Film Studies with Audio-Visual PhD

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Duration
3 years full-time; 6 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research
Fees
Annual tuition fee 2021/22:
UK: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
International: £18,810 full-time
More detail.

Our Film Studies Audio-Visual PhD enables you to make an original contribution to the discipline through the use of both film and a written thesis.

As a postgraduate researcher in the Department of Film and Creative Writing you will benefit from the expertise of staff in both fields, opening up exciting new opportunities to develop synergies between the two.

You will work with supervisors and technicians to film and edit an hour-long documentary film as part of your research, accompanied by a 30,000 word written defence.  The combination of skills developed will prepare you for prospective careers in the media industry, academia and related disciplines.

You may wish to compare this programme to the Film Studies PhD where you will produce an 80,000 word thesis rather than the filming and editing requirement of this course.

AHRC funding for PhD students

The University of Birmingham is part of the Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C), offering Arts and Humanities Research Council PhD studentships for campus-based programmes. These include a number of Collaborative Doctoral Award opportunities. Each studentship includes research fees, a substantial maintenance grant and additional research training support. Applications are open until 12:00 (noon), 13 January 2021.

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COVID-19

Please rest assured that we will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.

Information for future students and applicants

I’ve enjoyed studying at the University of Birmingham’s state of the art green campus with its spacious library and welcoming multicultural environment. The close interaction between students and supervisors has kept my research progress on track and constantly improving.

Hui-Han

Why Study this Course?

  • Internationally renowned staff: Our academic supervisors possess renowned, award-winning expertise across a range of critical and creative approaches. Their work can be found in theatres, libraries, cinemas, newspapers, classrooms and bookshops, at festivals, on television screens and online.
  • Integrate skillsets: This PhD will enable you to engage two very different skillsets simultaneously, bringing your creative and critical faculties to bear on your chosen research topic. The ability to integrate these skillsets together is of growing significance as image-orientated digital technologies predominate. Film need not be merely a medium of entertainment, but rather a way of understanding, interrogating, teaching and learning about the world.
  • Postgraduate community: You will be joining a lively and intellectually diverse environment in which to study film and creative writing.

The postgraduate experience

The College of Arts and Law offers excellent support to its postgraduates, from libraries and research spaces, to careers support and funding opportunities. Learn more about your postgraduate experience.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest updates and FAQs for future students and offer-holders

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Fees

 We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2021/22 are as follows:

• UK: £4,500 full-time; £2,250 part-time
• International: £18,810 full-time

The above fees quoted are for one year only; tuition fees will also be payable in subsequent years of your programme.

* For UK postgraduate research students the University fee level is set at Research Council rates and as such is subject to change. The final fee will be announced by Research Councils UK in spring 2021.

Fee status

Eligibility for UK or international fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For EU students applying for the 2020/21 academic year
The UK Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status' for entry in the 2020/21 academic year. For more information, please read the government’s guidance for EU students.

Paying your fees

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

How To Apply

Application deadlines

Postgraduate research can start at any time during the year, but it is important to allow time for us to review your application and communicate a decision. If you wish to start in September, we would recommend that you aim to submit your application and supporting documents by 1 July 2021.

Distance learning students will attend a residential visit in September or January, and those students wishing to attend the September residential are also encouraged to apply by 1 July 2021. The visit will take place at the end of September/beginning of October and you will receive further details once you have accepted your offer.

Six easy steps to apply for a postgraduate research course in the College of Arts and Law

Six steps to apply for our Postgraduate Research courses

Do you have an idea for an interesting research project? You can follow our six easy steps to apply to study for our postgraduate research courses. These include guidance on identifying funding opportunities and writing your research proposal.

Please also see our additional guidance for applicants to the PhD Distance Learning study mode.

Please note: While our PhD programmes are normally studied in three years full-time or six years part-time, and Masters-level research programmes one year full-time or two years part-time, many programmes have a longer length listed in course or funding applications. This is because the course length is defined as the maximum period of registration, which includes a period of supervised study plus a thesis awaited period. The maximum period of registration for a full-time PhD is four years (three years supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For a full-time Masters-level research programme, it is two years (one year supervision plus one year thesis awaited). For part-time programmes, the periods are double the full-time equivalent.

Making your application

Nominally, the audio-visual component of the PhD is a documentary film, although the Department is open to applications that may also incorporate elements of drama, avant-garde or essayistic filmmaking. The term ‘documentary’ is also an extremely broad one, which encompasses many different modes of engagement and representation. You are encouraged to consider the style and structure of your film in detail when compiling your application, as well as why a film is the most appropriate method for pursuing your research.

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

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Our Standard 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, usually in a relevant area.
  • Applicants for a PhD will also need to hold a Masters qualification at Merit level or above (or its international equivalent), usually in a relevant area.

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

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries - use our handy guide below to see what qualifications we accept from your country.

English language requirements: standard language requirements apply for this course - IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band. If you are made an offer of a place to study and you do not meet the language requirement, you have the option to enrol on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional Course - if you successfully complete the course, you will be able to fulfil the language requirement without retaking a language qualification.

IELTS 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 88 overall with no less than 21 in Reading, 21 Listening, 22 Speaking and 21 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 176, with no less than 169 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements

International Requirements


We have particular strengths in research that focuses on the audio-visual aspects of Film Studies. Our academics have a range of expertise, from film aesthetics and production, to screenwriting and adaptation.

Please contact a staff member working in your area of interest in the first instance: Find a supervisor in Film Studies.

 

Your degree will provide excellent preparation for your future career, but this can also be enhanced by a range of employability support services offered by the University and the College of Arts and Law.

The University's Careers Network provides expert guidance and activities especially for postgraduates, which will help you achieve your career goals. The College of Arts and Law also has a dedicated  careers and employability team who offer tailored advice and a programme of College-specific careers events.

You will be encouraged to make the most of your postgraduate experience and will have the opportunity to:

  • Receive one-to-one careers advice, including guidance on your job applications, writing your CV and improving your interview technique, whether you are looking for a career inside or outside of academia
  • Meet employers face-to-face at on-campus recruitment fairs and employer presentations
  • Attend an annual programme of careers fairs, skills workshops and conferences, including bespoke events for postgraduates in the College of Arts and Law
  • Take part in a range of activities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to potential employers and enhance your CV

What’s more, you will be able to access our full range of careers support for up to 2 years after graduation.

Over the past five years, 94% 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.

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