Film Studies with a Foundation Year - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
P30F
Attendance:
Full Time (4 years)
Starting:
September 2019
Campus:

This cutting edge new BA programme will develop your awareness of key film studies debates, production practices and industry conventions. You will be taught by noted film professors, cinema scholars and established practitioners, who will all provide you with their knowledge of international film debates and practice perspectives.

The course is part of Birmingham City University’s Film Futures suite, designed to develop graduates with the theory, practice and industry trends that will enable them to succeed in a rapidly changing film environment.

About foundation courses

This four year programme has been specifically designed to allow students who do not initially meet the entry requirements for a three year degree, to undertake additional level 3 study designed to ensure they are successful on their chosen degree programme.

After successful completion of your foundation year, you will have the flexibility to switch (should you wish to change direction) onto a number of related undergraduate degree programmes within Birmingham School of Media.

Why study a degree with a foundation year?

Foundation years are a great option if you have the talent, ambition and potential to thrive at Birmingham City University, but do not meet the entry requirements for your preferred course. It’s ideal if:

  • You want the flexibility of a year’s study on a more general course to find out the best degree choice for you.
  • You have changed your mind about your career since you chose your A-levels or BTECs and need to improve your skills in a different subject area.
  • You would like extra time and support to help you build your knowledge, skills and confidence before starting a full degree.

What's covered in the course?

This course explores a wide range of debates within film studies, with the opportunity for you to apply key concepts to your own creative cinema practices.

You will be taught by leading film professors and scholars in the field, who will explore cinema patterns in their generic, representational and global contexts. Not only will you gain an understanding of Hollywood cinema conventions (from the silent cinema era to modern blockbuster spectaculars), but you will be able to apply these filmic techniques to a variety of production scenarios. As well as looking at American cinema, you will also be introduced to other international trends that range from European film and TV patterns and global considerations of cult media to Bollywood film traditions and beyond.

A focus of the course will be on combining film theory debates with filmmaking practices and industry conventions. As well as receiving foundational film training, you will be able to create documentary films as part of a wider examination of debates within this field. In addition, modules on film festival programming and film entrepreneurship provide key skills relevant to the film industry.

How you will learn

You will be taught in a range of lectures, seminars, writing workshops and production sessions, while regular film screenings help you contextualise cinema traditions against your own creations.

Your formal studies will be enriched by the possibility to work on a range of external events, such as the Cine-Excess International Film Festival. This annual event attracts visiting international filmmakers, as well as hosting UK theatrical premieres on a regular basis. Having previously operated in London’s West End and Brighton, the festival has relocated to BCU to operate as a central resource for the course.

Why Choose Us?

  • The course combines theory, practice and industry approaches to film studies and includes training in documentary film techniques and film festival programming.
  • You will be taught by noted film professors, cinema scholars and established practitioners. Staff on the programme work together to ensure that you receive a balanced understanding of theory, practice and industry skilling relevant to the field.
  • You will be taught at the city centre campus, home to a £62 million suite of media resources, studios and edit suites.
  • You will have the opportunity to work on a range of established film festivals that are associated with the BA. These include the annual Cine-Excess International Film Festival, which features visiting international filmmakers, UK theatrical premieres and industry mentoring sessions.
  • You will also have the opportunity to work on film projects completed for the Cine-Excess festival. One recent production completed by BCU students and staff was the award winning documentary Tax Shelter Terrors (2017).
  • You will have access to film collections that will enrich your course of studies. These include the Cult Film Archive, a collection of 4,000+ resources (including films, screenplays and promotional materials) that have been donated directly from leading filmmakers and distribution companies in the field.

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Open Days

Our next Open Day for this course will take place on Saturday 30 June 2018. Book your place to see our facilities and speak to our staff and students.

Book your place

This course is not open to International students
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Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students
Essential

At the point of enrolment, you must have GCSE at Grade 4 or above in English Language. Equivalent qualifications can be considered in lieu as long as the required subject is covered.

