Film Studies and Media Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years, 4 years with foundation year)





Combine film theory and media theory with practical skills including film-making, animation and digital publishing by studying our full-time Film Studies and Media Studies degree in Cambridge, ARU. Choose to study abroad for one semester, and get support to find placements and work experience. Prepare for a career in many film and media-related roles, including production, post-production and journalism.

Full description


Our BA (Hons) Film Studies and Media Studies will help you prepare for many film and media-related roles, including film and television production and post-production, film journalism, cinema and film festival management, film programming and curation, publishing, broadcasting, web design and public relations.

You might also decide to continue on to a Masters course, such as our MA Film and Television Production.

Industry links

We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.

Our links with local and national organisations will help you make contacts and find work placements in the industry. Our recent students have found internships and placements with companies such as the BBC, Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Cannes Film Festival, CBBC, ITN, London Studios, MTV, New York Film Academy, Optimum Releasing, Sight & Sound and Zenith Productions.

These placements could form part of your assessed work and, for many previous students, have led directly to employment.

You’ll also have the chance to undertake commission work and gain valuable experience in the film and creative industries through volunteering opportunities, including at the Cambridge Film Festival.

Find out more about our placements and work experience, or the faculty's employability support.

Modules & assessment

  • Foundation in Humanities, English, Media, Social Sciences and Education
    This module will provide students with the necessary skills to begin studying at level 4 in courses related to the humanities, social sciences, English, media and education. Students will be introduced to the core skills necessary to succeed in higher education, including thinking critically, researching, and referencing appropriately, demonstrating appropriate numeracy and ICT skills, and communicating effectively verbally and in writing. In addition to these fundamental study skills, Students will be given an introduction to a broad range of disciplines whose skills and theories are widely applicable. Students will study a variety of writing styles in order to recognise, deconstruct and replicate various forms of persuasive, analytical, and informative writing. Students will learn the basics of intercultural studies and how these theories can be applied to real-world problems. Students will consider social perceptions held across western cultures, and the difference between social and self-perception, participating in structured discussion and argument. Students will be introduced to the core principles of psychology and will explore various current applications of psychological theory. Students will also be introduced to ethics and will learn about some of the key theories and thinkers in the development of current ethical considerations in a range of scenarios. This module is made up of the following eight constituent elements: Interactive Learning Skills and Communication (ILSC); Information Communication Technology (ICT); Critical Thinking; Intercultural Studies; Psychology; Composition and Style; Ethics; Social Perceptions.

Level 3 (foundation year)

