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Film Studies BA (W620)

Find out more about our Film Studies degree at Warwick


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Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
26 September 2022
Film and Television Studies
University of Warwick

Gain a close-up view of the diversity of film and television culture. Explore how the moving image relates to history, politics, philosophy, sociology, the visual arts, drama and literature. Our Film Studies degree covers the foundations of film and television theory, analysis and interpretation, and history. From this foundation, you will develop your understanding of national and historic film cultures.


We live in a world of moving images. Studying them provides a unique means for you to better understand the world in which you live. At Warwick, you’ll explore how they work and what they mean in ways that encompass history, politics, philosophy, sociology, drama, and literature.

Having explored the breadth of the subject, you will then be able to follow your academic curiosity by specialising in topics of particular interest. In your third year, you will also have the opportunity to apply for a place on a specialist film production module. Within the framework of our traditional focus on film history, theory and criticism, we offer innovative teaching, including practice-led learning and assessment, as well as conventional essay writing.

Our vibrant extracurricular culture means you will be surrounded by others who share your love of the subject. Students and staff also engage with film and television through writing, blogging and screening films in cinema clubs. You will emerge from your course with the highly valued ability to research, structure, argue and write to a very high standard on a breadth of current media-related issues, and with an exceptional level of audio-visual literacy.


Year One

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 in your degree.

These include:

  • Theories for Film Studies
  • Visual Cultures
  • Screen Technologies

Year Two

In your second year, you will study World Cinemas and Classical 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
  • National Cinema
  • Post-Classical Hollywood Cinema You may be able to select one further optional module from within the Faculty of Arts, subject to approval from the Head of Department.

Year Three

In your final 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 1 and Film Aesthetics 2.

You can also apply to make a short film on our Film Production module in partnership with London Film School. Alternatively, 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 will write essays, deliver presentations, and take exams. You might also produce a short film or video essay, or design a film festival.

You will take part in seminars with around 8-11 other students.

Degrees in our department are 3-year programmes made up of smaller units called modules. You will 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.

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

Find out more about Study Abroad.


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

Additional requirements

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.


A level typical offer


A level additional information

Film Studies requires skills in critical writing and applicants must be able to demonstrate experience and a high level of achievement in such skills.

Please also see our additional requirements below.

A level contextual offer

We welcome applications from candidates who meet the contextual eligibility criteria. The typical contextual offer is BBB, at least one essay-based subject is desirable. See if you’re eligible.

General GCSE requirements

Unless specified differently above, you will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 or C (or an equivalent qualification) in English Language and either Mathematics or a Science subject. Find out more about our entry requirements and the qualifications we accept. We advise that you also check the English Language requirements for your course which may specify a higher GCSE English requirement. Please find the information about this below.


IB typical offer


Please also see our additional requirements below.

IB contextual offer

We welcome applications from candidates who meet the contextual eligibility criteria. The typical contextual offer is 32. See if you’re eligible.

General GCSE requirements

Unless specified differently above, you will also need a minimum of GCSE grade 4 or C (or an equivalent qualification) in English Language and either Mathematics or a Science subject. Find out more about our entry requirements and the qualifications we accept. We advise that you also check the English Language requirements for your course which may specify a higher GCSE English requirement. Please find the information about this below.


We welcome applications from students with other recognised qualifications. Applicants with BTEC qualifications are considered on an individual basis, taking into account both (a) the degree of focus on close analysis of texts, and (b) GCSE qualifications.

Our typical BTEC offers are as follows:

  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate plus 2 A levels: AB plus Distinction, or BB plus Distinction*
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma plus 1 A level: DD plus grade A or D*D plus grade B
  • BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: D*DD

Please also see our additional requirements below.


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.


Year One

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).

Film History

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.

Film Theory

Film Theory 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)

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.

Theories 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.

Screen Technologies

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)

Visual Cultures

In this module, you will explore the relationships between different types of visual media, including film, photography, video games and artwork, and develop a wider understanding of them to complement and extend that gained in the Year One film modules. You will also explore the basics of television studies, a strand that you will have the option to continue as you progress through your degree programme.

Year Two

Hollywood Cinema

This core module will build on what students have learned about Hollywood in first year modules by expanding their knowledge about Hollywood in what has been deemed its ‘classic’ period. The module will illustrate important aspects about the industrial system that dominated Hollywood filmmaking from the late 1920s to the early 1960s, including style, genre, and stars. By first focusing on Hollywood as an industry, examining the practices and cultures of film production, the module will then consider its ideological influence by promoting specific American values and traditions through political issues, such as race and ethnicity.

World Cinema

The category of ‘world cinema’ represents a point of convergence for both the flattening impulses of a universalizing neoliberalism and the more radical bents of internationalist coalition-building. In other words, such cinema figures large in affective negotiations of global culture, world community and international human rights. This module looks at the wide range of fictional feature films, including the work of Deepa Metha, Akira Kurosawa, Samira Makhmalbaf and Satyajit Ray, among others. This course addresses several specific topics, including: transnational marketing, the touristic gaze, the politics of dubbing/subtitling, and the slow cinema debates.

This module reassesses ‘world cinema’ in light of globalization and global crises. Since the term ‘world cinema’ has always simultaneously invoked industrial, generic and aesthetic categories, our reckoning of the field hopes to expose otherwise unseen geopolitical fault lines. We investigate the historical and current contexts for the widening distribution of non-Hollywood films. We also examine the renaissance of international art cinema practices in recent decades, including new waves from East Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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); Pather Panchali (Ray, 1955); Riso Amaro / Bitter Rice (Giuseppe De Santis, 1949); Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950); De cierta manera / One Way or Another (Sara Gómez, 1977); The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf, 1998); What Time Is It There? (Tsai, 2001); Fire (Deepa Metha, 1996); Lan Yu (Stanley Kwan, 2001); Peking Opera Blues (Tsui, 1986)

Year Three

Film Aesthetics

You will begin by exploring overarching ideas about aesthetics and how these relate to evaluative, historical and political discourses. The study of film aesthetics will subsequently see you applying these tenets to the evaluation and interpretation of film, particularly in the light of considerations of representation, mode and genre, and social context. By bringing together philosophical and theoretical questions of aesthetics with detailed textual analysis of a range of films, you will learn to apply such concepts to your understanding of contemporary international cinema.

  • Dissertation
  • The Practice of Film Criticism
  • British Film and Television Fiction
  • The Art of Animation
  • Postmodernism and Hollywood
  • Horror and the Gothic in Film and TV
  • Television History and Criticism
  • Postwar Japanese Cinema
  • Issues in Documentary
  • Screenwriting
  • Queer Screens
  • Science Fiction Theory as Film
  • Choice of modules offered by the English Department and the Faculty of Arts (subject to agreement)
  • Film Production
  • Ecocinema
  • Global Visions
  • Film and Social Change

Explore our modules in more detail.