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Film Studies

Film Studies at St Andrews is defined by a particular focus on film cultures, examining the multiple sites and practices (institutions, audience networks, activist campaigns, media technologies, etc.) that contribute to the meanings and social functions film can assume across different times and geographical locations. As a film student, you will study both canonical films and marginal practices with attention to the multiple configurations of historical film cultures and the changing shape of Film Studies as a discipline today.

Studying film at St Andrews will help you master a range of research skills and acquire knowledge related to national and transnational film traditions, the dynamics of the global film industry, the history of film technologies and modes of film spectatorship, and the current range of theoretical and historiographical approaches to film and media.



Film Studies MA (Hons)
Film Studies BA (International Hons)

Joint degree options

You can take Film Studies MA (Hons) with another subject as part of a joint degree.



Film Studies MLitt


Please contact a supervisor in your research area to inquire about PhD opportunities.

Visit St Andrews

If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at an open day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.


Booking for our autumn visiting days will open in early September 2017.

  • Wednesday 27 September 2017
  • Wednesday 4 October 2017
  • Wednesday 18 October 2017
  • Wednesday 25 October 2017
  • Wednesday 1 November 2017



  • November 2017 - date to be confirmed.

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Latest in Film Studies at St Andrews

Tom Rice has written an opinion piece for The Guardian, entitled “Linking Trump to the Ku Klux Klan risks boosting a rump organisation.”


Film Studies research areas

The focus of film scholarship at St Andrews is centred around the transnational life of film, a theme that encompasses three clusters of analysis: representation, circulation and preservation.

Recently, the Department of Film Studies has expanded scholarly practice in new directions, including the study of political movement and activism, sexuality and architecture in film.

Research supervisors

Those intending to apply for postgraduate research are encouraged to make contact with a potential supervisor before applying.

Research staff:

  • Dr Michael Cowan: European cinema (particularly German and French); media history; media archaeology; film and modernity; forms of sponsored and ephemeral film; screens and visual culture; material cultures of film; intermedial relations; digital cinema and theory; experimental and avant-garde film.
  • Dr Lucy Fife Donaldson: film and television performance and aesthetics; affect and embodiment in film; audio-visual design; film sound; film criticism; genre (especially horror and melodrama); American cinema.
  • Dr Elisabetta Girelli: stars studies; performance and silent cinema; queer cinema and queer theory; sexual, gender, and national identity in British, European, and Hollywood cinemas, within frameworks of cultural analysis and theories of representation; the construction of disability on screen; representations of the normative body and its contestations.
  • Dr Dennis Hanlon: Cinema and political aesthetics; South Asian popular cinema; Latin American cinema; transnational exchanges of film genres and forms.
  • Professor Dina Iordanova: film and history; film festivals; Eastern European  and Balkan cinema; national identities in film.
  • Dr Anuja Jain: South Asian cinema and media history; transnational visual and material cultures; film and politics; documentary film with a specific interest in questions of community and public sphere; film spectatorship; violence and questions of representation.
  • Dr Tom Rice: film history; colonial cinema; British documentary; early American cinema; world cinemas (especially pre-1960); non-theatrical film practices; educational and government film; film archives.
  • Dr Leshu Torchin: film and social justice; representations of genocide and the Holocaust; trauma; collective memory; documentary; visual anthropology; media anthropology; film industries (including tourism).

Film Studies research groups

The Department of Film Studies currently has two research groups:

The Centre for Film Studies (CFS)
The CFS is characterised by research into the transnational life of film and focuses on global interactions that film encounters and facilitates on its travels.

Institute for Global Cinema and Creative Cultures (IGCCC)
IGCCC focuses on postgraduate teaching, research, and publishing in the study of global culture, film festivals, and digital developments.

Film Studies research portal


The Department of Film Studies is located in two buildings on North Street near the town's cinema. All Film Studies modules include course-related screenings which take place in a custom-built theatre with excellent screening equipment.

The University Library holds an extensive collection of film and audiovisual materials: 5,500 Film Studies books; 100 film, television and media-related journals; and 11,700 individual audio-visual titles. The DVD collection includes films and holdings of extremely rare reference materials such as ethnographic films and documentaries by filmmakers like Anand Patwardhan, Frederick Wiseman and Jean Rouch.

The Film Studies Postgraduate Centre houses a DVD collection, new computers, postgraduate workspaces, viewing stations and off-air recording facilities.

Careers for graduates in Film Studies

Film Studies graduates benefit from a diverse array of career opportunities. These range from those that specifically relate to film – whether in academia, creative industries, film and cinema festival programming, or arts administration – to other spheres, such as publishing, journalism, public relations and education.

Previous Film Studies graduates have found positions as:

  • broadcast journalists
  • media architects
  • TV research and development assistants
  • marketing and PR assistants
  • freelance writers
  • field crew leaders
  • assistant producers
  • wildlife presenter and documentary film producers
  • festival programming associates
  • supporter fundraising administrators.

See recent graduate employment case studies.

Work experience

Work experience is invaluable when it comes to securing graduate-level employment. There are a number of opportunities to gain work experience in Film Studies at St Andrews:

Funding opportunities

There is a range of funding opportunities available to prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students.


Faculty of Arts scholarships offer financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews. 

Undergraduate scholarships


The University of St Andrerws offers a range of postgraduate funding opportunities.

Postgraduate taught scholarships

PhD students

Find out about funding for postgraduate research.

Funding for PhD students


REF 2014

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 80% of the research from the the Department of Film Studies was recognized as world leading and internationally excellent.


Department of Film Studies
University of St Andrews
99 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AD

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 7473

Film Studies website Film Studies research portal