Film Programming and Curating (MA)

Year of entry

2018

Start date

October 2018

Location

Central London

Status

Fully Approved

Duration

One year full-time or two years part-time

Attendance

Two days a week full-time or one day a week part-time, October to September

A first of its kind, this MA Film Programming and Curating explores the diverse ways in which films are selected and presented to an audience. Studying in the heart of London, one of the world’s leading media hubs, this MA takes full advantage of its location to help you build professional networks, visit various sites of exhibition (from galleries and museums to film festivals and cultural centres) and learn about contemporary film programming and curatorial practice. 

The MA provides a strong academic foundation and relates the latest theoretical thinking to critical practice. It encourages an independence of intellectual thought and spirit, equipping you with the necessary skills and historical and critical knowledge to nurture film and film culture. This MA offers a historical, intellectual and conceptual understanding of film programming, curatorial practice and moving image culture. The curriculum involves: 

  • theories of spectatorship, the audience and the changing conditions of film reception 
  • sites of exhibition and the architecture of the filmic experience 
  • the role of the archive, film canons and the exhibition of great collections 
  • the practicalities involved in programming a film and locating audiences for it. 

The MA combines these strong historical, theoretical and academic foundations with site visits across London, as well as providing internships at leading cultural institutions and film centres, such as the ICA and BFI. You will have the chance to programme events for organisations as diverse as BFI Education, the Korean Cultural Centre and other film centres around London. 

The MA’s teachers are internationally distinguished academics, while visits from cultural practitioners will introduce you to experienced film programmers, curators and art practitioners. Making full use of the opportunities offered by our proximity to London’s vibrant film culture, this MA provides a first step towards building a career in film programming and exhibition, or for further research into the cultures of curating and curatorial practice. 

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked third best in London and 13th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2016-17 World University Subject Rankings. 
  • The award-winning Birkbeck Cinema is central to the course, where most of our classes take place. The cinema is equipped with 35mm and state-of-the-art DVD projection, which offers students an opportunity to experiment with programming and watch films in the best possible conditions. 
  • Students will receive accreditation, sponsored by Birkbeck, to the BFI London International Film Festival and the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  • The Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image runs a busy, intellectually stimulating programme of events, including conferences, screenings and film-related events of all kinds, which students on this course are more than welcome to attend. 
  • The opportunity to participate in and attend the Essay Film Festival, jointly run by the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image and the ICA, with free admission to events hosted at Birkbeck. 
  • Located in central London, in the heart of historic Bloomsbury, Birkbeck is within easy reach of cinemas and galleries, as well as facilities such as the British Film Institute and the British Library

Course structure

This programme consists of compulsory and core modules to a total of 180 credits.

Core course

The core course, History Theory Methods, runs over the autumn and spring terms and consists of screenings, site visits and weekly seminars. It consists of the following parts:

  • historical perspectives on audiences and theories of spectatorship
  • spaces and places of film exhibition, with London as a case study
  • great film collections and sites of exhibition
  • practices of curating and programming.

    Autumn term modules

    Spring term module

    Summer term

    • Themes in Film Festivals, including a week-long trip to the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June.
    • In the summer term, there is the opportunity to complete a placement in a relevant institution.
    • There will also be weekly lectures by visiting film, media or gallery professionals as part of the Invited Speakers course.

    Final project

    The Final Project involves a 10-12,000-word dissertation, exploring a topic of individual choice related to any aspect of film programming and curating, combined with a short programme that realises the key ideas of the thesis.

    Full-time students will complete all modules in one year. Part-time students take History Theory Methods in Year 1 and the remaining modules in Year 2.

    Module groups

    • Entry Requirements

      Entry requirements

      Good honours degree (second class or above, or overseas equivalent). Professional or work experience in a field relevant to graduate study in the humanities may also be taken into account.

      International entry requirements

      If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.5 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.

      Visa requirements

      If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

      The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

      • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
      • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
      • Pre-sessional English language courses.

      International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

      For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

      Credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

      If you have studied at university previously, you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution. You should discuss this with the Programme Director when you are making your application.

      Find out more about credits and Accredited Prior Learning (APL).

    • Fees

      Fees

      Part-time home/EU students: £4600 pa
      Full-time home/EU students: £9200 pa
      Part-time international students: £7425 pa
      Full-time international students: £14850 pa

      Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

      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 Edinburgh International Film Festival is a mandatory element of this programme. Students will be responsible for covering the cost of transport to Edinburgh and accommodation during their stay. Festival accreditation will be sponsored by Birkbeck.

    • Teaching and assessment

      Teaching

      At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government’s system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

      Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

      Our distance-learning and blended-learning courses and modules are self-directed and we will provide you with interactive learning opportunities and encourage you to collaborate and engage via various learning technologies. These courses involve limited or no face-to-face contact between students and module tutors.

      In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

      Methods of teaching on this course

      Lectures, seminars, screenings, field trips and events.

      Contact hours

      On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Alongside this, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and fieldtrips.

      On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students are encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies, but you may have limited or no face-to-face contact with your module tutors.

      Timetables

      Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

      Indicative class size

      Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

      Independent learning

      On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

      Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

      On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, the emphasis is very much on independent, self-directed learning and you will be expected to manage your own learning, with the support of your module tutors and various learning technologies.

      Study skills and additional support

      Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

      • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
      • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
      • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

      Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

      Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

      Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

      Assessment

      Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

      Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

      Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

      Methods of assessment on this course

      Essay assessments and a final project.

    • Careers and employability

      Careers and employability

      Graduates can pursue careers in the creative arts, academic, media and cultural institutions. Possible professions include film programming, cinema manager, independent curator, researcher, film distribution, or working for a film festival. 

      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. 

    • How to apply

      How to apply

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

      In addition to our online application, you will need to submit a written exercise. Two referees are also required.

      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

      We recommend you apply as early as possible. Late applications may also be considered subject to availability of places.

      Applicants who satisfy the entry criteria will be invited to attend an interview with the admissions tutors. International applicants can be interviewed by telephone or Skype.