BA Film Studies and History of Art / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

Course description

The Joint Honours in Film Studies provides you with a thorough grounding in film history and key theoretical approaches to studying film as well as the opportunity to develop specialist areas of interest.

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. 

History of Art

  • You will receive grounding in European and North American art and architecture, from the Ancient Greek world to the present day, as well as subjects in global art history.
  • Our curriculum includes a pathway devoted to curating and gallery studies. Topics covered include the museum as institution, collecting, practical aspects of curating and making exhibitions, and art writing.

Aims

  • Develop your understanding and awareness of the rich possibilities of Film. 
  • Encourage you to approach the study of film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives.  
  • Expand and deepen your understanding of History of Art, from the ancient world to today.

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.

Overseas opportunities

We offer two unique summer internships at the world-famous Venice Peggy Guggenheim Collection. In your second year you'll go on a five-day field trip to a European city, such as Paris, Rome, Barcelona or Berlin. The trip combines guided tours and talks with independent research and culminates in an extended essay on your return to the UK.

You may also apply to spend one semester  studying abroad  during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered in Europe, through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, or via the Worldwide Exchange scheme, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Extracurricular opportunities

Join our student society, the Manchester Art Group, which curates events, talks, exhibitions and trips, and aims to link up with contemporary art practice in Manchester and across the North West.

You could also join Arts Emergency, which aims to encourage the production of a new generation of thinkers by highlighting the reversal of decades of social and educational access to arts and humanities, or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society, which brings together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity.

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

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, small seminar groups, workshops, gallery visits, and one-to-one tutorials. 

Seminars are normally very interactive - you may be given reading in advance that will form the basis of a class discussion and you will be expected to contribute occasional oral presentations, building your skills and confidence in presentation techniques. 

Some course units feature group projects culminating in online content development or a physical exhibition/display. 

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). 

Many of our courses include fieldwork visits to galleries or special exhibitions throughout the UK. 

This means regular classes in Manchester at places like HOME, the City Art Gallery and the University's own Whitworth Art Gallery. 

You can also experience credited placement opportunities as part of your learning. 

We offer several travel bursaries through the Lady Chorley Fund to assist final-year students with their dissertation research. 

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.

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.

Written feedback is provided in the form of essay and exam cover sheets and, in the case of orally delivered seminar papers, a verbal report from the tutor. We provide feedback on both the content of your writing and the construction and clarity of the argument posed.

As a student here you'll gain both academic writing skills and insight into the development of arts-specific composition, such as catalogue entries, gallery interpretation, exhibition reviews and journalistic articles.

Course tutors are available without appointment in their office hours twice a week outside scheduled teaching hours, allowing you to gain advice and feedback on your work.

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 History of Art course units, enriching your understanding of the theories that tie art to specific places, people and periods of 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
Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History SALC10041 20 Mandatory
Rococo to Now: Artworks in History SALC10042 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
Art Spaces AHCP10051 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 1 AHCP10381 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 2 AHCP10382 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 History of Art course units, which will expand on your first-year learnings allowing you to pursue specialisms.

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
Art in Theory AHCP20431 20 Mandatory
European Art History Fieldtrip AHCP20702 20 Mandatory
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Mandatory
Art and the Early Modern Body AHCP20132 20 Optional
Art in Britain AHCP20222 20 Optional
Art in South Asia AHCP20802 20 Optional
Surrealism, Gender, Sexuality AHCP23711 20 Optional
Art of Fourteenth Century Italy AHCP23921 20 Optional
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
Visual Cultures in China and East Asia CHIN22521 20 Optional
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20032 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20091 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21552 20 Optional
Gender and Sexuality in French Cinema FREN21332 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
God at the Movies RELT20631 20 Optional
Visual Culture in Modern Spain: Film, Painting and Photography SPLA20062 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20141 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 21 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. 

In History of Art, a work placement module in Year 3 allows you to gain credits towards your degree while getting hands-on gallery experience at the Whitworth or other cultural institutions in the city.

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
History of Art Dissertation AHCP30000 40 Optional
The English Baroque: Architecture and Society 1660-1730 AHCP30012 20 Optional
Art and Ecologies AHCP30052 20 Optional
Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art AHCP30562 20 Optional
Picasso AHCP33132 20 Optional
Romanticism AHCP33191 20 Optional
Long Essay in Drama DRAM30000 20 Optional
Docufiction Filmmaking 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 DRAM33301 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30482 20 Optional
Remaking Russia: Constructing and Contesting Identity in Post-Soviet Film and Visual Culture RUSS30812 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 16 course units for year 3

What our students say

Weekly seminars provide us with the opportunity to engage with other people's thoughts and ideas when discussing screenings, film theory and any independent research we wish to share with the group.

This creates an environment where we can debate and develop our own arguments, challenging us to think critically in consideration of alternative perspectives and ideas.

Isabella Coombes, Film Studies and English Literature BA

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 industry standard sound editing and video editing suites.

Manchester also has the second-highest concentration of theatres in the UK.

The rich cultural heritage and attractions of Manchester and the north-west are within easy reach.

The Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery offer unique access to the environment of the working museum and art gallery, as well as to important works of art.

The Whitworth is a major resource, and its outstanding collections of paintings, prints, textiles and wallpapers are used extensively in our teaching.

You can also explore original art in the city's famous galleries, such as the Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

Within Art History, there is a very large and well-organised slide, video and computer-based image collection, which is an essential learning and teaching resource.

The main library provision is the University Library, one of the UK's top university libraries with arguably the best access to electronic resources of any library in Europe.

This is one of the largest academic libraries in Britain and houses a Special Collections Department on Deansgate which contains a superb and diverse collection of manuscripts, illustrated books and other material relevant to Art History.

Art History also shares a disciplinary library with Archaeology in the same building as our department.

It provides a pleasant and quiet working environment for students, with access to the most used publications.

In a convenient and well-ordered work environment, it also houses a very large, well-organised slide, video and computer-based image collection.

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