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Film and Screen Media (MA)

This Master's degree in film and screen media explores the history, development and interaction of film, television and other screen media. The course encourages you to explore a wide variety of screen media in historical, sociological, aesthetic and anthropological terms and in a variety of cultural and national contexts. You can personalise your MA studies and specialise in areas of film and screen media that match your intellectual interests and career goals, while a work placement option allows you to gain practical experience that may enhance your career prospects.

This course is unique in its combination of world-class, rigorous postgraduate study with creative and practical opportunities. Some of the option modules, including the two-month work placement module, could help you stand out in a competitive job market and further your career in the media, creative and cultural industries. The course will also prepare you for advanced research at MPhil/PhD level if you wish to continue studying. 

This course has three other pathways: MA Film and Screen Media (with Study Abroad), MA Film and Screen Media (with Television) and MA Film and Screen Media with Film Programming and Curating. 

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities at Birkbeck are ranked fifth best in London, 18th in the UK and 87th globally in the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject.
  • Teaching and supervision are delivered by leading film and media academics, including Drs Mike AllenJanet McCabe, Andrew AsibongSilke Arnold-de SimineDorota OstrowskaEmma Sandon and Michael Temple, and Professors Laura Mulvey, Ian Christie and Catherine Grant. The research expertise of our academics is in cinema history, film aesthetics, television industry and form, and contemporary and future new media opportunities inform every aspect of the programme. 
  • The award-winning Birkbeck Cinema is central to this course. The 70-seat cinema is equipped with 35mm and state-of-the-art DVD projection. The Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) runs a busy, intellectually stimulating programme of events, including conferences, screenings and film-related events of all kinds. You will have the opportunity to participate in and attend the Essay Film Festival, jointly run by BIMI 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.
  • The School of Arts offers a number of bursaries for postgraduate students.
  • The School of Arts is an official partner of the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London. Opportunities for students have included a year’s free membership of the ICA, private views, discounts on all talks and events, free members' screenings and £3 cinema tickets on Tuesdays, up to 25% off ICA Artists' Editions and a monthly e-newsletter.

Course structure

The programme consists of two compulsory modules, including a research project or placement, a choice of option modules and a dissertation.

The compulsory module Screen Media: History Technology and Culture introduces you to the basic methodologies and issues involved in the area concerned, as well as research skills and methods. The option modules allow you to pursue specific interests and areas of research.

A unique feature of the programme is the placement, which offers you the experience of working in a prominent media company or institution. Alternatively you can complete a research project which gives you the chance to undertake independent research and reflect on research methodologies.

You will complete the programme with a 15,000-word dissertation.

Module groups

You will also have the option to take an intercollegiate module offered at another college of the University of London through the Screen Studies Group.

To find out more, read our programme handbook.

  • Entry Requirements

    Entry requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university, or an equivalent international qualification.

    We will review every postgraduate application to Birkbeck on its individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

    On your application form, please list all your relevant qualifications and experience, including those you expect to achieve.

    Apply now to secure your place and allow enough time for the application and enrolment process. You do not need to have completed your current qualification to start your application.

    Course specific entry requirements

    As part of the application process, you are required to complete a 700-1000-word written exercise by choosing a film or television programme which you have recently seen and explaining why you found it innovative.

    Upon review of the application and the entrance task, admissions tutors will invite successful candidates to attend interviews.

    After interview, a final decision on the application will be made.

    International Entry Requirements

    Our standard postgraduate entry requirement for international students is a second-class honours degree (2:2 or above) from a UK university or an equivalent international qualification.

    Find details of entry requirements and equivalencies for over 120 countries worldwide.

    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. Some courses may require higher scores, particularly in the following subject areas:

    • arts management
    • cultural studies
    • development studies
    • English literature
    • film and media
    • geography
    • history
    • history of art
    • law
    • organizational psychology
    • psychology.

    Please carefully check the Course-Specific Entry Requirements on your chosen programme for details of higher English language entry requirements.

    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.

    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 full-time courses (with the exception of modular enrolment certificates of higher education and graduate certificates), as these qualify for Tier 4 sponsorship. 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 courses (with the exception of some modules).

    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: £4175 pa
    Full-time home/EU students: £8350 pa
    Part-time international students: £7600 pa
    Full-time international students: £15200 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.

  • 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 assignments and a placement/research report of approximately 5000 words each, and a dissertation of 15,000 words due in September of the final year.

  • Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates go in to careers in film and television companies, museums and galleries, arts administration, education, publishing and film criticism. Possible professions include arts administrator, museum or gallery curator and teacher. It is also possible to continue on to a PhD which offers employment opportunities in academia and other areas. This degree may also be useful in becoming a programme researcher or television/film/video producer.

    Jobs gained by some of our MA and PhD graduates include:

    • Deputy Editor, Sight & Sound
    • Freelance Editor
    • Independent Film Producer
    • Temporary Exhibitions Curator, Science Museum
    • Curator of Public Programmes, British Film Institute
    • Associate Lecturer, University of Surrey
    • Reader, King’s College London
    • Academic Publishing Sales Manager, Taylor & Francis Group 

    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 link. Please note that online application will open in September 2018.

    You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    Birkbeck Orientation is on Saturday 28 September 2019 and is a great way to start your studies - find out more about what's happening during Orientation. You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.