MRes Film Studies

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.

Exploring 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.

Applications for this programme are currently closed.

Hana Lewis

“My degree prepared me for practice in many ways, including the ability to think critically and strategically. This is important in my current role where multiple projects run concurrently and I am required to make objective decisions about creative, critical and cultural filmmaking projects.”

The programme is modular and offers a structured approach that includes optional modules such as Cold War Film, Death and the Moving Image, and Film and Television Authorship.

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 studies, and the ability to evaluate these in relation to films and film cultures.

Why study this course

  • You’ll also automatically become a member of - and contribute to - B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies. This multidisciplinary hub for research activities on film at the University coordinates various events like visiting speakers, film screenings and international conferences.
  • We have internationally-recognised research expertise in the fields of European, American and World Cinema, film theory, ethics and aesthetics, queer theory, television studies, children’s media, film and television authorship, performance and audience studies, documentary, digital media, social action filmmaking, film festivals, film production and screenwriting. 
  • The Department brings together the expertise of our Film Studies and Creative Writing staff, opening up exciting new opportunities for postgraduates to benefit from synergies between the two fields. 
  • We enjoy excellent collaborative relationships with professional partners in film, television, theatre, literature and new media.


You will complete the following compulsory taught module:

Research Skills 

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

You will then select two optional modules, before the completion of a 20,000 word thesis. 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

Death is everywhere and nowhere in contemporary Western culture. Corpses litter Hollywood film and vulnerability or violence propel most mainstream fictions, but the pain or banality of physical, or undignified, decline, or the dull ache of mourning, are rarely seen. This module investigates the representation of death, and its surrounding debates, across a range of cinemas, platforms, genres and aesthetic practices, to position it within both a socio-cultural and critical context. Through consideration of various forms and functions of the spectre of death, or of cinematic death itself, it explores their relationship to narrative, ideology and spectatorship.

Film and Television Authorship

This module investigates why it is that the concept of authorship is so different in relation to film (supposedly a director’s medium) and television (apparently a writer’s medium).  This module explores, examines and challenges the concept of authorship in relation to film and television. It begins with analysis of the various traditions and examples of authorship in both media. It focuses on the emergence of ‘big name’ film directors in Hollywood cinema and continues by engaging with the Auteur theory: the notion that the film director should be considered the ‘author’ of a film as a writer is the author of a book. This theory is then challenged in analysis of specific writing on the subject as well as in close case studies and in-depth analysis of key filmmakers and television writers and their most important works. The module thus pursues an understanding of the tension between directorial autonomy, audience demands, critical expectations and the film and television industries. The idea of authorship, which is principally concerned with the status of the film director as an artist, is of fundamental importance in the field of film and television studies and, indeed, creative writing in relation to both media.

Please note that the optional module information listed on the website for this programme is intended to be indicative, and the availability of optional modules may vary from year to year. Where a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you to make other choices.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2017/18:

  • Home/EU: £4,195 full-time; £2,098 part-time
  • Overseas: £15,210 full-time

The above fee quoted is for one year only; for those studying over two or more years, tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Fee status

Eligibility for home/EU or overseas fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students

We can also confirm that EU students who are already studying at the University of Birmingham or who have an offer to start their studies in 2017-18 or 2018-19 academic years will continue to be charged the UK fee rate applicable at the time, provided this continues to be permitted by UK law. The UK Government has also confirmed that students from the EU applying to courses starting in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Paying your fees

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments. Learn more about postgraduate tuition 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.

Entry requirements

Our requirements for postgraduate research are dependent on the type of programme you are applying for:

  • For MRes and MA by Research programmes, entry to our programmes usually requires a good (normally a 2:1 or above) Honours degree, or an equivalent qualification if you were educated outside the UK.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent).

Any academic and professional qualifications or relevant professional experience you may have are normally taken into account, and in some cases, form an integral part of the entrance requirements.

If you are applying for distance learning research programmes, you will also be required to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study by distance learning.

If your qualifications are non-standard or different from the entry requirements stated here, please contact the admissions tutor.

International students

Academic requirements

We accept a range of qualifications; our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements

You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:

How to apply

Before you make your application

Please refer to our six step process on applying for PhD, MA by Research and MRes opportunities for Arts subject areas.

You may wish to register your interest with us to receive regular news and updates on postgraduate life within this Department and the wider University.

Applications for this programme are currently closed. If you would like to be notified if applications re-open please email

Within the Department of Film and Creative Writing, we provide a supportive and friendly environment for pursuing high quality postgraduate study. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the lively international community of the College of Arts and Law Graduate School, which offers dedicated research resources and a supportive working environment. Our team of academic and operational staff are on hand to offer support and advice to all postgraduate students within the College.

Research interests of staff

You’ll also automatically become a member of - and contribute to - B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies.

This multidisciplinary hub for research activities on film at the University coordinates various events like visiting speakers, film screenings and international conferences.

Assessment methods

The course is completed with a 20,000 word thesis. Assessment for the two optional modules are dependent on the modules chosen.

Related research


Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University.

The University's Careers Network provides advice and information specifically for postgraduates that will help you to develop an effective career and skills development strategy, and to make the most of your time with us at the University. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

You will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; receive individual guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique; and access to comprehensive listings of hundreds of graduate jobs and work experience opportunities.

You will also be able to access our full range of careers support for up to two years after graduation.

Over the past three years, over 95% of Film Studies postgraduates were in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Postgraduates in the Department of Film and Creative Writing develop a range of skills including: the ability to lead and participate in discussions; critical thinking, and an appreciation of different theoretical contexts; the ability to develop opinions and new ideas; and an aptitude for thinking and working creatively with others. While some graduates go on to careers in related industries - such as writing, media and television - others have used their transferable skills to pursue roles such as advertising, teaching, and in the heritage and cultural sectors.

Birmingham has been transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Get involved

In addition to the student groups hosted by the Guild of Students, each school runs its own social activities, research fora, seminars and groups for postgraduates.


Coming to Birmingham to study might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

Support in your studies

We offer an Academic Writing Advisory Service, which aims to help your transition to postgraduate research. The service offers guidance on organising your ideas and structuring an argument, referencing and avoiding plagiarism, being clear and coherent and editing your work for academic style and linguistic accuracy. Individual support is provided by a professional academic writing advisor via tutorials or email, as well as through the provision of online materials.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and cultures, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work. Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.