Year one, core modules

  • Introduction to Film Studies
    This introductory module will show you an analytic and creative approach to the study of films and film practices, introducing you to some of the key features of film language and theory. As well as contemporary and classical Hollywood, you'll study experimental practices and products, films and film-making contexts from a range of cultures. You’ll look at film as an ideological tool and learn to identify and debate the relative merits of different films, developing the critical judgement skills crucial to the subject. You’ll visit cinemas and film festivals and seminar activities such as shot analyses and oral presentations will help you understand the links between conceptual and practical approaches.
  • Media, Culture and Society
    This module will give you an overview of approaches to the media, including theories of the media and the broader issues and questions that have traditionally concerned media theorists. You'll be introduced to all aspects of the media, including structures and organisations, production processes, contents, and audiences. You'll critically discuss and evaluate theories of the media, along with the different perspectives, including organisational theories of media production, sociological and psychological approaches to media contents and reception, and the challenges posed by the new media.
  • Introduction to Radio and Audio Production
    This module will give you a basis for developing a radio portfolio, as well as a grounding for further study in radio up to major project level. You'll consider the relationship between theory and practice in radio production by studying a wide range of radio programmes and discussing the different requirements of commercial radio stations and public broadcasting. With a focus on the teaching and practice of the basic elements of radio production, writing, presentation, journalism and technical expertise in recording and editing your material, the module will introduce you to the various elements that make up any radio programme, and make you aware of the differences between writing for radio and writing for press, film or television. You'll also look at the art of interviewing, researching and scriptwriting, along with the concept of news and current affairs programming. You'll be expected to adapt print journalism for radio, prepare scripts, record and edit a short current affairs dispatch and short radio programme for a named target audience using music, vox pops, interview clips and sound effects as appropriate. You'll also produce a range of individual radio items that are then compiled into a 15 minute magazine programme, the latter involving group work in the selection and editing together of items.
  • Introduction to Video 1
    Through a series of briefs and exercises that investigate the principles of filmic conventions, this module will introduce you to the language of film and video from the point of view of a practitioner. The projects will encompass the investigation of principles such as: composition and lighting, shot/reverse-shot sequences, matching on action and the rhythmic editing of picture and sound. The aim is not necessarily for you to perfect conventions, rather to experiment and gain an understanding of how they work. No prior technical experience of film and video is required - you'll receive inductions into camera operation, sound recording and editing. Your work will be regularly screened in a critical forum, allowing you to gain invaluable feedback from your peers and tutors.
  • Researching Media
    This module will give you an insight into the most common methodologies used to research media, as well as the history of these approaches. You will be introduced to the complexity of the various approaches employed in the field as well as the advantages and disadvantages of various theories. In the course of this, you will deal with the dominant debates that inform research methodologies and outcomes. You will look at various approaches to analyse media texts and how media audiences have traditionally been conceptualised. The module aims specifically to help develop your abilities to employ research approaches. During the course of the module, you will be introduced to some of the history of media studies and the approaches that developed out of it. You will be encouraged to formulate your own research questions and test the usefulness of various approaches. For assessment, you will give group presentations during the semester and produce a 2,000 word essay to be handed in at the end of the semester
  • Introduction to Film Theory
    On this module you will focus on theoretical approaches to an understanding of how film works and the relationship between cinema and society, and between cinema and the individual. Through weekly lectures and seminars, you will study a number of key texts and concepts by influential writers who have helped to shape Film Studies as a subject in its own right, and who have contributed to the development of new ways of thinking about cinema. You will discuss the key points raised in each article, debate the strengths and weaknesses of each approach and apply these to clips and films screened throughout the module. You will explore some of the following questions: How does cinema mediate our understanding of reality and of social issues? How can a realist film style help to raise our awareness of aspects of reality that might otherwise go unnoticed? How have semiotic concepts been applied to the study of cinema as a language? How can we appreciate the role of the film-maker as an auteur? What is the relationship between cinema, politics, and ideology? What is the relationship between cinema and the unconscious mind? How have ideas about gender, ethnicity, race, and sexuality been debated within film theory? Lectures will give you an overview of a particular theory, positioning it within a broader topic. The seminars will give you time to get to grips with the nuances, merits, and limitations of different methods of film theory, to ask questions, and above all to test out theories through a discussion of the films screened. They will also offer you essay writing workshops, to continue the development of your critical and analytic skills, and refine your essay-writing skills. You will be assessed through a 3,000-word critical essay, due at the end of the module.
  • Introduction to Television Studies
    Television as a medium is currently experiencing vast changes and shifts that increasingly force us to understand it as a medium available on multiple screens and in a variety of forms. On this module, you will cover a breadth of approaches to study this medium in transition, including: historical approaches to television; definitions of the medium; television as a technology (with a focus on the ancillary technologies that are included in our ideas of a television - VCR, DVD, Video-on-Demand); the Television industry; textual analysis, including structuralist approaches to narrative structures; television aesthetics and television’s relationship with postmodernism; television genre; audience and reception studies on television; transnational television; and television’s relationship with contemporary politics. You will be assessed through a 500-word summary and critical evaluation of a relevant journal article and a 2,000 word essay at the end of the module, with a focus on your ability to engage critically with television theory and apply your knowledge to specific television or Video-on-Demand programmes.

