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Research Degrees: M.Litt & Ph.D

Camera angle Apply for Research Degrees in Film Studies

Course Description

Film Studies welcomes applications for doctoral study. We offer supervision in a range of specialist areas. Research topics include: Irish cinema and other national cinemas, auteur studies, aspects of film theory and philosophy, film aesthetics, cinema and gender, Hollywood cinema, avant-garde and experimental cinema, cult cinema, documentary, digital media and screenwriting. Research students are encouraged to engage with the wider academic community through attending the weekly School Research Seminar Series, where research papers are delivered by staff, research students and visiting speakers, as well as attending conferences and presenting papers. In addition, research students meet approximately once a month to exchange ideas and explore common areas of research interest in the M.Litt./Ph.D. Reading Group.

This is a structured PhD programme and all students will take 10 ECTS equivalent of taught modules. You should allow 3-4 years for completion of a PhD. If you are interested in applying for a place on our PhD programme, please submit a proposal of around 2,000-3,000 words in length to Dr. Ruth Barton ( This should include the following information:

  • What is your topic?
  • What specific area will you be discussing?
  • What and how will your thesis add to existing scholarship on the subject?
  • What theoretical model will you be following?
  • Does your proposal contain a practice element?
  • Where are your primary/secondary sources located?
  • How will you fund your studies at Trinity?

You should also supply a detailed filmography and bibliography and your curriculum vitae.
We will consider your application on the basis of your academic record to date and letters of recommendation, the viability of the proposed project, as well as the availability of appropriate supervision within the department. We may at this point ask you to clarify any outstanding issues regarding your proposal. If you would like to discuss your proposal informally with us in advance of a formal application, you are very welcome to do so. Your final application must be made via Trinity College Dublin's Graduate Studies Office.
There are a number of competitive scholarships available from Trinity (details available from the Graduate Studies website), as well as from other agencies. Chinese applicants can apply for a CSC-Trinity joint scholarship programme outlined on the Trinity website. The Department of Film also employs graduate teaching assistants who are paid an hourly rate, and there are travel grants available from the Graduate Studies Office to assist in research. For further information on how to apply please contact Dr. Ruth Barton.


The Master in Letters (M.Litt.) is a Masters Degree by research. The M.Litt. takes two years to complete. A student wishing to apply to undertake an M.Litt. should follow the same application procedures as for a PhD. After 2 years on the M.Litt. register students may apply to transfer to the Ph.D. register should their work be of suitable standard. Regulations for this procedure can be found on the Graduate Studies Website.


Please check for current postgraduate degree fees.


To further research course options, please inspect or contact
The Graduate Studies office is part of the Academic Registry.
Opening Hours: 9.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Telephone: 01 896 4500
The Graduate Studies Office
Academic Registry
Watts Building
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

Admission to study for a research degree in the Department of Film Studies is based upon an applicant's record, research proposal, letters of recommendation, as well as the availability of appropriate supervision within the department.

By thesis.