Film Studies

Staff member? Login here

Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Film Studies
University of Essex
University of Essex
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies
BA W620


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: ABB, including one essay based subject

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655, either must include a Higher Level essay based subject grade 5.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma:15 level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Andrew Birtwistle

Reader in Film and Sound

Canterbury Christ Church University

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  LT121-4-FY-CO  Approaches to Film and Media  Compulsory  30  30 
02  LT122-4-FY-CO  Introduction to Film Production  Compulsory  30  30 
03  LT705-4-SP-CO  The Humanities Graduate: Future Pathways  Compulsory  15  15 
04    LT151-4-AU or Autumn term option from list  Optional  15  15 
05    LT123-4-FY or option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    LT225-5-SP or option from list  Optional  15  15 
02    LT226-5-AU or option from list  Optional  15  15 
03    Film Studies option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    LT221-5-FY or Film Studies option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05    LT221-5-FY or Film Studies option(s)  Optional  30  30 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    LT833-6-FY or LT834-6-FY or LT322-6-PS or LT410-6-FY  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02    Film studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
03    Film studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    Literature or Film studies option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To familiarise students with essential concepts of film form .
  • To enable students to be exposed to a range of filmic texts, informed by social, thematic, formal, and theoretical perspectives .
  • To provide specialised Film Studies modules .
  • To provide students with some experience of film/digital production techniques .
  • To encourage students to work in a scholarly manner in specific fields of investigation .
  • To encourage students to make conceptual links between theoretical and practical work in film .
  • To enhance students career options .
  • To help prepare qualified students' for progression to postgraduate study .
  • To understand the methodology necessary for undertaking a close analysis of a text passage or film extract.
  • To acquire the critical terminology to identify and name the literary devices at work in a text.
  • To work in a small group to prepare a presentation that demonstrates the skills involved in the close reading of an unseen text.
  • To appreciate the relationship between the written and the spoken language.

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: A range of films from different genres and national cinemas

    A2: Specialised topics in Film Studies in greater depth

    A3: Aspects of the significant theoretical, thematic, and formal approaches to Film Studies and the social contexts in which films are made

    A4: Standard terms and concepts employed in film analysis

    A5: More general methods of critical analysis and argument

    A6: Hands-on film/digital production techniques

    Learning methods

    Film theory and criticism: 1-5 are acquired through lectures, classes and assessed coursework (with regular feedback, both oral and written, from tutors).

    Lectures and classes on the first and second year offer surveys of the significant areas covered in the scheme and address the major approaches and issues.

    Weekly film screenings and supervised group discussion in all 3 years cover major periods and address major approaches and issues.

    Year 1 and 2 classes focus in detail on visual textual examples, and give emphasis to student discussion of critical, historical, theoretical aspects of the text.

    In Year 3, the format changes to two-hour seminars, which may include informal lectures/ presentations by the teacher and give further scope for students to practise their oral communication skills as well as to pursue more specialised areas of interest.

    Students are expected to extend and enhance the knowledge and understanding they acquire from classes and lectures by regularly consulting texts and IT materials related to the course.

    This independent research is then consolidated in essay work.

    Practical video production: 6 is learned in practical courses in the 1st and 2nd years, and can be continued in the 3rd year for those whose application for LT833 Independent Film Project is accepted.

    Knowledge and understanding of practical production techniques is complemented by the abstract/conceptual teaching of film.

    This allows students to put acquired terms and concepts into practice.

    Close supervision takes place in the Media Centre and at Signals Media with instruction tutorials on equipment and observation of textual examples.

    Weekly practical exercises break down the filmmaking process into components of technique, writing, acting, etc.

    Student projects are assessed, but unassessed ongoing practical exercises enhance the learning process.

    There is a presentation element to the project which consists of 20% of the final mark.

    Assessment methods

    Formal assessment of students' knowledge and understanding (1-5) takes place through coursework essays, written examinations, and in some cases oral presentation mark.

    Collective and individual practical filmmaking projects (6, normally in the form of digital filming and editing) are assessed for quality, range, complexity, and technical competence.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Develop some skills in analysis and interpretation of films

    B2: Reason in a critical manner and argue with a degree of clarity and coherence

    B3: Consider connections between filmic texts and their contexts

    B4: Reflect in a critical manner on the creative film-making process

    B5: Show some ability to apply theoretical concepts in a practical context

    Learning methods

    1-4: These skills are developed in seminar discussions, class presentations (which may form the basis of essays) followed by questions and answers, guided instruction of primary and secondary sources in seminars, guided analysis of visual material in seminars, oral and written feedback on essays.

    5 is applied through guided instruction, questions and answers, individual consultation, and pre-production preparatory assignments in the practical course components.

    Individual guidance, in addition to formal seminars, is available in posted office hours during the preparation of essays and of practical projects.

    Assessment methods

    1-4 are assessed in course essays, in some cases oral presentations, and examinations.

    5 is assessed in practical projects and exams.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Perform basic analysis of film images, deploying a vocabulary of cinematic terms

    C2: Organise, structure and present an argument in writing, having had guidance in putting forward critical positions

    C3: Compile and present bibliographies, according to models provided

    C4: Provide references and notations according to standard conventions

    C5: Use libraries and IT to gain access to a variety of scholarly sources

    C6: Plan and execute a basic practical film/digital project

    C7: Work co-operatively on a practical project

    Learning methods

    Skills 1 and 2 are developed through coursework and discussion in classes and seminars, and through individual consultation in office hours.

    Feedback is provided through oral and written comments on essays.

    Guidance on skills 3-5 is provided in the LiFTS handbook and essay feedback through all 3 years, and office hour consultation.

    5 is additionally provided in optional information sessions offered by the Library.

    6 and 7 are developed through specific units on pre-production, production, and post-production techniques in the practical modules and in the process of putting together a practical projects for these modules.

    Assessment methods

    Essays and examinations assess skills 1 and 2.

    Essays are additionally assessed for skills 3-4.

    Practical projects assess skills 6-7.

    D: Key skills

    D1: The ability to communicate information, arguments and ideas with a degree of effectiveness in a range of different contexts; the ability to be a good listener; some ability to both comprehend and produce the visual language of film.

    D2: Typing and word-processing skills; use of electronic library catalogues and email

    D3: Minimal skill involved in management of essay length.

    D4: Students should be able to manage projects and timetables; and to apply knowledge and understanding in order to make judgements and offer solutions in a range of scholarly and practical contexts.

    D5: Students should be able to work co-operatively in a practical production context.

    D6: Students should enhance the ability to work to deadlines; should take responsibility for their own work in individual and collective contexts; should reflect on their own performance and make constructive use of feedback.

    Learning methods

    Communication is developed through seminar discussions.

    Visual media skills of analysis are developed through guided analysis and discussion of visual material in seminars.

    These ideas are explored in a hand-on practical context through instruction in the practical components.

    The development of communication skills may also be enhanced through more formal oral presentations in seminars, with further information supplied through subsequent questions and answers.

    Students are expected to acquire IT skills based on some initial guidance, and tutors can provide additional guidance during office hours, while students can elect to follow Library-sponsored information sessions.

    Students are given the opportunity to work constructively and productively in groups, particularly as part of the practical components of the degree.

    Assessment methods

    Essays are assessed for qualities that incorporate most of the skills outlined in D1, D2, D3, D4, and in D6.

    All work must be submitted in typewritten form (normally word-processed) and must be presented according to the standard conventions outlined in the LiFTS handbook.

    These skills are implicitly tested in examinations as well.

    Practical projects address and assess skills in D5.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing