Film studies (2015 entry)

Subject overview

Media and Film at Sussex: 

  • offers exceptional opportunities for postgraduate study, with innovative taught MA degrees and a range of supervision for MPhil and PhD research in theory and practice 
  • has a thriving research culture in theory and practice, with around 50 research students working alongside faculty each year 
  • is ranked in the top 15 in the UK in The Complete University Guide 2015 and The Guardian University Guide 2015, and in the top 20 in the UK in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2014. Communications and media studies at Sussex is ranked in the top 100 in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2014 
  • has an exclusive media resource centre, curated by faculty, including over 5,000 films. This is in addition to our central Library
  • has links to the vibrant film community in Brighton, from the annual Cine-City international film festival and See inter-national documentary film festival to the Duke of York’s Picturehouse, one of the UK’s oldest purpose-built cinemas. Brighton offers one of the largest concentrations of film, digital and new media industries outside of London. 

Global perspective

55th in the world for international outlook

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013-2014

Academic quality

14th in the UK
43rd in Europe
111th in the world

Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015

  • 1,600 km2 of South Downs
    National Park area

  • 4,600
    students live on campus

  • 700,000 books and e-books, and
    30,000 journals in the library

  • 13,800
    students study at Sussex

  • Around 4,500 full- and
    part-time jobs advertised each year
    Over 900 paid internships
    advertised in the last 18 months
    300 careers events each year

  • £500-million future investment
    in campus buildings and facilities

  • Over 95 countries across the world
    are home to Sussex graduates

  • 956 academic staff
    1,214 professional services staff

  • 140 student societies and
    over 30 sports clubs

  • 28,000-seater American
    Express Community Stadium

  • £24.7-million
    research income

  • < 9 minutes to Brighton
    < 30 minutes to Gatwick Airport
    < 60 minutes to central London
    < 90 minutes to Heathrow Airport

Programmes

  • PhD in Film Studies
  • MPhil in Film Studies

Our PhD provides you with the support and resources necessary to complete an 80,000- word thesis that represents an original and substantial piece of research. 

Our MPhil provides you with the support and resources necessary to complete a 40,000-word thesis that represents an original contribution to knowledge or understanding, or a valuable presentation or interpretation of material put together in an original manner. 

Our internationally respected team of researchers offers expert supervision across a wide range of topics, including Hollywood, British, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and European cinemas; gender, sexuality and representation; film, history and popular culture; genre, authorship and stardom; film and new media; documentary; film audiences and industries; curation and visual cultures. 

If you propose a research project in these fields, you are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Research training

All new research students are required to participate in a programme of research training and to take other modules that may be recommended by their supervisors (exemption from research training modules can be granted to those who have already taken such modules at postgraduate level). 

Throughout your studies, as part of your intellectual training, you are expected to take part in the research culture of the School of Media, Film and Music and relevant research centres. This might include participation in reading and discussion groups, skills development training, research-in-progress seminars, etc. 

You are expected to present your research both within the School and beyond. The School offers support for conference attendance and student-led symposia, and from the second year onwards, it encourages you to apply for teaching experience. There is a mentoring scheme within the School, and you will be joining a lively interdisciplinary research community. 

Coursework

The first term (or first two terms for part-time students) is devoted to developing the research plan – typically refining research questions, designing a methodology and engaging in a literature review. By the end of the first year (or second year if you study part time), you will have written and presented your first research paper and will be ready to pursue fieldwork or other primary research for analysis and completion in the final year. 

Recent and current PhD thesis titles

In the mood for travel: mobility, gender and nostalgia in Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematic Hong Kong 

John Hughes and new Hollywood cinema 

No crinoline-covered lady: stardom, agency, and the career of Barbara Stanwyck 

Screen dance: corporeal ties between dance, film and audience 

Technofetishism of posthuman bodies: representations of cyborgs, ghosts and monsters in contemporary Japanese science fiction film and animation 

The queer punk films of Bruce LaBruce 

The transitory, institutional and activated spaces of direct cinema 

Towards a sensual understanding of national identity: food, film and the porous screen 

Entry requirements

MPhil in Film Studies

UK entrance requirements

Normally a Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

PhD in Film Studies

UK entrance requirements

Normally a Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

Overseas entrance requirements

If you are an international student and wish to find out if you have the necessary qualifications for this degree, please refer to Overseas qualifications.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section.

For more information, refer to What qualifications do I need?

Visas and immigration

Find out more about Visas and immigration.

