Top reasons to study with us
6th for Communication & Media Studies
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2024)
6th for Film (Communication and Media Studies)
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2024)
7th for Satisfaction with Teaching (Media & Film) Guardian University Guide 2024
Lancaster’s degree in Film, Media and Cultural Studies, taught by the Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts and the Sociology department gives you the opportunity to study film within the broader areas of communications and entertainment media and culture.
Film at Lancaster is a stimulating and intellectually engaging course which provides a framework for the close analysis of individual films. You will study cinema history and the social significance of films and will develop a detailed understanding of the techniques of film production. You will also have the opportunity to produce short films in all three years of your study. You can choose from a range of specialist courses and will develop skills that can lead to postgraduate study and careers in the media, advertising and marketing.
The Media and Cultural Studies programme at Lancaster is similarly theoretical and analytical but also contains practical components and skills embedded within the core curriculum. This programme is concerned with the critical study of media and culture and offers you the opportunity to examine historical and contemporary issues and debates. We will cover such themes as media history, politics and power, subcultures and marginal cultures, the role played by media in contemporary activist movements, the relationship between media, gender, race, ability, disability and body image, and making, reforming and hacking the public sphere.
On this combined programme of study you will take the core modules from the Film Studies programme and the closely related Media and Cultural Studies programme. You can choose optional modules from a wide range of topics (see Course Structure section in above menu).
In your final year, you will complete an independent research Dissertation, where staff will support you on a topic of your choice, and where you have the option to combine practical and written elements.
A Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts combined degree gives graduates the confidence and capability to produce work for themselves. Our graduates have become professional theatre practitioners including performers, directors, writers, dramaturgs, producers and technicians while others have chosen to work as community artists, arts administrators and managers. Film graduates have gone into TV production roles, independent film production and jobs in advertising, marketing and media production. The transferable skills gained through studying a LICA combined degree at Lancaster make our graduates extremely attractive to employers within different creative industries, including the media, broadcast and print journalism, public relations, personnel and the Civil Service. Many of our graduates also go on to further study often becoming academics, lecturers and teachers or further vocational training in theatre or film production, including the prestigious New York Film Academy and London Film School.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring you not only gain a highly reputable degree, but that you also graduate with relevant life and work based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award which offers you the opportunity to complete key activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development. Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level ABB
Required Subjects Film, Media or one other humanities subject considered desirable but not essential
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
International foundation programmes
Delivered in partnership with INTO Lancaster University, our one-year tailored foundation pathways are designed to improve your subject knowledge and English language skills to the level required by a range of Lancaster University degrees. Visit the INTO Lancaster University website for more details and a list of eligible degrees you can progress onto.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and some which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research. Not all optional modules are available every year.
Introduction to Film Studies
This module is intended to provide you with the essential knowledge and competencies to undertake the academic study of film at university level. The first term provides you with an understanding of the formal and technical composition of films to allow you to undertake detailed analysis of films, from the level of close scrutiny of individual images, and their interrelation with the soundtrack, to the narrative assembly of shots and scenes. Through the analysis of a range of examples, you will be given the opportunity to become familiar with the key formal and semantic conventions of cinema. The second term aims to provide you with a framework knowledge of world film history. By focusing on a selection of key films and filmmakers, this section of the module will explore historically significant movements and themes within international cinema from the 1960s to the present day. This term is thematically organized around issues of ideology and realism, and explores the shifting social and political status of cinema during the last century. In the third term you will undertake a practical project, working with a small group to produce a short film.
Transformations: From Mass Media to Social Media
From mass media to social media, from debates on authenticity and representation in reality-tv to struggles between users and the creative industries on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
This full-year module enables you to critically examine and analyse a range of media and cultural practices, texts, and technologies in a wide variety of contexts. It introduces you to a number of key concepts and theories that deal with media and culture, and it enables you to become a creative, critical, and confident consumer and producer of media in an ever-changing cultural and technological landscape.
This module is divided into a number of blocks, focusing on a variety of important topics such as: Media and Representation, Media and Practice, Media and Participation, Media and Technology, and Media and Reality. These topics will be discussed and explored with help of a range of contemporary examples, cases, and debates in television, digital games, film, advertisement, popular music, and social media.
One advantage of this full-year course is that it is carefully designed to help you develop skills at presenting your analysis and ideas in different ways, including in group discussions, essays and exam answers. By the end of the module you will be able to interpret and analyse different contemporary media and cultural phenomena with confidence, and be able to support your views and opinions with plenty of academic sources.