Year one, optional modules

  • Media and Technology
    On this module you'll address the issues of technology and communication, exploring how the introduction of new communication technologies transforms notions of space, place and time. You'll discuss critically a variety of theoretical positions concerned with how we evaluate the role of technology within communication practices. Technologies and associated practices will be situated within their specific historical periods (for example, the role of printing in Reformation Europe and the role of the internet in contemporary culture). You'll also consider the manner in which communication technology affects cognitive processes such as memory, together with how technologies (for example, mobile phones) affect assumptions about the meaning and nature of communicative practices in general.
  • Introduction to Global Cinema
    Traditionally, the concept of 'world cinema' has been used for national cinemas outside Hollywood. By contrast, this module will introduce you to a global and transnational approach, in which Hollywood forms one part of the globalised commercial and artistic film landscape of the last fifty years. You'll study a range of films in order to explore topics which may include Bollywood, Nollywood, Hollywood as global cinema, the cinema of small countries and other emergent cinema. You'll address the aesthetic, economic, linguistic and political contexts of different film cultures, with a focus on how they situate themselves in a global market.
  • Introduction to Desktop Publishing
    This module will introduce you to the theory and practice of print media. You'll explore the principles of desktop publishing, writing copy, and picture, text and graphics management. Throughout the module, you'll examine methods for generating, researching and writing stories in a variety of different formats, including design principles, headline and lead writing, writing to length, to deadlines, and using appropriate sources. You'll have access to a range of desktop publishing and graphics packages. You'll also be introduced to issues of ethics and copyright and you’ll also cover issues of audience, distribution and reception.

Year two, core modules

  • Television Genre
    The study of television genre has shaped television studies in numerous ways. Most importantly, television genre offers a way to ‘order’ content for viewers and a way for television studies scholars to come to terms with the vast amount of content available on broadcast television or Video-on-Demand. As such, television genre is essential for developing an understanding of the medium. This module will allow you to gain in-depth insights into the complexities and breadth involved in one of the central theoretical approaches to television. You'll be introduced to a variety of ways to conceptualise television genre as well as discussing case studies that position genres within a broader field of cultural, social, political and industrial contexts. Specifically, you will discuss structuralist, ideological and historical approaches to television genre; explore the idea of genre as discourse, genre hybridity and postmodernism, more elusive, audience-led genres such as cult TV; and look more specifically at case studies of genre. These case studies will illustrate the different means by which television genres can be studied. You will attend lectures, with a 1-hour screening slot to look at specific examples of television to analyse, and 1-hour seminars. By viewing specific programmes together, you will engage with known or unknown material critically and apply theories of television. You will be assessed with one 3000-word critical essay in which you will research, define and analyse a television genre of your choice.
  • Classical Hollywood Cinema
    On this module you will focus on the practices, products and institutional frameworks of the classical Hollywood period. You will explore the narrative conventions that continue to shape the majority of mainstream commercial cinema and study the formal and stylistic features of the 'realist' text, the ideologies that inform it and its ideals of normative identities and lifestyles. You will explore coupling and heterosexual romance as a motor of plot development and as an intensely ideological aspect of films made in this period. Similarly, you will consider the significance of the ‘happy ending’ in maintaining or challenging key ideological norms and values. Drawing from some of the theoretical approaches encountered on earlier compulsory modules (Theorizing Spectatorship), you will think about classical Hollywood cinema’s positioning of the spectator, and the implications for the construction of gender and racial identities. Finally, you will also consider the style conventions of different classical Hollywood film genres and debate their significance in helping to align spectators ideologically and emotionally in the narrative action.
  • Theorising Spectatorship
    You'll address issues of spectatorship and representation through a range of theoretical approaches including psychoanalytic theory. You'll also explore the intersection of pleasure and terror in our encounters with the image, considering the ways in which film taps into our unconscious, and the role of the body, the senses, and emotion in shaping our responses to moving image culture. You'll look at the future of film studies by addressing the changing conditions of spectatorship in the age of digital cinema.
  • Teenage Kicks: Youth Culture and Media
    On this module, you'll examine popular culture as defined, practised and consumed, against and within 'official' or 'high' culture. You'll explore issues of identity, resistance and consumption, focusing on specific case studies, including sub-cultural practices and style. You'll critically explore the relationships between taste, style and ideology through an analysis of various sites and products, such as the shopping mall, popular musical forms, television, dress, eating, and leisure activities. You'll address contemporary icons for what they are able to indicate about forms of resistance, diversity and identity, and consider the social metaphors a cultural group may employ in terms of the spectacular and the public against the more silent and private strategies of consumption involved in, for example, fashioning of the body and identity.
  • Online Journalism
    This module will develop your skills in web-based journalism and online media production using a range of online media formats. Through a series of topic led discussions, reading, class exercises and small project briefs you will examine the language and practice of new/digital media and reflect on its uses. Online Journalism will be presented as a distinct practice involving the use of a variety of writing styles from multimedia content to interactive and social media. You will consider examples from factual and non-factual content and addressing a range of topics including: fake/false news, blogging, vlogging, the rise of the image driven web, implications of media sharing, online communities, citizen journalism, personal online profile management, digital storytelling, working with images, building a freelance career. For your assessment, you will be required to create on personalised online space showcasing yourself or a special interest using free to access software. This space will include content guided by three projects focussed on image, writing and multimedia respectively. You will be expected to devise a strategy for connecting this online space with other users through social media which will be presented in class and discussed in a 1000-word Critical Commentary and Evaluation essay.

Year two, optional modules

  • Cinema and Sound
    On this module you'll explore the role played by sound in the development and appreciation of cinema, including: the impact of the introduction of sound, the influence of sound on the perception and experience of the film spectator and the evolving terminology in the field. You'll examine the aesthetics of sound in the cinema with reference to films from the earliest experiments in sound recording, such as W.K.L. Dickson's Experimental Sound Film (1894/5), to early sound films by directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, René Clair and Fritz Lang, and all the way to contemporary cinema, by way of auteurs such as Robert Bresson, Jacques Tati and Andrei Tarkovsky. The theoretical framework for your study will include key texts by a range of critics and theorists who have sought to redress the balance in Film Studies (and culture at large), which often tends to privilege the image.
  • Web Development and Design
    On this module, you'll explore, experiment with and develop skills in internet technology and web design, applying techniques of interface, navigation and manipulation to creative composition to make small-scale web-based products. Using textual, graphic, moving image and audio material, you’ll create an internet product that serves a specific purpose for an identified client/audience. You'll engage with the computer tools, software packages and terminology required for effective work in this medium and gain a working knowledge both of the strengths and limits of the medium. You'll consider ethical issues, such as pornography and privacy, as well as legal issues such as copyright and libel. Multimedia studio-based sessions will allow you to explore a range of selected internet sites and assess critically the features that contribute to their aesthetic, clarity of purpose, ease of use and mode of address to projected audiences. Your assessment will comprise these practical outcomes along with a reflective commentary and an evaluation of both your process and product.
  • Radio Production
    This practice module will build on the technical, editorial and production skills you develop in Introduction to Radio. Using specialist facilities for audio recording and for on-screen editing, you'll learn to produce the short 'package' format, a staple of the radio 'magazine programme' and a widely used form of the feature genre. You'll learn good practice through a variety of broadcast examples that illustrate suitable subject matter for packages, and develop your critical skills by reviewing these and through class discussion, as well as further developing your skills for writing cues and links. You'll practise presenting skills, and develop your skills in recording, editing and mixing audio material. Your studies will also include a basic study of media law with particular reference to defamation, and a discussion of using 'bad' language on radio programmes. The radio products you'll submit for assessment will include work produced individually and in production groups. You'll also submit a critical commentary and an evaluation of the group product.
  • Intercultural Encounters in Global Cinema
    On this module, you'll examine how the effects of increasing globalisation and the expansion of the European Union have been closely monitored and discussed not only in political discourse but in media as well. Cinema and TV are no exceptions, and such media portrayals are of key importance, be it as potential reflections of popular attitudes, ideas and preoccupations towards migration, or their likely impact on popular views and opinions on the topic. You'll investigate how the global perspective goes beyond the exploration of individual films in their national frameworks, and is therefore better equipped to address questions linked to the legacy of globalisation and international migration.
  • Digital Media Theory
    Contemporary media culture is primarily a culture of the digital, mediated through digital computers, mobile communication devices and networks. This module will introduce you to key themes and debates through which you can understand digitality not only as a technical characteristic but a cultural phenomenon. You'll develop an understanding of the characteristics specific to digital media culture, with themes ranging from aesthetics to new forms of knowledge and communication. You'll be introduced to key forms of recent digital media theory debates and will discuss themes including game cultures, social media and human-computer. For your assignment, you'll produce a lecture diary, allowing you to reflect on and summarise themes from lectures. You'll also produce an essay, allowing you to apply theoretical skills to an analysis of a specific theme of digital culture.
  • Documentary Film Theory
    This module acts as a co-requisite for the Level 5 practical Video Documentary module for Film Studies students. Students on other courses may choose to take the practical module as a free standing module. The module will introduce you to many of the critical discussions and debates surrounding the historical, technological, aesthetic and socio-political developments of the documentary approach to film and video-making. As well as paying full regard to the key trends and film-makers to have contributed to the history of this important genre, you will consider the renewed public interest in documentary film and its crossover into the mainstream with recent commercial and critical hits such as "When We Were Kings" (Leon Gast 1996) and "Bowling for Columbine" (Michael Moore 2002). You will focus on the nature, specificity and evolution of the documentary form, and its relationship to cinematic realism, and address the historical and theoretical contexts of the study of documentary film, as well as an engaging with topical debates regarding the relationship between reality and representation, documentary ethics, and the role of cross-cultural documentary and ethnographic film. You will also discuss different modes of address in documentary film-making, the role of the documentary film- maker, and the relationship between film-maker and subject(s), and explore current and future modes of distribution and exhibition for the documentary film, including specialist festivals devoted to documentary. Throughout the module there are opportunities for you to critically analyse key film texts. Your assessment will take the form of a 3000-word critical essay.
  • Independent Cinema: US and Beyond
    You’ll focus on the development, features and impact of independent cinema in the US and beyond. Alongside close examination of a number of key films, you'll consider areas such as the financing and promotion of independent film-making, and investigate how and why certain directors choose to work outside the protective infrastructures and high budgets provided by a studio system. You’ll also look at US-based film-makers starting out in the late 1970s and early 1980s, such as John Sayles, Jim Jarmusch and Joel Coen, and how they influenced later international film-makers, such as Quentin Tarantino, Gregg Araki, Vincent Gallo and Lukas Moodysson. You’ll explore how Awards ceremonies and Film Festivals can showcase 'peripheral' cinema, and critically examine the role of independent distribution companies. Your assessment will take the form of a critical essay and an oral seminar presentation on the work of an independent film-maker of your choice.