For more information about the admissions process at Sussex

For pre-application enquiries:

Student Recruitment Services
T +44 (0)1273 876787
E pg.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk

For post-application enquiries:

Postgraduate Admissions,
University of Sussex,
Sussex House, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RH, UK
T +44 (0)1273 877773
F +44 (0)1273 678545
E pg.applicants@sussex.ac.uk 

Fees and funding

Fees

MPhil in Film Studies

Home UK/EU students: £4,0521
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,0522
Overseas students: £14,4503

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.

PhD in Film Studies

Home UK/EU students: £4,0521
Channel Island and Isle of Man students: £4,0522
Overseas students: £14,4503

1 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.
2 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.
3 The fee shown is for the academic year 2015.

Visit Postgraduate fees 2015

Visit Living costs

Scholarships

The sources of financial support listed below are for the subject area you are viewing and may not apply to all degrees listed within it. Please check the description of the individual source of financial support to make sure it is relevant to your chosen degree.

Visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2015

Visit Career development and part-time work

We are in the process of updating funding sources for postgraduate study in the academic year 2015/16. For general information, visit Postgraduate research scholarships 2015.

For more information on scholarships go to the Scholarships web pages.

Faculty interests

Our internationally respected research explores a range of approaches to film, film cultures and film studies. The three areas that inform our teaching and research are film, gender and sexuality; global cinemas; film, history and popular culture.

Visit School of Media, Film and Music

Film, gender and sexuality

Sussex is world renowned for its research into questions of gender and sexuality, as part of a broader focus on the politics of representation. We explore such topics in our research, including consideration of feminist and queer interventions within cinema and film theory, as well as questions raised by cinematic representations of the body. 

Dr Catherine Grant
Senior Lecturer In Film Studies
C.Grant@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Audiovisual Essay, Film-based media (History, Theory & Practice), First Person Film, Found Footage Film, Gender and Sexuality, Hispanic, Portguese & Latin Studies, Media & Communication Studies, Media and film, Multimedia - video, psychoanalytic object relations theory, Publishing, Videographic Criticism

View profile

Dr Michael Lawrence
Lecturer
Michael.Lawrence@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Adaptation, animals and media, children and film, indian cinema, Stars and performance

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Mr Andy Medhurst
Senior Lecturer in Media, Film & Cultural Studies
A.Medhurst@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Genre of comedy

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Dr Niall Richardson
Senior Lecturer
N.D.Richardson@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: body image in film and media, Queer studies, representation of gender and sexuality in film and popular culture, Transgender politics and representation

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Dr Luke Robinson
Lecturer In Film Studies
Luke.Robinson@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Chinese-language cinema, Documentary theory and practice, East Asian cultural studies, Film History, Theory and Criticism, Queer studies, Transnational cinema

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Prof Sue Thornham
Professor of Media & Film Studies
S.Thornham@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Cultural Theory, Feminist theory, Film History, Theory and Criticism, Gender Studies

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Film, history and popular culture

Several of our faculty explore the intersections between film, history and popular culture, focusing on topics such as genre, authorship, questions of audience, stardom, performance, the politics of films and film form (within both fiction and documentary), intertextual and transmedial synergies, and broader issues of cultural representation. 

There are also many crucial and productive intersections between these three areas and between the research of film studies faculty and those of other colleagues in the School of Media, Film and Music. 

Dr Thomas Austin
Senior Lecturer in Media & Film Studies
T.R.Austin@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Aesthetics and Politics, audience studies, documentary, european cinema, reception studies

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Dr Catherine Grant
Senior Lecturer In Film Studies
C.Grant@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Audiovisual Essay, Film-based media (History, Theory & Practice), First Person Film, Found Footage Film, Gender and Sexuality, Hispanic, Portguese & Latin Studies, Media & Communication Studies, Media and film, Multimedia - video, psychoanalytic object relations theory, Publishing, Videographic Criticism

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Dr Frank Krutnik
Reader in Film Studies
F.S.Krutnik@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Comedy, contemporary television, film noir, radio, stardom, the Hollywood Left, US cinema and popular culture

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Dr Michael Lawrence
Lecturer
Michael.Lawrence@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Adaptation, animals and media, children and film, indian cinema, Stars and performance

View profile

Mr Andy Medhurst
Senior Lecturer in Media, Film & Cultural Studies
A.Medhurst@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Genre of comedy

View profile

Dr Niall Richardson
Senior Lecturer
N.D.Richardson@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: body image in film and media, Queer studies, representation of gender and sexuality in film and popular culture, Transgender politics and representation

