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Film Studies Research option of joint PhD with HKU MPhil/PhD



      • REF rankings 2014:  87% of our research is rated 3* or 4* - indicating internationally excellent and world-leading quality – and 100% being awarded the same rating for its impact. Also, the Film Studies Department is the best place to study film in the UK according to the latest subject league table in the Guardian University Guide (2015). The Department has received consistently high rankings in league tables (2nd in 2014, 1st in 2013, 1st in 2012 Guardian tables) and 5th in the Sunday Times University Guide 2014. The high quality of the Department’s teaching is also reflected in its outstanding results in the National Student Satisfaction Survey (92% rating for quality of teaching).

      • Current number of academic staff: 16.

      • Current number of research students: 30.

      • Recent publications:

        • Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2014)
        • Brigitte Bardot (2014)
        • Postfeminism and Paternity in Contemporary US Film: Framing Fatherhood (2013)
        • The Soul of Film Theory (2013)
        • Cine-Ethics: Ethical Dimensions of Film Theory, Practice, and Spectatorship (2013)
        • The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture (2013)
        • Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (2012)
        • Heritage Film: Nation, Genre and Representation (2012)
        • Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs (2011)
        • Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image (2011)
        • Nino Rota: Music, Film and Feeling (2010)
        • Beyond the Subtitle: Remapping European Art Cinema (2009)
        • Michael Haneke's Cinema (2009)
      • Current research projects

        • The Accessibility of the Avant-Garde: American Experimental Cinema

        • Stardom and Ethnicity in Contemporary French Cinema

        • Serial Killers

        • Religion and Film

        • Moving Image Installation

        • Cinema, Architecture, and 1968

        • Chinese-language Cinemas and Film Theories

        • Cinephilia in times of crisis: Defining Cinema’s Role in Modern Spain

        • Global Queer Cinema

        • Chinese Road Movies

        • Shôjo Culture

        • New Film Modernism

Key information

Duration Expected to be PhD (initial registration for MPhil), three years FT, four-six years PT. September to September, January to January or April to April.

Study mode Full-time,Part-time

Awarding institution King's College London/King's and HKU for joint programme

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Film Studies


Entry requirements

Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

General entry advice

Minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours (or overseas equivalent)

  • and Master's Degree with  Merit  (or overseas equivalent), with minimum 10,000 word M.A. dissertation involving substantial historical and/or theoretical research.

A degree in film studies, or a subject in which film or media plays a significant part, is an advantage, although candidates from other disciplines and those returning to study will be considered on their own merits. 

Applicants with an MFA may be considered, although a substantial writing sample will still be required.

Application procedure

Candidates should have a good Master’s degree (or its equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Admission to our research programmes is dependent partly on the availability of requisite research expertise, so before applying please consult the department's web pages to determine if there is a suitable research supervisor amongst our staff for your project. 

If this is the case, you should send a research project outline of approximately 1,500 words with your graduate application form. Your proposal should include the following sub-headings: Research Aims and Questions, Literature Review, Methodology, Provisional Chapter Outlines and Bibliography. We also ask for a sample of written work in the 4,000 word range. Admission will initially be for the MPhil but it is expected that students will transfer to the PhD after an appropriate period, by agreement with their supervisors and the Departmental Postgraduate and Research Committee.

Personal statement and supporting information

No information required.

Course intake

No set number.

Joint PhDs - Application advice

Applicants for the Joint PhD programme must contact the relevant departments at both universities before submitting an application in order to discuss the suitability of their topic for the joint programme and to locate potential supervisors. Applications should initially be submitted to the proposed home institution only, ie where the student will start and finish their programme. Students should note that acceptance onto the programme may take slightly longer than for single-institution PhDs because of the additional steps involved. Further details, including FAQs, can be found on the King’s Worldwide web pages.

Applicants who choose King’s as their home institution should apply through the online system, selecting the appropriate Joint PhD option from the drop-down list. In addition to the standard supporting documentation, applicants should submit a Travel Plan form indicating how they intend to divide their time between the two partner institutions. Students must spend a specified amount of time in each institution, details of which can be found in the ‘Notes’ section of the Travel Plan form.

