Postgraduate Course

MA Film and Literature

MA Film and Literature

Overview

The details
Film and Literature
October 2018
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus

Explore the relationship between literature and film in an exceptionally broad array of contemporary and historical contexts, and from a variety of different perspectives. You discover cutting-edge approaches to cinematic and literary aesthetics, adaptation, and relationships between different media, reception contexts, ethics, and interfaces between theory and practice.

On our course you gain a deep understanding of the theoretical and practical interactions between literature and film, choosing specific areas of literary and cinema studies to complement your preparation for a creative practice or theoretical dissertation project of your choice. You will forge and develop connections between audio-visual and textual media. Focusing a variety of cultural productions and diverse forms of enlightenment, and entertainment, you will encounter parallel and sometimes more densely intertwined media histories, discovering the complex ways in which media anticipate, interfere with, and draw on one other.

Through weekly seminars, screenings and discussions of key cinematic and literary texts, you consider different ways that texts create their meanings. You study topics including:

  • Areas such as modernism, poetic practice, American prose, Caribbean literature, and African American literature
  • Documentary and fiction film production including screenwriting, pre-production, camera, lighting, sound, storyboarding and editing
  • Landmark directors and movements such as Expressionism and the avant-garde
  • Film theory including feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory, haptic cinema
  • Adaptation and comparative media

You also benefit from a series of masterclasses conducted by invited industry professionals which focus on the craft of filmmaking: developing your technical understanding of cinematography, directing and editing/postproduction.

These also introduce you to potential employment routes and industry career pathways, from setting up your own production company, to identifying and tapping into distribution networks and preparing and marketing your completed films.

We are ranked 3rd in the UK for film studies (Dance, Drama and Cinematics, Times Good University Guide 2018), and three-quarters of our research is rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).

This course is also available on a part-time basis.

Why we're great.
  • Benefit from a series of masterclasses led by industry professionals
  • Collaborate with professionals in our Research Laboratory – network with creatives who nurture original works
  • View classic films weekly in Cine10 – our dedicated 120-seat cinema in the heart of campus

Our expert staff

Our intensive modules are taught in small groups by expert academic film specialists and professional filmmakers .

The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a vital departmental unit 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.

Our academic staff specialise in a wide range of production and critical areas including producing, screenwriting, documentary, , film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, and silent cinema.

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, filmmakers and film theorists.

Specialist facilities

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 and Screen Media 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 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
  • Improve your playwriting skills at our Lakeside Theatre Writers workshops
  • 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

Your future

We actively encourage and assist you to find appropriate internship and work placement opportunities during your studies, allowing you to practice and develop your skills and experience as well as enhancing your graduate employment prospects.

A number of our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers as scholars, university lecturers, teachers, publishers, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, drama advisers, filmmakers, film editors, and translators.

We also offer supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by Dissertation in different literatures and various approaches to literature, covering most aspects of early modern and modern writing in English, plus a number of other languages.

Our University is one of only 11 AHRC-accredited Doctoral Training Centres in the UK. This means that we offer funded PhD studentships which also provide a range of research and training opportunities.

We work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A mid 2.2 degree in Creative Writing, Theatre/Drama Studies, Literature, Film and Media Studies, Modern Languages and Art History.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5 except for 6.5 in writing

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.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

Dissertation

Your dissertation is the culmination of your time at Essex. Focusing on one particular topic in great depth, you formulate an urgent research question to be subsequently addressed, either critically or creatively. Your dedicated supervisor will be on-hand to guide you through the process, and our pre-requisite module on research methods will ensure you are fully prepared for the task at hand.

View Dissertation on our Module Directory

Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis

Are you ready for your dissertation? Examine a variety of research methods and methodologies, building the research skills and understanding needed to complete your postgraduate-level research project.

View Research Methods in Literary and Cultural Analysis on our Module Directory

Critical Moments in the Theory and History of Film

How do we talk about films? What impact do Marxist, psychoanalytic and semiological approaches have? Examine historical and contemporary debates about film with weekly screenings and discussions. Analyse the formal, social, cultural and political dimensions of films from both within and beyond the Hollywood studio system.

View Critical Moments in the Theory and History of Film on our Module Directory

The New Nature Writing (optional)

On this module, you approach writing about the natural world through a series of three-week units on subjects such as trees, marshes, coasts, and birds. Each unit will begin with a focus on the local – the wild east of Essex and Suffolk – before moving outwards to larger perspectives. Several of the units will involve field trips led by the writers being studied, which will include such figures as Richard Mabey and Robert Macfarlane.

View The New Nature Writing (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing the Novel (optional)

What inspires a writer? How do you develop your idea? What about plotting, character, structure and setting? Explore the general principles of developing a novel from initial inspiration to final draft. Undertake practical exercises to find out which writing methods best suit you and your ideas.

