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MPhil and PhD degrees

A Trip to the Moon (1902) by Georges Méliès

Work with some of the UK's leading Film and Television experts

We're here to support you while you develop your own in-depth research

You will focus on one independent programme of independent and original research across the length of your registration. The design of your project will be decided by you in conjunction with your supervisor(s) and you will have regular supervisions to discuss your work and your progress. Although the registration period is three years, you will usually be expected to complete your research within a four-year period.

At Warwick, we're known internationally for the high quality of our teaching and research in film and television aesthetics, history and theory. Our superb staff-student ratio means that you will get to work with experts really closely.

Key facts

Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Duration: 3 years full-time, 5-7 years part-time

Contact: PG Admissions Secretary

Apply now

There is no formalised programme of study with a research-based PhD. You and your supervisor will develop an independent timetable of research across your three years. In addition to individual supervisions, you will have access to:

  • Study Skills Training
  • University and Faculty training (e.g. computer, language skills).
  • University and departmental resources.
  • Auditing of one or more MA courses.
  • Teaching opportunities, where feasible.
  • The Department's Research Seminar series.
  • The Department's Postgraduate Methods Reading Group
  • The Postgraduate Research Group, a venue for sharing and discussing research and ideas in a friendly, informal atmosphere with other postgraduates.

Our strong priority areas of expertise are:

  • Film and television aesthetics;
  • European and other national cinemas (including their popular dimension);
  • Representation and identity, and issues of gender;
  • British television history.
Teaching Staff and Areas of Expertise
Staff Member Research Specialism
Michele Aaron Death, film and social justice, ethics, race, queer theory, applied film
José Arroyo National and sexual identity in the media; Spanish cinema; Hollywood/Action Cinema; Canadian and Quebécois cinemas
Charlotte Brunsdon Cinema and the city; British film and television; spaces of film and television
Jon Burrows

Silent cinema; British cinema; Hollywood cinema

Catherine Constable Philosophy and film; feminist film theory; film adaptation
Tiago de Luca World cinema; cinematic realism; Brazilian and Latin American cinemas; slow cinema; time and temporality; the global and the planetary
Stephen Gundle Italian film history; politics and the media; the history of glamour
John King (Comparative American Studies): Latin American literature and film
James MacDowell Hollywood cinema, American independent cinema, Film aesthetics, Film narrative, Romantic comedy
Rachel Moseley Gender in Popular Film and Television; film stars; women's television; factual entertainment
Michael Pigott

Video Art and Experimental Film; Projection; Sound; Film and Architecture.

Alastair Phillips

Film history and aesthetics; French cinema; Japanese cinema; contemporary world cinema; Hollywood in its European contexts

Karl Schoonover

Film theory; art cinema; realism; the photographic image; political cinema; queer theory

Richard Wallace Documentary, fact/fiction hybridity, mockumentary, film and television comedy, pop music on film and television
Helen Wheatley Television history and aesthetics; television drama; popular genres in television and film; British television; factual entertainment

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.


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 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

We normally only consider applications from candidates who are in possession of a good BA Honours degree and who have (or are about to be awarded) a Masters degree.

It is not a requirement that candidates have a Masters degree in Film and Television Studies (specialist ‘retraining’ courses are provided in the 1st year of PhD study for those with sizeable gaps in their knowledge of the discipline). However, candidates must have sufficient knowledge of their intended thesis topic to be able to provide a detailed PhD proposal (outlining the key research questions to be addressed and the provisional scope and structure of the project) as part of their application.

All applicants that we have a strong potential interest in will ultimately be interviewed in person or by telephone.

Course Fees and Funding

See postgraduate fees and fundingLink opens in a new window


The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training PartnershipLink opens in a new window (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. M4C is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

M4C is awarding up to 60 fully funded doctoral studentships for UK and international applicants for 2023 through the Open Competition and 13 Collaborative Doctoral Awards.

The deadline for M4C funding is 11 January 2023 (noon) but expressions of interest should reach Film and Television Studies at Warwick no later than 30 November 2022. All proposals will be subject to internal approval. For enquiries and information related to PhD admissions, please contact the PhD admissions officer, Dr Tiago de Luca at For further information about M4C and its partner institutions, including upcoming application writing workshops, please consult the Midlands 4 Cities siteLink opens in a new window.

The department has an exciting opportunity to conduct funded research as part of the Warwick Collaborative Fellowship (WCF) PhD programme. Full details and a link to the application can be found below:

 Using Film to Effect Change: Mental Health, Social Advocacy and the Moving Image

A Warwick Collaborative Fellowship (WCF) PhD based jointly in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick and The Pod, a secondary Mental Health service, in Coventry. Supervisors: Dr Michele Aaron (Warwick) and Christine Eade (The Pod).

The 3.5-year award covers annual fees (£4500 in 2021/22) and stipend (£15,609.00 in 2021/22).

You can contact Michele Aaron ( for further information about this PhD opportunity, or to discuss your personal statement in advance of the application.

The timetable for the application process is as follows:

Application deadline: By the end of 25/06/21

Successful candidates will be informed: By the end of 28/06/21

Interview date: 8/07/21

The PhD will commence on: 04/10/21

For more details see:


Anyone interested in applying to our MPhil/PhD programme is advised to first contact our Postgraduate Admissions Secretary to ascertain if their intended project can be supervised in this department. An indicative list of areas in the field of Film and Television Studies which the faculty here have particular specialist expertise can be found here.

N.B. You should liaise with us BEFORE completing the online application for scholarships.


There are no official deadlines for PhD applications, although there are specific deadlines for anyone thinking of applying for a scholarship. These usually occur in early January. It is highly advised that you submit a draft of your application to the department by early December.

Apply online now