MA Film and Television: Research and Production

Do you want to develop a broad range of skills that will be directly applicable within the film and television industries?

Are you looking to kick-start your career in media production or scholarly research?

The MA in Film and Television: Research and Production places employability at the heart of the programme. Utilising a combination of theoretical approaches, critical engagement, creative practice and hands-on technical training, this MA gives you the chance to work within a dynamic and innovative department. It combines rigorous academic training in research skills and methodology with technical and vocational training in designing, researching and editing audio-visual content. It also includes a 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.

Please note: There are specific application deadlines for this programme.  Please see 'How to apply' in course details for more information.

Dr Richard Langley

Dr Richard Langley

“This uniquely designed MA programme places student employability at the heart of the course. Students will develop theoretical, critical and practical skills, which they can put to use in both written work and in the research and production of several short films. Moreover, students will also gain invaluable experience from a work placement with one of our many industry partners. This depth and diversity of content enables students to enter the audio-visual industries (and elsewhere) as confident, competent and creative individuals.”

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 media production 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 four 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 Placement and Training module, allowing you to gain work experience in the media industry. 

This programme also offers the opportunity to gain an industry-recognised qualification in Health and Safety for productions, in addition to your MA, which is a great enhancement to your CV. This is part of the Production Safety Passport Scheme approved by Creative Skillset (the skills body for the creative industries in the UK).

Assessment

Your modules are assessed through a combination of practical and written assignments. You will complete the programme with either a 20-25 minute documentary film or a 15,000-word dissertation.

Why study this course

  • Industry placement - you will have an opportunity to go on one or more placements, with the chance to work with a range of industry professionals at either broadcast television or independent production companies. 
  • Taught by experts - our staff have a wealth of experience and expertise in a variety of fields, further enriching student learning opportunities. 
  • Employability - in addition to offering bespoke CV support to MA Film and Television students, the Department has regular guest speakers from industry so you will be equipped with real experience and contacts when you move into employment. 
  • Be a part of an exciting Department - you will be part of the Department of Film and Creative Writing, an exciting combination of two dynamic and successful disciplines that are committed to creative practice in teaching and research. 
  • Location - The quality, creativity and originality of the UK’s film, television and digital production industries is highly respected across the globe – hence its position as the biggest exporter of TV 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. 

Modules

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.
Assessment: Group presentation and written assignment

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.
Assessment: Visualisation task and written assignments

Research Skills in Film and Television

This module helps you to decide on a topic and plan for your audio-visual or written dissertation and shows you how to plan your final piece of work. It guides you through using academic research resources such as journals and online databases, as well as developing research skills used specifically in the film and television industries.
Assessment: Presentation and written assignment

Guided Editing/Guided Reading

This module helps to develop the skills required for your dissertation. For those wishing to complete an audio-visual dissertation, it trains you in the technical skills necessary to film, capture and edit digital film and video projects. Those completing a written dissertation will be trained in research and critical enquiry, and will work on a literature review to form the basis of their extended research project.
Assessment: You will produce a three to 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 dissertation and a placement module:

Dissertation

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 showreel or portfolio that showcases their filmmaking skills and their ability to produce content that has both intellectual and aesthetic integrity. 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.

Placement and Training 

Our dedicated Placements Coordinator will work with you to identify suitable placement opportunities; from broadcast television and independent production companies, to freelance filmmakers and media projects both on campus and with external organisations. We have long-established links with a range of companies, but students are welcome to source their own placements if they wish, within certain parameters. This module not only secures valuable work experience, but also offers the support you need to identify your personal strengths and assist you with CVs, cover letters and applications for roles in the media industry - ensuring you are best prepared for life and employment after graduation. 
Assessment: Feedback from your placement host/s (50%) and a 4,000-word reflexive essay (50%). Submission dates for the placement essay usually fall shortly before the dissertation deadline at the end of the MA.

