The MLitt in Film & Television Studies, taught in Scotland’s media capital, offers the opportunity for the critical study of film and television. This well-established programme aims to provide an advanced understanding of the approaches and methodologies in Film & Television Studies and to equip you with core research skills for advanced study in this field.
This programme will encourage advanced level study of specific aspects of film and television, via the exploration of research strategies appropriate to the two mediums. The curriculum is designed to establish the full focus of Film and Television Studies as a discipline and to suggest some of the ways in which its boundaries are being re-drawn by new screen cultures and technologies.
The programme consists of three components (please see core and optional courses information for more details):
Component 1: Core Course (60 credits)
Semester 1: History of Critical Writing (30 credits)
Semester 2: Research Methods and Preparation (30 credits)
Component 2: Three additional courses (60 credits)
Advanced Topics in Film Studies (20 credits) - compulsory
Advanced Topics in Television Studies (20 credits) - compulsory
(The above two courses will run in semester 1 and 2 in alternate years)
A third option course (20 credits, semester 1 or 2)
Component 3: Dissertation (60 credits)
You will research and write your dissertation over the summer (May to Sept). It will be 15,000 words in length and on a topic chosen in consultation with your tutors and the programme convenor.
The programme provides an excellent foundation for an academic career in this field and we provide support and guidance on PhD applications and funding opportunities if you are considering this path.
As an MLitt student, you will have plenty of opportunity to meet and work with our PhD students – for example, through the annual postgraduate conference – and find out about the range of research projects in which they are involved: from AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Projects with industry partners (BBC Scotland, the Glasgow Film Festival), to personally-conceived projects on filmmakers, genres, periods, or themes within film and television studies.
While the MLitt is a good training for PhD study, graduates go on to a range of careers in the media and creative industries including film education, festival management and programming, and arts administration as well as to research roles in television, academia, or the public sector.
Positions held by recent graduates include Celebrity Management Consultant, Director and University Teacher.
This innovative course examines the different ways in which broadcasting is organised around the world. It has a particular emphasis on the production techniques of British television, approaching them through a comparative international lens.
The course has regular visiting lectures from leading figures in the UK's television industry, including the department's own VIsiting Professors James Quinn (Commissioner for Sky Arts) and renowned producer, director and writer Tony Garnett. In the past, we've had visiting lecturers including Alex Graham (Executive Producer of Who Do You Think You Are), James Quinn (Documentary Commissioning Editor, Sky) and Karen Mullins (Project Manager for London Olympics, Rugby World Cup).
You'll study a major BBC drama series from conception through to scripting and production, such as the series Casualty, with time to visit the production base in Cardiff. You'll study with scholars with experience of TV industries around the world, and hear from guest lecturers from London's TV industry.
Structures of Broadcasting
In this module you will develop an understanding of public service and commercial models of broadcasting. You will look at the organisation of broadcasting, considering the differing markets for TV programmes, and commission and production regimes around the world. You will examine the nature of global flows in programming, the market system that enables them, and the major broadcasting organisations. You will also explore the structure of the global programme sales and co-production markets.
Television as a Cultural Industry
In this module you will develop an understanding of the interrelation between the organisational forms of broadcasting and the programmes that they produce. You will look at the structuration of broadcasting texts and what makes them distinctive, and examine the major genres of TV production through international examples. You will also consider the nature of innovation in programme making.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the key challenges of producing a long running, high-volume, British television drama series. You will look at the role such series play in the television landscape, and examine the organisation, management, funding, budgeting and scheduling of drama productions. You will explore audience profiles and see how these fit within the economic and cultural priorities of television. You will also have the opportunity to meet writers and directors from an ongoing drama series, and learn to use production software packages such as Final Draft Scripting, Movie Magic Budgeting and Movie Magic Scheduling.
Production Practice Dissertation
You will produce a short video or radio piece to UK industry-standards. You will will create work which communicates with its intended audience, and manage all aspects of the production process, including self-direction and the direction of others. On completion, you will refect on your production, using knowledge gained in other areas of the course to analyse its success.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including:
Televsion continues to be one of the most dominant global media forms, continuing to attract huge audiences and leading creative talent around the world.
You'll leave our course understanding television in different cultures and contexts and you'll be in a perfect place to find employment in those countries where the TV industry is rapidly growing - backing up your portfolio with knowledge of how programmes are marketed and sold, and how important they are to the creative industries.
We're based near London, so you'll have privileged insight into the UK television industry. You'll have the chance to get familiar with London production businesses – we have regular guest lecturers from production and management. Students from our department have gone on to work in independent television and film production, for broadcasters like the BBC and ITV in the UK as well as international media agencies such as CCTV and Hunan, and for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.
