Critical Approaches to Film
English and Film
Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology
In a nutshell
Our English and Film degree is characterised by the richness of literature and the study of film in its critical and creative context. You’ll explore both art forms individually, as well as examining the relationship between them.
As part of your English modules, you’ll build your core skills in critical and creative thinking, equipping you with the tools you need to analyse a range of literary texts. You’ll also gain an appreciation of how literature reflects the social and historical contexts in which it was written.
Alongside your study of literature, you’ll consider the cultural and creative impact of film. From exploring developments in American and British cinema, you'll also have the opportunity to examine cinema from across Europe, Latin America, Asia and beyond; evaluating the role of cinema as a major entertainment industry as well as thinking about film as a political and socio-cultural property along the way.
Want to find out more about English and Film studies at Salford? Why not sign up to an upcoming Open Day?
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- Study a wide range of literature and film from around the world
- Develop an understanding of the relationship between texts and their social and historical contexts
- Discover how cinema has become a significant part of international culture
This is for you if...
You want to explore the richness of English literature alongside cinema from around the world.
You would like to develop your ability to critically analyse both film and literature.
You want to launch a professional career in the media and creative industries.
All about the course
Designed to introduce you to the fundamentals of two creative disciplines, this English and film degree explores subjects as diverse as postmodern literature, popular fiction, the history of cinema and the world’s most powerful film industry: Hollywood. You’ll also be introduced to the expectations of university-level study, developing the skills you need to excel in your academic work.
As you move into the second and third year of your degree, you’ll shape your studies to focus on the areas of English and film that interest you most. Currently available options range from exploring contemporary American cinema and learning the skills required to become a successful film journalist, to examining the female gothic, exploring literary representations of "Gender, Race and Empire", and workshopping your screenwriting skills. This is your chance to develop a strong portfolio of work in your chosen area.. What’s more, you’ll be learning from leading academic staff who are both committed teachers and active researchers in their fields.
Explore what each of our English and film modules involves in our full course breakdown below.
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.
You will be introduced to key concepts relating to the study of popular fiction including critical attitudes towards it. The module develops knowledge of the publishing industry and literary genres with a focus on crime literature spanning from Conan Doyle’s Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.
Film Form, Film Meaning
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?
Classical Hollywood Cinema
This module introduces 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.
Writing and storytelling are as vital now as they have been since history began to be recorded by writers and storytellers. In this module, you will explore and learn about the importance of these fundamentals of literature from different approaches, different forms, and different periods in their use in various media across time.
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.
The Romantic Period: the Sublime and the Gothic
The Romantic Period was a time of revolution when radical writers began to argue for the natural rights of mankind. On this module, you will study the literature that emerged in a time of revolution while exploring how a range of writers experimented with new literary forms and styles, including the Gothic mode: a form of writing that captured contemporaneous anxieties in monstrous, terrifying, and horrific forms. By exploring ideas relating to nature, childhood, empire, and the self, you will study the ways in which the “spirit of the age” was expressed through the revolutionary compositions of Romantic writers.
Choose from two Film and two English modules from the following indicative list (the top four modules are Film options):
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.
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.
Comedy and British Cinema
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.
Contemporary American Cinema
The landscape of American film-making 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 film-making.
Utopias and Dystopias
Idealised human societies—utopias—have played an important role in the development of literature, sociology, and politics. These Brave New Worlds have envisaged societies where economic and gender divisions are largely eliminated and where science and a moral approach to economic resources is the norm. Authors have also been interested in what happens when a society follows opposite aims to produce social order: when, that is, a dystopian nightmare dominates social life. On this module, you will learn to understand utopian and dystopian texts by studying authors such as Thomas More, William Morris, H. G. Wells, E. M. Forster, Katherine Burdekin, Philip K. Dick , George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.
Attitudes to English
This module will trace the origins and development of prescriptive attitudes and linguistic insecurity, and the extent to which these ideas are relevant to contemporary users of English. Topics include received pronunciation, grammar and ‘morality’, and politically correct language.
Literature, Adaptation and the Screen
On this module, you will study a range of literary texts and their screen counterparts, including Sherlock, Psycho, and Gone Girl. By encouraging you to consider and explore the relationships between literature and screen adaptations, the module will explore the distinctiveness of both cultural forms while investigating the problems of generating visual and dialogic substitutes for psychological and narrative complexity. You will learn about theories of adaptation and the integral role of technical arts such as scenography, music, and sound production; further, you will also learn about techniques associated with writing film and TV synopses, treatments, and step outlines.