Fundamentals: Contemporary Arts and Design
This module will introduce you to key methods, tools and critical concepts used by academics to understand a broad range of creative work, its discussion and practice historically and today. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, you are encouraged to think of yourself as a "creative critic" who uses intelligent observations about the creative world to inform your own practice of writing and making.
Fundamentals: Film (part 1)
This module introduces you to university-level study of the arts, and their contexts and interrelations. In this first block, during the first term, students on the Film, Art, Design, and Theatre programmes will work together in mixed seminar groups to explore the different ways in which creative practitioners respond to the world around them. You will be introduced to key critical concepts used by academics to understand the role of creative work historically and today.
Fundamentals: Film (part 2)
This module is designed to supplement and enhance the essential knowledge and skills covered in “Introduction to Film Studies”, and develops the study skills that you will require as you progress through the course. It will be taught through lectures, seminars and weekly screenings of case study films, including themes such as Hitchcock and silent cinema in Britain, the Ealing comedies of the 1950’s, the James Bond Franchise, and contemporary Asian British cinema.
The Sociological Imagination
What does it mean to ‘think sociologically’? When there are so many academic disciplines and non-academic areas of professional expertise, what is unique and important about starting with the social? This module begins with fundamental questions about the value of sociology in understanding the contemporary world and goes on to explore how the significance of our questions and everyday experiences are transformed when investigating all kinds of contemporary social problems, from inequality to globalisation, sociologically.
This full-year module is organised into different ‘blocks’ that connect themes in sociology – such as the relationship between self and society or between self and power – to both long-standing and newly emerging research. Whether or not you have studied sociology before, this module will introduce you to new areas of sociology, as well as demonstrating how key themes such as consumption, identity, social justice, or culture and media intersect with different sociological questions and sites of enquiry. Lecturers draw upon the ongoing research undertaken at Lancaster, giving you access to current insights that are inspiring change in policy and professional organisations.
The benefit of having multiple topics and themes addressed within one year-long module is that the assessments are carefully designed to slowly build up your research and study skills over your first year of study, whilst still giving you the flexibility to write major essays on the topics that are most interesting to you. The module provides you with a fantastic opportunity to explore new ideas and find new inspiration for understanding how we lead our lives today, and what possibilities there are for change tomorrow.
Global Cinemas: Forms, Debates, Histories
This core module has two main objectives. Firstly, it is designed to develop further your analytical skills in order to examine individual films in greater detail. Secondly, it is intended to encourage you to understand world cinema in relation to a variety of social, cultural, political and industrial contexts. The module will explore such issues as the relationship between film form and modes of production (from industrial film-making through to low-budget art film), theories of film style and aesthetics, and the political function of cinema. The module consists of two interwoven strands, one strand focusing on various modes of American film production, the other exploring films from a number of different national traditions. Across the whole module, you will gain a thorough grasp not only of the historical factors shaping various national and international cinemas, but also of some key critical and theoretical concepts within the field of film studies.
Key Perspectives on Media and Culture
This course focusses on the relationship between media, representation and power. We engage closely with the most influential cultural theories of modern times, putting them to work to understand how power operates through forms of mediation in late capitalist societies. We address these issues through analysis of a contemporary cultural phenomena ranging from the food poverty to the spectacular brand management of the British royal family, from Pride parades to our culture’s obsession with weight. We focus on a range of media including advertising, film, photography, multimedia art, theme parks, news media, social media and the internet.
Example topics covered include:
- Photography, beauty and ‘truth’
- Nationalism and spectacle
- Bodies and representation
- Capitalism, consumer culture and the branded self
- Art and the politics of representation
- Postmodern culture, simulation and war
- Queer theory and queer cultures
- Marxist theory, media and work
Skills for researching social and cultural life
This module is designed around active learning – helping you to develop skills to do your own research.
Lectures address cross-cutting methodological debates as well as established methods (such as interviewing, discourse analysis, ethnography and quantitative surveys). Most of your time, however, is spent in seminars where you will try out methods such as interviewing, analysing media texts, and doing observation on campus.
There are ample opportunities for feedback as you develop ideas for your project-based final assessment, and build diverse skills to support your final year dissertation.
Consumer Culture and Advertising
This module explores how consumption, advertising, branding and promotion shape society. In the module we will ask questions such as:
- Why do many people find shopping so appealing?
- How does consumption relate to our identities, our hopes and our futures?
- What is consumption doing to the world? Are we shopping ourselves to death?
- Does consumption shape inequalities – both at a national and global level?
- How does advertising and branding speak to us?
- Do we now live in a ‘promotional culture’ in which we must ‘sell ourselves’?
- Why do some people resist consumer culture?
