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Course starts: 18 September 2023Apply now
Love film and all aspects of media?
Gain personal professional, academic and production skills from studying film and media theory alongside practical-based modules in film production. You can do a research-based placement, write a script, or produce video essays. You’ll cover the historical contexts and contemporary debates in film, media and culture and explore the relationships between film and media content and real-world impact.
You’ll work with established research-active academics at the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies and study alongside scriptwriters, film makers, and media practitioners. Share, discuss, challenge and explore your passion for film, TV and other aspects of the media with like-minded people.
Get involved with extracurricular activities, including:
In the first year – the foundation year – you will study five modules: a module about the foundations of humanities, journalism and media theory, an essential study skills module, a foundation project module, practical numeracy skills, and a multimedia communications module or a new century module depending on your degree choice. After completion of this foundation year, you will then move onto the Film and Media honours degree course.
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work and e-learning. We encourage you to develop independent study skills.
As well as assessments that count towards your degree, there are also ongoing assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include essays, reports, written coursework, projects, presentations and exams.
The English, Journalism and Media Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:
Depending on the degree you wish to study after the Foundation Year, you will also take one of the following modules:
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Understanding Media and Culture (20 credits)
Develop a critical understanding of the role and importance of media and culture in contemporary life. Gain knowledge of the historical development of the modern media landscape and culture industries and develop analytical and evaluative skills through examining media texts and cultural practices. Finish the module with skills of analysis, academic argument and understanding the operations of power.
Discover the concepts, theories, methods and approaches that have shaped the discipline of Film Studies. Develop skills in hands-on film analysis, of a wide range of films: how to analyse a shot, editing techniques, narrative structures, relationships between image and sound and so on.
Explore cinema’s development throughout the twentieth century and beyond, tracing the major changes that have taken place within the film industry itself and the medium’s expanding cultural significance as it evolved from peep show to mass entertainment form. Examine the distinctiveness of early cinema before moving on to consider the shift to a more industrial, narrative-based approach to filmmaking. Consider the growing dominance of the American film industry (artistically and economically) alongside other important advances and points of resistance in world cinema. Analyse some of the underlying patterns and continuities that are a feature of the medium’s history.
Explore some of the major developments within narrative feature films from around the world, including North America, UK, and Europe, examining the ways in which different countries are exploiting technical advances in filmmaking. Look at the institutional contexts of various international cinemas including the organisation of the industry, their major genres and stars, defining stylistic characteristics and leading exponents, highlighting works that have proved successful within the international arena.
Learn the key skills of storytelling through workshops on narratives and formats and use those skills to inform your work and your professional development. Work on the production of an independently written short script as well as a treatment and pitch. Learn how to develop an idea through to treatment stage, and finally into scripts suitable for short films, TV/streaming service, radio, or podcast. Cover genre, narrative structure, plot lines and character development and learn how to format a script for various forms. Develop your critical awareness in relation to your own work and that of others and develop your analytical skills and understanding of conceptual issues in relation to scriptwriting and the finished product.
Gain an introduction to the procedures and techniques of single camera video production. Learn the technical practices and creative skills required to produce a video. Originate, develop, script, shoot and edit a production of three minutes in length, working in a production crew.
Interrogating Factual Media (20 credits)
Develop a critical understanding of the role and importance of fact-based media output across multiple platforms, from broadcast content to diverse internet-based publishers. Gain analytical and evaluative skills through analyses of media discourses impacting upon public knowledge and the effective functioning of democracy while exploring a range of relevant contemporary topics and theories. Complete the module with a robust understanding of the interplay between the construction of media messaging, their communicative value and effectiveness, and the public’s response.
Engage in an in-depth analysis of the major areas of film theory and criticism and gain a heightened capacity for critical thinking and an ability to analyse film ‘texts'. Focus on recent and contemporary film theories such as feminism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and post-structuralism.
Explore geopolitical and geocultural identities and landscapes as they appear on global screens. Use a range of theoretical approaches to critically examine notions of nationhood, as well as more localised presentations of socio-political selfhood. Assess terms such as ‘world’, ‘global’ or ‘third’ cinema as critical categories. Explore topics that will encourage critical engagement with a culturally diverse range of production styles and topics as well theoretical perspectives.
Examine a range of different approaches to studying the social significance of films from the USA and Europe in the late 20th and into the 21st century. Watching screenings of films and learn about contextualising these with reference to such things as the conditions of production, historical and social factors pertaining at the time the film was made and released, critical reception and subsequent readings, interpretations and writings about the films by commentators and historians. Focus on the ways that films can be understood to carry significant social meanings and reveal key aspects of social history, such as the way in which societies have been demarcated by inequalities of class, race, gender, sexuality and ethnicity or how film has been used to articulate and, in some cases, challenge these inequalities.
Researching Media in Theory and Practice (20 credits)
Develop a critical understanding of the history and growth of media research and the importance of continuing to examine media use in contemporary life in the midst of rapid technological change. Gain knowledge of media research and ‘hands-on’ research skills through detailed case studies of past research into media use and a practical research project of your own or a placement should you wish to arrange one. Complete the module with a firm grasp of the complex relationships between ordinary media use and the formation of identities, beliefs and practices and gain useful, practical research and problem-solving skills.
Understand the concepts and techniques employed in writing drama or comedy suitable for television or steaming service such as Netflix or Amazon. Learn how to develop an idea through the treatment stage, and finally into a script.
