Giving you a critical and evaluative understanding of film within an interdisciplinary context, this programme encourages you to understand the role of film and cinema within a range of socio-cultural arenas. Forging the links between film theory and film practices, cultural politics and state or foreign policy, it will also allow you to assess the notion of film as a social process engaging with issues of representation, production and consumption.
The programme is modular and offers a structured approach that includes taught core and optional modules such as Cold War Film, and Death and the Moving Image. Alongside this you will undertake training in research skills, culminating in an independently researched 20,000-word thesis.
You will gain a firm grounding in different approaches to the analysis of film, a broad knowledge of the history of cinema and developments in film theory, and the ability to evaluate these in relation to films and film cultures.
You will complete the following compulsory taught modules:
Film, Theory and Politics
This module examines the interaction between film, film theory and politics. It will provide you with a solid grounding in some of the critical debates of the discipline, and in related cultural issues central to its development and our focus on American Film. As such, it will enable you to assess the impact of politics on various levels of film analysis and production: from the ideology of the classical apparatus and text to the race or sexual politics of Hollywood cinema, from the censoring of the Production Code era to the attempted radicalism of post-modern film practices.
By the end of the module you should be able to:
Demonstrate a critical understanding of 1970s film theory
Demonstrate the ability to analyse both classical and post-classical Hollywood cinema in terms of ideology, and race and sexual politics, and via textual and contextual approaches
Demonstrate an understanding of how legislation impacts upon film form and content, and how films position themselves outside of political convention
Research and use critically primary and secondary materials, including audio-visual material
Give a presentation, including the use of primary and secondary materials, demonstrating in-depth knowledge and application of film theory to interpret the ideological work of a single film example.
Research Skills and Methods
This module aims to develop your skills in research practices, including preparation and presentation of dissertations and theses. It supports the research planning for your dissertation/thesis.
By the end of the module you should be able to:
Understand the requirement to construct a methodological framework for your topic
Conduct web-based research
Construct a bibliography and use a recognised style guide in citations
Identify and analyse primary and secondary sources
Demonstrate ability to present a detailed analysis of one text or idea as a case study
Optional modules include:
Cold War Film
This module aims to examine films of the Cold War era c.1946-1965 and develop your skills in both film theory, and film history. It examines the political and economic context of the production of film, looking at issues such as political control via McCarthyism and the HUAC, and the economic demands that directed and constrained film production. You will then examine a series of films, in order to assess the extent to which film reflected or engaged with social, cultural and political debates of the time.
Death and the Moving Image
This module investigates the representation of death, and its surrounding debates, across a range of genres and aesthetic practices, to position it within a socio-cultural, historical, and critical context. Through consideration of the various forms and functions of the spectre of death, or of cinematic death itself, it explores their relationship to narrative, ideology and spectatorship.
This module offers students the opportunity to study postcolonial film from different historical and national contexts and via a range of geopolitical and technological shifts. It will explore the changing relationship between colonialism/imperialism and film through the course of the twentieth century and beyond.
We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2014/15 are currently as follows:
Home / EU £3,950 full-time; £1,975 part-time
Overseas: £12,565 full-time
Learn more about fees and funding.
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To discover whether you are eligible for any award across the University, and to start your funding application, please visit the University's Postgraduate Funding Database.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.
University of Birmingham graduates - including those due to graduate in summer 2014 - may be entitled to a fee reduction through the College of Arts and Law Alumni Bursary scheme.