Critical Reflections in Creative Arts
Critical Reflections explores a number of key interdisciplinary philosophical and cultural theories and concepts such as: Aesthetics, Formalism, Phenomenology, Semiotics, Structuralism, Deconstruction, Class, Society, Feminism, Queer Theory and Gender, Difference and Postcolonialism. This will enable you to analyse, engage with, and reflect upon artworks in your own discipline. It also allows you to establish a common set of concepts which can be shared by students from different LICA subjects including Design, Film, Fine Art and Theatre; with ideas and examples specifically tailored towards these disciplines.
This module explores the question of how information and communications technologies, in their multiple forms, figure in our everyday lives. The aim of the module is to develop an appreciation for the range of experiences affected by digital media, including the progressive expansion of life online, and the increasingly intimate relations between life online and off. We’ll explore global divisions of digital labour; hactivism. The module will consider the new possibilities that the changing social infrastructure of digital technologies afford, while also learning to look at the rhetorics and practices of the virtual with a questioning and critical eye. Throughout the course we’ll be attentive to issues of gender, race and other marks of sameness and difference as they operate among humans, and between humans and machines.
Disasters: Why do things go wrong?
- What counts as a disaster?
- Is it still reasonable to speak of ‘natural’ or human-made’ disasters?
- Do disasters have a beginning, middle and end?
- Is it possible to make disaster-proof systems?
This module uses case studies of disasters (technical and social) to explore these questions and what sociology can teach us about them.
Documentary Film: History and Theory
This module explores different approaches to both the analysis and the production of documentary film. As well as considering a range of styles of documentary film, typically including expository, poetic, observational, reflexive, political, and personal modes of documentary film, you will also examine key debates concerning the ethics of documentary filmmaking. An indicative list of film screenings includes Nanook of the North, Grey Gardens, Dont Look Back [sic], The Arbor, Sans Soleil, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Gleaners and I, and The Act of Killing.
European New Wave Cinema
The module aims to develop an understanding of historically important European films from the 1950s to the 1980s and the stylistic and historical significance of these films. It will explore the thematic importance of these films and consider the critical debates relating to this period of filmmaking enabling students to develop a critical understanding of the conditions of production, reception and distribution of these films.
Feminism and Social Change
This module investigates gender inequalities within society through a focus on historical and contemporary debates in feminist theory and activism. The module has an `intersectional` focus that means we will consider gender inequalities as bound up with other forms of discrimination and marginalisation, particularly racial and ethnic inequalities, disability and social class.
The module will challenge you to think about `what feminism means today` through a consideration of key aspects of feminist thought and activism from the late 1960s onwards. We will consider the continued relevance of the idea of ‘The Personal is Political’ and ‘consciousness raising’. We will overview feminist approaches to social research and explore feminist interventions in practices of gender inequality, for example inequalities in paid and unpaid work, childcare and women’s health. You will complete an intergenerational interview research project on ‘women, work and social change’ through which you will analyse and reflect upon your experience of the research process.
We will also take the feminist manifesto as a central document which expresses lived experiences of gender inequalities and collective desire for social change. Through some practices of inequalities, such as art, beauty contests, capitalism and patriarchy, we will explore the contemporary resonance of ideas such as black feminisms, art activism, the occupy movement and backlash.
By the end of the module you will have been given the opportunity to become familiar with some of the key debates within feminism today. We aim for you to be able to make connections between feminist theory and forms of feminist practice. The module engages you in debate, original research and feminist activism through analysis of varied media including academic texts, advertising, art, film, news media and social media.
Film and Comic Books
This module examines a historical genre that now occupies the economic centre of Hollywood film production. The module focuses centrally on film and comic book aesthetics; on questions of narration and visual depiction in these two related media; on the shifting norms of this film genre in relation to technological change across history; and on the significance and uses of the comic-book film in society. The module develops ideas and skills introduced in the core Film Studies modules taken as part of the film studies and combined degrees.
Gender and Media
Do we need to take Rachel Dolezal’s claim to ‘identify as black’ seriously? How does the visibility of figures like Caitlyn Jenner help ordinary trans* people? Does Rihanna’s video for Bitch Better Have My Money glamorise violence against women? Is Beyonce, as bell hooks argues, a ‘terrorist’ for her affect on young women of colour, or does her argument disempower Beyoncé’s huge female audience? Is fan culture reshaping the media landscape, or are fans just dupes of consumer capitalist media corporations?
The relationship between gender and representation has never been more contentious or more contested than it is today, as a new generation of feminists take on media images of gender. This course does not attempt to give answers, but instead focuses on asking questions. Our focus will be on engaging closely and critically with media through feminist scholarship and activism.
