• UCAS Code: 1A48
  • Status: Fully Approved
  • Start date: October 2017
  • Duration:

    3 years full-time

  • Attendance:

    1-3 evenings or days a week

    October to June

    The programme is offered jointly by Birkbeck and SOAS, so you will be required to attend a mixture of evening and day classes, depending on whether the module is offered at Birkbeck or SOAS.

    All Birkbeck modules, as well as the 2 compulsory SOAS modules in Year 2, are offered in the evening. All other SOAS modules are taught during the day.

  • Location:

    Birkbeck and SOAS are located next door to each other in central London.

Programme overview

This unique programme is jointly offered by 2 internationally renowned University of London colleges - Birkbeck and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) - and draws on their combined expertise in Western and non-Western cinemas and cultures. This course gives you the opportunity to study global cinemas with leading academics and media practitioners at the cultural heart of a global capital city. It offers a comprehensive, in-depth study of a range of historical and contemporary global cinematic traditions, while allowing you to develop your critical reasoning skills and an array of linguistic and creative film-making skills.

We will explore European and American cinema alongside non-Western cinematic traditions from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South and Latin America. You will develop your understanding of the distinctive features of Western and non-Western cinemas, as well as the relationships and interactions between them, and you will study the complex cultural backgrounds that inform and shape global cinemas and screen arts, including history, literature and language.

Another distinctive feature of this course is the opportunity to undertake an option module in literature or any Western or non-Western language, or to take a practical course in screenwriting.

Birkbeck and SOAS are internationally renowned institutions for the teaching of film and media studies and world languages and cultures. Cinema studies at Birkbeck include some of the most important film theorists and historians in the world, as well as specialist courses in European and Latin American and Iberian languages and cultures. Birkbeck also features a state-of-the-art cinema, constantly showcasing the best of current practices and theories and offering students an ideal learning and research environment. SOAS has traditionally interwoven the study of film with African and Asian specialisms.

This programme is also available for part-time evening study over 4 years.

If you are interested in this course, you may also want to consider our BA Film and Media.

How to apply

If you are applying for a 3-year, full-time undergraduate degree at Birkbeck, you have to apply through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). To apply, go to the UCAS homepage and click on 'Apply and Track'. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you complete an application form.

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 offers a range of free face-to-face advice and support to help you make a successful application.

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

15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.

Why study this course at Birkbeck?

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 11th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2015-16 World University Subject Rankings.
  • This programme is unique in the UK and is delivered jointly by 2 world-class University of London colleges: Birkbeck and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), each possessing distinct expertise respectively within Western and non-Western cinemas and cultures, and each marked by academic excellence within their college’s areas of research and expertise.
  • You will develop a wide range of diverse critical, analytical, practical and linguistic skills which could lead to careers in film and television companies, arts administration, cultural institutions, advertising, public relations, journalism, publishing, diplomacy, business, translation and teaching.
  • You will learn from experts specialising in distinct Western and non-Western cinematic, cultural and linguistic areas.
  • At Birkbeck, this course draws on the expertise of staff in 2 departments within the School of Arts: Film, Media and Cultural Studies, and Cultures and Languages. The Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies focuses on teaching and research in film and media, arts policy and management, and journalism, and has the Centre for Media, Culture and Creative Practice and the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image as focal points of its research culture.
  • The Department of Cultures and Languages brings together research and teaching in French, German, Portuguese and Spanish and offers an array of courses covering the language, literature, history, culture, cinema and art of these languages. Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community and the Centre for Iberian and Latin American Visual Studies are an integral part of the department’s research culture.
  • At SOAS, the course is taught by members of the Centre for Film Studies. The nature of the Centre, unlike that of a department, means that we draw on expertise across the School in the delivery of a wide range of courses in cinemas of the non-Western world. The SOAS Centre for Film Studies was formally launched in September 2012 to promote the disciplines of film and screen studies in relation to Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. While the geographical focus is on film/screen industries and movements beyond the dominant Western 'global' Hollywood and European economies of production, distribution and exhibition, the Centre also seeks to promote research and teaching on the transnational, transcultural and multimedia nature of the image in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
  • The Birkbeck and SOAS libraries have extensive collections of books and journals in film and media studies, as well as film holdings. You can also take advantage of the rich research collections nearby, including the British Film Institute and Senate House Library.
  • You can develop your interests further and establish social and professional networks by attending events at various research centres at Birkbeck and SOAS.

Course structure

You will undertake core courses in film with specific references to Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This will allow you to progress to a range of stimulating options focused on specific regional and national cinemas and cultural contexts.

A special feature of the course is the opportunity to take, each year, an option module, worth 30 credits, in any Western or non-Western language, literature or a practical course in screenwriting.

Year 1: you undertake 2 compulsory modules - Introduction to Cinema and Doing Film, Media and Culture - at Birkbeck (30 credits each) and 2 option modules (30 credits each) in film, or 1 option module in film and the other in a language, in literature, or in screenwriting.

Year 2: you study 2 compulsory modules (15 credits each) - Global Screen Industries and Orientalism on Screen - at SOAS (both of which are taught in the evening at SOAS, in order to accommodate the needs of our students) and either choose 3 option modules in film (30 credits each) or 2 option modules in film and 1 other in a language, in literature, or in screenwriting.

Year 3: in your final year, you research and write a dissertation (30 credits) at SOAS and either choose 3 option modules in film (30 credits each) or 2 option modules in film and 1 other in a language, in literature, or in screenwriting.

Birkbeck offers modules for study at Levels 4, 5 and 6, while SOAS offers modules at Level 4 in languages only, and all other modules are at Level 5 and 6.

Compulsory modules

Birkbeck film option modules

Birkbeck literature option modules

Birkbeck languages option modules

Birkbeck screenwriting option modules

SOAS indicative film option modules

SOAS indicative literature option modules

SOAS indicative languages option modules

      Entry requirements

      We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential.

      UCAS tariff points


      The UCAS tariff system has changed for courses starting in September 2017 and is now calculated using a new number system. This means applicants applying for courses from October 2016 will see entry requirements and offers expressed using the new tariff.

      The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence.

      If you wish to undertake a language module, you will be asked to sit a placement test in order to determine your knowledge and ability. If you are studying the language from beginner level, you will not have to take a placement test.

      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.

      Fees (2016/7)

      Full-time home/EU students: £ 9000 pa
      Full-time overseas students: £ 13000 pa
      Birkbeck reserves the right to increase tuition fees for full-time UK and EU students up to £9250 per year from September 2017, subject to confirmation of Government regulations.

      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 discount: Birkbeck offers a generous package of fee reductions and cash bursaries for new undergraduates and Certificate of Higher Education students. Also, if you are 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

      With a student loan, you will pay nothing upfront. Find out about loans, cash bursaries and fee reductions and check if you are eligible.

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in film and television companies, arts administration or journalism. This degree may also be useful in becoming an arts administrator, journalist, screenwriter or translator.

      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 and study groups


      Through a combination of written coursework (essays, book reviews, reaction papers), seminar presentations, and the compulsory 10,000-word dissertation in the final year.

      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

      Birkbeck offers an MA Film, Television and Screen Media, and MA Film, Television and Screen Media (European Pathway).

      SOAS offers an MA in Global Cinemas and the Transcultural.

      You could also go on, after MA study, to undertake a research degree (MPhil/PhD) at either Birkbeck or SOAS.

      Not ready to do a degree?

      We can support you to get on to the undergraduate course that’s right for you.

      If you are not ready to study an undergraduate degree, check out our Certificates of Higher Education and short courses for another way into study.

      Key Information Set