Undergraduate Course

BA Film Studies

BA Film Studies

Overview

The details
Film Studies
W620
October 2019
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus

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 Number 1 in the UK for film studies (Dance, Drama and Cinematics, Times Good University Guide 2019).

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 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.

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, 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 Rebel or host a Red Radio show

Your future

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 and Screen Media 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.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

IB: 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM (in relevant subject)

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.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here.Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

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.

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

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 on our Module Directory

Contemporary Texts and Contexts

What is contemporary writing? And how is it characterised? Don’t just study known “traditional” genres of literature, what about the emerging new genres of writing that are challenging readers? Analyse contemporary English writing, published within the last ten years, looking at themes, forms, issues and language.

View Contemporary Texts and Contexts on our Module Directory

Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama

Which writers re-worked Homer’s Odyssey? Or borrowed ideas from Dante’s Inferno? Examine how key literary texts and genres have been used by successive generations of writers up until the present day. Shift from classical text to a more modern example, studying the long cultural traditions that exist.

View Origins and Transformations in Literature and Drama 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

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

Narrative and Film

How do films tell their story? What narrative conventions do genre films utilise? How do filmmakers adapt original literature to create new stories? Explore meanings in different film narrative using classic, modernist and postmodern examples. Understand narrative conventions in genre films. Study screen adaptation, the cinematic remake and transmedia storytelling.

View Narrative and Film on our Module Directory

Advanced Film Production

Want to acquire advanced practical skills in filmmaking? And get hands-on experience of producing a short film? Focus on the art of filmmaking by exploring technical approaches in practice. Work collaboratively and creatively to devise and realise two short films, investigating narrative, cinematography, music, sound, art design, and lighting.

View Advanced Film Production on our Module Directory

American Film Authors

How powerful is Hollywood? How do directors construct an image of the USA? Examine how directors have created America in the popular imagination. Study Hollywood auteurs (such as Chaplin, Hawks, Hitchcock, Welles and Ford) alongside others (such as Scorsese, Allen and Lee) while covering the breadth of US film history.

View American Film Authors on our Module Directory

Cultural Ideology and Film

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 on our Module Directory

Film and Propaganda

Can films really tell us what to think? Why was cinema championed as a way to transmit state ideologies in the interwar period? Explore a range of films, studying their production and reception. Learn to assess historical arguments in your critical analysis of films, broadening your perspectives on film studies.

View Film and Propaganda on our Module Directory

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 takes the form of lectures and seminar sessions or discussion classes
  • Hands-on experience of camerawork and film production
  • Explore film theory through use of film and literature

Assessment

  • 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

£15,000

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, October 27, 2018
  • Tuesday, December 18, 2018
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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