Film Studies MA (Hons)
2017 entry

The MA (Hons) in Film Studies offers a comprehensive study of global film cultures. Engaging the cultural, industrial and institutional contexts of global cinema, as well as analytical, media historical, political and phenomenological approaches to film scholarship, you will emerge with a powerful and relevant set of scholarly tools. Students critically examine the history of film and related media in their artistic, documentary and non-theatrical variants, from the pre-cinematic to the digital, looking at a diverse range of topics from stars to media activism, and from archives to film festivals. 

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

UCAS code


Course type

Master of Arts (single Honours degree)

Course duration

Four years full time

Entry requirements

SQA Highers AABB
GCE A-Levels AAB
IB points 35

For degrees combining more than one subject, the subject with the higher entry requirements determines the grades you need. You will also need to meet any further subject specific entrance requirements as outlined on their pages.

Find out more about international entry requirements.

Applications for 2017 entry for this course have now closed, see which courses are available for the upcoming academic year.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

No previous knowledge of this subject is required.

Faculty entry requirements

You must also meet the Faculty of Arts minimum qualifications. These vary depending on which qualifications you hold.  

Other qualifications

Passes in other examinations at equivalent levels and subjects may be accepted by the Dean of the Faculty.

Find out more about Faculty of Arts entry requirements.

Course information

The MA (Hons) in Film Studies is a four-year course run by the Department of Film Studies. In the first two years, students are introduced to the key concepts, theories and methodologies of Film Studies as well as a variety of methodological and theoretical frameworks for the historical study of cinema and the visual media. This lays the foundation for more specialised and increasingly challenging modules offered at Honours level.

The Honours syllabus reflects the research expertise of teaching staff, who are in many cases pre-eminent scholars in the field. Students work closely with the teaching staff, developing excellent intellectual, writing and research skills that are useful in a wide variety of professions.

Specialist subjects you may be able to take include:

  • world cinemas and global genres (science fiction, crime film, etc)
  • film, human rights and activism
  • queer theory and gender identity
  • sensory cinema
  • colonial cinema
  • film and media history
  • film sound
  • stars
  • cinema in the digital era
  • film festivals.

Find out more about studying Film Studies at St Andrews.


In the first two years of your degree (known as sub-honours) you will take the required modules in Film Studies alongside modules in at least one other subject.

Typically, you will take one Film Studies module per semester during your first two years, and two modules per semester during your third and fourth year (known as Honours). Find out more about the modular Scottish degree system.

Students will take the following compulsory first-year modules:

Students will take the following compulsory second-year modules:

  • Modern World Cinemas: introduces significant cinematic developments across the second half of the 20th century, providing exposure to the work of some of the most significant cineastes in the world.
  • Film Culture, Theory, Entertainment: explores a range of political, philosophical and cultural approaches to the cinema, centring on the key insights and breakthrough critical ideas that have informed the study of film and its role in society.

If you decide to take Film Studies in your third and fourth years, you choose from a wide variety of advanced module options. These range from film theories covering gender, national and transnational, and philosophical approaches to particular topics such as war and cinema, cinemas of India, and the European science fiction film. Students are encouraged to choose and develop their own specialisms and interests within the discipline of Film Studies.

Modules available will reflect current staff specialisms and therefore may vary year to year. Here is a sample of Honours modules which have been offered in previous years:

  • Modernity and the Moving Image
  • Film and Fashion
  • Film Sound
  • Images and Impact: Uses of Film
  • British Cinemas: Conventions, Subversions, and Outsiders.

In fourth year, students also undertake a 10,000-word dissertation on an advanced topic in Film Studies. This independent project enables you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees.

The modules listed here are the compulsory modules that students must take in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. A full list of all modules currently available can be found in the module catalogue.


Teaching format

Teaching at sub-honours level is delivered primarily through whole-class lectures (100 to 200 students), screenings and small group tutorials (5 to 10 students). Most teaching on film takes place in a lecture theatre equipped for the evening film screenings that accompany lectures.

Lectures are given by all members of the Department, enabling students to hear academics at the cutting edge of the discipline. Students receive the best and latest ideas and material to research and evaluate. Tutorials are an opportunity for students to discuss and develop their thinking in a small and friendly atmosphere, guided by a professional expert.  