This course provides the opportunity for you to develop as a thinking practitioner of film-making or television programme-making, someone who is able to innovate while questioning and interrogating existing values and traditions. The emphasis is firmly on practical film-making and television production work, underpinned with contextual theory throughout, engaging with contemporary issues and emerging trends in film and television production, as well as established film/television theories and practices.
The first two semesters of study provide a range of modules which will allow you to develop your film/television “craft skills” – this may include work with camera, lighting, sound, editing, directing and producing – while working on short film/TV projects of your own devising. There will be opportunities to collaborate with other students, and you will be encouraged to make contact with, and work with, contributors (e.g. interviewees, actors) from outside of the university. You will also develop your skills as an academic researcher by carrying out research which feeds directly into your film projects.
The course culminates in the Masters Project, where you will be the key creative leader of a film or television production, taking on the role of producer or director.
In a typical week, a full-time student on this course will have up to ten hours of class time which will be a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshop sessions. Most course modules will blend these different teaching methods within a given timetabled session, so there will be plenty of variety.
In lectures, you will typically be given ‘food for thought’ in relation to your own project ideas. In workshop sessions you will get to practice film-making techniques related to your own project work needs. In seminars you will share ideas and discuss with tutors and fellow students. In tutorials you will have one-to-one or small group discussion about your works in progress.
The general flow of the course for a full time student is to start with production skills, research skills and scriptwriting in the first semester. In the second semester you move on to a small personal project which will combine all that you have learned from these three areas. In the final semester, you bring it all together in a personal film/TV production project which is seen as the culmination of your studies.
Part-time students experience exactly the same course modules and course content, but necessarily broken down into smaller groups of modules.
The course is built upon negotiated production work, which means you get to propose and develop your own ideas for film and television. The teaching staff are experienced with production across documentary, drama and social action production, and will guide you according to your ambitions, skills and needs.
There is always the opportunity to work on ‘live’ project briefs, which can be used as the basis of a module project, or alternatively as an extra-curricular experience which informs your development on the course and allows you to network with students on related courses.
The course is taught in the School of Media, which houses a three-camera live television studio, fifteen editing suites with Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro X and other professional software packages, and a sound-recording/foley production suite. It also has an equipment store from which you can borrow all the camera, sound, lighting and other equipment you need to produce your work.
Who will teach you on this course?
The course teaching team includes four active doctoral or postdoctoral researchers – Adam Kossoff, Tracy McCoy, Phil Nichols and Gavin Wilson – whose interests include documentary film, social action video, screenwriting and adaptation, and cinematography. They are all qualified higher education teachers, and have many years of experience of teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level. They are also experienced film and programme makers.
Our students and graduates have a track-record of success in competitions and festivals, such as the prestigious Royal Television Society Student Awards, the Midland Movies awards, and the Business Disability Forum's Technology Taskforce Film Festival.
Film-maker and editor Andrew Webber has had his films screened at international festivals in the UK, Jamaica and West Africa. He says, “The University has been extremely supportive, through my studies and after graduation.”
Niki Gandy has pursued a teaching career, and now teaches photography and art in a High School. Calling herself a “proud graduate” of our related undergraduate course, she says, “I chose it for its practical content and which helped furnish me with numerous transferable skills necessary to forge my career in teaching. Almost a decade on, my lecturers continue to provide me with support and guidance - I feel certain that my relationship with the university will continue for many years to come.”
Actor and director Brian Duffy, creator of TV series Small World – a comedy series about a group of deaf flatmates which has been shown on TV and online – says, “Studying at the University of Wolverhampton helped me with networking and organisation – especially as filmmakers came to Wolverhampton for Deaffest, the UK’s leading deaf film and arts festival. My lecturer could also sign which was a great help and a huge weight off my shoulders – I could talk to her one-to-one. That’s something I never had the pleasure of pre-university.”
Lauren Shinner has been working in media production ever since graduating. She says, “My time at the University was invaluable, I wouldn't be where I am today without it. The tutors were always helpful and push students to do their best with plenty of support and understanding and the course prepares you well for your prospective career. I've gone on to work as a video editor in education, ran my own media business and have done videos for high end charities and new bands, and am now working in media in another area. Without my degree, none of this would have been possible.”
From start to finish producers are the driving force behind the film and television industry. They generate new projects and ideas, secure finance, manage production and strategically market the result. The producer’s role has been transformed by the advent of globalisation, digital technology and the multi-channel environment. Now more than ever, the entertainment industries need creative leadership.
Our Masters offers aspiring producers the opportunity to acquire the creative and entrepreneurial skills required to enter the rapidly changing universe of film and television. You will learn to create script ideas, work with writers and directors, manage a production thoroughly and market across platforms, we'll teach you how to navigate the financial and legal aspects of the industry, too.