  • News and Feature Writing
    This intensive reading and writing module will introduce you to the techniques of print journalism, focusing on news reports and feature articles. The skills required for effective news and feature writing are a key component of writing craft in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. It's a discipline that improves the imaginative work and communicative power of those who practice it. You'll explore the significance of journalistic writing in contemporary life using examples from a range of British tabloid, broadsheet and local publications. You'll practise sourcing news reports, developing feature articles and sub-editing for style and content. In seminar workshops, you'll combine analysis of journalistic techniques with practical writing exercises, covering topics that include: researching and pitching a story; interviewing; puns and rhythm; and economical use of language. Early on, you'll produce a set of briefs that must be approved by the seminar leader, then produce copy for these briefs and, in editorial teams, giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Digital Media Practice and Creative Computing
    This module will introduce you to practical work in digital media environments, allowing you to apply and expand knowledge gained in the Digital Media Theory module. Through instruction, hands-on tutorials, and self-directed, project- based exploration, you will familiarise yourself with the area of creative computing, which has become of central importance to the contemporary landscape of computational culture. In doing so, you will learn to use a number of digital tools and acquaint yourself with the basics of code-based expression, programming, and algorithmic logic. Introductions to visual programming, object-oriented programming, live coding, physical computing, and interactive storytelling will allow you to learn the important skills, issues, and implications of computational culture. The contexts for your explorations will include video game design, basic robotics, graphical animation, the ‘Internet of things,’ and electronic sound. In the second half of the term, you will choose a digital platform you wish to explore in more detail, and design an individual creative project to be carried out using this platform. This project, which can build one any of the topics explored in the module, should be finished by the end of the term, and will be accompanied by a written discussion of the project’s design and execution process, as well as its critical implications.
  • Animation
    To study this module you must have already taken the Introduction to Video module. This module will equip you with critical and practical skills in the field of Animation, with an emphasis on the possibilities of the frame-by-frame manipulation of time. You will be introduced to a range of conventional and experimental work that helps to inform practical and conceptual study. You will work in a number of ways, from camera-less film projects to working with the digital image. This broad base will encourage an ideas-driven and experimental approach to the medium. You will also explore key movements in Animation, including the geometric abstraction of Hans Richter and Viking Eggling, the rise of Disney and realism (the animation technique of roto-scoping is a particular focus here), the camera-less films of Lye and Brakhage, the reflexive strategies of Chuck Jones's Duck Amuck and Robert Breers Fuji. You will consider the role animation has played in the development of motion graphics for films. Screening of your work will be contextualised by theoretical and historic referencing. You will also develop skills in research, giving a presentation on an animator of your choice as well as a presentation on your final idea. For assessment, you will submit a 3-minute video animation piece and a 1000-word critical commentary and evaluation.
  • Non-Fiction Filmmaking
    To take this module you must already have taken Introduction to Video. You'll explore the nature and practice of documentary filmmaking, addressing the aesthetics of documentary in relation to expository, poetic, observational, performative, and reflexive modes of practice. You'll consider, reflect and implement appropriate responses to the range of issues that might arise in your work, including the ethical, creative, methodological, theoretical, and technical concerns relating to documentary. To rationalise the subject of non-fiction film and video in terms of forms and conventions of documentary language, you'll examine in detail various examples of contemporary, historical, independent, and mainstream documentary.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Law, Culture and Technology
    On this module you will examine legal issues surrounding the creation, use, consumption, and circulation of digital artefacts. Focusing on intellectual property rights, you will consider the legal implications of creative, educational, commercial, and private activities in contemporary British and international contexts of digital culture. The module will provide you with a detailed survey of copyright, trademark and patent law, with special emphasis on how these apply to digital media. You will review the law of contract as it applies to work in the culture industries, as well as investigating further regulatory topics relating to intellectual property issues in telecommunications and broadcasting law from a British as well as an international perspective. The questions you will encounter include: what assistance does the law offer in the protection of information and digital property? Are the restrictions intellectual property law imposes on our ability to copy and reuse fair? Is the Internet – considered as a marketplace, creative realm, and sphere of political speech – a space of freedom and democracy? What are the privacy, property, and security implications of 'living in the cloud'? Your assessment for this module will be a weekly lecture diary (coursework, 30%) and a final essay (coursework, 70%), for which you can choose from a number of topics.
  • Multiplexed: Contemporary Popular Cinema
    On this module you'll explore trends in the aesthetics and production practices of Hollywood movies, and their contexts of distribution and reception, based on a representative selection from the last four decades. You'll discover how the style and output of American popular cinema in this period has responded to changing socio-political, economic and cultural circumstances. Alongside close readings of a number of films (bookended by the box-office record breakers Jaws and Avatar), you'll consider some of the broader tendencies they represent: What lies behind the so-called 'blockbuster syndrome' supposedly initiated by Spielberg's monster movie? What is the impact of new locations or technologies for viewing on the aesthetics of popular cinema? Did the blockbuster destroy or save Hollywood? These are just some of the questions you'll answer over the course of the module.

