Undergraduate Course

BA Film and Creative Writing

Now In Clearing
BA Film and Creative Writing

Overview

The details
Film and Creative Writing
PW38
October 2018
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

Our course combines hands-on practical filmmaking, creative writing workshops, and theoretical and contextual studies. We encourage you to forge links between theory and practice, and to make critically-informed choices in your own creative work through the knowledge you gain of film history, literary classics and writing across a range of genres.

At Essex we offer an unusual approach to the practice of writing, combing innovative and traditional methods in order to develop your writing skills and abilities to judge your work critically, while expanding your knowledge across different modes and genres. In our Centre for Creative Writing we encourage a culture of experiment and creativity, enabling you to feel part of a community of writers.

For your modules in filmmaking and screenwriting, you are taught by film professionals with extensive industry experience. You gain hands-on practical training in all aspects of film production, including camera work, editing, lighting, scriptwriting, and production management. You produce group films (learning how to work together as a team) as well as personal projects – by the end of your three or four years at Essex you’ll have built up a fully rounded portfolio of work, enabling you to showcase your creative potential for future employers. Your second-year module on screenwriting forms the keystone of your course, bridging the two parts. You will also have the opportunity to write a script as part of your final-year independent study.

Based in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, we are ranked 3rd in the UK for film studies (Dance, Drama and Cinematics - TGUG 2018).

Why we're great.
  • We provide a global approach to the study of film in a distinctive and vibrant academic community.
  • We balance academic theory with practical production experience to make you a rounded filmmaker.
  • You have access to HD cameras, extensive editing facilities, a film library and a dedicated cinema.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows 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.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

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.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

The Centre for Film and Screen Media and Centre for Creative Writing are part of a unique literary conservatoire at Essex that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film and writing

Our distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners. We have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars and film theorists.

Our creative writing teaching staff are experienced and established writers who have a breadth of experience across literary genres, from novels, prose and plays, to poetry and song.

Specialist facilities

  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
  • Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media, 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 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 Rebel or host a Red Radio show

Your future

Our graduates acquire key skills in writing close analysis, critical analysis, contextual research, time-management, and hands-on filmmaking.

In your third year, you can make your own short film – a calling card showcasing your individual, creative potential to add to a portfolio of practical work developed during your course to present to prospective employers. This puts you in a stronger position to enter film production, TV, journalism, publishing and teaching professions, amongst a host of other careers.

Recent graduates have been employed as:

  • A subtitle writing for Sky TV
  • An assistant director for a music video for an internationally-acclaimed band
  • An English teacher
  • A media studies teacher

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

Clearing entry requirements

If you have already received your results, use our Clearing application form to apply for 2018 entry through Clearing. You will be asked to provide details of your qualifications and grades.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

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.

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

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Introduction to European Literature (optional)

This module is an introduction to some of the most influential European writers from the Enlightenment period up to the present day. You study significant works of literature that sparked particular movements or represent crucial literary innovation. The works selected are novels, novellas, short stories and plays, and we examine these texts within their historical and political contexts. This module will help you to build understanding of the development of genres, forms, styles, content and ideas.

View Introduction to European Literature (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing for the Radio

What possibilities does radio offer a writer? What techniques are required? How can the main tools of dramatic construction be exploited for radio? Focusing on drama, study work currently being broadcast plus classic pieces. Make use of the University’s studio to record extracts of your own radio scripts.

View Writing for the Radio on our Module Directory

The Writer's Toolkit

How do you get started as a writer? How do you practise your writing? And how can you make improvements? Using exercises and texts, focus on your basic skills and essay writing. Cover topics like characterisation, dialogue, point of view, plotting, suspense, and metaphor and imagery.

View The Writer's Toolkit on our Module Directory

Approaches to Film and Media

How do we analyse moving images? What innovations have transformed the cinema experience? What moments and movements have been key to film history? Study the development of international cinema, looking at all aspects of the form, including analysis of theoretical issues, film language, and a variety of important directors and genres.

View Approaches to Film and Media on our Module Directory

Introduction to Film Production

Want hands-on experience of the film process, from pre to post-production? Keen to tackle technical aspects, such as framing, lighting, sound and editing? Work individually and in small groups on your own projects, covering topics like how shots are framed through to the different editing techniques that manipulate film narrative.

