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Film Studies MPhil/PhD (option of joint PhD with Hong Kong University or National University of Singapore)

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The Film Studies Department is one of the the leading centres for the study of cinema in London. 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.  We also offer the option of a joint PhD with Hong Kong University or the National University of Singapore.

  • Department of Film  – jointly ranked 4th in the UK with Music (REF 2021). 100% of  research impact and research environment was rated either ‘world leading’ (4*) or ‘internationally excellent’ (3*).

  • Current number of academic staff: 17.

  • Current number of research students: 45.

Recent publications:

  • Paris in the Cinema: Beyond the Flaneur (2018)
  • Global Ciname Networks (2018)
  • Lewd Looks: American Sexploitation Cinema in the 1960s (2017)
  • After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (2017)
  • The Hollywood Meme: Transnational Adaptations in World Cinema (2016)
  • Queer Cinema in the World (2016)
  • Cinema Approaching Reality: Locating Chinese Film Theory (2015)
  • Spectacle in 'Classical' Cinemas: Musicality and Historicity in the 1930s (2015)
  • Digital Shift: The Cultural Logic of Punctuation (2015)
  • Exhibiting Cinema in Contemporary Art (2014)
  • Brigitte Bardot (2014)
  • The Soul of Film Theory (2013)
  • The Biopic in Contemporary Film Culture (2013)
  • Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (2012)
  • Heritage Film: Nation, Genre and Representation (2012)
  • Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image (2011)
  • 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
  • Cult Bollywood Cinema
  • Depth across Film and New Media
  • Experimental documentary
  • Extraterritorial Film Heritage
  • The Accessibility of the Avant-Garde: American Experimental Cinema
  • Stardom and Ethnicity in Contemporary French Cinema
  • 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
  • Girlhood/Shôjo Culture
  • New Film Modernism
  • Circulating Cinema: the moving image archive as Anglo-German contact zone
  • Southeast Asian cinema and decolonisation
  • Film and Imagination
  • The Hollywood Production Code and the practices of criticism and history
  • Screen spectacle
  • Abraham Lincoln in the American cinema
  • Comparative Film Theories (European and Chinese)
  • Colonial and Postcolonial Hong Kong Cinema
  • Buddhism and Film/Media Theories
  • Chinese-language and Sinophone Independent cinemas
  • Aesthetic Strike: Cinemas of Exhaustion


Key information

Duration Expected to be PhD (initial registration for MPhil), three years FT, four-six years PT. October to October, February to February or June to June.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

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

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Film Studies



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Course detail


The Film Studies Department is a 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

King's 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

You can choose to do your PhD jointly with Hong Kong University or the National University of Singapore.

Hong Kong

The Film Studies Department at King's sees a close affinity with the research interests and directions of Hong Kong University’s (HKU) Comparative Literature Department with its 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. 

HKU Comparative Literature is a world-renowned programme with a strong emphasis on 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.


Film Studies is part of a larger intellectual environment in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore, which offers undergraduate and graduate programmes that examine communication with a focus on new media, and cultural studies in Asia. These programmes focus on media and cultural studies, communication management and interactive media design.

It has research and PhD supervision expertise on cultural studies including queer and Asian film studies, East Asian media cultures, critical technology studies, health communication, media psychology and computational communication.

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


Joint PhDs - Subjects/specialisms available for joint study

Hong Kong

In recent years, a number of students at King’s Film Studies have taken advantage of King's strategic relationship with Hong Kong University 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: Professor Chris Berry 

Contact for information

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

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Film Studies Research Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements  
  • Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours and Master's Degree with Merit, 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 Master of Fine Arts may be considered, although a substantial writing sample will still be required.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band C Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


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

Applicants are encouraged to approach potential supervisors prior to application. To identify a supervisor please see: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/en/

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Film Studies phd checklist
Research Proposal Yes The proposal (1500 words) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. Your proposal should include the following sub-headings: Research Aims and Questions, Literature Review, Methodology, Provisional Chapter Outlines and Bibliography. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
Reference Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample Yes A sample of written work in the 4,000 word range is required as part of your application.
Travel Plan Yes (Joint programme only) If applying for the joint programme, please include the names of your supervisors from both institutions and include a completed travel plan form.
Other Optional You may also wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

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

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King’s.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

  • February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

  • June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

  • October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

  • February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

  • June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies with University of Hong Kong or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies with University of Hong Kong or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £10,935 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies with University of Hong Kong or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)

£22,230 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies with University of Hong Kong or National University of Singapore)

Part time tuition fees: £11,115 per year (MPhil/PhD, Film Studies)


EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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