Film Studies (BA)
We live in a world of moving images. Studying them provides a unique means for you to better understand the world you live in. At Warwick you’ll explore how they work and what they mean. Audio-visual literacy is a favourable marketable skill in the workplace. So join us to explore history, politics, philosophy, sociology, drama and literature through the prism of film and television.
Take a close-up view on the diversity of film and television culture. Explore how the moving image relates to history, politics, philosophy, sociology, the visual arts, drama and literature. As you move through the degree, you will develop key analytic and interpretive skills. You will also explore key theoretical and historical issues.
As you move through the degree you’ll be able to choose from a range of specialist topics to suit your interests. These include practical filmmaking with our partnership with the London Film School. Our traditional focus is on film and television history, theory and criticism. We offer practice-led learning and assessment alongside conventional essay writing and exams.
Our vibrant extracurricular culture means you’ll be around others who share your love of the subject. Many of our students make and show films to audiences both within and outside the University. You will graduate with the skills to research, structure, argue and write to a very high standard. You will also have an exceptional level of audio-visual literacy.
In your first year, you will be introduced to the foundations of film and television analysis, theory and history. You will also encounter new, exciting topics which allow you to specialise your degree. These include:
- Theory for Film
- Visual Cultures
- Screen Technologies.
In your second year, you will study World Cinemas and Hollywood Cinema modules. These modules will develop your understanding of specific world and transnational film cultures.
You will also choose one (or a maximum of two) of the following modules:
- Silent Cinema
- Television History and Criticism
- Film and Television Stardom
- Audio-Visual Avant-Gardes.
You may be able to select one further optional module from within the Faculty of Arts, subject to approval from the Head of Department.
In your third year, you will be able to specialise in a wide range of topics led by staff with specific expertise. These will be taught alongside the compulsory year-long core module on Film Aesthetics. You can also apply to make a short film on our Film Production module in partnership with London Film School. Or you can choose to write and research an independent dissertation project of your choice.
Most core modules in your first year are taught by means of one lecture, one seminar and several screenings per week in terms one and two. In your second and third years, optional modules are more varied and might include lectures, seminars, workshops, student presentations and peer-review sessions. In terms of assessment, you’ll write essays, deliver presentations, and take exams—you might also produce a short film or video essay, or design a film festival.
In terms of assessment, you’ll write essays, deliver presentations, and take exams—you might also produce a short film or video essay, or design a film festival.
Degrees in our department are 3-year programmes made up of smaller units called modules. You’ll take between 4 and 8 modules per year of your degree. Typically there will be 4-6 hours contact time per module per week. For each module you take you can expect to have 1-2 screenings, 1 lecture and 1 seminar per week.
Screenings are an essential part of our teaching and attendance is compulsory.
Lectures are typically 50 minutes long and contain a lot of information about that week’s topic.
Seminars are perhaps the biggest change from school or college. A seminar is a small group discussion led by a tutor. We teach in groups of around just 8-11 students to give everyone focused attention and to allow each student plenty of space to speak.
Seminars are taught in groups of around 8-11 students.
Assessment varied by modules studied. The second and third year count 50% each towards your final mark.
You also have the option of a four year full-time BA Film Studies degree with a Study Abroad year. You will spend your third year at one of our partner institutions, and return in fourth year to complete your degree.
Choose from a range of leading universities around the world including:
- Tokyo University
- The University of Amsterdam
- Monash University in Australia
- Monash University in Malaysia.
By choosing to add a Study Abroad year you will:
- Develop your knowledge by looking at a range of topics from different perspectives
- Gain a specialist understanding of local and national media and film cultures of the area in which you study
- Be taught using different teaching styles
- Have a chance to experience the underlying international nature of film.
We have embedded employability skills throughout our Film Studies degree. There are also many opportunities for applied learning and assessment across our modules.
In particular, our optional final year modules offer training in:
- critical writing on film
- digital editing
- film production
- curation and festival design.
A level: ABB
IB: 34 overall
You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Interviews: If your application meets our requirements, you will need to submit a piece of written work and attend an interview. If you are from overseas and unable to attend an interview, alternate arrangements will made.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
If you complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS you will receive a guaranteed conditional offer. This is for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Film and Television Analysis
Look closely. No, closer still. Let’s watch that again.
