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MA in Film and Television Studies

Swedish director Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007)

Study with world-leading researchers

Explore film and television studies in greater depth than ever before.

If you love film and want to pursue your studies into how films are created and why they wield the power they do, this is the course for you.

At Warwick, we're known internationally for the high quality of our teaching and research in film and television aesthetics, history and theory - and this course reflects that range and diversity. Our modules are based on the latest research and will keep evolving as a result. All of our staff play a role in teaching or supervising the programme. Our superb staff-student ratio means that you will get to work with experts really closely. All of this means that you will really become part of our research community, where your studies will culminate in a supervised research dissertation.

By the end of the course, you'll be ready for a wider range of careers with the transferable skills and knowledge you'll build up.


Key facts

Qualification: Master of Arts (MA)

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Next intake: September 2019

Contact: PG Admissions Secretary

Apply now

Autumn term

  • Core module: Screen Cultures and Methods
  • One optional module
  • Graduate skills classes: Projection and Steenbeck Training; Image Capture and Powerpoint; Choosing a Topic and Organising a Dissertation; Doing a Literature Review; Writing a PhD Proposal and Applying for Funding

    Spring term

    • Two optional modules

    Rest of the year

    • Dissertation of 15,000 words (worth 60 credits)
    • Research presentations

    The modules mentioned may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.


    Screen Cultures and Methods

    This core module aims to explore significant methodologies and conceptual frameworks which are central to the study of audio-visual media. The module will be divided into four sections of textual analysis; historiography; theoretical and conceptual paradigms; and television. The module provides a grounding in key concepts and methods, but will also encourage an advanced level of reflection on the key areas addressed.The module is taught through a combination of screenings, presentations, reading and discussion and this document details the work for each week, the required and suggested further reading and assessment.


    Film Criticism, Film Style

    The focus of this MA module is the close observation of particular films. Its aim is to improve the accuracy and penetration of your observations of textual detail and film style, to refine your ability to engage with detailed film criticism, and to enable you to test the insights of criticism against the textual detail of the films under discussion. Much of our work will focus on the practice of detailed film reading and will involve quite lengthy examinations of a small number of films. I think of this module as being equally available to those who have little experience of textual analysis, and those who wish to practise and deepen their skills. Compare it to learning to play the piano; you can be a beginner, a competent player, play well or play superlatively well. The module will involve lectures, presentations by students, and a 5,000 word assessed essay, the title of which can be developed in consultation with the module tutor.


    Swedish Cinema

    This module will give students an opportunity to study the national cinema of Sweden, which is distinctive in that it was a cinema of a small European nation that came for several decades internationally to be known through, and virtually identified with, the work of a single major auteur: Ingmar Bergman. The first part of the module will give you a chance to study a range of Bergman’s work, and look at the remaking of Swedish films by Hollywood in the 1930s. The second part will look at how Swedish cinema has developed since the close of the major phase of Bergman’s work, considering how it has both incorporated and reacted against his legacy. The module will involve lectures, presentations by students and a 5,000 word assessed essay, the title developed in consultation with the module tutor, due after the completion of the module.


    Television History and Aesthetics

    The aim of this module is to introduce students to key debates in Television Studies around history and aesthetics, at the same time encouraging the development of interrogation and critique of scholarship in the field. This module will, then, operate simultaneously at introductory and advanced levels and will thus be taught through a combination of introductory presentations, screenings, discussion and small group work. This will enable you to further refine and practise the skills in textual analysis acquired and developed on the core module taken in the Autumn term, and the module has been designed to work alongside Screen Cultures and Methods. Our focus will be predominantly on US and UK television with key examples drawn from other national television systems. Our viewing will range across historical and contemporary programming, in order to prompt consideration of development across time and to historicise the study of contemporary television. We will look at programming across a range of genres, from reality television, drama and children's programming,

    to music and lifestyle genres. By the end of this module, students will have a firm grasp of some key debates in Television Studies, and will be able to interrogate critical and theoretical scholarship in the field, using their further defined skills of textual analysis to test existing arguments and propose new ones. Many of our foci of study will be areas prompted by the module tutor's own research interests, and in which little research exists to date. Accordingly, the module aims to encourage students to undertake original research on television topics.


    Issues in Documentary

    This module will provide a detailed examination of the history and aesthetics of film and television documentary, from the ‘actualities’ of the Lumière brothers to the present day. Through this historical framework you will explore a range of different documentary modes, and the interrelated questions of approach and style will be central to our concerns. As well as exploring historical trends in the documentary form, over the course of the module you will analyse documentary texts through a range of critical and theoretical perspectives. These might include: questions of dramatization and narrative structure; the relationship between factuality and art; the impact and use of technology; performance; hybridity; and documentary’s relationship with notions of indexicality and ‘the truth’. We will also explore the impact that particular movements (e.g. direct cinema), institutions (e.g. the GPO), and individual film and programme makers (e.g. John Grierson, Errol Morris, Molly Dineen) have had on the form’s development. By the end of the module you will have an in-depth understanding of the history of the documentary form in cinema and on television, you will be able to engage in detailed discussion of different modes of documentary and you will be able to interrogate and use a range of relevant critical and theoretical scholarship to interrogate the documentary form.


