Download the course booklet to find out more about Lancaster University, how we teach Film Studies and what you'll study as a Film Studies student.
Your degree recognises cinema’s role as a major cultural form and investigates film through a variety of approaches. You’ll examine cinema’s aesthetic, social and political importance in the context of an increasingly visual and media-orientated culture, while also investigating the intersections between contemporary art, theatre, dance, music, sound and film.
Film at Lancaster 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. While Film Studies is primarily an academic programme, students have the opportunity to make their own digital film in all three years of the course. We have excellent technical resources, including digital editing equipment. You can choose from a range of modules and will develop skills that can lead to postgraduate study and careers in the media, advertising and marketing.
To prepare students for their work placement year, our Careers and Placements Team will provide advice and guidance on: the skills required to create effective CVs, cover letters and applications; tips and techniques on how to make an impact at interviews and assessment centres; how to create a relevant digital profile; and how to research employers and career sectors of interest. In addition, there is great emphasis placed upon developing self-awareness and on how to present yourself in a professional manner to employers. This optional provision will be delivered via a blend of traditional and digital methods including face-to-face workshops, online webinars, e-courses and 1:1 appointments.
The University will use all reasonable effort to support you to find a suitable placement for your studies. While a placement role may not be available in a field or organisation that is directly related to your academic studies or career aspirations, all placement roles offer valuable experience of working at a graduate level and gaining a range of professional skills. If you are unsuccessful in securing a suitable placement for your third year, you will be able to transfer to the equivalent non-placement degree scheme and continue with your studies at Lancaster, finishing your degree after your third year.
While this degree is not a practical training programme in filmmaking, recent Film Studies graduates have gone into production roles at the BBC, ITV and MTV, independent film production and jobs in advertising, marketing and media production.
Film Studies graduates are well placed to pursue postgraduate vocational training in media-related professions, such as broadcast and print journalism, or take their skills into promotional and marketing roles. Many of our graduates go on to further vocational training in film production, including the prestigious New York Film Academy and London Film School. Some Film Studies graduates have gone into teaching, or pursued postgraduate study and research in Film.
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 email@example.com
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Critical Reflections in Creative Arts
Critical Reflections explores a number of key interdisciplinary philosophical and cultural concepts which 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 all LICA subjects. The structure of the module consists of six three-week blocks: (1) Aesthetics, Formalism and Beyond, (2) Phenomenology, (3) Semiotics, Structuralism and Deconstruction, (4) Class and Society, (5) Feminism, Queer Theory and Gender, and (6) On Difference.Weekly plenary lectures make connections across the arts, and are supplemented by weekly, two hour seminars/workshops which allow students to work in their subject groups (art, film, theatre, design) on ideas and examples specifically tailored towards these disciplines.
Hollywood and beyond: Global cinema
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. In the first term, we focus wholly on various modes of American film production, and in the second term we explore some broader theoretical questions through an analysis of 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.
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.
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.
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.
This core module is directed towards completion of an independent research project on a topic of your choice, presented in the form of a dissertation. The course is taught through lectures focused on research skills and one-to-one supervision. Students of Film can choose to make a short film as part of their project, and students of Design are encouraged to do a practical design project.
Work Based Learning Reflection
In your final year you’ll return to Lancaster to complete your degree. Feedback from previous students is that their final year studies were enhanced by the real-world experience they were able to draw on.
Whatever your career path, having the skills to critically evaluate your own learning and development will considerably enhance your effectiveness in the workplace. During your final year, you will be asked to reflect on your experience of work based learning. Did you take part in any formal training during your placement? How did this benefit your work? What kinds of informal learning opportunities arose? What did you learn about your own preferences for professional development? How do your experiences compare to those of other placement students?
You will be asked to consider your future career aims and identify areas for further development.
This is an assessed module that provides 10 credits towards the 30 credits which successful completion of your placement year provides. These 30 credits are on top of the 360 credits of a standard degree, meaning that you will graduate with 390 credits; 30 more than if you took the same degree without a placement year. The additional credits recognise and reward the additional skills and experience that you have developed during your placement year.
Advanced Film Theory
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).
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)
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.
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.
Fees and Funding
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2023/24 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2022/23 were:
Scholarships and bursaries
At Lancaster, we believe that funding concerns should not stop any student with the talent to thrive.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover the cost of tuition fees and/or living expenses.
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.
For students starting in 2022, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2023 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.
Fees in subsequent years
Fees are set by the UK Government annually, and subsequent years' fees may be subject to increases. For international applicants starting in 2022, any annual increase will be capped at 4% of the previous year's fee.
- 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 (Study Abroad) BA Hons : P305
- Film, Media and Cultural Studies BA Hons : PL36
- Film, Media and Cultural Studies (Placement Year) BA Hons : PL37
- Film, Media and Cultural Studies (Study Abroad) BA Hons : PL38
- 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
The information on this site relates primarily to 2023/2024 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.
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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.