Global Cinemas and Screen Arts (BA): 3-year, full-time

Year of entry


Start date

October 2017


Central London


Fully Approved




3 years full-time


1-3 evenings or days a week, October to June

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. The programme gives you the opportunity to study global cinemas and cultures with leading academics and media practitioners at the cultural and academic heart of London. It offers a comprehensive and in-depth knowledge 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.

You 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 and media studies at Birkbeck and SOAS are taught by some of the leading film and screen studies experts, who offer specialist modules in European and Latin American and Iberian languages and cultures as well as African, Asian and Middle Eastern regions. Birkbeck also features a state-of-the-art cinema, regularly showcasing current film practice and offering students an ideal learning and research environment.

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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 college possesses distinct expertise respectively within Western and non-Western cinemas and cultures, and each is 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.
  • 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, Italian, Japanese, 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.
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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.

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

In Year 2, you take 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, literature, or screenwriting.

In Year 3, 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, literature, or 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.

Read more about modules

Year 1 compulsory modules

Birkbeck film option modules

Birkbeck literature option modules

Birkbeck languages option modules

Birkbeck screenwriting option modules

Project BA Global Cinemas and Screen Arts

SOAS indicative film option modules

SOAS indicative literature option modules

SOAS indicative languages option modules

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