Media studied include TV dramas ( Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Cucumber), reality TV and (RuPaul's Drag Race,America’s Next Top Model), images of masculinity from the camp gay stereotype of the 20th century to lad culture, and the changing nature of celebrity from Marilyn Monroe to Beyoncé.
Living with Capitalism
Economic inequalities have widened in advanced capitalist countries and yet many people are reluctant even to acknowledge the existence of class. The module analyses how inequalities of class and status are generated, how they relate to other kinds of inequality, and how they are experienced. It explores how the social forms and mechanisms of capitalist economic organisation interact with other sources of inequality, not only producing an unequal distribution of resources and opportunities but affecting the ways in which people value themselves and others. Linking social structure to personal experience, the course applies social theory, including that of Pierre Bourdieu and Henri Lefebvre, to the ‘common sense’ about class and to their people’s everyday experiences.
Media and Visual Culture
Everyday life is often described as bombarding us with images, and contemporary culture is therefore frequently understood as a visual culture.
- What do such statements actually mean?
- How far is our culture a visual culture?
- What role do media play in a visual culture?
- How is vision linked to practices – including representation, the gaze and embodiment – of power and inequality?
- In what ways might these practices be challenged or resisted? Does vision only involve seeing, or is visual culture multi-sensory?
This module will introduce theories and practices that have addressed these questions. Examples of topics studied include:
- The relationship between vision and knowledge
- The gaze and power (eg the gaze as gendered and raced)
- Media, representation and identity
- Technologies of vision
- Material practices of vision
- Vision as multi-sensory.
On this module you will have the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of recent and ongoing themes in Media and Cultural Studies and Sociology on the topic of vision and visuality, media and culture, develop different reading and writing skills and participate in lively discussions and analytical exercises.
Media, Bodies and Society
Social and cultural theories of the body have transformed thinking in the last two decades. Indeed, accounts of the body and embodiment have moved from being a marginal aspect of social and theory to a central feature of how we understand and experience media culture and society. Through a series of case-studies, this module explores some of the key developments in sociological accounts of the body and the body politic (or the nation state). Throughout this module we will focus on issues of inequality, stigma, power, in/visibility, surveillance, disability, 'race' and ethnicity. Examining the body as a site of social control, and as a repository of shifting classifications, we will consider bodies which do not easily fit prevailing social and cultural norms, bodies which are perceived to be ‘out of place’, abject or deviant and bodies imagined and employed as sites of resistance and protest.
As well as gaining an understanding of some key social, cultural and political issues you will develop critical thinking, reading, writing skills and practical skills. We will go on course field-trips (for example to Lancaster Castle in order to think about the history of punishment) and you will participate in lively and challenging workshops. You will be required to arrange and pay for your own travel to and from any field trips, which are highly recommended but not compulsory. If you are unable to attend then alternatives can be discussed.
As part of the assessment for this course you will make a short film in response to themes and issues examined or provoked by lectures, screenings, reading and seminar discussions. This course is interdisciplinary and is open to students from any discipline, but has been particularly designed for Sociology, Media and Cultural Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies students.
Migration, Citizenship and Belonging
Belonging to a nation is widely seen to be as natural as belonging to a family or a home. This module will explore how such assumptions about national belonging come about by introducing students to a range of theoretical approaches and debates.
You will explore how notions of belonging are socially constructed, how the nation is defined, who belongs and who doesn’t. The module addresses these notions by examining what everyday practices, discourses and representations reveal about the ways people think about, and inhabit, the nation. The module also pays particular attention to nation formation in relation to debates about multiculturalism, diversity and migration and asks: What are the impacts of migration and multiculturalism on definitions of the nation? How is multiculturalism defined and perceived?
Although focus will be on the example of Britain, the issues raised will be of interest to all students concerned with the effects of nationalisms and ideas of belonging and entitlement, which many countries of the contemporary world are presently debating in the context of the 'Age of migration' (Castles and Miller 1998).
Modernity and its Discontents
This module introduces and explores the writings of a number of key twentieth-century social and cultural theorists, and radical thinkers offering perceptive and provocative critiques of some of the many ills of modern western capitalist society, such as alienation, reification and domination; environmental exploitation, pollution and the destruction of nature; media supersaturation, cultural commodification and ideological manipulation; technocracy, instrumentalism and ‘scientism’; violence, genocide and the perpetual threat of nuclear extermination.
This module provides an opportunity for you to engage with perspectives in the social sciences that interrogate our common and comfortable assumptions about the supposedly benign and beneficent character of contemporary capitalism, scientific development, technological innovation, and affluent consumer lifestyles. In so doing, the very concepts of historical enlightenment, progress and civilisation are called into question.