Fees and funding

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

  • Home / EU: £7,290 full-time; £3,645 part-time
  • Overseas: £15,660 full-time

The above fees quoted are 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

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

Please note that places on this programme are limited due to the option of taking up a work placement in the media industry. Due to the competitive nature of the programme, applications are being considered in rounds:

Deadlines for 2017 entry

  • Round 1 application deadline: Friday 20 January 2017
  • Round 2 application deadline: Friday 19 May 2017
  • Round 3 application deadline: Friday 30 June 2017 for overseas applicants and Friday 21 July 2017 for UK/EU applicants

Applications will be considered as a gathered field, so round 1 applicants can expect a decision as to whether they have been offered a place to study by the end of February, round 2 applicants can expect a decision by the end of June and round 3 applicants can expect a decision by mid-August.

As we can only make offers to a limited number of applicants, those who receive an offer of a place to study will have approximately one month to accept their offer, after which time the offer will be withdrawn so that the place can be offered to another applicant.

We will continue to accept applications after Friday 21 July and these will be considered if there are any spaces left on the programme following the completion of round 3 (mid-August). All applicants will receive a decision on their application by the end of August 2017, unless notified otherwise.

Advice on your application

Please note that we take your degree grades, personal statement, English language results (if applicable) and relevant experience in the media industry into consideration when we make admission decisions.

Please ensure that your application has been completed fully by the deadline as we cannot consider your application without all of the necessary documentation (references, personal statement and results, if available). If you have outstanding documentation relating to pending language test results and degree results, please make this clear on your application, and your application will be considered. We are able to make offers which are conditional on you achieving a particular qualification if you have not yet finished your current programme of study.

In your application, you should use your personal statement to explain why you wish to study this programme, with reference to any past and present experience you have in the media industry. However, we are looking for students who are passionate about the moving image and so we also welcome applications from those who may not have industry experience or who have not previously studied in film and media. Candidates are expected to have an undergraduate degree in a related discipline with a qualification of 2:1 (or its academic equivalent), and high standards of both written and spoken English.

Research proposals

Whilst it is not essential that students submit a research proposal for their audio-visual dissertation as part of their application, this can nonetheless be a very useful procedure, particularly if you are intending on applying for funding to undertake the MA.

If you do wish to submit a research proposal for your documentary film, please consider the following factors:

  • Remember that ‘documentary’ is an extremely broad term, encompassing myriad forms and styles; which approach or mode of documentary filmmaking will best articulate the story you a trying to tell?
  • Have an awareness of what similar content may have been produced in the past. How will your film differ, what will be it’s unique ‘hook’?
  • Try to present a balance between critical and creative elements – it’s important that your film have both style and substance.

International students requiring visas

Monday 3 July 2017 is the application deadline for international students who require a visa to study in the United Kingdom. Applications received after this date will not be considered. Applications will reopen for 2018 entry on 15 September 2017.

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

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. Students are encouraged to work together extensively in their modules, especially practical work, mimicking the collaboration that students will find as standard in the creative industries. To this end, students are also encouraged to undertake as many filmmaking opportunities as possible throughout the year, including taking advantage of the many extra-curricular filmmaking opportunities offered via the department.

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.

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 for English Language development and skills through the Birmingham International Academy (BIA).

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 MA staff and the wider University.

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. Individual guidance is also given on job applications. 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.  

The University's Careers Network also 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 has a dedicated careers and employability team to deliver tailored programmes of careers events and local support.

In addition to the industry speaker programme coordinated by the MA, you will have opportunities to: meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs; attend employer presentations and skills workshops; 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.

Alumni

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

"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

"…the MA, the placements and all of the course projects got me where I am now. I am applying for and doing work within the industry that I would have been insecure about before. My confidence received a massive boost - as did my knowledge base."

Wilson McCall, Intern, United Notions Film

We have a strong alumni network, and further alumni profiles are avaialble on the FTV blog. 

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Get involved

The Guild of Students hosts over 250 student groups and societies to suit a wide range of interests. These include the Postgraduate and Mature Students Association which runs a regular and varied programme of events specifically tailored to postgraduate students.

In addition, you will find that each Department runs its own social activities, research fora and student groups.

Accommodation

We offer accommodation for postgraduates on or near to campus, although many of our students also choose to live privately in student accommodation, shared houses or flats. If you do choose to live in private accommodation, the University has dedicated support services to help you to find properties from accredited landlords.

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