In this module, the text is king. We want to give you intensive practice in looking at and listening closely to films and television programmes.. Lectures will equip you with the technical and analytical vocabulary of textual analysis. In the discussion-based seminars that follow, you’ll get to practice using and applying these terms yourself in a supportive environment, building up your confidence and command of the terminology that will be your academic language for the next three years. Written work is designed to build you up to a point where you can create your own reasoned and carefully argued interpretations of film texts. We’ll set readings each week that introduce you to the best of critical scholarship, and get you to begin to evaluate and reflect upon other accounts and interpretations of film.
We think it’s really important that you are exposed to a variety of films from different times, in different styles and from different nations. Each year, we carefully choose our film screenings to offer you the chance to experience and compare different approaches to the expressive use of film form and mise-en-scène. We want you to be able to examine, in detail, the ways in which stylistic choices create meaning and affect interpretation.
What might you watch? Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, US, 1950), Elephant (Gus Van Sant, US, 2002), La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, France, 1939), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2010), Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin, 2007), M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931), The West Wing (NBC, 1999-2006), Miranda (2009-2015), This Morning (ITV, 1988- present), The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)
Film and Television Criticism
In this module you will be introduced to key critical debates in Film and Television Studies. You will explore a range of approaches to critical writing about film as well as the key critical turns in the study of television. There will be a historical focus to this work which will think about the development of film and television scholarship over time.
As your skills develop you will be encouraged to make reasoned and carefully argued interpretations, and to reflect upon the validity of other accounts and interpretations, both in group discussion and through reading of critical scholarship on module films and programmes.
What might you watch? The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939), Gun Crazy (Deadly is the Female) (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950), Thelma and Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991), Alice in den Städten (Wim Wenders, 1974), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper, 1974), Gogglebox (Channel 4, 2013-), Ghostwatch (BBC Television, 1992), The Royal Wedding (BBC1, 2011); London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder (BBC1, 2012); Dallas (Lorimar Productions, CBS, 1978-1991); 24 Hours in A&E (The Garden Productions, Channel 4, 2011-present); CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, CBS, 2000-present); Seinfeld (Castle Rock Entertainment, NBC, 1989-1998).
You will connect your growing understanding of film’s technological development with its industrial and social history. In exploring the relationship between cinema and society, you will increase your understanding of the role of the state in film production, and the place of cinema in mass culture. These fundamental theoretical approaches will be accompanied by case studies, giving you a firm grounding in film history as well as an enhanced understanding of different ways of analysing the historical record.
Cinema didn’t get to where it is today by standing still.
There are innovations that changed cinema forever – its invention, the introduction of synchronised sound, digital imaging technology. But these events didn’t happen overnight, and nor did they happen in a vacuum.
This module will connect an understanding of film’s technological developments with its industrial and social history. You’ll gain new perspectives upon the history of moving image media by studying key moments of transition. You’ll become familiar with important theoretical and historiographical approaches to technological change. By the end of the module you’ll have a firm grounding in technological film history and will be able to apply these new ways of thinking to the other films you encounter as you progress through your degree.
What might you watch? 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968); Sortie d’usine (Louis Lumière, 1895); The Jazz Singer (Alan Crosland, 1927), Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941), Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945), Lola Montès (Max Oplüls, 1955), Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1994), Festen (Thomas Vinterberg, 1998), Tangerine (Sean Baker, 2015)
Theories of the Moving Image introduces key theoretical concepts related to film form, spectatorship, and politics. The module will enable you to read film theory as a written text and a historical document, and to use it as a theoretical tool for interpreting screen media. As a theory course, the module will give you the skills needed to approach theoretical texts, and we will be focusing as much on analysing written arguments as discussing the screenings.
By the end of the module you will be familiar with some of the key theoretical frameworks and debates in film scholarship, and their position within broader interdisciplinary contexts. You should be able to read complex critical writing with confidence and precision, and to deploy theoretical arguments in your own writing with similar confidence and rigor. You will be able to apply theoretical frameworks to screen media texts in both oral and written communication.
