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MA Film and Television: Research and Production

Start date
1 year full-time; 2 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught

Annual tuition fee for 2024 entry:
UK: £10,530 full-time
International: £24,120 full-time
More detail.

Do you want to develop a broad range of skills that will be directly applicable within the film, television and creative industries? Are you looking to kick-start your career in audio-visual production or scholarly research?

The MA in Film and Television: Research and Production places employability and storytelling 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 developing, researching and editing audio-visual content. It also includes a media-focused work placement of up to 10 weeks.

Combining academic and professional training, the programme brings together theory and practice to enable students to develop key skills and abilities: creativity, collaboration, communication and critical thinking.

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.

In addition to your MA, this programme also offers the opportunity to gain an industry-recognised qualification in Health and Safety for productions, which is a great enhancement to your CV. This is part of the Production Safety Passport Scheme approved by ScreenSkills (the skills body for the screen industries in the UK). We are also a member of the BAFTA albert Education Partnership and deliver training to arm students with sustainability knowledge in a production context.

You can find out more about life within the Department of Film and Creative Writing over on:

Scholarships for 2024 entry

The University of Birmingham is proud to offer a range of scholarships for our postgraduate programmes. With a scholarship pot worth over £2 million, we are committed to alleviating financial barriers to support you in taking your next steps.

Each scholarship has its own specific deadlines and eligibility criteria. Please familiarise yourself with the information on individual scholarship webpages prior to submitting an application.

Explore our scholarships

At Birmingham, Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research students also have the opportunity to learn graduate academic languages free of charge, to support your studies.

The placement module offers you time working in television, specified to your personal interests, which I find incredible and absolutely invaluable. There is absolutely no limit on our creativity and this course is the best thing I could have done to kick-start my career in television.


Why study this course?

  • Industry placement - you will have an opportunity to undertake one or more placements, with the chance to work with a range of industry professionals at broadcast television or independent production companies, or through discrete creative projects. See our Placement and Training page for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
  • 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. 

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.


You will complete four taught modules, an industry placement (or alternative module) and a dissertation:

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, television and digital platforms.
Assessment: Group pitch/presentation (50%) and production dossier (50%)

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: Epigraphic visualisation and written essay

Research Skills in Film and Television

This module helps you to decide on a topic 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: Written assignment and audio-visual presentation

Short Fiction filmmaking

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 4,000-word guided reading essay.

Placement and Training 

You can also complete a Placement and Training module as part of the programme.

This not only offers valuable work experience opportunities to MA Film and Television students, but also provides the support you need to identify your personal strengths and assist you with CVs, cover letters and applications for roles in the screen industries - ensuring you are best prepared for life and employment after graduation.

Our dedicated Placement 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 also welcome to source their own placements if they wish, within certain parameters.

There is an alternative Media Industries module for students who do not undertake placements.

Assessment: Feedback from your placement host/s and a 2,500-word reflexive essay. Submission dates for the placement essay usually fall in the summer.


In addition to your taught modules and the placement or media industries module, you will complete a 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 that showcases their filmmaking skills and their ability to produce content that has both intellectual and aesthetic integrity, and can go on to form part of their showreel or portfolio. 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 defence essay.

If you choose to do a written dissertation, its length will be 15,000 words.


We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024 entry are as follows:

  • UK: £10,530 full-time; £5,265 part-time
  • International: £24,120 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 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.

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.

How To Apply

Please note: 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 2024 entry

  • Round 1 application deadline: Friday 12 January 2024
  • Round 2 application deadline: Friday 15th March 2024
  • Round 3 application deadline: Tuesday 7 May 2024
  • Round 4 application deadline: Friday 12 July 2024 (for UK applicants only)

Further applications from Home applicants may be accepted after 12th July and these may be considered if there are spaces available on the programme following the completion of round 4 up until Friday 30 August 2024.

Please note: due to the popular nature of this programme and the limited number of places available, we may close applications before the above stated deadlines. We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible.

Please note: Most funding deadlines fall in spring, and funding applications usually need to be considered alongside an application to study. Applicants seeking funding are therefore encouraged to apply in round 1.

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 April, round 3 applicants can expect a decision by the end of June and round 4 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.

