Film Studies

  • MPhil/PhD Film Studies
Degree typesTypes of research degrees explained
DurationDegree duration details
LocationExeter (Streatham)
Study modesFull time and part time
Distance-based research available Study mode details
Start date September, January or April

Research overview

Join a vibrant, rich and varied Film and Television Studies research culture at Exeter

Our main areas of research specialism are:

  • History and theory of American cinema
  • War and visual media
  • Film and television archives
  • Queer film and television
  • British and European cinemas
  • Transnational and world cinemas (African, East Asian, Latin American and diasporic cinemas and filmmakers)
  • Early and silent cinema
  • British and American TV
  • Film technologies and special effects
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Cinema audiences
  • Film and literature
  • Stars, acting and performance
  • Adaptation studies
  • Genre studies
  • Sound

Interdisciplinary Film Research

The Centre for Interdisciplinary Film Research (CIFR) provides a lively interdisciplinary research forum for research staff, academics, postgraduates and film practitioners. It encourages intellectual exchange between film theory, history and practice and regularly hosts external speakers from academia and the creative industries. Past speakers have included filmmakers Dn Boyd, Mike Figgis, Mike Leigh and Nicolas Roeg, screenwriter Andrew Davies and sound designer Tom Sayers, and film researchers such as Catherine Grant, Richard Dyer, Murray Pomerance, and Patrick Keating.

Recent theses

The wide range of expertise in film studies is reflected in the diverse range research projects that our current PhD students are working on. These projects include:

  • Fairytale films and ageing female characters
  • orphans in Spanish cinema
  • girlhood in contemporary French cinema
  • American independent cinema
  • cinema and the city
  • "Chineseness" in Spanish cinema
  • Muslim representation in post 9/11 cinema
  • the historical epic on film
  • digital cinematography
  • video games and literature
  • gender and screenplays
  • south African documentary cinema
  • post-1987 South Korean cinema

Research culture

Film Studies’ postgraduates are part of a vibrant research culture at Exeter. Staff and research students regularly present their research in the Centre for Research into Film Studies forum, which also hosts visiting speakers. Film studies staff and students also regularly organise conferences which attract a range of international speakers. Recent examples include the 2nd conference for the International Society for the Study of Surrealism (ISSS) in 2019, and the Stardom and the Archive international symposium in 2020.

As well as receiving extensive research training, mentoring and supervision to support their research projects, many PhD students also undertake training and practice in teaching, leading to a recognised qualification in higher education teaching. All PhDs are supported in learning to teach through our innovative shadowing scheme, pairing you with an experienced academic, and the Learning and Teaching in Higher Education programme

Students also get to meet world-renowned film practitioners on a regular basis to test out their ideas and work. Honorary professors of film include – director, producer and screenwriter Don Boyd and and film critic Mark Kermode, who make regular visits to the University to deliver specialist workshops and tutorials.


Exeter has unique resources which make it ideally positioned to support the advanced study of film. The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture holds a wide-ranging collection of more than 70,000 film related artefacts. The collection is accessible for all postgraduates to use as a research and study resource. Housed in the University’s state-of-the-art study facility, the Research Commons, the diverse collection includes objects relating to the history of the moving image. These include optical toys, magic lantern slides, a Lumière cinematograph; film publicity such as posters from the Hollywood era to contemporary film; material on film stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn; and material on animation, particularly Disney films.

Streatham campus also hosts the The Digital Humanties Lab – a state of the art facility offering unique spaces, equipment and training for staff and students in Film & Television studies. A specialist team conducts and supports innovative Digital Humanities research and offers training and teaching. The Lab undertakes the digital preservation and display of historic material and artefacts using advanced technologies.

Our library also has significant holdings in the area of Film and Television Studies including books, journals and more than 10,000 films and television programmes on videotape and DVD.  Our Audio-Visual collection in the University library comprises over 12,000 film titles, in addition to books and recordings of American music of all kinds.

All postgraduates enjoy access to excellent computing facilities. The postgraduate common room in the Queen’s Building provides a relaxing space where postgraduate students can meet and work together in reading and discussion groups.


We are committed to ensuring you receive high quality research supervision to maximise your potential and prepare you for a rewarding career.

Postgraduate students have access to the wide range of support offered by our Career Zone. In addition, postgraduate research students can access our Postgraduate Researchers' Programme, which covers a range of topics to help you to succeed during your research degree and to act as a springboard for your research career.

Graduate destinations

Below are some examples of initial jobs undertaken by Film Studies postgraduates who studied with us in recent years.

Job title
Vice President of creative content
Lecturer Creative Media
Information Systems Analyst IV

Entry requirements

Students applying to enter directly into the MPhil/PhD programme would normally be expected to have a Masters degree with Merit or equivalent in Film Studies, or other relevant qualifications such as a doctorate in another subject.

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in the writing component and all other sections no less than 6.0.


Overall score 100 with minimum scores of 25 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2023/24

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Tuition fees per year 2022/23

For those studying for more than one year, our fees are expected to increase modestly in line with Consumer Price Inflation measured in December each year. More information can be found on our Student Finance webpages.

Current available funding

Contact us

Professor Linda Ruth Williams
Professor in Film Studies
Phone: +44 (0) 01392 723284

College of Humanities
Postgraduate Administrator
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725306
Web: Enquire online

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