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 propaganda to digital media. Engaging with the industrial, institutional and psychological 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.
If you started this programme in 2019, you can find information about 2019 entry on the 2019 Film Studies MA page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. 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.
Standard entry grades: AAAB
Minimum entry grades: AABB
Gateway entry grades: BBBB
Standard entry grades: AAB
Minimum entry grades: ABB
Standard entry grades: 36 (HL 6,6,5)
Minimum entry grades: 36 (HL 6,5,5)
We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes, please see our entry requirements for more information.
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 entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English Language qualification.
No previous knowledge of this subject is required.
Faculty entry requirements
You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.
SQA National 5 (B) or equivalent in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
GCSE (B or 5) in English, English Language or English Literature, and one GCSE (B or 5) from the following:
Computing Science or equivalent
Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty. 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.
The University publishes its expected timetables before the advising process, and aims to provide each student with a personalised timetable once module choices have been made and confirmed during matriculation.
The University of St Andrews as a whole was voted top in the UK for student academic experience in The National Student Survey 2019 as 95% of St Andrews final year students gave the University top marks for the quality of the learning and teaching experience.
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. You will critically examine the history of moving images across time and cultures, looking at a diverse range of topics from artists’ film to activist documentary, from early cinema to digital media. 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.
During the first two years, you will take four Film Studies courses (one per semester). These provide the theoretical, cultural and methodological frameworks you will need for the more specialised and challenging Honours courses.
Alongside Film Studies, 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, you can take either Single Honours or Joint Honours in Film Studies, taking courses (typically two per semester for Single Honours, or one per semester for Joint Honours) across the next two years. These 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 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.
Specialist subjects you may be able to take include:
cinema in the digital era
film and media history
film, human rights and activism
race and representation
world cinemas and global genres (science fiction, comedy, horror etc).
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 webpage.
First year modules will introduce concepts and approaches that will enable students to analyse and study film, while also foregrounding global, historical developments throughout cinema.
In the second year, students will explore a range of political, philosophical and cultural approaches to the cinema, centring on the key insights and breakthrough critical ideas that have informed the study of film and its role in society. Students will engage with the very latest debates and approaches to the study of film.
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, and philosophical approaches to particular topics such as war and cinema, cinemas of India, and the European science fiction film. 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
Cinema and Media in the Digital Age
Feminist Film Studies
Film and the Archive
Race and Representation
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 available for the current academic year can be found in the module catalogue.
Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through whole-class lectures (65 to 200 students), screenings and small group tutorials (5 to 12 students). Most teaching on film takes place in a lecture theatre 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.
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.
In addition to your studies in the Department of Film Studies, optional academic support is available through practical study skills courses and workshops hosted within the University.
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 webpage.
All sub-honours modules are assessed by a balance of coursework and written examinations held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Coursework includes:
At Honours level, the modules are entirely assessed on the basis of coursework.
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. Please note that some Schools offer qualified entry to Honours, and this will be clearly specified in the programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please visit the common reporting scale webpage.
Visit St Andrews
If you are interested in studying at St Andrews, join us at a visiting day to explore the town, find out about our courses and meet current students.
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
film distribution and production
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
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.
Film Studies students may participate in the University-wide St Andrews Abroad programme. For information about study abroad options, please see the Study Abroad site.
From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.
Students of Film Studies may be interested in joining the Film Society that holds weekly film screenings and regular pub nights.
The Department of Film Studies is centrally located in two buildings on North Street. These have been recently refurbished and boast bright office spaces and a well-equipped teaching room, as well as excellent screening equipment. For all Honours and Masters seminars, there are newly refurbished and specially equipped facilities (including 3D projection) at the Byre theatre. Lectures and screenings take place in the recently refurbished Buchanan Theatre.
The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As University buildings are located throughout the town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland.
“My favourite aspect of Film Studies at St Andrews is its focus on film theory. My course has encouraged me to become increasingly independent and has developed my time management skills. The eclectic group of people that attend St Andrews means there are so many opportunities and never a lack of things to get involved with.”
Lyndsay (Lancashire, England)
Department of Film Studies University of St Andrews 101a North Street St Andrews KY16 9AD
As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).