Film and Screen Media (with Study Abroad) (MA)

This Master's degree in film and screen media explores the history, development and interaction of film, television and other screen media. You will have access to world-class postgraduate teaching and research at Birkbeck, and spend one term abroad at a leading university in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, or Canada. This is the only Master's degree in film and screen media in the UK that includes an international exchange with prestigious European and North American universities.

The course encourages you to explore a wide variety of screen media in historical, sociological, aesthetic and anthropological terms and, also, 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, and for the study abroad element, you can choose the university with the specific strengths and specialisms that will help you develop and deepen your particular film and screen media interests. You will need to have good or very good knowledge of at least one European language in order to take full advantage of this course (for Montreal this language is French). Some universities offer language instruction for Birkbeck students, to help them improve their language skills. 

This course has two other pathways: MA Film and Screen Media and MA Film and Screen Media with Film Programming and Curating. 

Our partner institutions

Highlights

  • Arts and humanities courses at Birkbeck are ranked fourth best in London and 18th in the UK in the Times Higher Education 2017-2018 World University Subject Rankings.
  • 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 the course. The 70-seat cinema is equipped with 35mm and state-of-the-art DVD projection. 
  • 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. 
  • You will have 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, so you can draw on one of the world's most vibrant and fast-moving film and media cultures.

Course structure

The programme consists of two compulsory modules, including a research project, 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. 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.

Year 1

  • Compulsory module (30 credits)
  • One option module (30 credits)
  • Either an advanced language module to prepare you for the term abroad, or a second option module (30 credits)
  • Research/placement project and report (30 credits)

Year 2

  • One option module abroad at the partner institution (30 credits)
  • One option module (30 credits) 
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

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

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

    Knowledge of at least one other European language at a level to allow you to follow a postgraduate-level course at one of 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.

    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

    To be confirmed

  • 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

    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.

  • Careers and employability

    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. 

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

    Birkbeck can give you all of the information and help you need to complete your application form.

    Application deadlines and interviews

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

    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.