BA Film Studies and Archaeology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

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.

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.


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.


  • Develop your understanding and awareness of the rich possibilities of Film.
  • Expand your approach to Film from a range of historical and theoretical perspectives.

Special features

Experience digs in the UK and abroad

Fieldwork training is an integral part of our course throughout the degree, 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.

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 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

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.

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
Drama and Film Study Skills DRAM11111 0 Mandatory
DRAM12220 - Drama and Film PASS DRAM12220 0 Mandatory
Introduction to Early Film Histories DRAM13331 20 Mandatory
Introduction to World Cinema SALC11002 20 Mandatory
The Making of the Mediterranean CAHE10132 20 Optional
Cities and Citizens CAHE10232 20 Optional
Introduction to the History and Culture of Pharaonic Egypt CAHE10651 20 Optional
Living and Dying in the Ancient World SALC10602 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 1

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?

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 CAHE20112 20 Mandatory
Doing Archaeology 2 CAHE20501 20 Mandatory
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Mandatory
American Film Studies AMER20072 20 Optional
Roman Women in 22 Objects CAHE20532 20 Optional
The First Cities: The Archaeology of Urbanism in the Near East CAHE20912 20 Optional
From Sites to Statues: Understanding Heritage in a time of Culture Wars CAHE24602 20 Optional
God at the Movies DRAM20631 20 Optional
A Score is Born: History and Ideology in Hollywood Film Music DRAM20711 20 Optional
Introduction to Documentary Film Practice DRAM21091 20 Optional
Audio Project 1: The Audio Feature DRAM21222 20 Optional
Horror Film: Genre, Periods, Styles DRAM21261 20 Optional
Virtual Reality (VR) Film Making DRAM21282 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting DRAM21551 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 FREN21331 20 Optional
Weimar Culture? Art, Film and Politics in Germany, 1918-33 GERM20261 20 Optional
Spectres of Fascism: Literature, Film and Visual Arts in Germany and Austria since 1945 GERM20902 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20132 20 Optional
Data Literacy in a Digital World SALC20081 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 23 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

You may undertake a Dissertation in a film-related topic.

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
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
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


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: