Film Studies MA (Honours) 2024 entry

The information on this page is for 2024 entry. If you are considering applying for 2025 entry or later, some of these details may differ and we advise you to check the page again before you apply. To receive a notification of when applications open for 2025 entry, please register your interest.

The MA (Hons) in Film Studies offers a comprehensive study of global film cultures. Film studies uses a variety of critical, theoretical and historical approaches to examine one of the most significant cultural and artistic forms of the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The course critically examines the history of moving images across time and cultures, looking at a diverse range of topics from race on screen to activist documentary, from silent cinema to social media. Engaging with the industrial, institutional and cultural contexts of global cinema, as well as analytical, media-historical and political approaches to film scholarship, you will emerge with a powerful set of scholarly tools.  

UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of Philosophical, Anthropological and Film Studies
“The global approach of the Film Studies department has introduced me to an incredible range of different media, not only broadening my understanding of different film forms but also historical and cultural shifts around the world. The inclusion of theoretical, historiographical and cultural analysis in class has transformed the way I critically engage with our contemporary media landscape in both academic and personal contexts.”
girl with long dark hair
- Glasgow, Scotland

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject-specific entry requirements as outlined on their pages.

  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
    Gateway entry grades:
    Applicants who have narrowly missed the minimum entry grades, but meet the University's contextual criteria, may be interested in one of the University’s Gateway programmes.
  • Standard entry grades:
    Minimum entry grades:
  • Standard entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,6,5)
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5)

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of this subject is required.

Alternative study options

Students interested in this course may also be interested in the following:

Study abroad

Film studies students can apply to participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. You may also have the opportunity to participate in the School Abroad exchange programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the study abroad site.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability. Find out more about approved English language tests and scores for this course.

Course details

The MA (Hons) in Film Studies is a four-year course run by the Department of Film Studies. Film studies is a dynamic and growing discipline, drawing in students with a variety of interests. Students will examine the forms and histories of film in all their artistic, documentary and experimental variants, from early cinema to virtual reality, and will cover a range of topics including stardom, ecocinema, as well as numerous film genres and screen cultures from across the globe. 

During the first two years, you will take four film studies modules (one per semester). These provide the historical, theoretical and methodological frameworks you will need for the more specialised and challenging Honours courses. 

Alongside film, in the first year of your studies, you will be required to study an additional two subjects. In the second year you will usually carry on at least one of these subjects, sometimes two. Find out more about how academic years are organised

In third and fourth year, courses reflect the research expertise of the Department and allow you to develop your own interests within the discipline. The Honours programme examines a diverse range of film and media theories and practices covering genres, film sound, global cinemas, documentary, and various histories of the moving image. You work closely with the teaching staff and develop excellent intellectual, writing and research skills that are useful in a wide variety of professions. 

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in film studies alongside modules in at least one other subject. 

Typically, you will take one film studies module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours).

The compulsory modules in first year are: 

  • Key Concepts in Film Studies: examines key concepts and approaches that are relevant to the study of film. 
  • Global Film History and Historiography: introduces key movements and moments in film history. 

The compulsory modules in second year are: 

  • Film Theory: introduces a range of political, philosophical, and cultural approaches to the cinema, centring on the key insights and breakthrough ideas that have informed the study of film and its role in society. 
  • Screen Cultures today: media and methods: addresses foundational questions being asked of film and other screen media today through a global intermedial approach to screen cultures and scholarship. 

If you decide to take film studies in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced module options. These range from film theories covering gender, national and transnational cinema, and philosophical approaches to particular topics such as war and cinema, images and impact, and horror on screen. Students are encouraged to choose and develop their own specialisms and interests within the discipline of film studies. 

Modules available will reflect current staff specialisms and therefore may vary year to year. Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years: 

  • Artists' Film and Video 
  • Asian Cinemas 
  • Cinema and Media in the Digital Age 
  • Documentary Cinema 
  • Feminist Film Studies 
  • Film and the Archive 
  • Race and Representation 
  • Screen Comedy 
  • Sensory Cinema 
  • Silent Cinema. 

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on an advanced topic in film studies. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees. 

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through whole-class lectures (65 to 200 students), screenings and small group tutorials (8 to 12 students). Most teaching on film takes place in a lecture theatre specially equipped for the film screenings that accompany lectures. 

Lectures are given by all members of the Department, enabling students to hear academics at the cutting edge of the discipline. Students receive the best and latest ideas and material to research and evaluate. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert. 

Extensive use is made of the University’s specialist library resources, including one of the best collections of international cinema on DVD, holding over 9,300 AV materials and including some extremely rare films and holdings. 

Teaching at Honours level moves away from large group lecturing. Class sizes vary between modules, but students typically meet in groups of about 5 to 17 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully. 

When not attending lectures, tutorials and film screenings, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve: 

  • working on individual and group projects 
  • undertaking research in the library 
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations 
  • preparing for examinations. 

All sub-honours modules are assessed by a balance of coursework and written examinations. Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Coursework includes: 

  • research essays 
  • class presentations 
  • short assignments. 

At Honours level, the modules are entirely assessed on the basis of coursework. Honours assessments balance more traditional research essay formats with creative, skill-based assignments such as documentary pitch outlines, blog posts, reflective writing, archival research and filmmaker profiles. 

The Department aims to provide feedback on assessments and coursework within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments. 

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

You will be taught by a research-led teaching team with expertise and knowledge of film studies. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of tutorials under the supervision of the module leader. 

You can find contact information for all film studies staff on the Department of Film Studies website

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.



England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Channel Islands, Isle of Man

EU and overseas

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Joint Honours degrees

You can also take Film Studies as part of a joint Honours degree in which you will take core modules of your chosen subjects.

Course name UCAS code
Master of Arts (Honours) Ancient History and Film StudiesVP13
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Film StudiesTP63
Master of Arts (Honours) Arabic and Film Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)TV70
Master of Arts (Honours) Art History and Film StudiesVP33
Master of Arts (Honours) Biblical Studies and Film StudiesVP63
Master of Arts (Honours) Chinese Studies and Film StudiesCH05
Master of Arts (Honours) Chinese Studies and Film Studies (With Integrated Year Abroad)CW05
Master of Arts (Honours) Classical Studies and Film StudiesQP83
Master of Arts (Honours) Comparative Literature and Film StudiesQP23
Master of Arts (Honours) Economics and Film StudiesLP13
Master of Arts (Honours) English and Film StudiesPQ33
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and FrenchPR31
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and French (With Integrated Year Abroad)PR3C
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and GeographyLP73
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and GermanPR32
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and German (With Integrated Year Abroad)PR3F
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and International RelationsLP23
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and ItalianPR33
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Italian (With Integrated Year Abroad)PR3H
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Modern HistoryPV31
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and PersianRT29
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and PhilosophyPV35
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and PsychologyCP83
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and RussianPR37
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Russian (With Integrated Year Abroad)PRH7
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Scottish HistoryPV32
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Social AnthropologyPL36
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and SpanishPR34
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Spanish (With Integrated Year Abroad)PR3K
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Sustainable DevelopmentPV33
Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies and Theological StudiesPV36

Joint degrees taken with Arabic, Chinese Studies, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish are also available 'With Integrated Year Abroad'. 

"With" degrees

You can take Film Studies as part of a "with" Honours degree in which the majority of the course deals with the first name subject. St Andrews offers the following "with" degrees in Film Studies:

  • Master of Arts (Honours) Film Studies with Bible and Culture - UCAS code FB01


Film studies graduates are well placed to compete in today’s job market, having gained an extensive range of skills from written and oral communications to archival research and visual analysis. 

A degree in film studies from St Andrews will provide an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers as well as for careers directly connected with cinema, such as: 

  • advertising and public relations 
  • arts administration 
  • cinema management 
  • education 
  • film distribution and production 
  • film festivals 
  • journalism and media. 

Recent graduates in film studies have gone on to a number of exciting careers, including: 

  • film archive director 
  • production editor in publishing 
  • media researcher 
  • programmes negotiator for a television company 
  • director’s assistant at Warner Brothers.  

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

What to do next

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We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 7473
Department of Film Studies
101a North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AD

Department of Film Studies website

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