MA in Film and Television Studies
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.
Qualification: Master of Arts (MA)
Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject
English Language Requirements
Band BLink opens in a new window
IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above
Next intake: October 2023
- 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
- 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 introduce aspects of textual analysis, historiography, and theoretical and conceptual paradigms, across film and television. The module provides a grounding in key concepts and methods, but it 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.
Queer and Trans Theory for Film and TV
This module explores queer and trans theories of the moving image. We will ask how these theories contributed to understandings of historical identity, political economy, and spectatorship. The module also covers debates around global queer liberation, LGBTQI+ representation in contemporary African cinema, and trans television. Queer and Trans Theory for Film and TV will engage with queer and trans theory that can be used to understand film and TV; consider the relationship queer theory and trans theory; investigate how queer theory and trans theory interrogate traditional models of historiography; and de-centre late twentieth- and early twenty-first- century Hollywood cinema as the primary site of queer and trans representation.
Biopics (biographical pictures) are one of the most enduring cinematic genres. A vital part of cinema's contribution to public history, they have frequently been awarded prizes (around 20 per cent of Oscar winning films) while also being criticised for their falsehoods and formulaic nature. Initially centred on great white men, the genre diversified and evolved, spawning variations and subgenres including the showbiz biopic, the female and the feminist biopic, the outlaw biopic, the hagiopic and so on. Recent critical interest has highlighted biopics as a troublesome genre at the intersection of fiction and history. As such the genre implicates issues of historiography, collective and cultural memory, and biography. This module will explore the historical development of the biopic, the issues at stake in the genre, its diversification and globalisation. It will consider the questions involved in bringing a life to the screen and the different strategies taken by producers and directors over time to achieve their purposes. It will examine the importance of casting and of star performance to the success or otherwise of a biopic.
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.
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.
This course aims to introduce students to an incredibly rich oeuvre, periodise it through various paradigms (from the political to the authorial), chart its development, and broach the following questions: What does the work owe to the culture it arises from? How is it queer? What does it mean, to whom and in what contexts? What does Almodóvar’s owe to Hollywood cinema in general and melodramatic and noir variants in particular. What is the inter-relationship of representations of gender, sexuality and nation in his work? How does the oeuvre fit into a history of Spanish Cinema, Queer Cinema but also broader contexts and histories of art, design, fashion, advertising cultures? The focus will be largely on the work of one director but seen through various contexts (social and historical; national variants of films studies concepts such as genre, stars, style, authorship) and concepts (camp, postmodernism, metamodernism) so as to also explore and interrogate the meaning and significance of the oeuvre.
Sound and Cinema
This module introduces students to the key debates around film sound, from the role of the music, to the status of the voice, onscreen and offscreen sounds, sonic perspective, effects and ambience. From here we will embark on an advanced analysis of film sound beyond music and dialogue, looking carefully at the ways that sound design can structure how we read environments, events and characters. Along the way we will develop an awareness of the history of sound technologies and their entanglement in discourses of the recording of the 'natural' world. This module will provide students with a grounding in the key critical debates around the uses of the soundtrack, including film music, dialogue and the voice, sound design, and location sound. Students will gain an awareness of histories of technologies of sound recording and their integration into studio production and cinema exhibition practices. It will examine the ways in which recorded sound has been conceptualised, both outside of film, and within audio-visual matrix of the cinema. It will pay particular attention to questions of sonic indexicality, 'background' sound and the construction of ‘atmosphere’, and the representation of space and place through sound.
US TV Comedy
This module will explore US comedy television from one of the earliest televised sitcoms, I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951 – 1957), to present-day post-broadcast shows such as BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014 – 2020). Taking a roughly chronological approach, each week will focus on different popular sub-genres such as the network sitcom, the late- night show, the ‘dramedy’, the adult animation, and the stand-up special. Lectures will situate the programmes within a historical context while seminars will allow students to discuss the texts more closely, with an emphasis on close analysis.
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.
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.
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:
- 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).
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.
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:
- In the Shadow of Empire: The Post-Imperial Urban Imaginaries of London and Paris (2008)
- Making and Remaking Classic Television (2009)
- Film-Philosophy III: the third annual conference of the Film-Philosophy journal (2010)
- 'Television for Women' (2013)
'Rome, Open City: Examining the legacy after seventy years' (2015)
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.
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:
- Cheltenham and Gloucester
- Leeds Metropolitan
- London Metropolitan
- Royal Holloway
- Sheffield Hallam
- 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)
2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject
English Language Requirements
IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.
Course Fees and Funding
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: