Film Studies MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

UCL sits at the centre of the vibrant, multicultural and cinematic city of London. The university, which was the first to establish Film Studies in Britain, houses a thriving graduate research culture in the subject alongside remarkable resources for the study of cinema across its history and across the world.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2023/24)
£5,860
£2,930
Overseas tuition fees (2023/24)
£26,200
£13,100
Duration
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
Research degrees may start at any time of the year, but typically start in September.
Applications accepted
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK Honours degree in a relevant discipline or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard, and a Master's degree with Merit in a relevant field. In the first instance, candidates should establish a dialogue with a potential supervisor before making a formal application. Admission is normally dependent on the submission of a detailed research project proposal.

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

UCL has research strengths in particular in cinema and cultural history across the world. We have interests in early cinemas, new wave cinemas, and political cinemas.

Who this course is for

The programme is for graduates with a background or interest in cinema history, film theory or relevant disciplines. It is suitable for both recent Masters graduates as well as early or mid-career professionals. This MPhil/PhD is for applicants with a strong interest in conducting multi-disciplinary research, who may have completed post-graduate training or study and want to develop an advanced critical analysis in a specific research area.

What this course will give you

UCL provides a uniquely rich research environment for the study of cinema at the heart of the dynamic city of London. Students can draw on faculty expertise from across the university, in particular from the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Social & Historical Sciences, the School of European Languages, Culture and Society, and the Centre for Multidisciplinary and Intercultural Inquiry.

Students are supported by a dynamic research culture, a stimulating environment and excellent opportunities for research training. UCL houses numerous seminars and guest lectures, and researchers have access to world-class libraries at UCL, the University of London, the British Library and the British Film Institute.

The foundation of your career

Students who complete the PhD in Film Studies demonstrate the ability to produce original research and to construct convincing and original arguments. Many of those who have completed PhDs in Film Studies at UCL have gone on to significant academic positions elsewhere.

Employability

Many of our graduates have gone on to academic careers as well as careers in writing and research.

Beyond becoming an expert in your chosen field, you will gain employable attributes including leadership, communication, teamwork, language and business skills, refined in a dynamic cross-disciplinary research environment.

Our research students have entered a variety of professions including law, public policy, journalism, education and publishing, Woking in a range of roles in international organisations, private sector, third sector, and government.

Networking

London is a vibrant centre for academic work, and regularly hosts seminars, symposia, and conferences. UCL is central to the city's research culture.

Teaching and learning

Depending on staff availability, there is provision for a small number of students to pursue the Documentary Track pathway, which allows suitably qualified PhD students to submit a thesis of 60,000-70,000 words and a within-copyright filmed documentary of 20-30 minutes in length in place of the standard requirement of a thesis of 80,000-100,000 words in length.

The documentary-track PhD is researched in a twofold manner as a text and a film project and developed in two parallel but interdependent modes of discourse. Thus the two projects are intended to overlap closely such that the documentary is part of the integrated whole of the argument of the thesis. An example of a research project which might be pursued using this methodology would be the study (in the form of an academic thesis) of the works of a living author or artist or film director along with a creative, research-led documentary film on the same individual's work. It is expected that the two parts of the research project will form a composite whole. It will also be necessary for the candidate to provide a statement explaining the research question and aims addressed by the documentary film including written production notes, and a discussion of the stages of research and choice of methodology.

To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a piece of writing (this is usually based on one chapter from your thesis and a chapter plan for the remainder). You are also required to present and answer questions about this work to a panel consisting of your subsidiary supervisor and another member of the Faculty who acts as an independent assessor.

Research areas and structure

  • North and Latin American cinema history
  • European cinema history
  • Documentary cinema
  • Non-theatrical/radical cinema
  • The history of the discipline
  • Silent cinema
  • Film theory
  • The political economy of cinema

In the first instance, candidates should establish a dialogue with a potential supervisor before making a formal application. The length of registration for the research degree programmes is usually three years for full-time and five years for part-time. You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration. 

Upon successful completion of your approved period of registration you may register as a completing research student (CRS) while you write up your thesis.

In the first year, you will be required to take part in a mandatory Skills Seminar Programme. You are expected to agree with your supervisor the basic structure of your research project, an appropriate research method and a realistic plan of work. You will produce and submit a detailed outline of your proposed research to your supervisor for their comments and feedback and be given the opportunity to present your research to UCL academic staff and fellow PhD students.

In the second year, you will be expected to upgrade from MPhil to a PhD. To successfully upgrade to a PhD you are required to submit a piece of writing (this is usually based on one chapter from your thesis and a chapter plan for the remainder). You are also required to present and answer questions about this work to a panel consisting of your subsidiary supervisor and another member of the Faculty who acts as an independent assessor.

The length of registration for the research degree programmes is usually three years for full-time and five years for part-time. You are required to register initially for the MPhil degree with the expectation of transfer to PhD after successful completion of an upgrade viva 9-18 months after initial registration. 

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2023/24) £5,860 £2,930
Tuition fees (2023/24) £26,200 £13,100

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying, and conference registration fees.

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

The wealth of departmental seminars / colloquiums / symposiums and student organised work in progress sessions give ample opportunities to present research, receive feedback and participate in discussion.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

For more details about departmental funding available to postgraduate research students in the department, please refer to our Funding, Scholarships and Prizes (Research) webpage.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

All applicants must identify and contact potential supervisors before making their application. For more information see our 'Need to Know' page.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes (or one application for the Law LLM) in any application cycle.

Choose your programme

Please read the Application Guidance before proceeding with your application.

Year of entry: 2023-2024

Year of entry: 2022-2023

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.