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Film: Theory and Practice MA

The Film: Theory and Practice MA will give you a sophisticated understanding of films as systems of meaning and practice.

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Start date(s):

  • September 2023


If you are planning to move into a career in film or related occupations, or to progress to a PhD, this Master's in Film Theory and Practice is for you. It is suitable for students across the globe, and you don’t need a background in film in order to join.

This Master’s will challenge you to develop insights into film as: a crux of modern life, a way to understand specific societies and moments, and a dynamic form of expression in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

The MA Film: Theory and Practice will give you a firm foundation in how to research and analyse film, and in key aspects of film theory and history. It also provides the flexibility to allow you to focus your studies on film practice or film studies.

Film practice options include:

  • an introduction to digital filmmaking
  • screenwriting
  • cinema management, film festivals, exhibition cultures, and marketing

You will benefit from the input of industry professionals and practitioners. BAFTA-nominated, award-winning filmmaker, Tina Gharavi brings a wealth of professional experience to the teaching of screenwriting.

Guest classes and work experience are offered by experts in film production, exhibition, and distribution from partner organisations such as:

  • Sheffield Doc/Fest
  • Bridge+Tunnel
  • Star & Shadow
  • Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival

The study of film has a long history at Newcastle. You will benefit from the expertise of researchers and filmmakers from the:

Our approach to film studies is thoroughly international. Our community of film scholars specialises in East Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, Caribbean, French, and Anglophone cinemas. They have expertise in:

  • film genre
  • film stardom
  • film authorship
  • gender, ethnic, and national identities in cinema
  • film and the environment
  • writing on film
  • documentary film


Important information

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What you'll learn

The course has three foundational modules. 

Screen Aesthetics (semester 1) will provide you with an advanced theoretical vocabulary for understanding and analysing the systems of meaning-making used in films.  

Approaches to Film Theory & History and Researching Film: Skills and Methods run in tandem over semesters 1 and 2. They will equip you with the theoretical concepts, context, and methodological tools you need to investigate cinema as a form, cultural practice, and institution.  

Over semesters 1 and 2, you will select optional modules within the programme and beyond (subject to approval). These will help develop your own areas of interest and expertise in film studies and/ or practice. 

We have a number of optional film studies modules. These will allow you to explore a range of historical periods and national/ transnational cinemas, including North American, British, Latin American, and Chinese cinemas. In film practice, you can enter the worlds of screenwriting, digital filmmaking, or film exhibition and curation.  

In semester 2, you will produce a research proposal and begin to work with a supervisor. By the third semester, you'll be immersed in a project of your own design. This will involve written research and the option of a creative practice component (screenplay or short film). Working with your supervisor, you will finalise your dissertation. 


You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.

How you'll learn

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Your development

Work placements

Work experience opportunities include placements with film festivals, and production companies.

Research skills

You'll join a thriving research culture in film. We lead major international research projects, including the AHRC-funded Chinese Independent Film Network UK and Screening Violence.

The Research Centre for Film organises a diverse range of activities such as:

  • visiting speaker series
  • student or staff-oriented conferences and symposiums
  • film screenings, discussions, and festivals

Your future

Further Study

This Film Theory and Practice MA provides a route into PhD level study.


This Master’s prepares you for a career in film and related occupations.

In the Exhibition Culture and Professional Placement optional modules, we collaborate with a range of local and national film institutions. This provides opportunities for industry networking.

Our Careers Service

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Quality and ranking

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body


If you choose to study digital film production, you will learn to use filmmaking equipment and editing software (Adobe Creative Cloud). You will benefit from editing facilities and technical expertise at Culture Lab.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2023 entry (per year)

What you're paying for

Tuition fees include the costs of:

  • matriculation
  • registration
  • tuition (or supervision)
  • library access
  • examination
  • re-examination
  • graduation

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.

Find out more about:

  • additional costs
  • living costs
  • tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts

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Entry requirements

The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Download our admissions policy (PDF: 201KB)
Other policies related to admissions

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course

How to apply

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Open days and events

You'll have a number of opportunities to meet us throughout the year including:

  • campus tours
  • on-campus open days
  • virtual open days
  • webinars

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Overseas events

We regularly travel overseas to meet with students interested in studying at Newcastle University.

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Get in touch

Questions about this course?

If you have specific questions about this course you can contact:

School of Modern Languages
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5867


For more general enquiries you could also complete our online enquiry form.

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