Victorian Literature: Progress and Panic
On this module, you will analyse novels, poetry, plays, and autobiography from the beginning of the Victorian era to the late nineteenth-century fin de siècle. The module covers a range of issues, including class, crime, sexuality, empire, urban experience, women’s writing, and identity. It encourages an appreciation of the diversity of nineteenth-century literary, social, intellectual, and political activities and invites a reassessment of received ideas about the Victorians.
Revival and Revolution: Irish Literature 1890-1930 (English)
You are introduced to Irish literature in English from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You will examine the main texts produced in this period and relate them to the political, social and historical circumstances in which they were produced.
Gender, Race and Empire
This module examines constructions of gender, race and empire in fictional and non- fictional texts from the last thirty years of the nineteenth century. We will consider how scientific, literary, political and other texts construct and reimagine the roles of men and women, colonisers and colonised peoples, animals and the environment during this transitional period between the Victorian and the Modern.
Reptiles of Genius
This module studies the most characteristic mode of writing in the eighteenth century: satire. It will allow you to gain an appreciation of the complexities of satire as a mode of writing: you will learn to recognise what it is, what it tries to do, and who writes satire and why. Satire was practised in a wide variety of genres, ranging from drama through poetry to fictional and non-fictional prose. These written forms will be explored, as will visual satire and how to read it.
21st Century Women’s Writing
This module explores a range of contemporary texts written by women and includes novels and other forms of writing such as manifestos, graphic novels, feminist history writing, and TV shows and music. As a consequence, you will learn about the socio-political and cultural climate of today’s society as it affects and is shaped by women.
The Female Gothic
This module explores a selection of Gothic novels, novellas, short stories, and films, working to trace the development of the Female Gothic in fiction from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries. By exploring the significance and the effects of various recurrent tropes—including the uncanny, Gothic spaces, the absent/dead mother, abjection, and the monstrous feminine—you will be introduced to the themes of Gothic writing and to the specialised vocabulary of and theoretical approaches to the Female Gothic.
Introduction to Screenwriting
The module examines fundamental aspects of fictional storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, and the use of subplots. The module goes on to explore differing conceptual and technical approaches used in screenwriting for theatre, TV and film. You will workshop your screenplay in class, which can be written in any genre or style appropriate to screen work to produce a finished script that is a whole linear narrative.
This module explores a range of post-war and 21st-century texts and links them with debates around the nature of postmodernism. These texts will be used to reflect on central literary critical issues such as authorship, narrative structure, linear progression, and identity which are problematised by postmodern theories. The selected texts include films, novels, novellas, short stories, and are not confined to British sources.
Choose three Film and two English options from the following indicative list (the top five modules are Film options):
Sequential Art (Comics and Graphic Novels)
You will 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 you will experience creating a narrative with expert guidance.
Themes studied may include the following: 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.
Hollywood Masculinities-Dissertation Only
This will let students explore key (transitional) representations of men and masculinity throughout Hollywood history. Beginning with an examination of the pre-code ‘mob men’, moving to representations of men (and dangerous women) in film noir and 1980's muscular hero action pics, among other key masculine characterisations, the module will analyse how the representation of Hollywood’s leading men has always been an altering document, drawn and redrawn to meet the demands of the day. Critical skills concerning gender, identity and representation theories will come to bear on one of the burgeoning, most hotly-debated areas of the film discipline.
Film Programming and Curating for Cinemas and Festivals
Building on the previous year’s ‘Film Distribution and Exhibition’, this module will focus on creating programmes for independent cinemas and film festivals. In order to provide the understanding needed of the various industrial contexts involved, you will look at areas and activities such as:
- Film Festivals: - What is a film festival?
- Festival development and change: The Edinburgh International Film Festival case study
- Programming festival retrospectives: Case study in film at the Viva Spanish and Latin American Festival
- Independent Cinemas in the UK
- Understanding the market and programming an independent cinema’s weekly list
- Curating special programmes and seasons: Case study of States of Danger and Deceit - European Political Thrillers in the 1970s (HOME Manchester)
- Initiating Cultural Interventions and working with cinemas: Case study of Chinese Film Forum UK
Alternatives, Independents and the Marginal
Different and radical forms of production and distribution, particularly in the age of the internet, have questioned the existence of a universal, stable film 'mainstream'. However, institutions such as financial backers, major awards and festivals have received feedback that their measures for success are failing to recognise and include women, people of colour, ethnic communities and queer/trans groups. The same limitations are detectable in the mainstream cinema 'canon'. This module asks, what is the canon of cinema? What supports it, how should we evaluate its effects, and that which is beyond it?