View Writing the Novel (optional) on our Module Directory

Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional)

A new genre of literature has been emerging: moving between fiction, history, traveller's tales, and memoir, it explores the spirit of place. This tradition of “psychogeography” has been most vividly taken up and given a new contemporary twist by writers in the eastern stretches of England, in the work of writers such as Ronald Blythe, W.G. Sebald and Iain Sinclair. This module is concerned with writing on the landscape of this region – the ways the wilder reaches of Essex and Suffolk have been depicted – and allows you to develop your critical and creative writing about place. This module usually involves a walking tour around Colchester where we will have the chance to explore these literary landscapes and experience these worlds for ourselves. Students will incur travel costs of approximately £2.50 for this trip.

View Memory Maps: Practices in Psychogeography (optional) on our Module Directory

Dramatic Structure (optional)

Want to write your own stage plays? Have an idea of a screenplay? Learn about the range of contemporary plays and possibilities that exist within contemporary drama. Develop your own work, discussing topics like dialogue, construction of plot and structure of scenes within a supportive and creative environment.

View Dramatic Structure (optional) on our Module Directory

Adaptation (optional)

How have relations between literature and film changed over the years? Is it a hostile relationship or mutually enriching? How have they adapted to each other? Study the relationship between literature and film from the nineteenth-century to today, where books, movies and comics continually feed off and into each other.

View Adaptation (optional) on our Module Directory

Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional)

What do we mean by documentary? How does documentary feed into our ongoing fascination with reality? Examine non-fiction films and more recent hybrids, such as mockumentaries, reality TV and real-life programming. Examine avant-garde filmmaking approaches in relation to how we perceive and question reality and real-life stories.

View Documentary and the Avant-garde: Film, Video, Digital (optional) on our Module Directory

Film and Video Production Workshop (optional)

Want to produce fiction films? Eager for hands-on experience, plus an understanding of the theoretical concepts? Our script-to-screen module covers conceptual research, script development, visual language and practical realisation. Work on a group film, receiving technical training on auditioning and directing, lighting for camera, art direction and film editing.

View Film and Video Production Workshop (optional) on our Module Directory

United States Nationalism and Regionalism (optional)

How can a nation reach its potential if it will not think of itself as new, independent and important? Study major writers from the nineteenth century onwards. Explore the development of US nationalism and literature. Examine the development of regionalism. Understand how these processes relate to wider transnational considerations.

View United States Nationalism and Regionalism (optional) on our Module Directory

African American Literature (optional)

How has African-American writing shaped US culture? And how has it often been at the forefront of literary experiment? Examine fiction and poetry that moved the African-American experience from the literary margins to cultural prominence. Understand literary developments, and how these link to broader historical, social and theoretical changes.

View African American Literature (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing Magic (optional)

Magic and writing have a close association, in terms of subject, structure and in the creation of literature itself. Magic is a 'pretended' or 'hidden principle', which uses the supernatural and works in the same way as mythic or metaphorical literary writing in seeking to reveal hidden connections and truths. The history of magic, both as a subject for writing, with its colourful characters and events, and in its use of ritual and archetype and with its themes of transformation, offers many possibilities for writing and creativity in theory and practical application.

View Writing Magic (optional) on our Module Directory

"There is a Continent Outside My Window" : United States and Caribbean Literatures in Dialogue (optional)

How do US writers imagine and represent the Caribbean? And vice versa? Deepen knowledge of American literature by examining poetic, fictional, nonfictional and dramatic works in a broader context. Investigate contemporary issues like the American Dream, what it means to be from the Americas, migration, and the question of language.

View "There is a Continent Outside My Window" : United States and Caribbean Literatures in Dialogue (optional) on our Module Directory

Literature and the Environmental Imagination: 19th to 21st Century Poetry and Prose (optional)

Wilderness. Activism. Extinction. What is the relationship between literature and the environment, and how has it changed over time? How does imaginative thought connect with scientific understanding? Study leading environmental theorists alongside literary works from the Romantic period to postmodernity, while optional film screenings enhance your study of written texts.

View Literature and the Environmental Imagination: 19th to 21st Century Poetry and Prose (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • Five modules are followed over the autumn and spring terms
  • Weekly film screenings and discussions of key cinematic and literary texts
  • Practical film production workshops
  • Seminars may include introductions by your tutor, presentations by you, and discussion based on a programme of reading
  • Visiting scholars are invited to speak about their research

Assessment

  • Four essays of 4,000-5,000 words, usually combining a creative piece and critical commentary
  • There is normally considerable freedom for you to choose the topics of your essays
  • A reflective piece on research methods

Dissertation

  • You produce a creative practice or theoretical dissertation project

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£7,560

International fee

£16,225

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Applying

You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.

There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

If you are applying to a masters course in the department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies you must provide a piece of critical academic writing (2,500 words) on a topic relevant to your application.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

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Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

 

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