The course is taught from our creative hub at Royal Holloway's central London campus, 11 Bedford Square. Our proximity to the media industry means that we can draw upon professionals for outstanding master classes, industry panels and careers events. Students are encouraged to attend The London Film Festival, MIPCOM, Berlin, and Cannes international festivals. You will also try out interning at a production company or work on the crew of a professional production.
You will learn from top talent and practice what you learn by making films, and TV programmes. The ‘Role of Producer’ and ‘Script Development’ courses are taught by Professor Jonathan Powell, one of the UK's most respected and experienced drama producers, having previously worked as Controller of BBC1 and Head of Drama for the BBC. The course leader is award winning producer and executive, Gillian Gordon who brings thirty years’ experience in Hollywood and the UK to teaching ‘Producing Workshop’.
Through master classes, industry internships and alumni partnerships, students are provided with opportunities to network with international talent and expertise, as well as building links with current Royal Holloway students and academic partners.
The Role of the Producer
In this module you will develop an understanding of the role of the producer as the driving force in creating, managing and selling film and television products. You will look at how the independent sector works, and consider how to programme and pitch ideas. You will also examine approaches to working with creative talent.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how to write an industry standard script report. You will learn how to analyse both film and TV scripts, and produce reports that constructively engage writers with the process of script development. You will consider the analysis of structure, character, dialogue, genre, and how to transfer feedback verbally.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how to create and pitch ideas to film, television and new media executives and financiers. You will learn the basics of script development, set procedure, scheduling, camera work, audio equipment and post production. You will consider how to develop and identify viable fiction projects and lead and manage the production of a short video, . You will work with creative talent, writers, directors, casting agents, and key craft team members, and examine how to finance and market your short film. You will put together a viable presentation package and pitch to a panel of industry professionals.
International Media Business
In this module you will develop an understanding of the global film and TV business. You will learn how to plan and conceptualise the creation and management of a sustainable media enterprise. You will examine the critical issues affecting the success or failure of film and television businesses, considering the role of financial planning in the life-cycle of visual media projects. You will also explore the wider context of finance in the development, marketing and distribution of film and television to investors, partners and government bodies, with a focus on the challenges faced by business startups.
In this module you will develop an understanding of basic production accounting and the line management skills needed for film, TV and transmedia production. You will learn how to set-up a production company and budget, schedule, manage cash flow, and supervise a quality fiction production. You will consider how to manage 'below-the line' deals on a drama production and identify financial issues and their implications for day-to-day management. You will also examine how to manage a film crew and supervise the daily operations of a production team, and manage production costs, equipment and facility deals.
Marketing and Media Law
In this module you will develop an understanding of media marketing and promotion in film and television distribution and exhibition. You will look at social media and new trends in the global marketing of films and media projects, including cross-platform marketing. You will consider the fundamental principles of media law, including contract and intellectual property law, and examine issues of content and regulation.
You will produce a 10,000 word dissertation or media project on topic of your choice. You will carry out an investigation that has a clearly defined aim of study and arrive at a carefully argued set of conclusions derived from original research covering print, internet and first hand interview sources.
Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays, script reports, treatments, pitching exercises, studio exercises, production papers, practical film-making, business reports and presentations.
Our close links to the film and TV production industry make this a practical course – and one that gives you building blocks for your future.
While you're on the course, we'll encourage and guide you into work placements and internships. Past students have secured placements with industry leading organisations including:
Graduates from the Department of Media Arts have gone on to work in independent television and film production, for broadcasters like the BBC and ITV, for distributors, exhibitors, talent agencies and entertainment lawyers.
To stay competitive in today’s market, film and television writers need to be able to work across platforms and genres. Designed with this in mind, our low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing for Film and Television emphasizes the art and business of film and television writing, as well as innovative writing for other emergent forms of media, from long- and short-form films to series television and webisodes. By graduation, students will have a complete portfolio of professional-caliber work.
Each semester begins with a six-day residency, alternating between our Boston and LA locations, where students engage in:
At the end of each residency, you will return home ready to begin writing, submitting your work in installments online, participating in online peer/advisor workshops, attending virtual meetings with your advisor, and enrolling in two online topics classes per semester.
Emerson’s MFA in Writing for Film and Television is a progressive two-year low residency program that brings together a community of students for focused, rigorous instruction. Building on Emerson’s long-standing Department of Visual and Media Arts, the low residency MFA program emphasizes practice in film and television writing as well as innovative writing for other emergent forms of media.
Each semester includes:
Emerson’s campuses offer diverse environments where MFA students will have the opportunity to be closely connected to long-established communities of scriptwriters and filmmakers, as well as the feature film and television and cable industries.