Film and Theory– Dissertation Only
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.
British Theatre Post-1950
This module contextualises post-war British theatre in terms of naturalism, the avant-garde, political contexts, and the epic mode. Examining a varied range of play texts, you will consider the ways in which British theatre since the Second World War has engaged with issues of class, sexuality, gender, and national identity and how form, narrative, action, and character have evolved in different contexts.
The Language of Names
Names are all around us, and this module explores the linguistic structure, history, development and political significance of names and naming, focusing on the UK but with reference to other countries as well. You will have an opportunity to examine the names of people and places in real life and in literary and other creative contexts.
Shakespeare and the Play of Thought
This module explores the various ways in which cultural intertextuality informs and shapes Shakespeare's approach to character and action. To gain a broader understanding of how Shakespearean drama can be seen as 'the play of thought,' we will analyse Shakespeare's work in terms of literary theories, including new historicism, cognitive linguistics, and gender studies.
This module will discuss literature written during the period known as the Northern Irish ‘troubles’, the Peace Process and after. It will consider poetry, prose, drama, and film produced in this period, as well as other visual sources (mural, video, and performance art) to consider a variety of ways of representing the conflict. While a historical narrative will be presented in the first lectures and seminars, the focus will be on considering how form and content intersect in these fictive representations.
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. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
As part of your English and Film degree, your timetable will include a breakdown of your scheduled lessons with timeslots for you to explore your independent research interests. Your classes will be based at either our Peel Park or MediaCityUK campus.
This English and film programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures are formal and will consist of a lecturer addressing a large group of students. Seminars and tutorials are smaller and informal. They are either entirely student-led sessions or a combination of student and tutor-led.
As part of your film studies, there will also be a series of screenings and talks by visiting experts.
An important aspect of our English and film university courses is how we assess you. As well as giving us an indication of how you’re doing, they will also help to inform you of areas you’re working well in, and areas you need to work on.
You’ll be assessed through a variety of methods including traditional essays, presentations, written analysis and longer pieces based on your own research interests.
Be a part of a creative, supportive community
All our English and Film, TV and Radio courses are delivered by the Salford School of Arts, Media, and Creative Technology. Our focus is to ensure that you have the skills you need to pursue your dreams, and we encourage our students, past and present, to collaborate with each other and achieve great things.
Each year - through the Create Student Awards – our School rewards the incredible achievements and successes of our final year and postgraduate students.
Whatever you choose to study with us, you’ll be mentored and supported by experts. And once you graduate, it won’t end there. You’ll join a thriving alumni network across Greater Manchester and beyond, meaning you’ll be supported professionally and personally whenever you need it.
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What about after uni?
Your BA English and film studies degree will enable you to secure professional roles in a variety of related industries, including journalism, cinema programming, teaching and the direction of film festivals. Our recent graduates have also gone on to work in areas as diverse as the film distribution sector, arts administration and education. What’s more, you’ll be well equipped with a portfolio of work that you can use to evidence your critical analysis skills and establish yourself as a professional within the creative industries.
Graduates showing strong academic and research skills can pursue a further postgraduate path through our Postgraduate programmes on a full-time or part-time basis subject to a satisfactory proposal.
The English and Film course boasts strong industry links with several local culture organisations including HOME Manchester, Greater Manchester Arts Centre, The Salford Film Festival, and the Viva: Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. You will gain an in-depth insight into film distribution and exhibition through work placements during the Film Exhibition and Distribution module.
What you need to know
To gain a place on this English and Film degree, you should have a keen desire to pursue academic work and a passion for all things literature and film. In preparation for this course, you should also be exploring texts from a wide range of genres, as well as developing your own ideas around a variety of subject matter. So, if you’re well-read, open-minded and able to form your own arguments, you’re the type of applicant we’re looking for.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.
UCAS tariff points
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
104-120 points with a Grade C in a Humanities subject. Film Studies or Media Studies preferred but not essential. General studies accepted.
BTEC National Diploma
DMM including a humanities subejct area
Access to HE
Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104–120 points in a humanities subject area
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
Irish Leaving Certificate
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
Pass Diploma at least 71% overall, including a humanities subject
We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.
If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5.
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.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home||2023/24||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2023/24||£15,120per year|
|Full-time home||2024/25||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2024/25||£15,720per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for International Students
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID QP33