Screen Studies - MA

Full Time, Part Time, Distance Learning
September 2016
£6,500 for UK/EU Full Time 2016 entry (view all fees)

Our MA Screen Studies explores popular film, TV and web genres, giving you the chance to examine these subjects in an academically rigorous and thought-provoking way.

It is ideal if you are keen to develop a career in education or screen media, including production, distribution, curation and archiving. And because it combines research and practice-based learning, it encourages you to think and work in a critical and reflective way, making a solid foundation should you wish to continue your studies to PhD level.

This is a relatively new course and is designed to be flexible, to fit the career aspirations of recent graduates as well as mid-career professionals. It is available as a campus-based degree on a full-time or part-time basis, and as a distance-learning course.

View course page

Screen Studies with Production
See our new course that combines in-depth theory and practice.

As the home to festivals such as Flatpack Film Festival, Birmingham Comedy Festival and Cine-Excess, and to a range of exciting screen spaces, including BBC Birmingham, The Electric Cinema, The MAC and Everyman at the Mailbox, Birmingham is a superb city in which to study this culturally vibrant subject.

Last chance to apply

The 2016/17 academic year will see the final intake of new students for this course, so get in quick if you want to apply.

Want to study in 2017/18?

You may want to check out this similar course which will be available to start in 2017/18:

What's covered in the course?

You’ll study three modules in depth –Screen Cultures 1: Debates, Forms and Practices, Preserving the (Un)Popular, Screen Cultures 2: Theory into Practice– plus research methods, which will prepare you for your final dissertation, an original academic work on a subject of interest to you.

You will be supported throughout your studies with guided reading, lectures and workshops, guest lectures, and you will also have the opportunity to become involved in live academic research projects. You’ll have live briefs from industry and the chance to gain professional experience through work placements.

If you are campus based, you’ll also have access to short training courses in audiovisual production and in the use of equipment at our state-of-the-art studios.

Throughout this course, you’ll learn from academics who are leading exponents in their field. These include Associate Professor John Mercer, Dr Inger-Lise Kalviknes Bore, Dr Oliver Carter and Associate Professor Xavier Mendik.

Why Choose Us?

  • You’ll be taught and mentored by tutors with research strengths in cult film, melodrama, pornography, comedy and fandom, across different national contexts.
  • We maintain strong industry links to accredited cult archives, comedy providers and internationally renowned festivals.
  • You’ll focus on personal and professional development planning throughout the course.
  • We have a thriving community of graduate students who present their work at conferences and develop it for publication.
  • You’ll be a member of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, which will enable you to participate in weekly research seminars with presentations by guest speakers, faculty staff and postgraduates.
  • You are encouraged to attend conferences, masterclasses and industry-focused events in the faculty.
Visit our open day

Postgraduate Open Day

Our next Postgraduate Open Day will be on Wednesday 23 November, between 2pm and 7pm. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

Birmingham School of Media

Discover the Birmingham School of Media

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

New £10,000 postgraduate loans

You may be able to take advantage of the government’s plans to make loans of up to £10,000 available for postgraduate study.

More about postgraduate loans

Entry Requirements

UK students

Anyone undertaking this course must possess an upper second class bachelors degree or higher in a relevant subject area.

Previous study in Film, Media and or Cultural Studies or professional experience would be an advantage.

We particularly welcome non-traditional applications, particularly from applicants with some professional or production experience. We therefore accredit prior experiential learning.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £6,500
PT 2 years £3,250 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
DL 2 years part time £3,250 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
MA Sep 2016 FT 1 year £12,000
PT 2 years £6,000 per year
DL 1 year full time £6,500
DL 2 years part time £6,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible postgraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Did you know that you will soon be able to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 for some courses and options?

Postgraduate loans


Screen Cultures 1: Debates, Forms and Practices
30 credits

In this module, you’ll study affect and emotions, gender and genre, melodrama, horror, porn, the carnivalesque, masculinity as spectacle, sex and sexuality, and the return of the repressed. You’ll agree your assessment with your tutor.

Preserving the (Un)popular
30 credits

This module examines the theorising of heritage; alternative economies of film and television heritage; film restoration in the age of digital reproduction; political economy of film and television heritage; cult film heritage; preserving popular television; discourses of preservation and restoration; intellectual property. You have three options for assessment in this module: undertake a practice-based project that explores the preservation or restoration of a specific text; complete a research report that explores a specific issue relating to film and television heritage; or propose a film and television heritage project.

Screen Cultures 2: Theory into Practice
30 credits

You’ll study comedy industries, comedic genres, comedic performance, comedy critics, comedy audiences, comedy across borders, and transgressive comedy. To pass this module you’ll produce a piece of work that is either comedic in itself or that is part of the processes of production, distribution, promotion or media coverage of comedy. You’ll reflect critically on the relationship between research and practice in this work.

