Film and Cultural Studies MA

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Course starts: 12 October 2020Apply now

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Explore a wide range of films, media and cultural practices, and critical debates. Study films and culture at an advanced level. Focus on areas that you find fascinating while contextualizing your interests within the wider field.

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Develop high level research skills and deepen your knowledge of film and culture by studying with world leading researchers. This course offers an advanced level of engagement with theories and research practices across the interdisciplinary fields of film, media and cultural studies.

In this flexible course you can focus on areas that you find particularly fascinating whilst contextualizing them within this academic field. It includes field trips and industry visits that will bring new insights into cultural industries and cultural practices.

You will benefit from being part of the vibrant research culture of the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies (CRMCS) whose specialisms include: sexual cultures; film and emotion; stardom; everyday-life studies; masculinities; game studies; and cultural participation. Our research events programme brings a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds.

You will refine your powers of analysis, research and communication. These skills are highly valued by employers and will boost your employability.

Why us?

  • Our Media and Film Studies courses are ranked 15th in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • Benefit from attending our research seminar series as part of the course, giving you access to a range of leading researchers from other institutions working in the field of film, media and cultural studies
  • The flexibility of the course encourages you to pursue your own research interests within the wider field of film and cultural studies
  • Research in Communications, Cultural and Media Studies at Sunderland has been described as ‘world-leading’ by the latest Research Excellence Framework
  • Our Mass Communications and Documentation courses, which include MA Film and Cultural Studies, were ranked 1st for Information and 3rd for Overall Satisfaction out of 22 institutions in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019 (PTES)

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.

Course structure

All modules are team taught, drawing on the wide range of research specialisms of our staff. Co-taught with MA Media and Cultural Studies, this MA enables you to contextualize your own work within the wider field of film, media and cultural studies. You will pursue your own specific interests via the choice of assignment questions on the taught modules and through negotiation of topics in the Special Topic and Dissertation modules.

On this flexible course our students have produced work on a wide range of topics, with methods ranging from textual analysis to audience study and ethnography. Previous dissertation topics have included: An Oral History of Cinemagoing in Sunderland; National Identity in New Zealand Cinema; Mise en scene, characterization and emotional resonance in Pixar’s Wall-E; The Films of Makoto Shinkai; Tinder dating; Horror in Children’s Media; Mediated Nostalgia and Escapism in Video Games.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which may include lectures, seminars, field trips, critiques. workshops and supervision. Via the CRMCS research events programme these are supported by a range of guest speakers form diverse academic and industry backgrounds.

Assessment methods include essays, projects, presentations, and a dissertation.

Modules on this course:

  • Engaging with Theory: Key Thinkers, Writings and Concepts (30 credits)
  • Consumption in Everyday Life (30 credits)
  • Research Methods in Film, Media and Cultural Studies (30 credits)
  • Independent Study Topic in Film/Media and Cultural Studies (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

You will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained up to this point.

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

More about MA Film and Cultural Studies at Sunderland

Discover more articles
  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for Journalism and Media studies include:

    • Lexis, which provides full-text newspaper articles as well as access to legal information
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopaedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Library Services - journalism and media
  • We have four journalism suites, each with Apple Mac workstations with industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS.

    Our mediaHUB, a bustling newsroom and home to a team of BBC Newcastle journalists, is responsible for our suite of websites and provides a variety of experiences. Made in Tyne & Wear are just downstairs, offering placements to students and jobs to several of our graduates. 

    Learn in our 203-seat cinema and 7.1 surround sound facility. Access two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities and equipment such as Steadicam rigs, track and mini crane.

    Go on-air in one of five radio studios, including a larger radio drama studio and a transmission suite for Spark, our award winning student-run community radio station.

    Media facilities
  • The mediaHUB is a bustling multimedia newsroom on the top floor of our David Puttnam Media Centre where you will get a real taste of life as a working journalist.

    BBC Newcastle have a team of journalists based here, and they are joined by visiting journalists from organisations such as Trinity Mirror (Newcastle Chronicle, Journal) and Johnston Press (Sunderland Echo).

    The mediaHUB runs websites covering sport, news, entertainments and fashion, provides the content for news bulletins on our award-winning radio station Spark, and is responsible for writing and editing Spark magazine.

    The ground-breaking workspace is designed to be a professional environment and even has a cloud filled sky line, funky colour scheme and a shed for a meeting room. It includes plenty of workstations each with industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS, and a Sky feed with two 40” plasma screens. The whole space is managed by an ex-Sky Journalist, who is on hand, with her team to point you in the right direction.

    The mediaHUB
  • Map and directions


Our David Puttnam Media Centre is home to the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies (CRMCS), which engages in world-leading research, as well as hosting international visiting scholars, conferences, external speakers and an international refereed research journal, Sexualities.

It's a thriving place to study and experience film, culture and media, with lots of extra curricular opportunities. Join our popular Cineclub. Ponder ideas with the postgraduate reading group.  Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle and Made in Tyne & Wear, who are both based in the building. Volunteer with award winning Spark Sunderland, write for one of our suite of websites or edit Spark Magazine in our mediaHUB.  

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a related discipline. We will also consider applications from those who hold a 2:2 honours degree.

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS (or equivalent) score of at least 7.0.

Fees and finance

The annual, full-time fee for this course is:

  • £6,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £13,000 if you are an international student

The part-time fee is £375 per 10 credits. Please note part-time study is not available to international applicants.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more 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.

Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for a range of roles in the media and cultural industries.


Throughout the course you will refine your powers of analysis, research and communication. These skills are highly valued by employers and will boost your employability. A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies. The approach of the course, with its emphasis on supported independent research, is excellent preparation if you are thinking of continuing on to PhD level.

Our graduates are employed in a wide variety of fields including evaluation research, education, digital marketing, and freelance creative arts, as well as going on to undertake further study in areas such as teacher training and PhD research.


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