BA Film Studies
|Typical offer||AAB-BBB; IB: 34-30; BTEC DDD-DDM|
Film is one of the most powerful and pervasive forms of media in the world. A degree in Film Studies at Exeter will teach you not only to interrogate films, but to understand the medium as an industry and a global phenomenon. We offer a distinctly international perspective on Film Studies, and with us you will learn about the cultural, political and social contexts in which films are made and watched around the world, from film’s earliest history through to the digital age. Through weekly screenings, lectures, seminars and workshops taught by world-leading academics who are active researchers contributing to the field, this course will take you through the richness of the aesthetics and technologies of the moving image throughout film history. From Hollywood blockbusters, through art-house and transnational cinemas, and topics as diverse as gender, diaspora, surrealism, and war – you will learn about film in a way that helps you better understand the world around you, and your ability to challenge and change it.
Exeter is ranked no. 1 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and top 3 in The Complete University Guide 2019 and The Guardian University Guide 2019. As a student with us, you will gain access to our Special Collections and Digital Humanities Lab as well as our unique Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, which is the largest library on the moving image in any British university. We have a wide-reaching network of alumni and industry contacts giving you unrivalled access to internationally acclaimed actors, directors and film critics via events such as our ‘Creative Dialogues’ lecture series. You join a lively, friendly and social community in the city where you can enjoy a vibrant programme of events from writers, filmmakers and other creatives including film festivals and art-house cinema.
We approach film as an interdisciplinary subject that will equip you with a range of transferable skills and will leave you well-positioned at the end of your degree for roles both within the film industry and outside of it.
At the end of the three-year course, you will graduate with a range of transferable skills that will leave you well positioned for a range of humanities jobs or roles with the film industry. Recent graduates are working as Film Makers, Production Runners and PR Consultants for organisations as wide-ranging such as Bath Spa University, Freemantle Media and Sugar Films. We’re proud to say that 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study six months after graduation.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The Film Studies degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
The first year of study guides you through the specialised language used in the analysis of film and approaches to studying film as a visual and aural art form. It familiarises you with the most important movements and moments in cinema history, introduces you to key concepts and theories, and engages with the cross-cultural and transnational exchanges between world cinemas.
In the second year, you will study the history of American cinema and contemporary theories of film philosophy.
Pursue your own interests and develop expertise in selected areas. Choose from a wide array of specialist modules, covering topics ranging from American independent cinema, surrealist cinema, to war and visual media. You will also either write a dissertation or complete a creative dissertation video essay or short film on a topic of your choice.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions please visit the Film Studies website.
Entry requirements 2019
AAB-BBB; IB: 34-30; BTEC DDD-DDM
International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Humanities, Law and Social Science.
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
Bill Douglas Cinema Museum
Throughout your studies, you will have access to outstanding resources, including the extensive holdings of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, the largest library on the moving image in any British university. Find out more.
We use a variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, seminars, screenings, student study groups, web and IT resources. All of our modules centre the learning experience on seminars, involving groups of between 10 and 20 students, typically running for two hours. Many modules are supported by weekly 50-minute lectures. Students often prepare for seminars by getting involved with student study groups, which encourage collaboration and team working.
Typical contact time with academic staff is 10 hours per week in your first year, on top of which you are expected to attend other activities such as study groups, workshop activities and film screenings. Students studying Film Studies and a Modern Language may have a few extra hours, as language study is necessarily intensive. Most of your work will be done in groups and self-directed study: viewing and reading module material, writing essays or preparing material for seminar presentations. You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time.
We are actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. Students can access detailed information about modules and interact with their peers and lecturers through activities such as discussion forums.
We are committed to your academic development. Through seminar work you will be trained in skills of critical analysis and learn to develop evidenced-based arguments. We foster your research skills through training in the use of library-based or electronic resources to research a topic. We offer detailed feedback and essays which can be discussed on a one-to-one basis with the tutor who has marked them. Study Skills tutors are also available within the department to work on specific areas in written work and assessment.
Exeter has unique resources which make it ideally positioned to support the study of film. The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum holds a wide-ranging collection of more than 70,000 film related artefacts. The collection is available for all students to use as a research and study resource. The diverse collection includes objects relating to the history of the moving image, such as optical toys, magic lantern slides and 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. The holdings also include the papers of British producer Gavrik Losey, the director and producer Don Boyd and the producer James Mackay which include papers that relate to the work of Derek Jarman. Many of our film modules exploit these resources, giving students a highly distinctive and valuable experience of studying and researching film using primary materials, documents and artefacts.
Our audio-visual collection in the University library comprises over 12,000 films on DVD and video, in addition to books about and recordings of American music of all kinds. Recent investment in our learning spaces has ensured that lectures, screening and seminars take advantage of multimedia equipment.
Teaching that is inspired by research ensures lectures are up-to-date and relevant; you will benefit from access to the latest thinking, equipment and resources. All staff teach second and third year options that are linked to their own interests which include areas such as: film history; adaptation; gender studies; issues of identity; European, Asian and American cinema and urban space in the cinema. All staff are members of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Film Research (CIFR) which host talks with visiting speakers and our own staff about various research projects, to which all are welcome. CIFR also organises Career focused events for film students, which allows you to meet alumni, learn about their jobs and to network. Film Staff also participate in Screen Talks in conjunction with the Exeter Picturehouse. Taking place every other Monday in term time, this gives you the chance to hear staff introduce films they are passionate about, watch them on the big screen, and then discuss them afterwards in the bar.
From the beginning of your degree you will benefit from a focus on your personal and professional development alongside your academic performance. You will be supported by a personal tutor throughout your degree, as well as a range of study skills and employability training. You will also learn to work flexibly and creatively with others and engage in debate, as well as exercising independent thought to become an effective independent learner. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
You will be assessed by a combination of exams, essays, presentations and sequence analyses (the detailed analysis of film clips). Your first year does not count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress. In order to be eligible for ‘with Study Abroad’ programmes you will need to attain an average of 60% or more in your first year. The assessments in the second year, year abroad (if applicable) and final year will contribute to your final degree classification.
Film graduates from the University of Exeter have an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and compete very successfully in the employment market. 6 months after graduation 93.4%* of our Film graduates are in work and / or further study.
A degree in Film Studies from the University of Exeter will enable you to acquire skills which are attractive to employers and relevant for a wide range of careers. You will develop an informed, critical and creative approach. Alongside strong oral and written communication skills, you will be able to manage your time and workload effectively, work well as part of a team or independently, be flexible when faced with new situations and have strong analytical skills.
Our students have progressed to a wide variety of careers, in sectors such as:
- Events Management
- TV production
- The film industry
- Sales, communications and marketing
Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in
- MA English Literary Studies (Film pathway)
- MA Film and Media
- MA Professional Writing
The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone, where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.
*First–degree University of Exeter graduates of Film studies. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.