School of Media, Film and Music

Film Studies

(MA) Film Studies

Entry for 2011

FHEQ level

This course is set at Level 7 (Masters) in the national Framework for Higher Education Qualifications.

Course Aims

Exploring a wide range of films, theoretical debates and social and historical contexts, the programme aims to provide students with an advanced knowledge of the expressive and representational possibilities of cinema and of the history and variety of film scholarship. The core courses and options seek to introduce students to the key historical and theoretical paradigms of film studies and to develop skills in critical and contextual analysis and advanced research methods. Students can also broaden their field of study by selecting approved optional modules from other MA programmes within the School of Humanities at Sussex. On such courses, students are able to explore the intellectual cross-currents and interactions between film and other practices of representation (for example, literature and media culture).

The core courses offer a rigorous higher-level introduction to scholarly practices of film history and film theory, while the optional modules enable students to develop further frameworks for broadening their interests in the discipline. The degree culminates in the writing of a dissertation, a substantial independent research project that allows students to apply knowledge and methodologies learned from the taught modules to a film or cinema topic that particularly interests them. The dissertation provides scope for examining areas not covered in depth by the taught courses themselves.

Course Learning Outcomes

At the end of the programme, the successful student will be able to demonstrate:

(1) A specialised knowledge of dominant intellectual traditions within film studies;

(2) An understanding of pertinent critical structures and frameworks for the analysis of cinematic texts and practices;

(3) An ability to understand, interrogate, evaluate and apply key methodological approaches and theoretical frameworks relevant to the advanced study of film and cinema;

(4) An understanding of the ways in which a range of different cinematic cultures interrelate with their stylistic, formal, theoretical, social, cultural and political contexts;

(5) The ability to engage systematically and critically with a broad range of concepts and approaches in film studies, and to communicate the conclusions of that engagement to others;

(6) Oral and written skills of clarity, rigour, precision and concision in the presentation and criticism of arguments and positions;

(7) The ability to work individually and in groups in the processing of course materials;

(8) The ability to organise one¿s time, to work independently, to research complex material, to make appropriate use of electronic and other resources;

(9) The ability to produce well-written and well-presented word-processed essays that demonstrate a more sophisticated engagement with learning and communicative procedures than would be expected at undergraduate level;

(10) The ability to produce a substantial and original piece of independent critical and/or theoretical research in the form of a critically argued dissertation.

Course learning outcomes

1. A systematic understanding of film theory, history, and key methodologies, along with critical awareness of pertinent debates and issues in film scholarship

2. An advanced understanding of the social, cultural and political histories from which different filmic institutions, modes and practices have emerged

3. An advanced understanding of the roles that films have played in different societies and cultures

4. A systematic understanding of a range of film forms, modes and genres, and the ways in which they organise understandings, meanings and affects

5. An advanced understanding of how social identities, categories and divisions have been represented and constituted in film texts

6. An advanced application of conceptual and methodological understandings in the close analysis of a range of specific film texts

7. Ability to independently devise and conduct a sustained investigation in which critical theories, methodologies and film analysis are synthesised and primary research is conducted in order to propose original hypotheses and produce a specific argument pertinent to the field. (dissertation)

8. Advanced ability to analyse closely, interpret and show the exercise of critical judgement in the understanding of films and their contexts

9. Evaluate and draw upon a range of sources and conceptual frameworks appropriate to advanced research in the chosen area

10. Self-direction and originality in tackling and solving research problems

11. Advanced skills in gathering, organising and deploying ideas and information, in order to formulate arguments cogently and communicate them effectively in written, oral or other forms

12. Ability to use a range of ICT skills from basic competence (word processing and presentational tools) to more complex research tools

Full-time course composition

YearTermStatusModuleCreditsFHEQ level
1Autumn TermCoreFilm Studies: Theories and Methods (846P4)307
  CoreGlobal Cinemas (864P4A)307
 Spring Term2 of these optionsApproaches to Film Noir (848P4B)307
  Feminism and Film (843P4B)307
  Latin American Cinema (852P4B)307
  Media, Technology and Everyday Life (810P4)307
  Media Audiences (816P4)307
  Media Theory and Research II (802P4)307
  New Developments in Digital Media 1b (809P4B)307
  Queering Popular Culture (807P4B)307
  Rethinking European Cinema (861P4B)307
  Video Documentary in Contemporary History (860V1)307

Part-time course composition

YearTermStatusModuleCreditsFHEQ level
2Spring SemesterOptionApproaches to Film Noir (848P4)307

Please note that the University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver courses and modules in accordance with the descriptions set out here. However, the University keeps its courses and modules under review with the aim of enhancing quality. Some changes may therefore be made to the form or content of courses or modules shown as part of the normal process of curriculum management.

The University reserves the right to make changes to the contents or methods of delivery of, or to discontinue, merge or combine modules, if such action is reasonably considered necessary by the University. If there are not sufficient student numbers to make a module viable, the University reserves the right to cancel such a module. If the University withdraws or discontinues a module, it will use its reasonable endeavours to provide a suitable alternative module.