culture Wars AMER30572 20 Optional
Progressivism in the United States AMER30581 20 Optional
Beat Writing AMER30792 20 Optional
Long Essay in Drama DRAM30000 20 Optional
Video Project 2 - Docufiction DRAM30062 40 Optional
Dissertation DRAM30990 40 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
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30121 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30122 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Culture and Conflict: Neoliberalism and Cultural Production ENGL30261 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30942 20 Optional
Kipling, Forster and India ENGL31112 20 Optional
Radical Turns: Culture and Politics in the 1930s ENGL31141 20 Optional
Revenge Tragedy: Wild Justice on the English Renaissance Stage ENGL31762 20 Optional
Creative Writing Screenwriting ENGL31951 20 Optional
Gendered Experiments: Women's Innovative Writing in the Twentieth Century ENGL33061 20 Optional
Sex, Disease and the Body: 1660-1800 ENGL33082 20 Optional
Imagining the Early Modern: From Henry V to Game of Thrones ENGL34011 20 Optional
Telling Tales: Verse and Narrative from Chaucer to Shakespeare ENGL34042 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction ENGL34052 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34071 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Literary and Sexual Experimentalism Between the Wars ENGL34141 20 Optional
Contemporary South Asian Literatures ENGL34151 20 Optional
Literary Landscapes ENGL34162 20 Optional
World Literature and Climate Crisis ENGL34212 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
The Supernatural in Latin American Literature and Film SPLA31132 20 Optional
From Sherlock Holmes to CSI UCIL32511 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 35 course units for year 3

Facilities

Our comprehensive facilities include the Martin Harris Centre - home to 150-seater The John Thaw Studio and our main `lab' for exploring performance - and workshops and rehearsal rooms fully equipped with state-of-the-art sound-editing and video editing suites. Manchester also has the 2nd highest concentration of theatres in the UK.

One of only five National Research Libraries, The University of Manchester Library holds extensive, internationally renowned collections in the medieval, Victorian, and American literary fields.

The latter includes the Walt Whitman Collection and the Upton Sinclair Collection. Holdings also include the archive material of the Manchester Poetry Centre.

American history is also well-served by several major research databases dedicated to topics such as the African American Experience, the nineteenth-century US press, and American religion.

The English and American Studies Film Library is another substantial and growing learning resource.

You will enjoy exclusive access to special collections of the John Rylands Library, including Shakespeare's first folio, and Elizabeth Gaskell and Ted Hughes' first archives.

Learn 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: dass@manchester.ac.uk