It is recommended that students submit applications for the Joint PhD programme by the end of March to begin the following September.

Application closing date

There is no specific deadline for applications. Applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note funding applications may be subject to specific deadlines.


Course detail


The Film Studies Department is the leading centre for the study of cinema in London, a position consolidated through its appointments and facilities for film research. We have internationally recognised research strengths in the following areas: European cinema, American cinema (mainstream and avant-garde), world cinema (especially East Asian), cultural approaches, and film theory. 

Staff publications and research encompass national cinemas together with popular European genres and stars, art cinema, documentary, and experimental film. Cultural approaches extend to a wider range of cinemas (American and Asian as well as European) and include national and transnational identity in film, gender and ethnicity, the representation of the city, music and film, and new media. Work in the area of film theory addresses the relationships among film and other disciplines such as philosophy, psychoanalysis, literature, geography, and art.

Course study environment

The College has made a major commitment to refurbishing its multimedia infrastructure for the study of film and related media. This includes building a significant collection of print and DVD/VHS materials, new facilities for group teaching in 35mm, video, and DVD modes on the Strand Campus, and substantial new information technology resources.

Postgraduate training

The department's training programme covers methods and issues in presentation, illustration and referencing both written or oral communication in film studies, as well as support for formulating topics, reviewing the field and preparing for vivas and conferences. You will have access to the lectures, seminars and special events held under the auspices of the University of London Screen Studies Group.

Joint PhDs - Benefits of collaboration

With growing interests in global, inter-regional and cross-cultural exchanges in the study of film theories and histories, postcolonial discourses, gender and sexualities, race, ethnicities and other forms of sociopolitical identities, as well as interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary media, the Department sees a close affinity with the research interests and directions of Hong Kong University’s Comparative Literature Department. HKU Comp Lit is a world-renowned programme with a strong emphasis in the comparative studies of literature, film and media. It is also considered the hub of East Asian colonial and postcolonial studies and cultural theories, which bring together an interdisciplinary dialogue and cutting-edge debate that reposition Euro-American critical scholarship, generate new ideas specific to East Asia, and reconfigure the existing discourses in Europe and North America.

FAQs about joint PhDs can be found on the King's Worldwide web pages.


Joint PhDs - Subjects/specialisms available for joint study

In recent years, a number of students at King’s Film Studies have taken advantage of this strategic relationship to conduct comparative research in queer cinema and media, supervised jointly by faculty members from both universities. Students and scholars in both institutions also host events to discuss their current research and ideas. The diverse interests in both groups also allow their members to explore areas and issues beyond each programme’s individual capacity, including South Asian cinemas, Eastern European cinemas, Arabic cinemas and African cinemas. Besides such an ever-expanding global dimension, the two departments are also deeply engaged in cinema’s relationship with spatiality and temporality, especially in cosmopolitan cityscapes like Hong Kong and London.

Further collaboration

The two departments are developing further collaborative projects in the exploration of comparative histories in film theories, global perspectives in film historiographies and philosophies. In the near future, the two departments will forge new opportunities to host joint conferences, film programmes, festivals and other cultural events. With King’s Film Studies connections to the Cultural Institute at King’s, King’s Global Institutes, Lau China Institute, its current collaborations with the British Film Institute and the Chinese Visual Festival, and with Hong Kong’s networks of cultural institutions including the Hong Kong Arts Centre, the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Hong Kong Film Festival, the two departments wish to continue to expand and deepen our connections both in Europe and East Asia.

Head of group/division

Head of Programme: Dr Jinhee Choi.

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 1649 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Contact email

Course website

Career prospects

Career destinations

We expect our PhD-awarded graduates will pursue academic careers in film and visual studies, as many have; others may develop their skills in careers in the media arts and related activities.


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Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU

£4,600 p.a. (2016/17)*

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£17,000 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

£2,300 p.a. (2016/17)*

Part time tuition fees - Overseas

£8,500 p.a. (2016/17)*

Film Studies with University of Hong Kong

 Full time tuition fees - Home/EU

£4,600 p.a. (2016/17)*

Full time tuition fees - Overseas

£17,000 p.a. (2016/17)*

 *This tuition fee maybe be subject to annual increases.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.


Next steps

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