Film Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)

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The Department of Film and Creative Writing offers promising candidates the opportunity to carry out research in one of the most dynamic institutions in Britain. We give all possible support to our researchers, developing the resources available at the University and encouraging an active postgraduate environment for the exchange of information and concepts.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Distance learning, doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time; 6 years part-time, MA by Research – 1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Start date: January, September

Details

The Department of Film and Creative Writing has a vibrant and fast-growing postgraduate community. The Department draws on the research interests and projects of our staff in postgraduate teaching and on contributions from staff in allied Departments at University of Birmingham. 

The MA by Research programme requires you to prepare a dissertation of up to 40,000 words on a topic of your choice, for which an academic staff member will provide expert supervision.

The PhD – the most advanced research degree - leads to a dissertation of up to 80,000 words on a subject of your choice and under the expert supervision of an academic member of staff. You can study for a PhD on campus or by Distance Learning.

We have recognised research strengths in the fields of European and Independent American Cinema, film theory, film aesthetics, Modernism, Cubism and Surrealism, Queer theory, ethics and film theory, death and film, television studies, Hollywood cinema, authorship, fantasy and ficitonal worlds, performance, authorship, documentary, digital media, social action filmmaking, adaptation; screen practice; film production and screenwriting. Staff contribute to joint initiatives in the presentation of research, notably through electronic publishing and the development of websites, and we work with staff in allied departments across the University so that you benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to teaching.

At Birmingham you also have the option of studying languages, free of charge. Almost no other UK University offers you the opportunity to learn the intense graduate academic language skills which you may need to pursue your research.

Fees and funding

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2015/16 are currently as follows:

  • Home / EU £4,090 full-time; £2,045 part-time
  • Overseas: £13,195 full-time; £6,597.50 part-time

For part-time students, the above fee quoted is for year one only and tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

Tuition fees can either be paid in full or by instalments.

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

Learn more about postgraduate tuituion fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships to cover fees and/or maintenance costs may be available. To be eligible for these awards, candidates must hold either an offer of a place to study or have submitted an application to study at the University. 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

Learn more about entry requirements

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

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.

Making your application

For applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode only:

As part of the application process for the distance learning study mode, we will ask you to provide evidence to demonstrate that you have the time, commitment, facilities and experience to study for a PhD by Distance Learning. Please be prepared to provide evidence, and details, of the following:

  • Examples of your postgraduate research experience and ability to work independently e.g. papers/presentations at professional and academic conferences or publications in professional journals or previous completion of an independent research project, etc.
  • Full reasons (academic and personal) for registering for the distance learning mode of study rather than by standard full or part-time on-campus options. In particular, how you will be able to carry out your project in your chosen location.
  • Access to local library facilities (where needed)
  • Access to IT facilities
  • Access to communications, including e-mail and visual communication media e.g. Skype and Facetime
  • Access to facilities to support any study-related disability (where appropriate)

You can upload this information at the time of application - when asked to provide supporting documentation - or via your applicant portal once you have submitted your application.

For all applicants:

Please note that this programme is new for 2015/16. Further details will be added in due course. 

Research interests of staff

• Film studies; queer theory; Ethics and Spectatorship; Jewish Cultural Studies’; identity and representation; representations of death
Contact: Dr Michele Aaron
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5750
Email: m.aaron@bham.ac.uk

• Spanish, Basque, Cuban, European and Independent American cinema; film theory and the politics of aesthetics; Modernism; Cubism; Surrealism; Basque cultural and visual studies
Contact: Professor Rob Stone
Tel: +44 (0)121 414
Email: r.stone@bham.ac.uk

• Film production; documentary; digital media; audio-visual academia; social action filmmaking
Contact: Dr Richard Langley
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 5745
Email: r.m.langley@bham.ac.uk

• Film aesthetics; television studies; Hollywood cinema; authorship; fantasy and fictional worlds; performance; production communities; children's media
Contact: James Walters
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 8333
Email: j.r.walters@bham.ac.uk

• Screenwriting; adaptation; theories of screen practice 
Contact: Dr Richard House
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7964
Email: r.house@bham.ac.uk

Employability

The University of Birmingham has been ranked 8th in the UK and 60th in the world for post-qualification employability in the latest global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for employment and this will be further enhanced by the employability skills training offered through the College of Arts and Law Graduate School.

Doctoral researchers have gone on to forge successful careers in a variety of industries, including the media, and over the past five years, over 92% of our research masters and PhD students have been in work and/or further study six months after graduation. Michael Burns graduated with a PhD from the University, is now working as a freelance filmmaker, and has created five documentaries:

“The University of Birmingham gave me a strong moral compass and the confidence to create projects, in my case films, geared toward social change. Many academic institutions can give you a degree, but what Birmingham gave me was a world-class academic experience that allowed me to research and teach amongst students, faculty, and staff who care about learning.”