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Film Studies

BA (Hons)

School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Media

UCAS Code: P303

Start Dates(s): September


Three years full-time

UK - £9,250 per year

International - £12,000

In Brief:

  • Experienced and expert staff complemented by practitioners in the field
  • Expansive course that investigates a wide range of films from around the world
  • Strong links with the cultural industries, particularly those involved in film distribution and exhibition
  • Based at MediaCityUK
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Since the introduction of cinema, film has been used as a unique platform to educate, entertain and inspire its audiences. This course is about taking films seriously, discovering the industry from a number of perspectives and projecting its future.

By focusing on the broader study of film history, aesthetics and theory, you will examine a range of critical approaches to film, investigating developments in American and British cinema from their origins to the present day and discovering how cinema has become a significant part of our culture as a major entertainment industry.

You will research and analyse key films and film movements in cinema, deepen your understanding of film and make presentations of your findings. You’ll gain an academic, intellectual and practical understanding of one of the world’s most popular forms of mass entertainment and study work-related themes such as film distribution, exhibition and film journalism.

The course has strong links to the local culture industries, in particular: Cornerhouse/HOME, Greater Manchester Arts Centre; The Salford Film Festival, and the Viva: Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. This will give you an insight into the practicalities of film distribution and exhibition through work placement opportunities. Graduates of this course have gone on to work in a number of filmrelated careers such as film journalism, cinema administration, cinema programming and film festival organisation.

Course Details

Course Structure

Year 1

Through a series of core modules, Year One will take you through the history of cinema from its origins to the present day. It will also examine a range of critical approaches to film and investigate the world’s most powerful film industry: Hollywood.

Semester 1

During the course of this module, you will look at the idea of film form and how it contributes to the meaning of a film.  Considering various components such as narrative, cinematography, editing and sound, this module aims to answer the basic question of: What is a Film?
By covering a number of influential moments in the development of cinema, this module will enable you to identify and contextualise a range of film movements including early cinema and forms of exhibition, Soviet cinema, German Expressionist cinema, Surrealist cinema, documentary cinema, and Realism and French cinema.
You will evaluate a range of critical approaches to film in relation to the social and cultural developments that informed and influenced them.  Throughout the module, you will focus on key approaches such as film as art, film as propaganda, film as mass culture, authorship, genre and ideology.  

Semester 2

This module introduces you to the idea of ‘classical Hollywood’ cinema and its role in the development of our understanding of film.  Analysing Hollywood as an organising structure for film production, you will identify the production methods employed by the Hollywood studios, the production techniques and practices widely termed as the ‘classical Hollywood style’, and the economic rationale behind the establishment of Hollywood.  
Building on from your learning in ‘Film Histories, Film Movements I’, this module will focus on a number of influential moments in the development of cinema from the second World War to the present.  This will include a range of film movements such as Italian neo-realism, the French new wave, Latin American cinema, Eastern European film movements, US Underground cinema, New German Cinema, Indian ‘Parallel’ Cinema, East Asian Cinema and Dogma ’95.
Focusing mainly on screen theory, feminism, film as an industry and film audiences, this module will allow you to continue your learning from ‘Critical Approaches to Film I’ and study a number of other critical approaches to film.  

Year 2

The first part of Year Two will extend your basic knowledge and understanding of cinema through core modules that focus on areas such as British cinema, Asian cinema and contemporary Hollywood. In the second part of the year, you will have the opportunity to build upon your knowledge and understanding by pursuing modules that reflect the expertise of Salford’s Film Studies teaching staff, these may include: Comedy and British Cinema, Film Journalism and Genre.

Semester 1

This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to the history of British cinema, its institutions, its stars and some of its production personnel.
Building upon several ideas covered in Year One, you will begin to take a more in depth look at the range of cinema produced across Asia.  In addition to covering a variety of cinematic traditions from countries including India, China, Korea and Japan, you will also articulate the differences in aesthetic forms and strategies and critically assess the place of Asian cinemas in the increasingly global film industry.
The landscape of American filmmaking has been affected by a range of economic, social and cultural changes in recent years.  This module will consider these tumultuous changes as well as address conflicting definitions of independence within a global marketplace and the importance of marketing strategies within contemporary filmmaking.