What might you watch? Le Crime de Monsieur Lange (Jean Renoir, 1939), The Gleaners & I (Agnès Varda, 2000), The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, 2007), Il posto (Ermanno Olmi, 1961), Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956), Gilda (Vidor, 1956), Mahogany (Berry Gordy, 1975), Starship Troopers (Paul Verhoeven, 1997)
Theory for Film
In this module you will explore theoretical models that have been taken up by scholars within Film Studies but were originally developed in other subject areas. These include English Literature, Philosophy, and Psychology. You will engage with a range of theories that offer different constructions of textuality, meaning and interpretation. You will gain knowledge of major shifts in theorisation by addressing key paradigms such as structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, semiotics, deconstruction and postmodernism. You will also apply these theoretical models to specific film texts, adding a conceptual dimension to your textual analysis.
The Business of Film
In this module you will gain a historical, conceptual and practical grounding in the nature of film as a national, transnational and global industrial and economic practice. It will introduce you to a range of key issues and approaches that have shaped global film industries from the end of the Second World War through to the present day. You will explore many of the elements by which film may be understood as not just a cultural, but also a socio-economic phenomenon. These will include such themes as the evolution of international trends in film finance, production, distribution, exhibition and marketing, and the application of enduring concepts such as authorship, genre and stardom to many of these aspects.
You will also examine matters related to political economy and film policy with weekly topics that might include: the role of government policy, funding and support; the intervention of state and cross-cultural organisations such as the British Film Institute, Channel 4, the BBC and the EU; questions of censorship and regulation; and the management of issues related to social and cultural diversity.
Overall, the module will help you to contextualise much of the foundational teaching and learning from across your first year.
What makes a film a film? Or a television programme a television programme? How are these forms different from and similar to each other – and from related media forms like photography, video games, prints, and paintings?
In this module, you’ll explore the relationships between different types of visual media, and develop an understanding of visual cultures in a wider sense that will complement and extend your Year 1 film modules.
What might you watch? Mothlight (Stan Brakhage, 1963), La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962), Fog Line (Larry Gottheim, 1970), The Reflecting Pool (Bill Viola, 1977-79), Alice in Wonderland (Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske, 1951), Alice in Wonderland (Jonathan Miller, BBC, 1966), American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, 2003), Superman (Richard Donner, 1978), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand and all, 1937), Toy Story (John Lasseter, 1995), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Rupert Wyatt, 2011)
There’s a good chance you’ll be familiar with Hollywood cinema. It dominates film culture here in the UK and across the world and for many people, ‘Hollywood’ is synonymous with ‘film’. But this meaning is not fixed, and the term ‘Hollywood Cinema’ can be used as a shorthand for films that are seen as commercial, and lacking in depth and substance, or alternatively to suggest a benchmark for quality film production. Indeed, when we talk about Hollywood, we are referring to both an industrial system – with specific practices and cultures of film production – and an aesthetic tradition, with codes and conventions that dictate how films look, sound and tell stories. In this module, we engage with the full historical range of Hollywood sound production from the late 1920s to the present day. Examples are chosen because they illustrate important aspects of the industry, including style, genre, stars, directors, technology, censorship, and politics.
Topics might include: genre; authorship; stardom; the studio system; gender; race; Hollywood as ‘mass culture’; ‘New Hollywood’; the blockbuster franchise.
What you might watch? Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly/ Stanley Donen, 1952); Footlight Parade (Lloyd Bacon, 1933); Swing Time (Mark Sandrich, 1936); Meet Me in St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944); Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, 1938); Angels With Dirty Faces (Michael Curtiz, 1938); Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1946); Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1941); Blonde Bombshell (Victor Fleming, 1933); Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967); Dirty Harry (Don Siegel, 1971); Mission Impossible (Brian de Palma, 1996); Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017); Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018);The Avengers (Joss Whedon, 2012)
Film is a global medium, but different countries are often seen as having specific ‘national’ film cultures. It is not unusual to hear talk of a ‘British film’ or a ‘Japanese film’, but these terms are far more complex than they might initially seem. The very idea of a national cinema is itself an actively constructed category, and this module will draw upon the work on textual analysis and film history that you carried out in Year One to explore issues and concepts related to national and international film cultures.
