• Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2016
  • Duration:

    2 years full-time

  • Attendance:

    1 term of each academic year will be spent with a European partner institution.

    During the terms based at Birkbeck, you will attend 2-3 evenings a week.

    While abroad, the attendance requirements will depend on the partner institution you attend.

  • Location:

    Central London and abroad, depending on the partner institution you attend.

Programme overview

This international programme is an intensive and comprehensive exploration of the history of audio-visual and moving picture media, from the early 1800s to the present day. It encourages you to explore a wide variety of media in historical, sociological, aesthetic and anthropological terms, by drawing on distinct intellectual traditions of our European partners presented by the European experts in the field.

This innovative and flexible programme uniquely combines our strengths and experience in postgraduate teaching with the European excellence offered through our exchange programme with leading universities in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

While abroad, your choice of modules will depend on the partner institution you attend. Each university has a specific strength and specialism, which should guide your choice of university as the year abroad aims to help you develop and deepen your particular film and media interests.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

Our partner institutions

    How to apply

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link below.

    In addition to an online application, you will need to submit a short written exercise.

    Need help with your application? Watch videos featuring our academic experts giving advice on applying to Birkbeck and answering some of the most frequently asked questions.

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form, including our online personal statement tool, which will guide you through every step of writing your personal statement.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    This programme has rolling admission, but we encourage early applications.

    Why study this course at Birkbeck?

    • The only such MA in the country that includes an international exchange with a set of prestigious European partners.
    • An introduction to key historical moments in film and related media history.
    • A wide range of option modules at Birkbeck, partner institutions and associated colleges of the University of London - build your own personal pathway.
    • Renowned UK and European tutors teaching their specialist subjects, and invited speakers who are leading figures in all aspects of the film and media field.
    • You will research culture with a large doctoral community, and guidance for the development of doctoral projects is enhanced by the European exchange programme and award-winning film centre with its state-of-the-art, professionally equipped cinema.
    • The purpose-built Centre for Film and Visual Media Research in Gordon Square houses teaching facilities and research projects that follow on from the AHRC Centre which Birkbeck co-ordinated in 2000-2005, and offers exceptional screening and reference opportunities.
    • The Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image was founded in 2012 to coordinate research in film and media across the College.
    • In addition to the Birkbeck Library, you will have easy access to the nearby University of London Library, the British Film Institute and the British Library, as well as other specialist collections and institutions in central London.
    • You will be encouraged to attend other lectures and screenings of interest organised by various research centres at Birkbeck and the University of London.
    • We attract a rich programme of visiting scholars and practitioners. There is a self-access centre for audio-visual materials and we have well-equipped computer facilities, including a multimedia laboratory.
    • Find out more about our research resources as well as our specialist resources and collections including the London Screen Study Collection.
    • Watch videos of our postgraduate students discussing their experience of studying at Birkbeck.

    Course structure

    The programme consists of a combination of a core module, a choice of option modules, a research project and a dissertation. The core modules are designed to introduce you to the basic methodologies and issues involved in the area concerned, as well as research skills and methods. Option modules allow you to pursue specific interests and areas of research.

    The research project gives you the chance to undertake independent research in the area of contemporary film and media practice and to reflect on research methodologies.

    The structure of the European Pathway is as follows:

    Year 1

    • Term 1 (at Birkbeck) - core module (30 credits) + first option module (30 credits)
    • Term 2 (abroad at the first partner institution) - option modules (30 credits)
    • Term 3 (at Birkbeck) - research project (30 credits).

    Year 2

    • Term 1 (abroad at the second partner institution) - option modules (30 credits)
    • Term 2 (at Birkbeck) - second option module (30 credits)
    • Term 3 (at Birkbeck) - dissertation (60 credits).

    To find out more, read our programme handbook.

      Core module

      Indicative option modules

      You will also have an option to follow modules offered on the MA History of Art, MA History of Art with Photography, MA Museum Cultures and MA Screenwriting as well as film and visual media modules offered at other colleges of the University of London (including King’s College, Goldsmiths, UCL, SOAS, Institute of Education and Royal Holloway) through the University of London Screen Studies Group.

      Entry requirements

      Good honours degree in a relevant subject (e.g. humanities, modern languages or social sciences).

      Knowledge of at least 1 other European language at a level to allow you to follow postgraduate-level courses at our European partner institutions.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

      If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

      Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.


      Full-time home/EU students: £ 7950 pa
      Full-time overseas students: £ 14450 pa

      Additional costs

      As well as fees, you should expect to pay other study-related expenses, for travel to and from College, books, stationery, etc. Birkbeck provides advice and financial support for students who experience hardship in meeting the travel costs of essential fieldwork or study visits.

      On this programme, you will also have to pay for the following additional costs:

      The trip to the Berlin Biennale is an optional element of this programme. If you choose to undertake this module, it will cost approximately £120 for accreditation to the Biennale.

      Payment and Fees Discounts

      Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

      Fees discounts: If you are a Birkbeck alumni or a member of a union that is recognised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), you may apply for a 10% discount off your tuition fees.

      Funding and Financial Support

      The government's new postgraduate loan scheme allows you to borrow up to £10,000 to cover the cost of your tuition fees, living costs or other study expenses – and you don't have to start repaying until 2019.

      Use our interactive tool to help you explore your payment options in more detail.

      The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.

      Part-time students who are experiencing financial need may apply for assistance from the Birkbeck Alumni Fund Postgraduate Opportunity Bursary.

      Find out more about funding and financial support at postgraduate level.

      Careers and employability

      Graduates go in to careers in film and television companies, museums and galleries, arts administration, and education. Possible professions include arts administrator, museum or gallery curator, or teacher. This degree may also be useful in becoming a programme researcher or television/film/video producer.

      Find out more about these professions.

      Find out more about the destinations of graduates in this subject.

      We offer a comprehensive Careers and Employability Service to help you advance your career, while our in-house, professional recruitment consultancy, Birkbeck Talent, works with London’s top employers to help you gain work experience that fits in with your evening studies.

      Teaching and assessment


      Lectures, seminars, screenings, field trips and events.


      During your year at Birkbeck, you will be assessed by essay assignments of approximately 5000 words each, a research report and a dissertation of 15,000 words, due in September of the final year.

      During your year abroad, the assessment will depend on the institution you attend. In most cases, the assessment will be a mixture of essays and examinations.

      Our research

      Birkbeck is one of the world’s leading research-intensive institutions. Our cutting-edge scholarship informs public policy, achieves scientific advances, supports the economy, promotes culture and the arts, and makes a positive difference to society.

      Birkbeck’s research excellence was confirmed in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, which placed Birkbeck 30th in the UK for research, with 73% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

      Read about Birkbeck research that enriches our experience and understanding of our shared history, culture and art.

      Further study opportunities

      Interested in further research? We offer an MPhil/PhD in Film and Screen Media.