MA Film and Television: Research and Production

Film and Television: Research and Production is a uniquely constructed taught MA that places employability at the heart of the programme.

Utilising a combination of theoretical approaches, critical engagement, creative practice and hands-on training, this MA is designed to provide you with a broad range of skills that will be directly applicable within the film and television industries. It combines rigorous academic training in research skills and methodology with technical and vocational training in designing, researching and editing programmes. It also includes a unique work placement of up to 12 weeks in the media industry. 

Excellent communication skills, with high standards of both written and spoken English, are essential for this MA.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time

Start date: September


This interdisciplinary masters programme is designed to help you take the specialist academic knowledge from your first degree and apply it in practical ways to kick-start your career in broadcasting or scholarly research. Combining academic and professional training, the programme provides hands-on skills with a core understanding about how the industry works, promoting both critical and creative thought. 

You will study three core modules (full descriptions available below):

  • Development and Production Processes for Film and Television
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Research Skills in Film and Television
  • Guided Editing/Guided Reading

The MA also includes a unique work placement of up to 12 weeks in the media industry at a partner company, such as Maverick Television, and you will complete the programme with either a 20-25 minute documentary film or a 15,000-word dissertation.

This programme also offers the opportunity to gain a Skillset accredited qualification in Health and Safety, in addition to your MA, which is a great enhancement to your CV.

Why study this course

The quality, creativity and originality of the UK’s production industry is highly respected across the globe – hence its position as the biggest exporter of programmes after the US. British programming leads the way in factual entertainment, documentaries and light entertainment, and the US now looks to the UK as a source of inspiration. The MA in Film and Television: Research and Production gives you the chance to come and train alongside the creative talent who set the standard for the rest of the world.

Successfully completing the Film and Television: Research and Production course will reward you with a Masters degree in just one year, as well as providing real experience within a UK media company.


You will complete the following taught modules:

Development and Production Processes for Film and Television

This module is delivered through a combination of small project assignments, masterclasses from industry experts, and group seminar work. It provides you with a realistic overview of the challenges and processes of research, development and commissioning for film and television.

Documentary Filmmaking

This module acquaints you with critical concepts in documentary filmmaking, recognisable across histories, genres, nationalities and media. Weekly seminars cover a range of styles and tones of documentary film from early cinema to reality television, providing you with a strong appreciation of the technical and editorial complexities of documentary filmmaking, and an understanding of the relationship between intention and form.

Research Skills in Film and Television

This module helps you to decide on a topic and plan for your audio-visual or written dissertation. It guides you through using research resources such as academic journals and online databases, and it shows you how to plan your final piece of work.

Guided Editing/Guided Reading

This module trains you in the technical skills necessary to film, capture and edit digital film and video projects. You will produce a five-minute film on a subject of your choice. Alternatively, those who plan to submit a written dissertation complete a 5,000 word guided reading essay.

In addition, you will complete a placement and a dissertation:


In the second or third semester, you will complete a placement in the production and broadcast industry, lasting up to 12 weeks. You might want to work in a well-known company or gain your experience working for a specialist or newer production house.  We have strong links with local companies and there is also a possibility of working in London, other cities in the UK or even abroad. We will work with you to identify and target the right company - helping you to become proactive about networking and learn to seek out your own opportunities in a freelance career path. During the placement you can build on your skills and contacts in a highly competitive industry.


You have the option of submitting either a written or an audio-visual dissertation (which must be a factual piece). Most students take this opportunity to build their production skills further, creating a 20-25 minute documentary film for their show reel or portfolio. You can work towards getting your film broadcast on internet or cable television channels, at cinemas or film festivals. Your film will be underpinned by independent research and academic supervision. If you choose to do an audio-visual dissertation you will also submit a 4,000-word evaluation. If you choose to do a written dissertation, its length will be 15,000 words.

Fees and funding

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

  • Home / EU: £6,480 full-time, £3,240 part-time
  • Overseas: £14,140 full-time

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

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

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

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

Applicants should have excellent communication skills, with high standards of both written and spoken English.

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

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

Training in editing and filming is delivered as part of the MA and we have an on-site technician to give you as much guidance as you need. All of the equipment is provided on the course and following training you will be able to borrow cameras for filming throughout the year. 

You will also become part of, and contribute to, the vibrant 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.

Support with academic writing

As a postgraduate student in the College of Arts and Law, you have access to the Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) which aims to help your transition from undergraduate to taught Masters level, or back into academia after time away. The service offers guidance on writing assignments and dissertations for your MA/MSc programme with individual support from an academic writing advisor via tutorials, email and the provision of online materials.

International students can access support through the English for International Students Unit (EISU).

Related research


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.

Staff on the MA offer thorough advice on CVs and cover letters in preparation for the placement module and also run interview skills workshops, providing you with a solid foundation for securing employment after your degree. If you have a specialist interest you would like to pursue on your placement, for example working with a UK-based company which broadcasts in your native language or which broadcasts to your home country, we will work with you to try and make that happen. 

A number of our course alumni have gone on to forge successful careers in the media industries, such as Jessica Waugh: 

"This MA really helped kick-start my career in TV. The work placement provides invaluable experience and is great for getting your foot in the door, and I still implement the practical and theoretical skills I acquired throughout the course." 

Jessica Waugh, BBC Production Trainee/Assistant Script Editor, EastEnders