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 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 its unique ‘hook’?
  • Try to present a balance between critical and creative elements – it’s important that your film have both style and substance.

Please review our Entry Requirements before making your application.

How to Apply for a Postgraduate Degree - Taught programmes

Making your application

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate taught programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the taught programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

We typically ask for an Honours degree, normally of an upper second-class standard, or equivalent. This does not have to be in a media or film-related discipline.

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: for this course, we ask for IELTS 7.0 with no less than 6.5 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 7.0 with no less than 6.5 in any band is equivalent to:

  • TOEFL: 95 overall with no less than 22 in any band
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 76 with no less than 67 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced - minimum overall score of 185, with no less than 176 in any component

Learn more about international entry requirements.

International Requirements

'The MA really helped me find the confidence to pursue a career in TV and the media. The work placement led directly to me gaining employment in the industry and I haven't looked back since.’

Scott Billing (graduated 2012) - Head of Production, On The Tools

Scott Billing (graduated 2012) - Head of Production, On The Tools

Training in editing and filming is delivered as part of the MA and we have an on-site film manager and digital media 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.

Course delivery


Full-time students will take three modules in the autumn term: Research Skills in Film and Television, Documentary Filmmaking, and Development and Production Processes (DPP). This is alongside practical training, lectures from industry professionals and employability workshops.

Guided Editing or Guided Reading will then be completed ahead of a May deadline, alongside the placement module. Placement arrangements will be bespoke for each student, with the written component of the module due in July.

The dissertation will be due in August, at the end of the year’s study.


In their first year, part-time students work alongside full-time students for two modules in the autumn term, Research Skills and Documentary Filmmaking. Part-time students will also attend practical training workshops, meaning they are fully equipped to participate in audio-visual production. They will then complete Guided Editing or Guided Reading in their first year, submitting in the summer.

In their second year, part-time students take Development and Production Processes in the autumn and work towards completion of their dissertation the following summer. It is possible for part-time students to undertake DPP in the autumn term of their first year, if they so wish.

The placement module is flexible across the two years, but the 2,500-word assignment will also be due in the summer of the second year.

The dissertation will be due in August, at the end of the second year of study.

Term dates can be found on our website. 


The Placement Coordinator will work with all students on a 1:1 basis to identify suitable opportunities based on each individual’s interests and availability.


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).

Teaching year

We have three teaching terms per year, the autumn, spring and summer terms. Term dates can be found on our website.

As a full-time student, you will typically take three modules in each of the first two terms, followed by your dissertation. If you are a part-time student, you will typically take three modules across each year, followed by your dissertation.

Each module represents a total of 200 hours of study time, including preparatory reading, homework and assignment preparation.

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).

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 for the creative industries. 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.

‘The FTV team is the heart of the course and their genuine passion for what they do informs everything that they teach, allowing for an educational and more importantly enjoyable learning experience. The placement and training module inserted us into industry and this is invaluable. The research skills module taught valuable lessons about depth of research and the dissertation module tied everything together perfectly. The independence of this course is great and has allowed me to grow as a person in every way. This MA is the best thing to happen to me.’

Melissa Jones (graduated 2019)


A number of our course alumni have gone on to forge successful careers in the media industries: 

'The MA really helped me find the confidence to pursue a career in TV and the media. The work placement led directly to me gaining employment in the industry and I haven't looked back since.’  
Scott Billing (graduated 2012) - Head of Production, On The Tools

 ‘Doing this MA was one of the best decisions I’ve made as it completely opened the door into an exciting industry. From guest lectures from industry partners, to an extensive list of placement options and module teachers who work (and have worked) in production, its huge emphasis on exposure to the industry is one of its best aspects. My professional career in filmmaking began from the course’s industry connections and has been successful since.’
Bhulla Beghal (graduated 2016) - Award-Winning Freelance Filmmaker

‘During the MA, I gained so many skills, both practical and theoretical, and beyond those I also learned a lot about the industry, and about myself and others around me. Doing the MA helped me work on figuring out where I want to take my career, and really focus on the skills needed for that. I gained a lot of confidence, advice, and invaluable work experience, which in turn helped me get a job I really love, very quickly after the MA finished!’ 
Frida Johansson (graduated 2018) - Assistant Digital Media Producer, Coventry University Online

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