Year three, optional modules

  • Sound and Vision: Music and Media
    On this module you'll explore the role and functioning of a variety of musical forms within contemporary Western culture by focusing on places of consumption (such as clubs and concert halls), modes of reception (such as fandom, aural mnemonics, and identity formation) and modes and sites of production where the focus is on the diverse functioning of the music industry. You'll consider music as a form of communication practice, and the relationship of aurality to vision through an analysis of the use of music in film. You'll consider music within specific cultural and historical movements, including romanticism and nationalism. Throughout, you'll look at issues of ethnocentrism and the constructions and contestations of identity, value and power systems through music. For your assessment, you'll write a critical essay of 3,000 words.
  • Narrative in Global Cinema
    On this module you will explore the way stories are told in films from around the world. You will study key aspects of cinematic narrative structure, including order, duration, cause-and-effect patterns, and the distinction between fabula (story) and syuzhet (plot). You will also examine how character and voice are handled in film, the function of 'point of view', focalisation, and internal vs external characterisation. You will address theoretical aspects such as narrator and narratee, reception theory, suspense vs surprise, the key 'seven' narrative functions, narrative and genre, and the ideology of 'show vs tell'. You will analyse non-narrative (and anti-narrative) aspects of narratives, such as description, iconic shots, music, and other disruptive elements. You will also be thinking about the different roles of words (dialogue, text, sub-titles) and imagery. You will study all of these narrative topics with regard to global cinemas. You will compare and contrast mainstream commercial Hollywood movies with non-American examples, ask to what extent continuity narrative has become the dominant pattern across the globe, examine narrative structures that do not fit the mainstream model, and analyse the intersection of global narratives with diverse identity formations. You will view films and clips from various European countries and non-Western regions, in addition to co-productions and transnational examples. Your assessment will comprise a narrative analysis (1000 words) and a critical (2000 words).
  • Special Topics in Film Studies
    This module gives you the opportunity to study a topic taught by a member of staff whose particular academic interests and/or research is reflected in the area. You will extend your knowledge and understanding of a specific subject area that you may have encountered earlier in your studies, and in which there is deemed to be scope for more reading, critical commentary, analysis and discussion. Alternatively, this module may be used to introduce you to a topic which is not found elsewhere in the existing degree provision. A topic may be the study of a single filmmaker (e.g. Charlie Chaplin; Claire Denis) or cognate group of filmmakers (e.g. the French New Wave; New Queer Cinema), a genre (e.g. Global Horror; the Teen Movie), or a topic that allows for in-depth discussion and consideration of a defined area in film theory (Cinema & Sexuality; Digital Aesthetics in Contemporary Cinema; Film-Philosophy). The designated topics vary from year to year, you will be told what is available before making your module choice. You will not attend formal lectures - the module is taught in seminars in which group discussion is encouraged.
  • Independent Film Practice 1
    This module will allow you to develop your own mode of creative film practice. Whether your projects are informed by considerations associated with drama, documentary, animation or experimental work, you will be expected to show a critical and reflective attitude towards your practice. Early in the module, you'll present your project proposal to tutors and the rest of the group, then, at a later stage, show and discuss your work in progress in the context of individual tutorials and class seminars. To develop your proposed project, you'll undertake preliminary practical projects, conduct research, begin pre-production and openly discuss your ideas, with advanced technical workshops being organised as required. You can work individually or in small groups. After completing the module, you'll attend a screening and a crit, at which every student will show at least one finished piece of work. The film that you show in the crit constitutes the first element of your assessment. You'll also submit a commentary and evaluation, discussing the intentions behind your project and the formative features of your work.
  • Digital Publishing
    This module will provide you with a reflective environment in which to apply techniques of electronic publishing to your own writing, selected from your broader portfolio or created through a commission. You'll need to draw on your learning experiences from other modules and then research and produce a design plan suitable for directing the production of a published document from initial thumbnail sketches through to finished product. Experimenting with appropriate software, you’ll generate, store and transfer information, then move on to copy editing, proofreading and production. You'll consider such questions as house style within the broader context of message and audience and the impact of diverse and developing technology on the reproduction of writing in paper based media. You'll engage critically with a range of case studies. You'll be assessed through your portfolio of work, as well as a commentary on and an evaluation of your process and product.
  • Working in English and Media