80 UCAS tariff points.

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements
A level  CDD. A maximum of three subjects are considered. Other 6-unit qualifications can be considered in lieu of one or two A-level subjects. Excluded subjects General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

MMP
Access to HE Diploma 60 credits overall - 15 credits at level 2 and 45 credits at level 3
GCSE English language at grade 4 (C) or above or equiivalent qualifications must be achieved at application stage.

Scottish Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved from either five Highers or a combination of two Highers offered with two Advanced Highers.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

Obtain a minimum of 24 points overall. For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) Group A English Group A - Grade 4 or above. Students who do not complete the IB Diploma and who achieve the minimum of 11 points from two Higher Level subjects, will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates. OR English Group B - Grade 5 or above from the IB will be accepted.

OCR Cambridge Technical Certificate

Must be offered along with either two A-levels or two BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas of 80 tariff points. Cannot be offered as a standalone qualification.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

MM. Can be offered along with either one A-level or one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma qualification to achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points.

Scottish Advanced Higher

Achieve a minimum of 80 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2019 FT 4 years TBC Apply via UCAS

International Students

Sorry, this course is not available to international students.

Fees for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible. The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college. You can apply until 30 June.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Portfolio Guidance

You are not required to submit a portfolio for this course.

Additional costs

Your course fees include access to film and facilities at BCU’s city centre campus. You will also be able to access other specialist technical equipment, which can be booked for your personal projects as well as university coursework.

There are no compulsory additional costs or charges associated with studying on this course. While you may choose to purchase personal copies of text books, all our key text books are available from our library or online (subject to normal library loan and online access arrangements).

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £50 for each year of your studies for stationery and study materials. 

Additional costs

The additional costs listed at the bottom of the page are to be used for indicative purposes only and are based on the additional costs for the 2018/19 academic year. The additional costs for 2019/20 will be published as soon as possible.

Foundation year

Cross-media Production 1
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in radio, audio production, online video, virtual reality and television. You will learn industry-level practical skills and develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn production techniques for broadcast and for online and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms. 

Cross-media Production 2
20 credits

This practical production module explores media production techniques in journalism, public relations, and events management. The module draws together the skills needed for writing and producing content for print and online, and developing communications campaigns that connect with audiences dispersed across digital platforms. You will develop your own professional practice through a range of production activities and workshops.

You will learn new skills in multi-platform and mobile journalism and strategic communications, and hear from industry professionals on current and emerging best practice for the media and music industries. By the end of this module you will be able to produce and distribute innovative media projects for specific audiences, delivered across a range of online and social networking platforms.

Media Context and Production
20 credits

This module will familiarise you with key concepts aligned to studying media and communication. You will draw on your own production work in order to analyse issues relating to the organisation, ownership and regulation of the media industry. You will contextualise the work you have produced in the context of wider media production practices.

By the end of this module you will have undertaken research relevant to the industry sector you are seeking to develop your skills within and understood the value of seeing your own work as that which connects with specific audiences who create meaning from your and others media texts. 

Practice project
40 credits

This module is an independent study module during which you will produce a media practice project. You will present a proposal for a project, setting yourself a significant creative challenge, and work with a supervisory team to bring your work to fruition. You will draw on the production skills you have developed in earlier modules and use the project as the vehicle through which you showcase your creativity and your ability to work to professional standards.

Professional and Academic Skills
20 credits

This module will help you develop the academic skills needed to succeed in higher education, and the professional skills required to support your ambitions to be a media worker. You will build an online portfolio that will both evidence your growing skills developed across the course as a whole, and act as a showcase for the work you produce.

You will aim to build a community of interest around you and your work. You will be introduced to the wide range of academic and practical support that the university offers, and support from tutors will ensure you develop academic skills that will help you succeed as a student. You will keep an online learning diary that reflect on your development.

Year one

In your first year you will study the following modules:

Introduction to Film Theory
20 credits

This module will introduce you to key theoretical approaches and perspectives related to the study of film. It will consider cinematic approaches to film authorship, genre and codes of representation, as well as considering how issues of culture and history impact on a range of differing cinematic systems.

