Students studying for the MA in Film Studies are required to complete the following two compulsory modules:
Narration in Classical Hollywood Cinema
'Classical' film narration evolved in Hollywood during the 1920s and became the standard way to tell a story through film in the succeeding decades. This approach has been particularly successful and has had a strong influence on 20th-century storytelling. In this module we analyse the rhetorical, narrative and visual devices that make up the classical Hollywood model and consider the contexts for the rise of this system of narrative conventions. Topics to be explored include continuity editing, use of lighting, screen acting, genre and convention.
Research Methods in Film
In this research module, you learn the research conventions and practices of humanities scholarship. It is specifically organised to guide students in developing a successful research topic for their MA thesis in Film Studies. Optional modules
MA students can then choose any two of the options below:
Popular European Cinema
This module analyses the history and organisation of European popular film production and the role of audiences within the broader context of national identity in European cinema. You will gain an understanding of the European film industries as well as insight into notions of national cinemas. You will also study critical and historical approaches to the idea of European Popular Cinema and its relation to the field of film audiences.
Professional Film Cultures
At a national level, the term 'film culture' is used to encapsulate debates around film as art or commerce, media literacy and screen heritage to name but a few. You can elect either to design and implement a research project which builds on these elements, or undertake a professional placement or short internship within the film industry which aims to help you understand the varied career opportunities available within the UK's professional film cultures. Examples include cinema management, festival administration, archives and museums, distribution companies or local multimedia production houses.
This module focuses on the creative aspects of writing for the screen and working with scripts. The module is split into two parts spanning the first and second half of the semester:
- Part 1: Based on tutorials and case studies including film screenings, readings and analyses of screenplays, you will learn about narrative aspects (themes, plot, structure, sequences and scenes, characters, dialogue) and technical skills (tone, style, dynamics) of scriptwriting, reading and editing, drawing upon both traditional and alternative models (with particular emphasis on popular film genres, such as the romantic comedy, the film noir and melodrama).
- Part 2: You can choose either to develop your own script from an original concept, or to analyse, edit and doctor existing scripts considered for development.
Popular Cinema in East Asia
This module offers a comparative study of contemporary Japanese cinema with cinema from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand. It explores popular genres such as horror and gangster films, focusing on their themes and styles, and examines how cultural and national issues are portrayed. You will also have the opportunity to examine gender representation, visual analysis, and the question of national versus transnational cinema.
This module gives you the opportunity to design a course of research and writing to suit your own interests and concerns; organise and carry out a work schedule set by yourself; and determine a set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria. Support will be provided by a module leader and a supervisor. Registration on the module requires the production of a Learning Contract, to be completed no later than six weeks in advance of the start of the semester in which the study is to be undertaken.
MA students are required to complete an advanced work of independent research on an approved topic, appropriate to the MA in Film Studies. The dissertation is taught via individual tutorial support. The module follows on directly from the Research Methods Seminar, in which you will develop advanced skills in research skills and techniques. You are asked to work on your initial proposal during Semester 2. The main work on the dissertation will normally take place from June to early September.
Students taking the postgraduate certificate are required to complete ‘Narration in Classical Hollywood Cinema’, ‘Research Methods in Film’ and one optional module from the list above.
Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, course content and module choices may change from the details given here.
Teaching and learning
Teaching is centred around film screenings, seminars, individual tutorials and, in the case of Story Development, intensive writing workshops.
Assessment activities include writing academic essays and a dissertation. Other assessments include professional writing activities - book reviews, feature articles, and screenplays.
Approach to assessment
Our programmes vary the forms of assessment in order to offer students the opportunity to develop many core academic skills. Assignments include: academic essays, presentations, book reviews, pitches, treatments, and screenplays.
Brookes' Film Studies course has recently set up a specialist cinema room, with a state of the art surround sound system. Graduate students are welcome to book this room to watch films for their research, or just for their interest.
MA students have the opportunity to go on an optional Film trip. In 2010, Brookes film students visited New York and in 2011-12 a group of students attended the Berlin Film Festival with their Film Studies lecturers. Since 2013, students have been attending the Cannes film festival. The cost of the trip varies, and is not included in tuition fees.
Because many of our graduate students are in part time work, we schedule all of our classes on Thursdays, leaving the rest of the week free for students to arrange their work and study timetable around what suits them.
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published
on the website. For more information, please visit our
Changes to programmes