    This module, with a focus on work experience, will help prepare you for targeted entry into the world of multimedia, film, television, cinema, radio, video, teaching, publishing, arts administration and related creative and cultural industries. You'll identify, negotiate and carry out a work placement, or produce a commissioned product, in a chosen area, with guidance from the relevant Course Leader and Module Leader, who will provide ongoing consultation, supervision and support in association with the University's Careers Service. You'll develop a portfolio and write a critical essay, both of which you'll submit at the end of the semester. Your portfolio should include: your CV; copies of a range of academic work (including a DVD showreel, where appropriate); evidence of extra-curricular activities; evidence of work experience. Presentation is crucial to your portfolio, and you should make use of all available multi-media when refining your work. This module will form part of your ongoing programme of Personal Development Planning.
  • Contemporary Television
    You’ll explore a range of different genres, including drama, comedy and 'reality' shows. In screenings and seminars, you'll explore and analyse television programmes not simply as texts but as specific examples around which larger areas of debate and discussion can be explored. You'll also explore the wider context in which these programmes are situated (technology, institution, audience and the changing context of television). You’ll be assessed through a 500-word reception study, in which you'll analyse a cross section of reviews of a television programme, and a 2,500-word critical essay. Possible programmes for discussion include Twin Peaks, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Modern Family, X Factor, Doctor Who and Girls.
  • Critical Approaches to Video Games
    Game Studies views games as complex cultural objects, aiming to explore the game ‘object,’ the player ‘subject,’ as well as the critical dialogue between them that occurs in real and virtual game spaces. This module will give you an in-depth introduction to the interdisciplinary field of game studies, and the opportunity to develop an advanced research essay on a chosen area of inquiry. Throughout the semester, you will study video games as cultural artefacts that arise from diverse cultural histories and contexts, and that can provide deep commentary on aesthetic, cultural, socio-political, and economic issues. Through theoretical readings, critical play exercises, and in-depth discussion, you will acquire the critical vocabulary needed to analyse the mechanics, aesthetics and practices of video games. This will allow you to address the textual, performative, sociocultural, design-based, and political contexts in which games exist, and to engage in critical discussion of the cultural impact of the video games. Overall, your focus will be on understanding video games as important vectors of contemporary mainstream and alternative cultures. In order to achieve this, you will combine the playing, analysis, and discussion of games with consideration of critical writings by game studies scholars as well as theorists from the broader field of cultural studies. This module includes two assessments: a critical essay (2,000 words, 70% of the final mark); and a critical play journal (1,000 words, 30% of the final mark).
  • Independent Radio Practice
    In this practice module, you'll demonstrate a high level of editorial and technical expertise in radio production as you experiment with, develop and consolidate these skills by planning, writing and producing imaginative work for an appropriate radio market. You'll consider current models of practice in a variety of radio networks/stations, and initiate and carry forward ideas already suitable for or adaptable to radio. You'll also show critical reflection of your own practice by completing a thorough and rigorous commentary and evaluation.
  • Independent Film Practice 2
    The projects that you'll propose to tackle in this module will draw on the strengths of your work in Independent Film Practice 1, as you develop a particular method of working, or hone a specific approach to practice - whether in the context of drama, documentary, animation or experimental modes. In this respect, you'll also be encouraged to consider the wider context of your work. In the first few weeks of the module you'll take conceptual workshop projects that, through practice, will help you think critically and re-examine concepts associated with the fundamental aesthetics and theoretical concerns of your work. After these initial workshop projects, you'll attend presentations and work-in-progress screenings, with the content of module, for the most part, led by the discussion of issues and concepts that arise in relation to your independent project. The progress of your projects will be addressed in detail throughout the semester in the context of seminars and individual or group tutorials with staff from across the department.
  • Avant-garde Film and Experimental Video
    On this module, you'll take an historical approach to the various movements and themes associated with avant-garde film and experimental video. You'll consider these in aesthetic and socio-political contexts, but you’ll also study the work of a number of key film and video-makers in close detail. Throughout the module, you'll consider and reflect upon the history of experimental film and video and its association with other artistic forms, as well as its rebellious relationship with the mainstream. In addition, you'll examine the movement of the avant-garde film between cinema and modern art, while still focusing on it as an independent form of art practice with its own internal logic and aesthetic discourse.