View profile

Prof Sue Thornham
Professor of Media & Film Studies
S.Thornham@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Cultural Theory, Feminist theory, Film History, Theory and Criticism, Gender Studies

View profile

Dr Dolores Tierney
Senior Lecturer
D.M.Tierney@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Film History, Theory and Criticism, Hispanic, Portguese & Latin Studies, Transnational cinema

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Dr Lawrence Webb
Lecturer in Film Studies
L.Webb@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American cinema, cinema and architecture, cultural geography and space, Film History, Theory and Criticism, US cinema and popular culture

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Global cinemas

Our research addresses popular, art and documentary cinemas from Asia, Europe, Britain, the US, Latin America and the Middle East. We explore debates about how cinema has been approached within national, regional and transnational production contexts and how such productions have been theorised in relation to shifting paradigms of film style, identity, intermediality and cultural representation. 

Dr Catherine Grant
Senior Lecturer In Film Studies
C.Grant@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Audiovisual Essay, Film-based media (History, Theory & Practice), First Person Film, Found Footage Film, Gender and Sexuality, Hispanic, Portguese & Latin Studies, Media & Communication Studies, Media and film, Multimedia - video, psychoanalytic object relations theory, Publishing, Videographic Criticism

View profile

Dr Michael Lawrence
Lecturer
Michael.Lawrence@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Adaptation, animals and media, children and film, indian cinema, Stars and performance

View profile

Dr Alisa Lebow
Reader In Film Studies
A.S.Lebow@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Activism and Documentary, Documentary theory and practice, Experimental Documentary, First Person Film, Jewish Culture and Film, Queer and Transgender Representation, Revolution and Film, Turkish and Middle Eastern Documentary

View profile

Dr Luke Robinson
Lecturer In Film Studies
Luke.Robinson@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Chinese-language cinema, Documentary theory and practice, East Asian cultural studies, Film History, Theory and Criticism, Queer studies, Transnational cinema

View profile

Dr Dolores Tierney
Senior Lecturer
D.M.Tierney@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: Film History, Theory and Criticism, Hispanic, Portguese & Latin Studies, Transnational cinema

View profile

Dr Lawrence Webb
Lecturer in Film Studies
L.Webb@sussex.ac.uk

Research interests: American cinema, cinema and architecture, cultural geography and space, Film History, Theory and Criticism, US cinema and popular culture

View profile

Careers and perspectives

Our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in academic teaching, production research, broadcasting, and project and cultural management. Employers of our graduates include Scenestealer Interactive Video Solutions, Viasat Broadcasting, Autumn Publishing and Ofcom. 

To find out more, visit Careers and alumni

Research training

The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.

Visit the Doctoral School website

Visit Stages of doctoral study

School and contacts

Contact us

Sarah Maddox, Research and Enterprise Co-ordinator,
School of Media, Film and Music,
University of Sussex, Falmer,
Brighton BN1 9RG, UK
T +44 (0)1273 873525 
E s.maddox@sussex.ac.uk

Visit the School of Media, Film and Music

Discover Postgraduate Study information sessions

If you cannot make it to our Postgraduate Open Day, you are welcome to attend one of our Discover Postgraduate Study information sessions. These are held in autumn, spring and early summer and enable you to find out more about postgraduate study and the opportunities Sussex has to offer.

Book your place on one of our Discover Postgraduate Study information sessions

Other ways to visit Sussex

We run weekly guided campus tours year round.

Book your place on one of our guided campus tours

You are also welcome to visit the University independently without any pre-arrangement.

Our online campus tour can also give you an excellent introduction to the University.

Take our online campus tour

Overseas visits

Meet with Sussex staff in your country at exhibitions, visits to schools and universities, and at a wide range of other events. Forthcoming visits are planned all over the world:

Bahrain • Brazil • Brunei • Canada • China • Colombia • France • Germany • Ghana • Greece • Hong Kong • India • Indonesia • Iraq • Italy • Japan • Kenya • Kuwait • Malaysia • Mexico • Nigeria • Norway • Pakistan • Qatar • Saudi Arabia • Singapore • South Korea • Spain • Sri Lanka • Taiwan • Thailand • Turkey • UAE • USA • Vietnam.

In-country representatives

In the International Office, we manage a network of overseas representatives who have been trained to support international students with their application to study at the University. Services representatives provide can include pre-departure information, support in submitting your housing application and advice regarding applying for a UK Student Visa.

Find out more about our overseas visits and in-country representatives

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