Hollywood: Early Film to Blockbusters
40 credits

In this module you will explore the key film features and trends drawn from a range of Hollywood genres. This broad reaching module will consider American film traditions from the silent cinema era to contemporary blockbuster spectacles, with a focus on how Hollywood tells its stories and reaches different audiences. 

Foundations of Filmmaking
20 credits

This introductory film practice module allows you to experiment with differing styles and techniques associated with fiction filmmaking. As well as gaining skills in foundational film practice, you will be asked to consider the possible social, cultural and artistic elements behind what you seek to create.

Documentary: Theory and Practice
40 credits

This module allows you to examine some of the key features and traditions of documentary that have developed within Europe, with a particular focus on the realist traditions of British film. You will be able to consider how key realist movements reflected wider social and cultural concerns of the day before being able to test out what you have learned through the creation of your own short documentary films

Year two

You will study the following modules in your second year:

Europe on Screen
20 credits

In this module you will consider film and TV patterns within a range of European and national media contexts. The module will consider a wide range of perspectives and case-studies on these topics that include studies of French filmmakers, German melodramas, Italian horror fictions and the recent growth of Nordic TV thriller series.

Festival Programming
40 credits

This module considers a wide a range of differing film festivals from the lavish, major international affairs through to DIY events. This module also looks at what it takes to create, manage and draw audiences to a film festival. The aim is to develop your appreciation of the complexities of event management from establishing goals and selection through to the logistics of programming, managing budgets and executing a marketing campaign.

Collaborative Practice
40 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines.

Fandom and Subcultures (optional module)
20 credits

This optional module will introduce you to ongoing academic debates on media fandom, subcultures and cult media. Through readings, lectures, seminars and independent research, you will have the chance to engage with key theoretical perspectives, methodological approaches and case studies on issues such as gender in fandom, digital fandom and crowdfunding.

Gender, Sexuality and the Body (option module)
20 credits

This optional module considers both classic and contemporary debates that relate to representations of gender and sexuality across a wide range of media case-studies. Some of the issues under review in the module include the consideration of gay/lesbian discourses, as well as key debates drawn from queer theory. These critical debates will be applied to a number of case-studies of gender and sexuality drawn from both mainstream and alternative media.

Year three

You will study the following modules in your third year:

Horror Narratives (option module)
20 credits

This module considers some of the key stylistic, historical and representational features that are essential to both horror fiction and horror cinema. The module will consider constructions of monstrosity across both literature and screen arts, as well as analysing the ways in which all forms of horror come to reflect wider social fears and tensions.

Bollywood Film (option module)
20 credits

In this module you will analyse both the historical and industrial factors that have helped create the world’s second biggest film market. Some of the issues discussed in the module include the analysis of differing Bollywood genres and cycles, as well as their constructions of stardom and links to other national film formats.

Global Cinema Narratives (option module)
20 credits

This module analyses the stylistic and culturally specific features of non-Western cinema.  It considers the emergence of a set of film patterns that lie outside of the dominant Hollywood canon, as well as contextualising these images against the cultures that have created them. In the course of your studies, you will be introduced to key debates around cultural identity and transnationality in film, whilst exploring global cinema patterns through a range of case-studies drawn from China, Africa and the Arab regions

Cult Film
20 credits

In this module, you will consider the historical and social factors that have led to cult film being a significant source of academic study.  As well as considering key filmmakers and genres associated with the cult film domain, you will also be asked to consider wider issues of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and fandom, as well as assessing how  constructions of ‘good taste’ relate to the study of cult films. 

Film Entrepreneurship (option module)
20 credits

Gaining a working knowledge of current film business trends and practices is at the core of this module. It combines taught seminars dedicated to current film employment practices with an industry guest speaker programme in order to provide a crucial toolkit that will assist in working within the contemporary film sector.