This module considers not only how to interpret the world in various ways, but also how to change it.
Short Film Production
In the Short Film Production module you will develop, produce and complete a short dramatic film. You will be taught and given the opportunity to follow industry standard practices throughout your project. You’ll participate in at least two class productions as both a key role member (roles like Writer/Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Art Director, and Sound Designer/Editor) and a minor role member (roles like Assistant Director, Script Supervisor, Assistant Camera, Gaffer, Grip, Sound Recordist, Boom Operator, and etc.). You’ll keep a production diary outlining your individual contributions, and be given the opportunity to gain real world experience of what working on a film production is like in the various roles. You’ll write up your experiences in an essay critically analysing the production process and outcomes.
You will need to have completed Introduction to Film Studies to take this module.
Television, Culture and Society
Television remains one of the most pervasive and prevalent communication mediums. It shapes how we perceive and make sense of the nation, and offers representational frameworks through which a sense of identity and community can be constructed. Television has its critics - who consider it vulgar, mundane, stupefying, 'chewing gum for the eyes' - yet despite consistent predictions of its decline, television appears to have weathered the storm of fragmentation and digitalisation and remains a crucial media site that shapes national values and debate. This module introduces students to the field of television studies, its empirical and theoretical tools and the critical perspectives that help us explore and evaluate the recent history of television and explore its possible futures.
Want to "go viral"? In this module you will make stuff: tweets, blogs, videos, GIFs, wikis, music mash-ups, photo essays, machinima, memes. We will hang out in social media worlds like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pirate Bay, 4chan, Second Life, World of Warcraft, Know Your Meme, tumblr. You will learn to tie all of these media and platforms together into a viral video and social media campaign. You will become digitally literate while at the same time exploring the most cutting edge new media theory. When you complete this module you will know how to make most types of simple digital media, you will develop a portfolio of content that may assist you in entrepreneurial work in the new media industries, and most importantly you will understand how new media are challenging existing forms of culture, politics, law, and business.
What Is The Contemporary?
This module aims to give students a grounding in “the contemporary” as a key critical concept used in artistic discourses, and provide a number of ways that students can explore and articulate their own contemporaneity. In conversation with cutting edge ideas from art, science, technology and popular culture, the module will enable participants to discuss and identify what they are contemporaries of, how they relate to their own time as artists, citizens and critical writers and what this necessitates in their own practices.
Students will engage in critical discussion of key terms used to define the current moment, such as Anthropocene, Singularity, Post-Truth, and Globalisation, as well as understanding how particular technologies and phenomena, such as distributed and decentralised networks, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering are reshaping the contexts in which the arts are made. These topics are explored through lectures and seminar discussions in which students are encouraged to produce and define their own position and modes for articulating what makes them contemporary.
The module is designed for creative students who wish to use writing and material practice to explore their own relationship to the ecologies, politics, trends, technologies, and aesthetics that typify our experience of the world today.
Women Film Makers
This module will explore the work of some of the most historically important female film-makers from the 1890s through to the present, considering films from around the globe. The module will examine the significant but often marginalized and obscured roles that women have played in industrial, experimental and avant-garde film production across a spectrum of roles from costume and production designers through to screen-writers, editors and directors. You will be invited to reflect upon the fact that, despite playing key roles in the development of the medium, women continue to be excluded at all levels of film production. The decision by Hollywood star and activist Geena Davis to establish a campaigning ‘Institute on Gender in Media’ is a measure of the urgency of this subject.
The module will engage with revisionist film histories concerned with interrogating the dominant bias of academic and popular histories of the medium; it will also draw on feminist film theory concerned both with a critical understanding of mainstream cinema and the development of politicized women’s cinemas. The module will examine a series of female directors and their work, and each week will be oriented around the screening of a case study film that will be the focus for the seminar. An example of directors included is Alice Guy-Blaché, Dorothy Arzner, Leni Riefenstahl, Ida Lupino, Laura Mulvey, Mira Nair, Kathryn Bigelow, Marziyeh Meshkini, Lynne Ramsay.
Assessment is by a combination of coursework essay and exam.
Your Year Abroad
In your third year you will study at one of our international partner universities. This will help you to develop your global outlook, expand your professional network, and gain cultural and personal skills. It is also an opportunity to gain a different perspective on your major subject through studying the subject in another country.
You will choose specialist modules relating to your degree and also have the opportunity to study other modules from across the host university.
Places at overseas partners vary each year and have historically included Australia, USA, Canada, Europe and Asia.
During your degree you’ll spend a year as a registered student at one of our approved partner universities in North America, Asia, Australia, New Zealand or Europe.