In each term, you will undertake a detailed case study of a specific national cinema as a framework within which to explore wider concepts. Case studies are chosen based on staff research expertise, and in the past have included: Italian cinema, Brazilian cinema, global film culture, British cinema, post-war German cinema, Japanese cinema, Swedish cinema, amongst others.
Topics might include: the representation of national history; ideas of genre, realism and authorship; transnational circulation; definitions of national identity and questions of cultural specificity
What you might watch? Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer, 1998); Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972); Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974); Good Bye Lenin! (Wolfgang Becker, 2003); The Baader Meinhof Complex (Uli Edel, 2008); Stray Dog (Akira Kurosawa, 1949); Sansho Dayu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954); Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953); Crazed Fruit (Ko Nakahira, 1956); Face of Another (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966); Ring (Hideo Nakata, 1998); My Neighbour Totoro (Hiyao Miyazaki, 1988); Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2008)
Optional cores - choose one or two of the following:
This module explores the silent period in Europe and America – a period in which some of the most important films, filmmakers and filmmaking trends emerged. In this module, we treat films of early cinema as complex, rather than ‘primitive’ texts. You’ll get hands-on with trade periodicals and fan magazines from this period to bring these films to life and develop your skills in historical research.
You’ll investigate the social and cultural context into which cinema emerges and evolves, and become familiar with the international film industry of the 1920s, covering topics like its commercial structure, major directors, stars, landmark films and aesthetic developments. This will give you context for understanding the complexities of Hollywood’s journey to dominance and the rise of cinematic nationalism after the end of World War I. We’ll also explore how issues of class and gender come to the fore at particular moments of social upheaval and cultural crisis in this era.
Topics might include: The magical attractions of early cinema; D.W. Griffith and the emergence of a narrative grammar; the evolution of slapstick; serial pleasures; the emergence of feature films; classical Hollywood cinema in the 1920s; cinema and modernity; the mobilisation of ‘Film Europe’; silents in the age of sound; the aesthetics of silent cinema
What you might watch? The Impossible Voyage (Méliès, 1904); A Drunkard’s Reformation (Biograph, 1909); Last of the Line (Domino, 1914); Mr. Flip (Essanay, 1909); The Tramp (Essanay, 1915); The Perils of Pauline (Pathé, 1914); Traffic in Souls (Universal, 1913); The Cheat (Lasky, 1915); Intolerance (Fine Arts, 1916); Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Charles F. Reisner, 1928); It (Clarence Badger, 1927); Man With a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929); The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924); La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Carl T. Dreyer, 1928); Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927); Piccadilly (E.A. Dupont, 1929)OR
Television History and Criticism
Television is dead. Television is everyday. Television is everywhere. Television is online. Television is domestic. Television is spectacular. Television is public. Television is all this and more.
In this module, you’ll unpick and complicate some of the accepted cultural positions about what television is and what it does. Building upon your introduction to television studies in the Visual Cultures module in Year One, this module will deepen your understanding of television as a historical, critical and theoretical object of study. It comes at a particularly key moment in the discipline’s history, as new technologies once again threaten our understanding of this complex, yet everyday, object. The focus will be on exploring a wide range of examples from television’s early years to the present day, and on giving opportunities for you to engage critically with some of the most interesting work in television studies, including both foundational work of the discipline and cutting-edge research into this ever-changing medium.
Topics and texts change each year in line with staff research interests and expertise, and you’ll be encouraged to become a co-creator in new work. Recent topics have included regionalism, children’s television and music television. You’ll develop key skills in the close analysis of television and its texts, and be introduced to a range of theoretical concepts and methodologies of television studies. You’ll emerge with a complex understanding of television as a textual, institutional, historical and cultural object.
What might you watch? Doctor Who, Brideshead Revisited, Happy Valley, Sherlock, Poldark, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, The West Wing, Lost, Breaking Bad, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Stranger Things, Arena, Panorama, Driving School, Made in Chelsea, Wife Swap, Geordie Shore, Ghostwatch, The Day Britain Stopped, Modern Family, The Office, A History of Britain, Who Do You Think You Are, Downton Abbey, The Great British Bake-Off, Planet Earth, Cunk on Britain.
What exactly does ‘avant-garde’ mean? And how does it differ from terms such as ‘underground’, ‘experimental’ and ‘subcultural’? In this module you’ll explore the history of avant-garde film, video, sound, and installation work by engaging conceptually and practically with its forms, movements and practices.