Optional modules available all years

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme module will allow you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You may choose to take two language modules in place of options on your course from the second semester of your first year, or in the second or third year. You can choose from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, or Spanish. In order to experience the learning of a new language, you must select one that you have not learned before.


For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.

Modules are subject to change and availability.

You’ll show your progress through many different methods that reflect the range of skills required by employers. Your assignments might include case studies, critical essays, screenplays, journals, film reviews and analyses, presentations, and a portfolio of practical work, as well as ‘hands on’ assignments such as internet, print and video production / commissions.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.

Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Specialist facilties

You’ll have access to the kind of equipment you can expect to work with in the professional media industry, including film and television studios, HD cameras and 16mm film cameras, Final Cut Pro editing suites, Steenbecks for 16mm editing, animation rostrum cameras, multimedia studios, screening theatres and radio suites. You can also take advantage of all our other creative industry facilities, and get full training from our technical officers.

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad for one semester, and get funding to help you cover the cost

Extra-curricular activities

We organise and attend many extra-curricular activities, including Film Festivals such as Cambridge and Watersprite, industry guest speakers and field trips. You’ll also be able to join student societies, such as the Film Viewing Society, the Anime and Manga Society and Media:Next Move Arts, which organise their own events.

Work placements

You’ll take part in self-arranged work placements, and our career-focused modules will encourage you to reflect on what you have learned from them. Our previous students have undertaken placements and commissions with regional and local television, radio and newspapers, MTV, Cannes Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival and Cambridge Film Festival, often as part of their assessed work. For many, this has led directly to a paid position with the company.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2019/20 or 2020/21 (per year)


International students starting 2020/21 (per year)


Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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UCAScode: P391

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International students

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01245 68 68 68

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International applicants

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