This module allows you to undertake a major independent research project on a topic of your choice, presented in the form of a dissertation or a practice-based project and an essay. The module is taught through lectures focused on research skills and one-to-one supervision. Upon completion, you will be able to demonstrate your ability to undertake a major project that includes conducting research, engaging in a sustained critical analysis of relevant texts, building an argument and applying this to practice.
Apocalypse Then: New Hollywood Cinema
This module centres on the artistically and politically adventurous phase of American filmmaking circa 1967-1979. Typically topics studied include:
- Introduction – Hollywood breakdown (Easy Rider, Medium Cool)
- The future of allusion: New Hollywood’s nostalgic mode (The Godfather)
- Popular feminism (Klute, Woman Under the Influence)
- Politics and conspiracy (The Parallax View, All The President’s Men)
- Disaster movies (The Poseidon Adventure)
- Comedy (Annie Hall)
- Exploitation cinema I: blaxploitation (Coffy, Foxy Brown)
- Exploitation cinema II: horror/body genres (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
- Blockbuster cinema and the franchise film (Star Wars)
- The end of the New (Apocalypse Now)
Cities, Cultures, Creativities - Urban Development in the Age of Global Media
Culture and creativity are key assets that cities use to attract a ‘creative class’ and succeed in a global context of urbanisation. But do the kinds of cultures and creativities promoted give citizens (and non-citizens) the right to the city? Can cultures and creativity be ‘used’ for economic competitiveness and foster a social production of city space? This module examines how social, artistic and media practices shape cities and people, and urban development in the Global North and South. It combines theoretical readings and discussion based seminars with case studies that examine examples of creative urbanism in cities such as Gaza, Hamburg, Sao Paulo.
Contemporary Hong Kong Cinema
This module explores Hong Kong cinema from the mid-1980s up to the present – an era whose beginning witnesses the international breakthrough of a new wave of local filmmakers, and which goes on to encompass the early 1990s’ production surge, the 1997 handover to mainland China, the crippling economic crisis, and the outbreak of the SARS virus. The module will give you the opportunity to develop an understanding of a number of basic industrial, aesthetic, social and cultural trends marking Hong Kong films in the contemporary era. These include the emergence and impact of independent production; the rise of ‘high-concept’ filmmaking; the movement toward pan-Asian co-productions; the importance and cross-marketing of star performers and local musical traditions such as Cantopop; the popularity of genres like the swordplay film; and aesthetic tendencies such as episodic plotting and the narrative ‘thematisation’ of politics and identity. Emphasis will be placed not only on representative mainstream product, but also on the emergence of a distinct Hong Kong art cinema, whose presence and success on the international festival circuit has brought artistic credibility to a predominantly popular cinema, and which has heralded the arrival of a fresh wave of local ‘auteur’ filmmakers.
This module provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the ways in which creative practitioners produce and deliver their work. It will provide an overview of the challenges faced by freelance practitioners, producers and small cultural companies within the creative industries. You will also develop a working understanding of the key management and enterprise skills involved in delivering creative projects. Working in groups you will put your learning into practice through the delivery of your own live creative arts project. This will enable you to understand the skills, knowledge, attributes and behaviours relevant for employment in the arts and creative industries.
Fans and Audiences in a Global Context
How do we make sense of the various understanding of being a fan nowadays? How has the experience of being part of a media audience transformed over the decades in different parts of the world? In what ways do fan culture and audience community manifest social transformations in both the local and global scale?
This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding of fandom and audiences in a global and transnational context. You will first be introduced to the contested concepts and typologies of ‘audience’ and ‘fan’ and the cultural hierarchy of knowledge underneath theses definitions. The module will focus on four dimensions – participation, pleasure, performance, and power – by investigating fan culture and audience communities of a wide range of transmedia texts (television, music, film, and other media) in a global perspective. You will analyse the multi-layered dynamics between individual fan, fan community, audience participation, media texts, and the industry through sociological and interdisciplinary lenses, for example, cultural studies, feminist studies, queer studies, and postcolonial studies.
Film Cultures: Circulation, Reception, Heritage
This module covers topics such as: the infrastructures and locations of cinema; the evolution of film exhibition and distribution; film festivals in a global context; the role of film archives and cinematheques; film criticism; digital film cultures and networks of informal distribution.
Students develop a comprehensive understanding of cinema as a socio-cultural institution, by considering film in terms of circulation, reception, and heritage. This approach entails a focus on the role of mediators (i.e. programmers, distributors, critics) and locations (i.e movie theatres, film festivals, archives) in shaping the consumption and preservation of film.