We’re also interested in exploring the exchange and interaction between avant-garde and popular cultures. We’ll think about where the term ‘avant-garde’ comes from, placing it within the context from which it emerges and then tracing how it has been employed at different times and in different places, from the early twentieth century to the present day.
You’ll take a wide-ranging look at ideas of the avant-garde and study a diverse range of texts, movements and trends, from the 'high art' domain of 1920s avant-garde film to the popular eruptions of early 80s hip-hop.
What might you watch? Entr'acte (René Clair, 1924), Rose Hobart (Joseph Cornell, 1936), A MOVIE (Bruce Connor, 1958), Jack's Dream (Joseph Cornell, c.1938), The Phoenix Portal (Soda Jerk, 2005), Invocation of My Demon Brother (Kenneth Anger, 1969), Flaming Creatures (Jack Smith, 1963), Empire (Andy Warhol, 1964), Ruhr (James Benning, 2009), Hand Catching Lead (Richard Serra, 1968), Time As Activity (Dusseldorf) (David Lamelas, 1969), Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable (Ronald Nameth, 1966), Three Transitions (Peter Campus, 1973) Two Dogs and a Ball (William Wegman, 1972), Vertical Roll (Joan Jonas, 1972), TV Interruptions (David Hall, 1976), Semiotics of The Kitchen (Martha Rosler, 1975)
Film Aesthetics blends philosophical and theoretical questions of aesthetics with detailed close textual analysis of a range of films from different national and historical contexts. There are three primary strands intertwined throughout the module: the concept of aesthetics in general; film aesthetics more specifically; and the particulars of the individual film we will be looking at each week.
Questions of aesthetics are also often imbricated with questions of value and our first purpose will be to address some overarching questions such as: what is art? What is beautiful? What is good? Are these notions subjective or universal? How do social, historic and contextual particularities affect the attribution of value in aesthetic discourses? Are considerations of politics and ethics essential or contingent when discussing those of aesthetics?
The strand on film aesthetics will explore how general questions in aesthetics have been historically deployed in relation to film: what is ‘the cinematic’ and is ‘medium specificity’ important? How has realism been used as a criterion of value in film? What are the roles of intentionality and interpretation in valuing films? How important is place, experience and feeling to attributions of value? What role does genre play in the interpretation of films and how does this affect their value? What is the role of the social in the aesthetic?
What you might watch? The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003); Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958); Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979); Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993); Morvern Callar (Lynne Ramsay, 2002); Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989); 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013); Mad Men (AMC, 2007-2015); Friends (NBC, 1994-2004)
Examples of optional modules/options for current students
Dissertation; Film Production; Practice of Film Criticism; British Film and Television Fiction; Envisioning the World; Hollywood Cinema of the 1970s; Hollywood Romantic Comedy; Horror and the Gothic in Film and TV; Television History and Criticism; Postwar Japanese Cinema; Screenwriting; Issues in Documentary; Ecocinema; Envisioning the World in Screen Media; The Art of Animation; Science Fiction Theory as Film; Film and
Film Studies graduates have pursued careers such as:
- arts officers
- producers and directors
- authors, writers and translators
- business and related associate professionals
- newspaper and periodical editors
- audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
- public relations professionals and education professionals.
"I enjoyed the world of work, but knew I wanted to study further."
"I wanted to study at a leading institution and knew Warwick was the best, being number one in the UK for Film and Television when I applied. It’s always great to study something you love so there was no doubt I would enjoy my course.
The enthusiasm from staff was really inspiring and although I decided to enter the world of work after finishing my degree, I’m now back studying my MA Research in Film and Television Studies here. I had always wanted to study further but the staff here at Warwick made the decision to return very easy for me. "
Daisy Richards - MA Research in Film and Television Studies
Studied 'Film and Television'
A level: ABB
IB: 34 overall
You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Interviews: All applicants being considered for an offer will normally need to submit a piece of written work and attend an interview. Separate arrangements can be made for international students who are unable to attend an interview.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Film and Television Studies
3 years full-time/4 years full-time with Study Abroad year
28 September 2020
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
This information is applicable for 2020 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.
What our students say...
Straight from the students themselves.