View Introduction to Film Production on our Module Directory

Essex Cultural Outreach (optional)

Gain first-hand professional experience in the cultural and creative sector with this practical skills-based module. You will work with the Arts Education team on an arts projects with a local school, discovering how to plan and deliver effective and engaging sessions, whilst learning about the career opportunities in this sector. By helping children develop, you’ll reflect upon your own strengths and capabilities, building on vital transferrable employability skills such as teamwork, resilience, leadership, and experience of working with outside organisations. You will have the opportunity to put yourself forward for extra Arts Award training, helping you to stand out from the crowd. Complementing other modules on the course, this module will also prepare you for a placement or year abroad.

View Essex Cultural Outreach (optional) on our Module Directory

Critical Theory

How can texts be read and interpreted using the thinking of Marx? What about Freud or de Saussure? Or Derrida and Said? Study literature, theatre, and film using these key thinkers. Analyse their approaches both historically and institutionally, and understand the importance of theoretical and methodological material to your studies.

View Critical Theory on our Module Directory

Introduction to Screenwriting

What are the practical aspects of screenwriting? And the theoretical? Explore the construction of a range of screenplays, investigating their shared structural elements. Write your own short films. Produce reports reflecting your understanding of screen writing. Participate in the creative pitching of ideas.

View Introduction to Screenwriting on our Module Directory

Writing Structures

What are the key theories for creative writing? And how do writers (such as Wordsworth or Pound) theorise their own work and that of others? Study a range of genres, from poetry and fiction to autobiography, with practical writing exercises. Explore “making the familiar unfamiliar” (defamiliarisation), and focus on narrative.

View Writing Structures on our Module Directory

Documentary Filmmaking

Documentary film makers have been unveiling new and surprising truths to the masses since the 1920s, and the genre is as popular today as it has ever been. You examine different documentary forms through the work of practitioners such as John Grierson, Molly Dineen, and Agnes Varda, and gain key production skills, including the formulation of the idea, research methods, handling techniques, legal and consent issues, recording techniques and documentary editing. By the end of the module, you will have created your own individual documentary film.

View Documentary Filmmaking on our Module Directory

Fiction Filmmaking

Building on the knowledge and skills gained in the prerequisite Introduction to Film Production, you gain a variety of production techniques, from research, script writing, adaptation, location shooting and editing. You also address key management skills, from learning how to properly plan a project, to collaborating with actors. Working as part of a small group, you conclude the module by producing an imaginative and creative short film.

View Fiction Filmmaking on our Module Directory

Cultural Ideology and Film (optional)

How do films tackle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Or issues about surveillance and asylum? What about gender and violence? Explore the complex relationship between cinema and ideology through a diverse selection of international films. Analyse how cinema can be an ideological medium, both sustaining and interrogating our social and cultural values.

View Cultural Ideology and Film (optional) on our Module Directory

Myth and the Creative Process (optional)

How is myth used by writers? How is the creative process of writing linked to myth? Study collaborative and creative processes of writing through group work and seminars. Explore the term myth in relation to elements such as fairy tale, tradition, locality, folklore, and divination.

View Myth and the Creative Process (optional) on our Module Directory

Writing Lyrics (optional)

The emphasis of this module will be on writing song lyrics for performance, but it will also include writing lyrics ‘for the page’. In addition to writing lyrics of your own, you study serious lyrics in popular music, and have a chance to examine the relationship between these and other writing. You will also be able to choose a writer, or writers, in this field and write an essay on their work, alongside your own lyrics towards an ‘album’ with a commentary on the writing process.

View Writing Lyrics (optional) on our Module Directory

Independent Film Project (optional)

What fascinates you? Create your own film on a topic that you are enthusiastic about and have chosen, with support and guidance from our expert academic staff. Build your practical skills and gain an invaluable insight into all aspects of creating and producing your own film project.

View Independent Film Project (optional) on our Module Directory

Possible Worlds: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, and Alternative Histories (optional)

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity 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. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching will mainly take the form of lectures and classes of about 20 students
  • Emphasis on practical exercises and creative approaches
  • Hands-on experience of camerawork and film production
  • Explore film theory through use of film and literature
  • A typical timetable involves a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week

Assessment

  • Your final mark for each module is determined half by coursework and half by examination
  • A mark for class participation is included in your coursework mark
  • Coursework includes essays, exhibition reviews and virtual portfolios, coursework reports, individual and group presentations, book reviews, viva voce examinations, and an independent research project (a dissertation)
  • Written examinations are also taken for the majority of modules at the end of each academic year

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£14,020

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have 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

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2018 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018
  • Saturday, October 27, 2018

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Find out more about Clearing

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism
  • BSc Nursing (Adult)
  • BSc Nursing (Mental Health)
  • BA Social Work

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have. Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.


Apply now
Colchester Campus

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