    Post-colonial Cinemas

    This module offers students the opportunity to study postcolonial film from different historical and national contexts and via a range of political and technological shifts. It will explore the changing relationship between colonialism and film through the course of the twentieth century and beyond, introducing students to key issues and allowing them to delve much deeper into specific examples. The module begins by interrogating cinemas of and as Empire with an emphasis upon Anglo-American history, its ‘imperial gaze’ and neo-colonial Hollywood. It will then move on to explore various case studies of colonial, de-colonial or anti-colonial film (for example, Indian cinema, third cinema or Palestinian film) and to consider key related themes such as questions of diaspora (via Accented cinema) or of the digital (via online activist film). This approach, which thinks textually, contextually and geopolitically, will provide students with a solid understanding of this well-established but still unfolding field whilst furthering their analytical and critical skills to allow them to enter confidently into its debates. The module will involve lectures, group work and presentations by students.


    Cities and Landscapes

    This module explores questions of representation through a study of the cinematic representation of place. In recent years, a number of important publications have appeared that privilege the encounter between cinema and the city. This has resulted in the emergence of an identifiable canon of films and periods that might include such instances as Berlin in the 1920s (Berlin, Symphony of a City, Walter Ruttmann, 1927), Paris in the 1960s (Cléo de 5 à 7, Agnès Varda, 1961) and New York in the 1970s (Taxi Driver, Martin Scorsese, 1976). The module commences with an investigation of the constitution of this city canon, looking in detail at selected films and the critical debates that surround them, as well as some key writings about the city which originate outside film studies. It will then move on to introduce the study of landscape in cinema and the range of critical methodologies that might be appropriate in developing an understanding of the location of more rural cinematic topographies. Here, the focus will be on contemporary world cinema with case-studies that might include Thailand (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His past Lives, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010), China (Still Life, Jia Zhangke, 2006) and Chile (Nostalgia for the Light, Patricio Guzmán, 2010). Students will have the opportunity to develop their own independent research project in relation to either of these elements.


    Irony in Film

    We often feel the need use the word ‘irony’ when discussing films, but what exactly does this mean? Although the concept has been much debated in other disciplines, irony has been surprisingly under-explored by film scholarship. As such, this module offers students the chance to be among the first to attempt to answer fundamental questions, many of which get to the heart of artistic expression in this medium. How can we know if a film or film moment is ironic? How can films create irony? Might certain properties of filmmaking help or hinder its ability to communicate ironically? What might irony have to do with issues like intention, evaluation, and morality? Irony in Film will combine in-depth theorising with detailed close analysis of specific films, allowing you to produce fresh insights into this tricky but fascinating subject. The module is assessed by one 5,000-word essay on a film of your choice, and will likely involve screenings of work by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Robert Altman, Michael Haneke, and the Coen Brothers.


    Please note, Film and Television Studies at Warwick is not the same as Media Studies, Communications Studies or Journalism Studies. We offer modules which make more use of the kinds of methodologies employed in the study of English Literature, History and Art History than those practised in the sociological analysis of communications industries. You will also see that we do not offer any training in the skills of practical filmmaking.

    Teaching

    Our primary strength is our staff. They all play an active part in teaching on our graduate programmes, which means you will be studying with some of the world’s leading scholars in the field.

    We have a superb staff-student ratio: for example, our taught MA is normally restricted to twelve students whilst there are eight full-time members of staff, and all MA students are allocated a personal tutor. This balance permits an unusual degree of access to leading scholars with a passionate commitment to teaching.

    Our MA programmes provide courses designed to offer a strong methodological basis for the study of film and television, enabling you to apply this to your own research interests. Our graduate courses and screenings at Warwick are designed and run for graduate students only.


    Supervision

    We offer supervision in a broad range of areas thanks to the diversity of staff research interests (see details of staff publications). We particularly excel in supervising work in the following areas:

    • Aesthetics
    • British television and issues of representation (race, gender, nation, sexual orientation)
    • Contemporary and classical Hollywood
    • Costume and fashion in the cinema
    • Digital media
    • Documentary film and television
    • European cinema (British, French, German, Italian, Spanish)
    • Film and history
    • Film History
    • Silent cinema
    • Television history and television genres
    • Women’s cinema, gay and lesbian cinema, masculinity in cinema
    • World cinemas

    We also regularly welcome a range of distinguished visiting academics (see our current events calendar, list of past speakers and Visiting Fellows).

    Facilities

    The department’s facilities are unrivalled in the field. There has been a huge proliferation of film and television studies degrees over the past decade. However, few of these degrees are properly resourced. Teaching film and television properly is expensive and requires considerable investment in specialist equipment and services.

    This department possesses its own fully dedicated teaching rooms, all equipped with 16mm and 35mm projectors and multi-system VCR and DVD projectors; some of the rooms also have Steenbeck editing tables to facilitate close-textual analysis with actual prints.

