About the course
How does cinema affect us as individuals and as groups, as communities or nations? Do the moving pictures reflect our beliefs or help to change how we see the world? How powerful are visual media in shaping our interpretations of modern life? These are some of the most pressing questions cinema asks us. Our ability to read and interpret the images and stories that films deliver is crucial to how we understand contemporary life.
At Essex you combine studying the history and theory of cinema with practical film production, so you don’t just critically examine cinema – you create it. Your production modules enable you to develop and apply your academic knowledge and understanding of film, refining and enriching your own practical work.
We give you the opportunity to explore film across a broad range of genres, time periods, and regions, from Hollywood, world and independent cinema, to documentaries and television. Simultaneously, you gain hands-on experience in film production and production management, essential for careers in the film and television industry.
We nurture the creative talent for tomorrow, developing filmmakers, scholars, and thinkers with a dynamic worldview:
- Gain hands-on experience of camera work, sound recording, editing, lighting, and scriptwriting
- Explore the formal aesthetics of film composition and structure in relation to different contexts of production and reception
- Discover the history and social significance of film as a global medium
- Understand the links between critical analysis and creative practice
- Produce both group films and personal projects
By graduation you will have built up a fully rounded portfolio of work, enabling you to showcase your experience, versatility and creative potential to future employers.
We offer a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities in film, and also enabling you to take options from the other courses within our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies including literature, creative writing, journalism and drama.
We are ranked top 20 in the UK (Times Good University Guide 2015), and our students are some of the happiest in the country; we are top in the UK for student satisfaction (NSS 2014).
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you extending your education by providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Our Department has an exchange scheme with universities in Denmark, France, Finland, Greece, Germany, Spain and Italy through the ERASMUS programme. This provides our students with the opportunity to view the world, and film, from another perspective.
Studying abroad can allow you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Our expert staff
The Centre for Film Studies at Essex is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.
This course features Nic Blower , who has over 20 years’ experience producing and directing documentaries and drama documentaries with the BBC.
Our other academic staff specialise in a range of areas including filmmaking, film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of the Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, silent cinema, screenwriting and production.
Our Department has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars and film theorists.
For your film production modules, you have priority use of industry-standard editing facilities, two state-of-the-art studios, and a range of cameras and other filmmaking equipment. You also gain experience using professional film production software including Avid and Final Cut; everything you will need to produce films to an expert standard.
You also have access to our other departmental facilities:
- Show off your work on our Vimeo channel
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
- Borrow DVDs from our substantial departmental collection
- Join student film societies and the Centre for Film Studies film series, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
- Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Participate in regular workshops at the Lakeside Theatre which help you to improve your performance skills
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
- Write for our student magazine Albert or host a Red Radio show
You graduate from our course with key skills in writing close analysis, critical thinking, contextual research, time management, and hands-on filmmaking. The short film you will make as part of your studies serves as a calling card, showcasing your individual, creative potential to add to a portfolio of practical work developed during your course.
One of our students, Elena Dirstaru produced a film which won an Award of Merit at the IndieFest Film Awards 2013.
Our students are well-prepared to enter careers in film production, TV, journalism, publishing and teaching professions, amongst a host of other careers. Our recent graduates have gone on to work in various desirable roles including:
- Celebrity booking for Cactus TV
- Editor for BBC television
- Subtitle writer for Sky TV
- Teachers of English and Media Studies
Your tutors in our Centre for Film Studies recognise that any experience you can acquire in the industry will set you apart from the crowd when it comes to finding work after graduation. We are committed to an ongoing programme of establishing and coordinating a variety of placements and internships, both within and beyond our University.
We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form
and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring
to discuss your grades.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.