The module provides historical and analytical skills to understand the evolution of film cultures from modernity to the contemporary digital age. This holistic perspective is achieved by combining theoretical components with the discussion of case studies from a variety of cultural contexts and locations (e.g. the introduction of cinema theatres in colonial Nigeria, the multiplex in India, the birth of film festivals in Europe and their contemporary role in the promotion of Latin American and Middle Eastern cinema).
Students develop skills throughout the module by collectively managing and producing content for a blog expanding on the topics discussed in class. The weekly updates will be developed and discussed at seminars, and peer-assessed on a routine basis. In order to articulate their personal contribution to the blog, each student writes a short reflective piece on their experience, as well as an individual essay on a case study of their choice.
This third-year course will add to the theoretical, historical and cultural aspects of film investigated in Years 1 and 2, while focusing more closely on the challenging aesthetic and critical debates surrounding the concept of modernity. It will look at films made in the silent era, in post-war Europe and in Britain and the US. Writings on film will be considered in conjunction with viewings of particular films, close analysis of specific filmic techniques and methods, and historical and theoretical approaches to film. The course will also pay attention to the debates of classical and contemporary film theory, feminist approaches and other critical traditions (semiotics, structuralism, formalism, cognitivism). Students will be introduced to key debates in classical and contemporary film theory, with topics exploring the relations between film and art, cinema and politics, cinema and psychoanalysis, and, above all, the question of how films produce meaning(s).
Independent Dissertation Project
This module comprises a written dissertation (8,000 words) or a media project (4,000 words + practical project) that students will complete in their final year. It offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent piece of research (under supervision) and to apply their understanding of key concepts, theories and debates in media and culture to their own individual dissertation or project.
Students will plan, present and design a proposal in tutorial groups, with a detailed, step-by-step web-based guide available for extra support. They will develop an idea for a research project, work out what is possible, which methods to use, and begin to plan it. They will then communicate their dissertation proposal to other students and then write it up in a way that clearly states their research topic, aims and methods, and where it situates within wider sociological debates.
Students will carry out data collection and analysis, and write it up as a dissertation. They will meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their progress. Media projects may include creative/journalistic writing, audio production, video materials, artefacts, photographs or online campaigns, materials and environments.
Journalism and Multimedia Production
In this module, you will learn about the basics of journalism -- reporting and storytelling using digital technologies. From audio recording and video production to writing, photography, and innovations using data, technology, and interviews, this module is an introduction to journalism of today and tomorrow. You will also interact with key theories and practices of journalism, discussing and debating international perspectives. In the end, you will have a final journalistic product based on a story of your selection.
This module offers a broad overview of the history of the musical genre in cinema. It begins by examining the use of sound in silent cinema before focusing on the original success of musicals with the arrival of synchronised sound in 1927. The module then tracks the success of movie musicals from the 1930s-1950s, with particular focus on Hollywood successes of MGM, Busby Berkeley, the Astaire-Rogers cycle and the emergence of the self-reflexive musical. Elements of the Hollywood musical in the 1960s and beyond are then studied, with a focus on the importance of the musical soundtrack in Saturday Night Fever (1977) and other films. The module will also examine other traditions where the Musical has been significant, such as India and France. In addition to this, aspects of race, gender and sexuality in the movie musical will be discussed. Some recent Hollywood successes (such as La La Land  or The Greatest Showman ) are studied towards the end of the module in the light of the Musical tradition
This module offers an introduction to the broad area of silent cinema and to a range of critical approaches to this rich area of study. You will have the opportunity to view and analyse a number of important films. We will also explore a number of critical questions raised by this material with regard to the writing and study of histories of cinema (and popular culture in general). We will examine the relationships between technology and form, the economics of film production, distribution and reception, the relationship between cinema and national identity, the social and cultural impact of new (entertainment) media and the study of cinema audiences.
Social Media and Activism
This module will explore how the politically powerful and the politically radical use the internet to consolidate and revolutionise the distribution of power around the globe.
Like many communication platforms before it, the internet is mobilised by the politically and economically powerful as well as those seeking radical change. However, unlike other platforms, it has created an almost universally accessible platform for public dialogue. Pro-democracy revolutionaries, freedom hackers, feminist mediasmiths, anti-capitalists, data leakers, and others use the internet to organise their social movements. Conversely, those opposed to the liberal project, such as authoritarians and extremist groups, also use the affordances of the internet to distribute their message and rally their supporters.
This module examines these issues and investigates the implications of “big data” control by governments and corporations. The module looks also at the understanding social networkers and other content uploaders have of this “big data” control along with the consequences that it comes with.
