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Film Studies MA (Film Studies or Film & Philosophy pathways available)

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This course has been designed for students who want to deepen their knowledge of the world’s cinemas and is taught at the leading centre for film studies in London. It offers an extensive range of options covering all aspects of film style, representation, spectatorship and philosophical approaches.

Our perfect location close to BFI Southbank (including the BFI Library), Southbank Centre, and Tate Modern means you will be studying in the heart of London with access to fantastic resources. The course is ideal for careers in the media, arts and related culture industries, or preparation for further study.

Key benefits

  • Internationally renowned staff.

  • Focus on cutting-edge ideas and developments in film culture.

  • Ranges across European, American and World cinema from highbrow to lowbrow.

  • Located in the heart of London.

  • Film & Philosophy pathway available.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake No set number.

Course leaders

Dr Catherine Wheatley

Further details

Course contact for further information Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Arts & Humanities

Department Department of Film Studies



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Film Studies MA

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Course detail


Contemporary film studies is a diverse, interdisciplinary field that incorporates a variety of approaches to the analysis of film and film culture. Our Film Studies MA builds on the research strengths of our distinguished staff to offer modules that examine a wide range of cinema styles and approaches to studying film.

We have designed this course for students who want to deepen their knowledge of the world’s cinemas and explore the very latest approaches to studying them. You will participate in a number of research activities, including a programme of lectures by nationally and internationally distinguished scholars, international conferences, twice-weekly 35mm cinematheque screenings, a focused graduate training course, and a student-organised work-in-progress conference in May.

The course comprises five taught modules and research project leading to a dissertation.

Course format and assessment

If you are a full-time student, we will provide you with six hours in first semester and at least four hours of teaching in second semester each week through lectures and seminars. We will expect you to undertake 32 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide you with four hours in first semester, two hours every semester thereafter of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake 16 hours of independent study.Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

We assess the majority of our modules through coursework essays (normally 5,000 words) and occasionally exams. For your dissertation, you will write a 4,000-word critical survey and a 15,000-word essay.

Regulating body
King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. Each year you will normally take modules totalling 180 credits. 
A Film & Philosophy pathway is also available for this course.*
Required Modules

You are required to take:

• Dissertation (90 credits)
• Formations of Film Studies: an Advanced Introduction to the Field (20 credits)

* If you are taking the Film & Philosophy pathway you are required to take at least two modules from a list that typically includes:

• Cinema & Sentiment (20 credits)
• Experimental Film & Philosophy (20 credits)
• Film History & the Cinema Experience (20 credits)
• Thinking Cinema (20 credits)
• Reconfiguring Film Theories & Philosophies: A Cross-cultural Perspective (20 credits)
• Media Aesthetics (20 credits)

Optional Modules

Both pathways

In addition, you are required to take 40 to 80 credits (depending on your pathway) from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

• History & Memory in Film (20 credits)
• Cinema & War (20 credits)
• 21st Century Hollywood (20 credits)
• French Cinema: History, Ideology, Aesthetics (20 credits)
• Film History & the Cinema Experience (20 credits)
• Art Cinema (20 credits)• Thinking Cinema (20 credits)
• Popular European Cinema (20 credits)
• Cinema & Sentiment (20 credits)
• Experimental Film & Philosophy (20 credits)
• Analysing Film Performance (20 credits)
• Reconfiguring Film Theories & Philosophies: A Cross-Cultural Perspective (20 credits)
• Global Queer Cinema (20 credits)
• The Moving Image of Art (20 credits)
• A range of Master’s modules offered across the Faculty of Arts & Humanities or Global Institutes, subject to approval
• Up to 20 credits from master’s modules offered by similar Departments within the University of London, or from other members of the Screen Studies Group (Birkbeck, SOAS, Goldsmith’s, UCL and QMUL), subject to approval

If you are a part-time student, you will take your dissertation in your second year, along with 40 credits of optional modules. You will take everything else in your first year.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Film Studies MA Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements  2:1

2:1 undergraduate honours degree in film studies or a subject in which film or media plays a significant part (candidates from other disciplines may be considered)

In order to meet the academic entry requirements for this programme you should have a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree with a final mark of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme. If you are still studying you should be achieving an average of at least 60% or above in the UK marking scheme.

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

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £60 applies. Applications are usually assessed by at least two academics; in addition to a completed application form we also ask for a piece of written work of at least 4,000 words. Applicants may be asked to interview, either in person or by phone if overseas. We aim to process all applications within four weeks although this may take longer in February and March, and over holiday periods.

Personal statement and supporting information

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

Film MA checklist
Personal Statement Yes

A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required. Please tell us briefly why you want to undertake the MA in Film Studies, and what you are hoping to do afterwards.

Applicants to the Film and Philosophy pathway should indicate this in the first line of the personal statement. Provisional pathway selection will then be provided as part of any offer, to be confirmed upon enrolment.

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.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Writing Sample Yes You must also provide a piece of written work of at least 4,000 words on a relevant topic.

If you have been away from study and are unable to submit a previous piece of work, you will need to write a new essay. What we are looking for is evidence of your ability to research a topic and write about film in a theoretically informed way. You can write about any topic and any film or group of films you like. We are looking for an ability to perform close analysis of films, and their production, circulation and reception circumstances. We expect your essay to be informed by and refer to academic writing on your chosen topic.

Other Optional Applicants may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of their application.


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 29 March 2019.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. 

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.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £21,300 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time overseas fees: £10,650 per year (2019/20)

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

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


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2019, payment is due by 27th April 2019.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2019 and 31st July 2019, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2019, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.


Additional costs/expenses

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Graduation costs
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 

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

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.

Career prospects

Many of our students go on to pursue research in film and other areas of visual studies at the MPhil/PhD level. Our past graduates have gone on to PhD courses at universities including Harvard University and other University of London Colleges (including King’s), among others. Others have transferred the skills and knowledge they develop with us to careers in the media arts and related activities, including journalism, film festival work and media literacy training.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

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