Psychoanalysis and Cinema
20 credits

This module evaluates the importance that psychoanalytic theory has had on the development of cinema studies. It applies key psychoanalytic concepts to case-studies that include the films of Steven Spielberg, the cinema of Alfred Hitchcock, as well as considering related themes in melodrama, horror and thriller cycles. 

Final Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, theoretically and professionally-informed project, exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. This is your chance to align your practice with your specific career aspirations in the film industry. Dissertations are usually academic research papers, while production portfolios or industry oriented studies are tangible media assets. These options are for you to prove your learning to your tutors and showcase your talent, expertise and professionalism.

During the first year of the BA (Hons) Film Studies course, you will be introduced to core debates in the field through modules such as Introduction to Film Theory.  This unit presumes no prior knowledge of film studies, and your introductory film skilling will be further expanded in the module Hollywood: Early Film to Blockbusters, which considers a wide range of American film formats. Further modules such as Foundations of Filmmaking allow you to experiment and develop your own short film styles and techniques, while Documentary: Theory and Practice offers you the opportunity to create your own realist films based on documentary debates in the field. 

The second year of the course allows you to expand you knowledge of film studies through more detailed modules such Europe on Screen, which considers film and TV patterns in a range of national contexts. As well as being able to undertake a range of optional modules around topics such as Fandom and Subcultures and Gender, Sexuality and the Body, this second year of study also provides a dedicated module on Festival programming, which outlines the key industry skills associated with the staging of cinema events. 

During the final third year of study, your knowledge of film studies debates and techniques will focus on both specific film genres and national cinema traditions. For instance, the module Global Cinema Narratives will outline the features and importance of non-Western variants of film. This module will be complimented by optional modules on Bollywood Film, Cult Film and Horror Narratives which all consider issues of film genre within global contexts. In addition, an optional module on Film Entrepreneurship allows you to assess key business practices that are relevant to the current cinema industry. As the culmination of your final year of study you will also undertake the Major Project module, which allows you to carry out an independent study of an aspect of cinema theory, film practice or an industry convention that has interested you as a result of your time on the BA (Hons) Film Studies course.  


Classroom hours

You will have up to 12 hours per week contact time, alongside additional practical activities and self-directed tasks.

Teaching breakdown

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29 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
71 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

Classroom projects

During your studies there will be practice-based opportunities to engage with a regional film festival such as Cine-Excess, an annual international film festival and conference on global cult film cultures. You will also be able to access film collections such as the Cult Film Archive during the course of your studies.

The Birmingham School of Media also has an established and inclusive research culture that promotes dialogue and collaboration between staff and students. The Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) in the School of Media welcomes visiting researchers from across the world and holds regular research seminars which mix presentations from staff, PG students and speakers from a range of our collaborative partnerships. BCMCR welcomes all students to research seminars, which are free to attend.

Further study

For successful graduates there is a natural progression from the BA Film Business and Promotion to the MA Film Distribution and Marketing, focused on nurturing entrepreneurial producers and distributors, or the MA and MSc Future Media focused on exploiting digital media and marketing opportunities through emerging technologies and advertising agency techniques.

Alternatively, Birmingham School of Media at Birmingham City University offers a wide range of MA courses, allowing you to specialise in such areas as Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism, Data Journalism, PR, Event, Festival and Exhibition Management and Media and Cultural Studies.

Details can be found on the postgraduate section of the website.

The BA (Hons) Film Studies course is located within the Birmingham School of Media, which has an excellent track record for graduate employment. 

Within the School, the majority of graduates going into media-related roles. The course builds upon the School’s employability driven reputation, by opening avenues for students interested in potential careers in film research, film journalism, film archiving, marketing & PR, advertising and teaching film/media studies. 

As well as gaining course-specific skills, you could also gain broader tools through our Graduate+ programme, which will help enhance your employment options by helping with careers development, employability activities, volunteering and part-time work experience.

Allied with this course-specific experience, you will also have access to a range of support staff and services from the University’s Careers Service, who can help with:

  • Reviewing CVs, covering letters and application forms
  • Career planning and decision making
  • Preparing for interviews and assessment centres
  • Developing portfolios
  • Networking with employers
  • Advice about self-employment and entrepreneurship

Placements

During your second year, you will have the opportunity to work as part of a mixed discipline team to respond to a brief, as part of an in-house placement element of the course.