Semester 2

Building on from Critical Approaches to Film I and II studied in Year One, this module focuses on the idea of film genre and considers its usefulness in analysing the output of contemporary film industries from around the world.
Focusing on comedy films produced within British cinema, this module will enable you to identify different characteristics associated with various styles of British film comedy.  You will also analyse formal strategies employed by comedy filmmakers and various performance techniques utilised by a range of comedic performers within British cinema.
You will learn to write in a concise and entertaining manner in this module, acquiring the writing and editing skills necessary to undertake film reviews, features and interviews.  Whilst the module will focus on film-related matters, the skills learned will be highly transferable into other journalistic realms.

Year 3

The final year offers you the opportunity to specialise further by choosing from industry-focused modules such as Film Distribution and Exhibition or more traditional subjects such as Regional Filmmaking, Film and Theory or British Television Drama. All final year students will also complete a dissertation.

Semester 1

Three options from the following:

Through a combination of classroom activities and guest lectures from industry professionals, this module aims to explore and critically explain the connected fields of film distribution and film exhibition.
The wide variety of film production that has historically and still is occurring within the regions and nations of the UK will be explored within this module, along with the economic and political motivations of a range of practitioners. The module will centre around a number of case studies including the Mancunian Film Company, the exploitation cinema of Cliff Twemlow and David Kent Watson and the early films of Bill Forsyth and the idea of a Scottish cinema.
Covering a range of drama broadcast on British television, this module will focus on a number of core areas including form and innovation, realism and politics, and contemporary television.  
Building upon work undertaken in Year One and Two, this module will provide you with the intellectual tools to undertake a detailed theoretical analysis of film.
We’ll study important examples of international comic strips, series and ‘graphic novels’. At a time of proliferating texts inspired by material introduced in comics, a section of the module will look at film and TV adaptations, evaluating the importance of comic-derived material to the modern media landscape. The unique ways in which comics can be said to create meanings will be highlighted, and students will experience designing a narrative with expert guidance. Themes studied may include: Comics and Childhood; The Graphic Novel Era: Comics ‘come of age’; Alan Moore; Comics, Ideology and Form: Case Study of 1970s British Comics; Fandom; Comics and Other Media.

Semester 2

This final module is designed to provide guidance and support throughout your dissertation research.  The early part of this module will be delivered in the form of directed staff presentations followed by student discussions. Later, you will be allocated a dissertation supervisor who will engage in 1 on 1 supervisory sessions in the run up to student presentations. The latter part of the module will be based around your completion of a written dissertation directed by discussions of your approach with your supervisor.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
GCSE English and Maths GCSE grade C
UCAS tariff points 104 - 120 points
GCE A level Film Studies or Media Studies preferred but not essential. General Studies accepted only with two other A levels.
BTEC National Diploma DMM
Scottish Highers 104 - 120 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 120 points
International Baccalaureate 30-31 points

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

You will have an inquisitive nature and an ability to think critically about the world around you. Alongside that, a keen interest in cinema from a variety of contexts including both mainstream and less well-known films is essential.

Fees and Funding


Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £12,000

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


This course will be delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. These will be complemented by screenings, cinema visits and talks by visiting experts from outside the University.


Throughout the course you will be assessed by:

  • traditional essays
  • shorter pieces of written analysis
  • longer written pieces based on your own research
  • short presentations prepared individually or in small groups.


Career Prospects

This course will provide you with the opportunity to find out about a number of film-related careers such as film journalism, cinema administration, cinema programming and organising film festivals.

A degree in Film Studies will also provide a grounding that could lead to a job in the wider field of arts administration or enable you to embark upon teacher training. Some students who have completed a critical course such as Film Studies go on to do a more practically-based postgraduate or training course.

Alumni Profile

Links with Industry

The course has strong links to the local culture industries, in particular: Cornerhouse, Greater Manchester Arts Centre; The Salford Film Festival, and the Viva: Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. This gives those on the course an insight into the practicalities of film distribution and exhibition.

Placement Opportunities

Further Study