Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies offers supervision for PhD Film Studies in all areas of our wide-ranging staff research expertise, including an exceptional variety of approaches to global film and media. You can explore different world cinemas and research the history of film, film theory, comparative and new media, festivals and media platforms, as well as contexts of film and media production and reception. The breadth of our staff expertise will enable you to undertake research which is interdisciplinary and innovative in nature, and you will be supported throughout your studies by regular contact with your supervisor and advisory board.
We also offer an MPhil in this subject.
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan.
Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.
Studying within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies will give you access to a range of exceptional resources and facilities to enhance your learning and research, including a dedicated 120-seat film theatre, fitted with a digital HD projection facilities.
Our Department houses a substantial collection of videos and DVDs, which are available for student borrowing, and complemented by the extensive audio-visual holdings in the University’s Albert Sloman Library.
Our library has been acquiring exceptional holdings in film and media studies, as well as the literature, culture, history, politics and society of the US, the Soviet Union, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, since our university was founded in the early 1960s, and has continued to expand both the volume and the global scope of these resources ever since. You will also find in the library a number of special collections, which are available for students as unique and invaluable resources to support your research.
Our Centre for Film and Screen Media co-ordinates a series of weekly screenings, along with a variety of other film and media related activities. We organise conferences, sponsor special screenings, and host speakers, attracting leading scholars and filmmakers from the UK and around the world. In addition, our University has a number of excellent film societies, which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream, arthouse films.
The Department also benefits from our Lakeside Theatre which, over the past three decades, has been established as a major venue for high quality drama. Not only do many professional touring companies bring their productions of new plays here, but there has also been a wealth of original work produced by our own staff and students, including a new production of Pantomime written and directed by Derek Walcott and the UK premiere of his play Moon-Child. An essential element of our Lakeside Theatre’s programme has been the opportunity it has given our students to write or direct new plays, as well as re-define classics and re-discover neglected masterpieces.
Our graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers in production and academia, as well as other careers.. Other past students in the Department are now established as university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, and translators.
You will need a good Masters degree, or equivalent, in a related subject. Some applicants may be accepted on the basis of an outstanding honours degree. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.
You will normally be required to attend an interview/Skype interview for acceptance, and acceptance is subject to research expertise in the department.
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.
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A research degree doesn't have a taught structure, giving you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently planned for 2021 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
From the first day of your research within our Department, we encourage you to plan your work so that you can expect to submit your thesis for examination by the end of three years. A typical first year of undertaking research within our Department would involve developing a statement in which you will define the aims, theories and methods proposed for the thesis, an indicative bibliography and a timetable for the thesis completion. During this year, you will start collecting your primary and secondary research material according to your chosen topic and timeline.
Your typical second year should involve continuing to investigate and write. In this second year (or the end of your third year, if studying part-time), your first supervisory board of the year will be your Confirmation Board. This will review the evidence to confirm whether or not you should progress and whether your work is at PhD level. After confirmation of your status, you should undertake further substantial research and writing over the next 12 months.
In a typical third year, you should complete the writing of your chapters and revise your work into a final version ready for submission.
Within our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, your PhD thesis is generally completed within three and has a length of 80,000 words.
Your PhD is awarded after your successful defence of your thesis in an oral examination, in which you are interviewed about your research by two examiners, including one specialist in the field based at an external institution.
£16,230EU students commencing their course in the 2021-22 academic year will be liable for the International fee.
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
We encourage you to make a preliminary enquiry directly to a potential supervisor or the Graduate Administrator within your chosen Department or School. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.
We aim to respond to applications within four weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
Home to 15,000 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.
The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
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At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
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