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Film Studies - Theory History Practice (M.Phil.)

1 Year Full Time

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Course Details

The course is a unique opportunity to embark upon a detailed investigation into the intellectual currents and aesthetic concerns surrounding the study and practice of film and digital media. From the outset, questions of history, theory and context are brought to bear on issues of close analysis and interpretation. Modules in Screenwriting, Creative Documentary Practice and Editing allow students to balance film theory and history with practice. At every step of the way your progress will be informed by an emphasis on independent study and critical thinking. In addition, the course aims to develop the key transferable skills required for postgraduate study. These include dissertation preparation, time management, and oral and written presentation.


Course Structure

Students take six taught modules and a Dissertation module that includes Research Methodologies.

Dissertation and Research Methodologies (30 credits)

This module prepares students for the formal processes of research and writing at M.Phil. level. Classes will cover library use, archival skills, electronic resources, use of Endnote, research skills, note taking, writing and oral presentation and power-point techniques. Students will write a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words on an approved topic to be supervised by an appropriate member of staff.


Dissertation with Practice and Research Methodologies (30 credits)

As an alternative method of presenting your research, you may complete a dissertation with practice. Students will have the opportunity to submit a proposal to make a film or films, write a screenplay, or create a video essay as part of their final dissertation. Successful applicants will accompany this with a written component of 8,000-10,000 words that will offer a critical perspective on their practice. Acceptance on this strand will depend on demonstration of the appropriate critical and practical skills and will be decided by a committee during Michaelmas Semester.


Elective modules

Critical Approaches to Cinema (10 credits)

This module will consider key critical approaches to the study of cinema. We will discuss debates around the organisation of editing, film style and mise-en-scène, as well as issues around gender, genre and authorship. We will consider how the medium has been used creatively and approached critically at different times in its development.

Cinema and Ireland (10 credits)

This module will examine and analyse the industrial developments, international influences and local productions relating to Irish cinema from The Quiet Man to the Celtic Tiger period and its aftermath. We will consider funding opportunities, specifically in relation to the Irish Film Board, and the consequences of the growth of digital filmmaking during this time. We will discuss changes in gender representation and the representation of race. We will further cover the evolving relationship between the city and the country, and cinema and history. Classes also will cover the legacy of the Troubles and the auteur cinemas of Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan and Lenny Abrahamson.

Current Trends in World Cinemas (10 credits)

This module explores the development of world cinema with particular reference to films from the last twenty years. Including examples from the Middle East, Asia, Australia and South America, the module will explore the historical development of film-making with reference to specific national and cultural identity. With reference to the manner that cinema is a powerfully ideological medium, the module will examine how film is used to express marginalized political positions, specifically through the work of female Middle Eastern directors.

Current Trends in European Cinemas (10 credits)

This module will examine the development of European cinema in the context of the radical upheavals that have recently transformed the continent. European national cinemas have a long and successful tradition. However, the idea of 'national' cinema is challenged by the transnational production models that facilitate contemporary filmmaking in Europe. At the same time, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, new European national identities are being formed and expressed through cinema. These dichotomies, their outcomes, and the history of European cinema will be considered through films from the past twenty years.

Digital Storyworlds (10 credits)

Digital Storyworlds examines and analyses the created universes in which transmedia narratives are set across different platforms. These transmedia, interconnected narratives can be fiction, non-fiction or a combination of the two. In this module, students will explore the structures of transmedia narratives and begin to understand how to develop and create their own storyworld within which real or imagined objects, individuals, events, and research can co-exist to “tell” a story.

Editing (10 credits)

This module will introduce students to the craft of editing, giving students an understanding of the essential technical and creative skills involved: how a scene is assembled and seamlessly put together, cutting dialogue, creating tension and drama using editing, using pacing, editing to rhythm, cutting to music and beats. It will also provide students with a thorough knowledge of the editing software, Final Cut Pro X, covering all aspects of the software, from capture and system-settings, editing tools and shortcuts, to effects, transitions and colour correction. The overall aim is to give students the knowledge, tools and confidence to complete their own work to a professional standard.

Creative Documentary Practice (10 credits)

The aim of this module is expose students to the possibilities of creative documentary film making with a strong emphasis on learning thorough practical application. The module will take a critical look at current practices in the genre with an emphasis both on the techniques of documentary filmmaking and the practicalities of how films are made.

Screenwriting (10 credits)

This module will introduce students to the techniques and conventions of screenwriting. Class exercises will involve the analysis of screenplays and short films, and the module will cover both the conventional three-act structure and other models of screenwriting.


Please note: all modules are subject to change and/or availability. Students must take three modules in Michaelmas term and three modules in Hilary term, subject to timetabling.



The Constantia Maxwell Bursary for Postgraduate Taught Courses (2017-18 intake)

The School of Creative Arts is pleased to announce that we will be awarding one €5,000 bursary to the top ranked applicant to our MPhil in Film Studies: Theory, History, Practice, the MPhil in Theatre and Performance and the MPhil in Music Composition. Applicants will be ranked on the basis of previous academic qualifications, the quality of their supporting application, their letters of reference, and their potential for higher level research.

Existing applicants should indicate to the MPhil co-ordinator whether they would like to be considered for this bursary.

All applications for these courses and this bursary must be received by 30th June 2017.

For further details, please contact the Director of Postgraduate Teaching and Learning, Dr. Ruth Barton .

Course Options

1 Year Full Time

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Next Intake

September 2017

Closing Date

31st July 2017

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirement for consideration is a good honours degree of upper second class (2.1) or above, or an equivalent qualification, in a related or relevant area. All candidates who require an IELTS qualification must achieve a minimum score of 7.0 in all categories. Candidates may be asked to submit a sample of written work and may be interviewed by Skype or in person. Applications should be made online by the 30th June 2017. Applications from serious candidates may be considered after this date.



To apply, click on the relevant Apply Link below

Next Intake

September 2017

Closing Date

31st July 2017