BA Film Studies and Middle Eastern Studies / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

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 alongside your study of Middle Eastern history, politics and culture. 

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. 

Middle Eastern Studies  

  • The course considers the fact that the study of the Middle East has grown into a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural academic phenomenon, attracting strong interest for political, cultural and social reasons.
  • It takes on board academic developments in fields such as globalisation, cultural identity, diaspora and migration studies, gender studies, and post-colonial studies, all of which are based on techniques in the analysis of evidence across several Middle Eastern languages and uses original sources in English translation as well as secondary sources in English.
  • The interplay of disciplines and skills involved in achieving a balanced view of the history, literatures, cultures, and religions of the Middle East is broad and complex.
  • Language skills are useful in achieving an advanced understanding of this balanced view, but not the only route. This degree, therefore, allows the study of language(s) up to level 2, but does not make language study compulsory.
  • The course will equip you, through core course units and a wide range of optional course units, with the ability to acquire a thorough and sufficiently specific, but language-independent understanding of the Middle East, alongside key contemporary methods in the study of culture, religion, literature and history.

Special features

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials, and practical group projects.

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, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre.

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.

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 Film Histories 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 Middle Eastern Studies course units, enriching your cultural and historical awareness.

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 Film Histories DRAM13331 20 Mandatory
History and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10711 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
The History and Sociopolitics of Palestine/Israel (1882-1967) MEST10042 20 Optional
Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa MEST10091 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

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
Contemporary British Cinema DRAM20031 20 Optional
Black on Screen DRAM20092 20 Optional
God at the Movies DRAM20632 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21262 20 Optional
Virtual Realities DRAM21282 20 Optional
Television Drama DRAM21291 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21552 20 Optional
Discipline and Punish: The Modern Prison on Stage and Screen DRAM21902 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
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20002 20 Optional
Themes in the Histories of Arab and Jewish Nationalisms MEST20271 20 Optional
Women and Gender in the Middle East and North Africa MEST20352 20 Optional
History of Modern Islamic Thought MEST20501 20 Optional
Visual Culture in Modern Spain: Film, Painting and Photography SPLA20061 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20141 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 19 course units for year 2

Facilities

Our comprehensive facilities include the Martin Harris Centre - home to the 150-seater John Thaw Studio plus the John Casken Lecture Theatre, which is fitted with 7.1 surround sound system - and workshops and rehearsal rooms fully equipped with industry-standard sound editing and video editing suites. 

Manchester also hosts several film festivals with specialisms ranging from animation and horror to Spanish-language cinema.

As well as making use of the wider University library network, you will have access to the University Language Centre, a modern open learning facility where you can study independently and make use of a library and audio-visual resources. 

There are also language laboratories and multimedia facilities. 

Learn more about facilities

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