Develop your video production skills and gain an introduction to the procedures and techniques needed to produce and self-shoot a short form video for a unique consumer. Examine how broadcasters and content marketing industries are using these elements to engage audiences in social spaces.
Ready Player One: Operating within the Streaming Industry (20 credits)
Develop both a practical and critical understanding of one of the fastest growing media sectors in the 21st century: the livestreaming economy. Research the live streaming economy and create content for a unique product through a variety of pre-recorded and live stream videos. Complete the module with an understanding of the importance of the relationships between content creator and intended audience, effective branding and planning, as well as a critical awareness of ethical practices and broadcast regulations.
Devise, develop and deliver a short documentary in groups. Analyse the documentary form and further develop production skills such as planning, organisation, production management, camera, lighting, sound, digital workflow, and post-production techniques.
Undertake a piece of independent-led work, the content of which will vary from student to student and will be based on theoretical or empirical approaches, or a combination of these. Complete the module with a specialist understanding of your chosen area of research.
Develop a critical understanding of the industrial links between Advertising and Branding and Quality Television Drama (and many other types of media) in terms of their historical development and production. Gain analytical and evaluative skills by examining the current issues and debates about the impact of media on society. Finish the module with a robust knowledge of the intertwined concerns of creating content, creating profit and the necessity for analysis of media output and industrial systems to maintain a healthy, democratic society.
Explore what makes watching films such a compelling emotional experience and how such experiences affect interpretations of key ideological discourses. Focus on the role played by music, performance and genre in the evocation of emotion on screen. Examine how texts encourage audience identification and empathy, especially in films dealing with sensitive, or contentious topics. Consider the emotional power of all media texts and recognise feeling as a vital part of the overall fabric of our experience of watching and listening.
Popular Music Cultures (20 credits)
Chart the historical evolution of key popular musical genres and the cultures they both reflect and sustain. Focus primarily upon two of the largest markets that produced and shaped mainstream popular music since the 1950s, namely the US and the UK, but the success and impact of musicians from outside of these regions will also form the basis of analysis. Cover topics spanning multiple genres including rock, reggae, punk, rap, and dance music and explore the socio-political dimensions of the music. Produce two feature articles for an online music publication as part of your assessment alongside an end of module essay.
Examine the historical roots of the science fiction, horror and fantasy genres, from its literary origins, through to its subsequent appearance on radio, film and more specifically television. Explore several key theoretical approaches to the study of the genre, including fan cultures, representation and dystopian/utopian futures. Cover a chronological overview of the genres, from the 1950s to the present day, exploring British and American science fiction and fantasy television.
Film Studies Special Topic (20 credits)
Focus on a specialist area of film studies, drawing upon the research expertise of the teaching team, for example, ‘A Festival of French Film’, focusing on French Cinema from the 1930s to the present.
Film, Horror and the Body (20 credits)
Chart the emergence of body horror cinema in the late 20th century before proceeding to explore different historical and contemporary examples across a range of international contexts. Consider other filmic forms that feature the body undergoing changes that may be horrific or challenging but yet may not be considered to adhere to the horror genre. Employ ideas from both film studies and cultural studies and address questions of bodily fascination, from puberty and issues related to sexual desire through to explorations of bodily disgust and repulsion.
We don’t currently display entry requirements for United States. Please contact the Student Admin team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 515 3154.
Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.
Eligible entry qualifications:
1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, T Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.
If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.
If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250 if you are from the UK/Ireland/EU settled/pre-settled.
If you are a full-time UK/Irish/EU settled/EU pre-settled student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fees for the full four years. UK and EU settled students may also be eligible to receive a maintenance loan.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
Learn more about settled status, pre-settled status, special discounts, visa requirements and Common Travel Area (CTA) agreements for the Republic of Ireland applicants in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
Build transferable skills and gain experience, to get career ready. Open job opportunities such as teaching, consultancy, TV and film production, new media, marketing and research, PR, advertising and more.
Recent graduates from Sunderland have gained jobs with employers such as BBC (including Radio 1), Channel 4, Sky TV, MTV, The Guardian, I Daniel Blake, Capital North East, regional newspapers and PR companies.
We actively encourage you to gain relevant work experience while at university. In every year of your course, you'll be guided and encouraged to gain meaningful experience that will fit around your studies.
You can choose to undertake a number of practice modules throughout your course, which can include live briefs from clients from outside the University. Get the opportunity to gain production experience with independent production company Fulwell 73 and build up a portfolio of work to show future employers.
Many students get involved in Spark Sunderland, a community radio station based at the University. Students are responsible for all news-gathering, programme production and advertising. Spark has won many awards including four golds at the Student Radio Awards 2012, and holds the Nations and Regions Award for Best Radio Station in the North-East.
Work alongside BBC Newcastle Journalists in our mediaHUB, home to student-run websites covering sport, news, entertainment, fashion and Spark online magazine.
Sunderland's daily newspaper, The Sunderland Echo, has a weekly page called 'On Campus' that is written entirely by students at the University. It’s an opportunity to find and research your own stories, take photographs, meet deadlines and see your name in print.
Throughout the course, we invite guest speakers to run workshops and master classes that allow you to relate your learning to real-life opportunities.
Creative Industries Week gives everyone in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries the opportunity to participate in a range of projects, workshops, talks, industry visits and career events. This exciting week encourages interdisciplinary working, broadens your experience, to build your confidence and help develop your career path.
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