Research Methods
30 credits

This module teaches you the approaches to critical analyses that will help you contribute to the scholarly research in your industry.

MA by Dissertation
60 credits

You will be expected to complete a significant piece of original academic work on a subject of your choosing, which has been agreed by your course tutor. This will be the culmination of your independent research.

Our MA Screen Studies course is an innovative and rigorous programme that engages with theory though reading, discussion, academic research and practice.

There are no exams on this course but you’ll complete academically challenging modules and a high-quality dissertation.

As well as four hours’ tutorial time a week, you will receive additional support from our postgraduate skills development programme to ensure you have everything you need to succeed on the course.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend and present work at research events in the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research.

Distance learners access learning resources online and have weekly individual tutorials via platforms such as Skype or FaceTime.

Further Study

If you are interested in continuing your studies with a research degree (MPhil or PhD), talk to your course tutor, who will advise you on next steps.

Enhancing employability skills

Our course is designed to provide you with the rigorous academic understanding that you will need to fulfil a demanding career in the creative sector.

We teach highly valued transferrable skills in addition to providing solid academic grounding and practical skills in real-world application.

In addition to developing your core knowledge and gaining a highly respected qualification in an academically rigorous subject, you’ll be able to demonstrate that you can work both independently and in a team to produce innovative commercial ideas, policy proposals and screen industry strategies.

You’ll also be able to demonstrate high levels of evaluation and analytical skills, which will give you the edge over other graduates.

During the course, one of our students secured employment as an assistant lecturer in Student Engagement, while another has been promoted to film programmer for a European film festival.


There are opportunities to undertake short work placements as part of this course that are relevant to your professional practice and interests.

More about our placement opportunities...


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

Our four broadcast-standard edit suites are based on the industry-standard Avid editing system, used in almost all films and the majority of UK television. Two of the suites are specialised for Audio Finishing and Colour Grading. Our six digital radio studios are all linked an equipped with the best news and production software.

You will have access to our full broadcast-standard dubbing suites, which are based on a multi-layered ProTools desk and can dub both film and TV with up to 120 simultaneous sound sources. We also have an ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording) booth and the ability to record Foley (additional live sound).

The Parkside Building

The Parkside Building has been designed to maximise light and encourage collaboration between artists and students. It is the perfect setting for the workshops and teaching spaces of our design courses, as well as the state-of-the-art media centre for the advanced teaching facilities of Birmingham School of Media.

All this ensures that The Parkside Building offers a first class learning environment and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Dr John Mercer

Reader in Gender and Sexuality

John Mercer, an Associate Professor in Gender and Sexuality and published author, has written books on melodrama and Rock Hudson, and has a forthcoming title on porn. He is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies and is one of the editorial founders of the journal Porn Studies.

Dr Oliver Carter

Lecturer in Media and Cultural Theory

Dr Oliver Carter is a senior lecturer who is both a fan and researcher of Euro-Cult cinema. His doctoral thesis, Making European cult cinema: fan production in an alternative economy, is to be published by Amsterdam University Press. He has also carried out research into fantrepreneurship, online file-sharing communities, fan filmmaking, the British hardcore pornography industry, radio documentary and media education.

Dr Inger-Lise Kalviknes Bore

Lecturer in Media and Cultural Theory

Dr Inger-Lise Kalviknes Bore is a senior lecturer whose expertise lies in screen comedy, screen audiences and fandom. She is currently writing a book – Screen Comedy and Online Audiences (Routledge).

Dr Xavier Mendik

Associate Professor in Film

Xavier is Associate Professor in Film and Director of Postgraduate Studies for Birmingham School of Media, from which he runs the Cine-Excess International Film Festival.

He has written extensively on cult and horror film traditions, and his publications (as author/editor/co-editor) include Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress: The Golden Age of Italian Cult Film 1970-1985 (2015), Peep Shows: Cult Film and the Cine-Erotic (2012), 100 Cult Films (with Ernest Mathijs, 2011), The Cult Film Reader (with Ernest Mathijs, 2008), Alternative Europe: Eurotrash and Exploitation Cinema Since 1945 (with Ernest Mathijs, 2004), Shocking Cinema of the Seventies (2004), Underground USA: Filmmaking Beyond the Hollywood Canon (2002), Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (2000) and Unruly Pleasures: The Cult Film and its Critics (2000).

He is currently preparing the new feature-length documentary That’s La Morte: Italian Sex and Death Cinema of the 1970s, as well as working on a new collection entitled Shockers, co-edited with Julian Petley.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295