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Film Studies - Theory History Practice (M.Phil.)


Course Description

The course is a unique opportunity to embark upon a detailed investigation into the intellectual currents and aesthetic concerns surrounding the study and practice of film. From the outset, questions of history, theory and context are brought to bear on issues of close analysis and interpretation. Elective modules in Screenwriting, Creative Documentary Practice and Editing allow students to balance film theory with practice. At every step of the way your progress will be informed by an emphasis on independent study and critical thinking. In addition, the course aims to develop the key transferable skills required for postgraduate study. These include dissertation preparation, time management and oral and written presentation.


The course consists of six taught modules and a Dissertation module that includes Research Methodologies.

Dissertation and Research Methodologies
This module prepares students for the formal processes of research and writing at M.Phil. level. Classes will cover library use, archival skills, electronic resources, use of Endnote, research skills, note taking, writing and oral presentation and power-point techniques. Students will write a dissertation of approximately 12,000-15,000 words on an approved topic to be supervised by an appropriate member of staff.

In addition, students choose six of the elective modules listed below:

Aesthetics of Digital Cinema
This course traces the history of the development of the digital image with specific reference to its application to filmmaking. We will look at the analogue origins of the digital image and discuss the aesthetic implications of the shift to digital film. Further we will discuss developing models of criticism and their application to the digital cinematic image. We will be drawing examples from Western (Hollywood, Danish, British) cinemas and non-Western (Iranian) cinemas as well as from other outputs, such as YouTube.

Cinema and Ireland

This course will explore the history of Irish cinema from the 1930s to the present. It will also cover such areas as state film production policies, film censorship, and the history of Irish film distribution and exhibition. In addition, it will trace how British and American cinemas have represented Ireland and the Irish, and it will examine representations of political violence, history, gender and the cinema of the Celtic Tiger years, as well as current trends in Irish film production.

Current Trends in European Cinema
This course will look at and examine the changes taking place in cinema in Europe in the latter part of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century. This was a period that saw enormous transformation throughout the continent - both East and West - when the post World War II political dispensation collapsed and Cold War divisions crumbled. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the subsequent overthrow of the remaining Stalinist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe, the emergence of the European Union as a transnational political entity in 1992, and the globalisation of the world economy all impacted on the way in which films were made and the type of themes they explored and topics they tackled.

Cult Cinema
This module will examine a number of films that have acquired 'cult status' for a variety of reasons. It will pay particular attention to the ways in which these films have circulated in popular and academic discourses and the various attempts to identify 'cult' qualities and qualifying practices.

Melodrama
This module will consider a wide range of variations on the ‘melodramatic mode’, including examples from early cinema, classical Hollywood cinema, as well as current American and European cinema.Â

Editing
This module will introduce students to the craft of editing, giving students an understanding of the essential technical and creative skills involved: how a scene is assembled and seamlessly put together, cutting dialogue, creating tension and drama using editing, using pacing, editing to rhythm, cutting to music and beats. It will also provide students with a through knowledge of the editing software, Final Cut Pro X, covering all aspects of the software, from capture and system-settings, editing tools and shortcuts, to effects, transitions and colour correction. The overall aim is to give students the knowledge, tools and confidence to complete their own work to a professional standard.

Creative Documentary Practice
The aim of this module is expose students to the possibilities of creative documentary film making with a strong emphasis on learning thorough practical application. The module will take a critical look at current practices in the genre with an emphasis both on the techniques of documentary filmmaking and the practicalities of how films are made.

Screenwriting
This module will introduce students to the techniques and conventions of screenwriting. Class exercises will involve the analysis of screenplays and short films, and the course will cover both the conventional three-act structure and other models of screenwriting.

Please note: all modules are subject to change and/or availability. Students must take three modules in Michaelmas term and three modules in Hilary term, subject to timetabling.

Assessment is by a combination of coursework and dissertation:

Each module will be assessed by a combination of written and/or practice based assignments as appropriate and class participation. Total ECTS: 60
Dissertation of approximately 12,000-15,000 words and Research Methodologies assessment. Total ECTS: 30
Postgraduate Diploma

A Postgraduate Diploma in Film Theory and History may be awarded in certain circumstances on the basis of coursework alone (60 ECTS). Entry is the same as for the M.Phil. programme.

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a good honours degree of upper second class (2.1) or above, or an equivalent qualification, in a related or relevant area. The deadline for applications to the 2014-15 programme is June 30th 2014. Applications from serious candidates may be considered after this date.

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Recipient: Trinity College Dublin
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