Extensive use is made of the University’s specialist library resources, including one of the best collections of international cinema on DVD, holding over 9,300 AV materials and including some extremely rare films and holdings.

Teaching at Honours level moves away from large group lecturing. Class sizes vary between modules, but students typically meet in groups of about 5 to 14 students for longer classes in which they are expected to participate fully.  

In addition to lectures and tutorials, students are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom.


All sub-honours modules are assessed by a balance of coursework and written examinations held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand. Coursework includes:

  • research essays
  • class presentations
  • source analysis.

At Honours level, the modules are entirely assessed on the basis of coursework.

The Department provides feedback on every assessment, with a view to improving your performance in future.


Tuition fees for 2017 entry

Scotland and EU £1,820
Rest of the UK £9,250
Overseas £20,570

For overseas students, tuition fees will be fixed at this level for the duration of your programme.

More information on tuition fees can be found on the undergraduate fees and funding page.

Accommodation fees

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation in 2017.

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Faculty of Arts scholarships

The Dr Lawrence M Wodehouse Scholarship provide financial assistance for students studying in the Faculty of Arts who are academically gifted but would otherwise struggle with the cost of studying at St Andrews.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships.

Joint Honours Degrees

You can take Film Studies as part of a joint Honours degree alongside one of the following subjects:

  • Ancient History
  • Arabic
  • Art History
  • Biblical Studies
  • Classical Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • Economics
  • English
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • International Relations
  • Italian
  • Modern History
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Russian
  • Scottish History
  • Social Anthropology
  • Spanish
  • Theological Studies

Your future


Film Studies graduates are well placed to compete in today’s job market, having gained an extensive range of skills from written and oral communications to archival research and visual analysis.

A degree in Film Studies from St Andrews will provide an excellent foundation for a wide range of careers as well as for careers directly connected with cinema, such as:

  • film distribution and production
  • arts administration
  • cinema management
  • film festivals
  • advertising and public relations
  • journalism and media
  • publishing
  • education.

A degree in Film Studies will provide you with transferable skills that will equip you for a future career in many sectors. These skills include:

  • time management
  • project planning
  • group work
  • oral and written expression
  • focused research and presentation.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Study abroad

The University is delighted to offer undergraduates a number of exciting opportunities to apply to spend a semester or year abroad as part of a St Andrews degree programme. St Andrews is partnered with large and small institutions, ancient and young, across the globe. What unites all of our programmes is the quality of the academic provision, ensuring that participation in a St Andrews Study abroad programme opens the door to a new and valuable academic experience at another world-class institution. Study Abroad for credit is permitted on existing University-approved programmes only.

Student life

From the outset, the University of St Andrews offers an array of events and opportunities which result in a truly unique student experience. Students participate in a range of traditions, notably, the red academic gown and the academic family, where older students adopt first year students as ‘children’ and help guide them in a system of mentoring. These traditions and the choice of over 150 sports clubs and student societies to choose from ensures a community feel amongst students from first year onwards.

Students of Film Studies may be interested in joining the Film Society that hold weekly film screenings and regular pub nights.

The Department of Film Studies is centrally located in two buildings on North Street. These have been recently refurbished and boast bright office spaces and a well-equipped teaching room, as well as excellent screening equipment. For all Honours and Masters seminars, there are newly refurbished and specially equipped facilities (including 3D projection) at the Byre theatre. Lectures and screenings for the Department of Film Studies take place in the historical heart of the University in School 3, St Salvator’s Quad.

The Department is located next door to the local independent cinema, New Picture House, which screens popular films. Dundee, the closest city, boasts an excellent arthouse cinema at the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre.

The town of St Andrews itself has lots to offer. As the campus is located around town, walking around you encounter ancient and modern buildings and areas of greenery and seaside which provide a rich, beautiful backdrop to learning. If you want a change of scenery, St Andrews' position near surrounding towns and cities such as Anstruther, Dundee and Edinburgh make it ideal for getting to know more about Scotland. Find out more about student life at the University of St Andrews.


Department of Film Studies
University of St Andrews
101a North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AD

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 7473

Film Studies website