    While video and DVD are used for the purposes of seminar discussion, Warwick is one of the few institutions that goes to the trouble and expense of teaching film as film, as opposed to the prevailing practice of using video/DVD as substitutes.

    Every week prints are hired and projected for all courses. There are student rooms in the department with dedicated video capture computer equipment, and a special study room for graduate students.

    The library is probably the strongest of any University in Britain for Film and Television Studies. Along with an outstanding collection of books and journals, it also has the biggest video and DVD collection of any university in the country, consisting of over 20,000 titles (on average, 20 titles are added weekly to the collection in response to staff research interests and to requests from students in relation to their dissertation needs). See the full list of the department's resources.


    Research Culture

    We run various programmes to help facilitate a stronger research culture:

    • We run research seminars led by departmental staff, PhD students and a range of distinguished visiting speakers (see the current seminar programme) and a Methods Reading Group for research students.
    • Our postgraduate community run their own Postgraduate Research Group, a venue for sharing and discussing research and ideas in a friendly, informal atmosphere.
    • We run and hosts the Midlands Television Research Group. This meets regularly each term and is composed of staff and graduate students from the University of Warwick and a number of other leading institutions in the field. It organises a programme of seminars, work-in-progress presentations, guest speakers, and supports collaborative research projects. All graduate students with an interest in Television Studies can become members.

    We also organise and hosts major international film and television studies conferences. You can read about some examples here:

    Uniquely, the University of Warwick’s Humanities Research Centre offers funding opportunities for graduate students to organise one-day conferences focusing on their own research areas, allowing them to communicate ideas with leading international figures in their field. Several of our research students have benefited from this scheme.


    Location

    Warwick University is 80 minutes away by train from London and 20 minutes from Birmingham. Therefore, where research materials might not be available through inter-library loan or held in the video library, the British Film Institute is relatively accessible (the department can provide a free pass to the BFI library) as are the great number of institutions, festivals, screenings and events available in the nation’s two largest cities.

    Many of our MA students go onto employment in related sectors such as film and television education, journalism, exhibition and marketing, and public relations. We also have an outstanding record of MA students going on to doctoral study and employment in a number of prestigious higher education institutions around the world.

    Many of our past students are now lecturers at numerous Film and Television Studies departments around the country including those at the following universities:

    • Aberdeen
    • Aberystwyth
    • Birmingham
    • Bristol
    • Cheltenham and Gloucester
    • UEA
    • Glasgow
    • Kent
    • Leeds Metropolitan
    • London Metropolitan
    • Northumbria
    • Oxford
    • Reading
    • Roehampton
    • Royal Holloway
    • Sheffield Hallam
    • Southampton
    • Southampton Institute
    • King Alfred’s, Winchester

    Numerous recent publications originated as PhD theses supervised in this department, including:

    • Hannah Andrews, Television and British Cinema: Convergence and Divergence Since 1990 (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

    • Gregory Frame, The American President in Film and Television: Myth, Politics and Representation (Oxford; New York: Peter Lang, 2014)

    • Amy Holdsworth, Television, Memory, and Nostalgia (Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

    • Andrew Klevan, Disclosures of the Everyday: Undramatic Achievement in Narratives (Trowbridge: Flicks, 2000)

    • Paul McDonald, The Star System: Hollywood's Production of Popular Identities (London: Wallflower, 2000)
    • Rachel Moseley, Text, Audience, Resonance: Growing Up With Audrey Hepburn (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002)
    • Valerie Orpen, Film Editing (London: Wallflower, 2003)
    • Alastair Phillips, City of Darkness, City of Light: Emigre Filmmakers in Paris 1929-1939 (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004)
    • Jacinda Read, The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity and the Rape-Revenge Cycle (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000)
    • Martin Stollery, Alternative Empires: European Modernist Cinemas and Culture of Imperialism (Exeter: Exeter University Press, 2000)
    • Yvonne Tasker, Spectacular Bodies: Gender, Genre and the Action Cinema (London: Routledge, 1993)
    • Richard Wallace, Mockumentary Comedy: Performing Authenticity (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
    • Helen Wheatley, Gothic Television (London: IB Tauris, 2005)

    Entry Requirements

    2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject

    English Language Requirements

    Band B

    IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

    All applicants that we are potentially interested in are asked to provide us with a sample piece of written work of around 1,500-3,000 words (preferably, though not necessarily, on a film/TV-related subject) and a short (c. 200-300 words) description of the kind of research topic(s) they would be interested in studying for the mandatory 15,000 word dissertation our MA students undertake (20,000 for the MA for Research). For a speedier decision on your application, we advise you to provide us with these supplementary documents when you apply and the documents can be uploaded to your application.

    The deadline for overseas applications is 31 July. We also recommend that UK and EU applicants apply by 31 July, but there is no strict deadline.

    Our online prospectus talks you through the whole application process, but if you have any questions, please get in touch with us:

    Apply online now