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

Start date
Flexible – September or January encouraged
Duration
Full time: PhD – 3 years, MA by Research – 1 year
Course Type
Postgraduate, Distance learning, Doctoral research
Fees

Annual tuition fee 2021/22:
UK: £4,500 full-time, £2,250 part-time
International: £18,810 full-time; £9,405 part-time (distance learning only)
More detail.

At Birmingham, we are in a unique position: Film Studies is aligned to both the Department of Film and Creative Writing, and the Department of Modern Languages, allowing you to benefit from our interdisciplinary approach and breadth of expertise. 

The Departments share a vibrant and fast-growing postgraduate community that is closely associated with B-Film: The Birmingham Centre for Film Studies

You may also be interested in comparing this programme to the Film Studies Audio-Visual PhD which allows students to produce a 30,000 word thesis and a 60 minute documentary film.

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.

Find out more

We offer two postgraduate research-only programmes, whether you are looking to complete your academic studies with a PhD or pursue your research at Masters level. Find out more about what to expect from a PhD and MA by Research.

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-recognised research: 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.
  • Research initiatives: Staff contribute to joint initiatives in the presentation of research, notably through the B-Film research centre and via international and online projects. We work with staff in allied departments across the University so that you benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to teaching, supervision and research.
  • Community: We have a thriving community of research students. Visit our Facebook group to find out more.

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

Visit our FAQs

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; £9,405 part-time (distance learning only)

The same fees apply to both campus-based and distance learning study. The distance learning programme fee also includes a fully-funded visit to campus for each full year of the programme.

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.

* 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.

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.

Fee status

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

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

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


Research into the aesthetic, historical and theoretical contexts of literature and film is complemented by our strong traditions in creative practice as research. The department is home to award-winning writers and our academic work is regularly disseminated in short film, documentary and digital media formats.

Please contact a staff member working in your area of research interest in the first instance by browsing our staff profiles.

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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