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Five reasons to study for a film degree

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The film industry is an exciting, dynamic, and fast-paced place to work, full of creative people who are passionate about what they do – and you could be part of it. But how do you get into the film industry?

One way to start your journey on this career path is to study for a film degree at university. We’re biased, but we think a great place to do this would be right here at the University of Sunderland. Here’s why:

1. Choose from film production or film theory

Whether you’re interested in film production or film theory, we have a course for you. Our film degrees are highly regarded; our Film Production and Photography courses are 1st in the UK and our Media and Film Studies courses are 11th in the UK (Guardian University Guide, 2023), so you can be sure of teaching excellence, whichever route you choose.

BA (Hons) Film Production is the course for you if you’re passionate about film and have dreams of working in the industry as a producer, director, cinematographer, editor, or other similar role. You’ll explore and develop practical skills in screenwriting, producing, directing, camera, lighting, sound and editing, using the latest production equipment. Work on projects including short films, documentaries, and high-end videos, as well as your final major project – a piece of media work in a genre of your choice.

If your interests lie more in theory and analysis, you may be better suited to BA (Hons) Film and Media. You’ll explore, discuss, and challenge perspectives on film, TV, and other aspects of the media, applying critical thinking and analysis to your theories. Combine theory and academic research with practical skills such as scriptwriting and video production, all while developing key transferable skills, including problem-solving, communication and presentation.

Both courses are based in the David Puttnam Media Centre at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus, where you’ll also have access to...

2. Access to cutting-edge facilities

From day one, you’ll get hands-on with the latest production technology and techniques, including through our new virtual production environment. The 4K-UHD virtual studio is a major investment where you’ll be able to create immersive virtual worlds and film your actors within them.

A film production lecturer stood in front of cameras demonstrating the facilities in the Virtual Production studio

Students working in the TV studio gallery, watching the Virtual Production studio on screens

The studio entered its final phase of installation at the end of 2022, ready for students starting the new semester at the beginning of 2023. Read more about our media facilities and find out how you’ll be using the new virtual production studio on the Film Production course page.

3. Sustainability

As part of our commitment to a sustainable future, the University has recently joined the BAFTA albert education partnership which aims to teach students the importance of creating sustainable content for film and TV. You could be one of the first students to benefit from this partnership, learning about climate change and the global impact this has, the environmental impact of the film and TV industries, sustainable production practices, and how to create new content that has a strategic environmental purpose.

To complement your sustainable learning, we’re also making our studios more environmentally friendly by investing in new equipment, such as LED studio lights.

A close up of LED studio lights in the TV studio

4. Extracurricular activities

As well as fantastic teaching on campus, we also offer great opportunities such as organised field trips and our CineClub. These activities are a great way of enriching your learning while you socialise with other students on your course.

The inside of the Literary and Philosophical Society LibraryThe Literary and Philosophical Society Library in Newcastle, one of the locations we visit on our field trips

5. Launch your career in the film industry

If you study your film degree at Sunderland, you’ll be well prepared for a career in the film industry upon graduation.

The strong practical experience you’ll have gained in the studio means you can go straight onto any film or TV set and start work confidently and competently, impressing employers with your skills and expertise. You’ll also have the experience of working on live briefs for clients through your practice modules, as well as relevant work experience that we’ll encourage you to gain while you study. We’ll introduce you to our top industry contacts who are professionals in their fields, including film makers, camera operators, and scriptwriters, so you can build your network from day one.

Our Film Production graduates have gone on to work as freelance crew on film sets and TV shows, in a variety of roles including director, producer, editor, production manager, cinematographer, foley artist, sound recordist and script supervisor. Employers of our graduates include the BBC, ITV, Pinewood Studios and a huge variety of independent production companies. Many have even set up their own production companies so they can take on freelance projects while dedicating their time to creating their own work.

If you study Film and Media, your transferable skills will open up roles in teaching, consultancy, production, marketing, PR, advertising and research. Recent graduates have gained employment with the BBC, Channel 4, MTV, The Guardian, and regional newspapers and PR companies. Karis King chose to follow the research route, after she discovered her love of film analysis during her studies. She says, “In my final year, I was encouraged by my wonderful lecturers to apply for a PhD studentship with the prestigious NINE DTP. My proposal was accepted, and I was offered a full 1+3 studentship, which includes a fully funded masters degree and PhD!”

If you want to gain more training and expertise before entering the industry, you could choose to study our Media Production (Film and TV) MA course, which has been awarded the ScreenSkills Select accreditation.

Find out more

Join us at our next Open Day to learn more about studying film and to see our amazing facilities for yourself.

Published: 20 February 2023