Sociology goes to Hollywood
This module addresses contemporary debates in sociology and cinema by focusing on a single film each week. Its overall aim is to employ cinema for the purpose of social diagnosis.
The module engages with cinema as a social fact, before linking together cinema (producing images of the social) and sociality (socialisation of the image) for analysis.
Sociology of the Future
We live in societies in which forecasting and planning for the future is an important activity for governments, institutions, businesses and individuals. We live in societies in which imaginings of the future as a better time or as a more fearful one circulate in the here and now, calling us into action or invoking threats or desires. This module considers how we should understand the future from sociological and cultural perspectives. The module will address both how we can look into the future through various techniques in order to gain a foresight into what might happen, and we will look at the future – how images of the future circulate in the present through the work of scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, politicians and others.
Transgressive Cinema: advanced practices
‘Transgressive Cinema’ is a practice-based module that aims to broaden students’ understanding of film as a form of political enquiry. The module introduces students to critical practices in film, video and expanded cinema that favour process over the end-product. Among the key questions the module addresses are the following: How can film go beyond describing and critiquing the world “as is” and constitute the critique formally? What are the political implications of a film’s formal construction? How do we identify legacies of colonialism in filmic construction and how do we challenge them through creatives devices that transgressive cinema offers? How do we problematise the dominant forms of spectatorship in film practice?
So, while these questions involve rigorous thinking, in practice the module offers a platform where playful experimentations are encouraged. Bringing critical thinking and making into focus, the module invites students to re-examine the dominant aesthetic and narrative conventions of the film/video medium and explore formal elements and their political implications in theory and by practice.
Over the course of this module, students will engage in topics such as: - What is "transgressive cinema" (historically and in recent practices) - Materialist film practices in Britain and the wider European context (1965-1985) - Challenging the perception of language: use of voice, narration, and text as image - Identity politics and video - Queer practices - Performing to camera - Camera-less films - Expanded Cinema - Multiple screens - Abstract film and video. These topics will be explored by students via watching the assigned films, discussing the relevant texts in relation to films and responding to series of practical briefs/tasks to experiment with those ideas.
Fees and funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2025/26 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2024/25 were:
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities. Students on some distance-learning courses are not liable to pay a college fee.
For students starting in 2023 and 2024, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2025 have not yet been set.
Computer equipment and internet access
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
Study abroad courses
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
Placement and industry year courses
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
What is my fee status?
The fee that you pay will depend on whether you are considered to be a home or international student. Read more about how we assign your fee status.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. Read more about fees in subsequent years.
Fees for study abroad and work placements
We will charge tuition fees to Home undergraduate students on full-year study abroad/work placements in line with the maximum amounts permitted by the Department for Education. The current maximum levels are:
- Students studying abroad for a year: 15% of the standard tuition fee
- Students taking a work placement for a year: 20% of the standard tuition fee
International students on full-year study abroad/work placements will be charged the same percentages as the standard International fee.
Please note that the maximum levels chargeable in future years may be subject to changes in Government policy.
Scholarships and bursaries
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for students starting in 2025 are not yet available. You can use our scholarships for 2024-entry applicants as guidance.
- Film and Creative Writing BA Hons : PW38
- Film and Creative Writing (Placement Year) BA Hons : PW39
- Film and Creative Writing (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PW40
- Film and English Literature BA Hons : PQ33
- Film and English Literature (Placement Year) BA Hons : PQ34
- Film and English Literature (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PQ35
- Film and Philosophy BA Hons : PV35
- Film and Philosophy (Placement Year) BA Hons : PV36
- Film and Philosophy (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PV37
- Film and Sociology BA Hons : PL33
- Film and Sociology (Placement Year) BA Hons : PL34
- Film and Sociology (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PL35
- Film and Theatre BA Hons : PW34
- Film and Theatre (Placement Year) BA Hons : PW35
- Film and Theatre (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PW36
- Film Studies BA Hons : P303
- Film Studies (Placement Year) BA Hons : P304
- Film Studies (Study Abroad) BA Hons : P305
- Film, Media and Cultural Studies BA Hons : PL36
- Film, Media and Cultural Studies (Placement Year) BA Hons : PL37
- Fine Art and Film BA Hons : WP13
- Fine Art and Film (Placement Year) BA Hons : WP14
- Fine Art and Film (Study Abroad) BA Hons : WP15
- French Studies and Film BA Hons : R1P3
- German Studies and Film BA Hons : R2P3
- Spanish Studies and Film BA Hons : R4P3
Media and Cultural Studies
The information on this site relates primarily to 2025/2026 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
Our Students’ Charter
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.
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