In addition to this, there are regional opportunities for visiting and volunteering at film festivals, such as Cine-Excess, and Flatpack, and for networking with producers and distributors who function as guest speakers at such events.

More about our placement opportunities...

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Parkside and Curzon Buildings

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £260 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

Birmingham School of Media is recognised as a key centre of excellence in interactive media training, television production and education by Creative SkillSet, the UK Sector Skills Council for the audio visual industries.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.

External Parkside Building and Water Feature
Parkside building from Curzon building
Parkside Interior
VisCom Hires and Loans landscape
VisCom Hires and Loans CU

Our Staff

Our teaching staff comprises specialists in their respective fields, including academics and industry professionals, all of whom are perfectly placed to offer a wealth of experience and knowledge. Birmingham School of Media students also benefit from access to high-profile guest speakers from across the industry.

A dynamic community that is responsive to the changing face of the media industry, Birmingham School of Media is the perfect starting point to your media career.

Professor Rajinder Dudrah

Professor of Cultural Studies & Creative Industries

Rajinder is Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries within the Birmingham School of Media, and has published and lectured extensively within his areas of expertise. His academic interests are in the areas of film, media, cultural studies, and creative industries including: Bollywood cinema, Black British representation, popular music, diasporic and transnational media, television studies, and in cultural theory and qualitative research methods as applied to popular culture and creative industries research. He particularly draws on interdisciplinary approaches from Film and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and Sociology to think about the development of screen theory and how best to analyse the relationship between screen industries, texts and audiences.

Read Rajinder's full profile

Professor John Mercer

Professor of Gender and Sexuality

John Mercer is a Professor of Gender and Sexuality within the Birmingham School of Media, and has published and lectured extensively within his areas of expertise.  His research interests include film and television genres, celebrity and stardom, the pornography debate, the sexualisation of contemporary media culture and contemporary cultural theory. John is co-editor of the Journal of Gender Studies, one of the editorial founders of Porn Studies and reviews editor for this new journal. He is also a member of the editorial board of Cine-Excess (and the guest editor of the inaugural issue), editorial board member of Sexualities and is a peer reviewer and guest editor for Celebrity Studies.

Read John's full profile

Dr Xavier Mendik

Professor in Film/Director of the Cine-Excess International Film Festival

Xavier Mendik is Associate Professor in Film at Birmingham City University, from where he runs the Cine-Excess International Film Festival (www.cine-excess.co.uk). He has written extensively on cult film traditions, and some of his books (as author/editor/co-editor) include: Bodies of Desire and Bodies in Distress: The Golden Age of Italian Cult Cinema (2015), Peep Shows: Cult Film and the Cine-Erotic (2012), 100 Cult Films ([with Ernest Mathijs], 2011), The Cult Film Reader ([with Ernest Mathijs],2008), Alternative Europe: Eurotrash and Exploitation Cinema Since 1945 (2004), Shocking Cinema of the Seventies (2002), Underground USA: Filmmaking Beyond the Hollywood Canon (2002), Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (2000) and Unruly Pleasures: The Cult Film and its Critics (2000).

Beyond his theoretical work in this area, Xavier Mendik has also completed 5 funded documentaries that explore the social importance of a range of cult film traditions. Xavier Mendik is currently completing the feature length documentary That’s La Morte: Italian Cult Film and the Years of Lead, which draws on research outlined in this current paper.

Read Xavier's full profile

Dr Charlotte Stevens

Research Fellow

Dr Charlotte Stevens has published articles in Feminist Media Studies, CineAction, and on the Critical Studies in Television blog. She has also contributed chapters to an edited collection on Doctor Who, and the forthcoming Cult Media: Re-packaged, Re-released and Restored (Palgrave, 2017). 

Read Charlotte's full profile

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 6295

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Contact the admissions team

+44 (0)121 331 6295