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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Research Degrees

Research students benefit from being part of a close-knit community of research students constantly in contact with an energetic and dedicated group of specialist scholars with a broad range of interests.  This is held together by research events such as visiting speakers, research workshops and our yearly departmental conference, all under the aegis of the Centre for International Film Research (CIFR).

As an intimate and friendly department, PhD students meet regularly with staff and other students.  The presence of senior scholarships with well-established teaching, research and supervisory expertise allows for careful guidance towards thesis completion.  A supervisory team will support your academic and professional development, which includes individually tailored specialist skills training.  We have an extremely wide range of subject matter for which supervision can be offered, stemming from an experienced and diverse selection of staff, all of whom have international status for their research.  Research can take the form of empirical research, theoretical research and even includes the option of a practical component to the thesis.

We will encourage you to engage actively in current debates in Film Studies, and to take on professional tasks early in your candidature.  This might include conference participation, publishing an academic article or contributing to academic teaching. Indeed, we not only have an outstanding record of student achievement in terms of publication and presentation during candidature, but also an exemplary record of students publishing their theses after completion. Graduates go on to teach, lecture, write or contribute to the film industry in a variety of ways.

Areas of research expertise

Our main activities lie in the areas listed below, but we are happy to consider PhD proposals in any area of film and media studies: Film History, Film Industries, Film Festivals, Film Policy, Film Theory, Film Aesthetics, World Cinema, Transnational Cinema, National Cinema & National Identity, American Cinema, British Cinema, French Cinema, German Cinema, Italian Cinema, Irish Cinema, Chinese-language Cinemas, Japanese Cinema, Korean Cinema, European Cinema, Latin-American Cinema, Censorship in Cinema, Film and Intermediality, Women Film Makers, Film Reception and Film Audiences, Film Psychology, Gender and Sexuality in the cinema, Popular Film Genres, Television, Video Games, Horror Films, Film Musicals, Science Fiction Film, Representation of Science, Cult Film and Television, Silent Cinema, Sounds of Silent Cinema, Film and Television Sound and Music, Historical Representations of the Past, Children and Film/Television, Celebrity Studies, Star Studies, War and Film and Audiovisual Technologies.

Our Courses

We offer a number of different research degrees.

PhD
PhD study takes place within a demanding and rigorous research environment. You will extend your personal knowledge and be expected to make an independent and original contribution to your field of research. For a PhD you can normally expect to finish your research after around three years full-time study, or longer if you choose to study part-time.

iPhD
The iPhD (Integrated PhD) is a four year programme of study, with a fifth year of writing up if required. In the first year you will follow taught courses in Film alongside our MA students and undertake a series of assessments (essays and presentations). If these are completed successfully you will produce an extended research proposal during the summer and will then enrol for in Year Two. You will then confirm your PhD status towards the end of Year Three if your work is progressing satisfactorily. This is an ideal pathway for those new to Film Studies and/or international students as it provides a detailed and intensive taught introduction to Film Studies and provides a series of possible ‘exit' points (MA; MPhil; PhD).

All of our research degrees can be taken on a part time basis, apart from the first year of the iPhD which must be taken on a full time basis. A part time PhD student would typically be enrolled for a period of seven years.

Our postgraduate students are an essential part of the Film and Humanities research community at Southampton.

You will receive regular supervision and training in research and communication skills - both generic and specific to your project. You will participate in fortnightly research seminars and are encouraged to contribute to conferences and symposia, both at Southampton and elsewhere.

We welcome informal enquiries, and like to work with students on their proposals before they submit their formal applications.

PhD by Distance Learning

It is also possible to study for a PhD at Southampton by distance learning, designed for people who wish to study without travelling to Southampton regularly.  

Key facts

Academic entry requirements: First- or upper second-class honours degree and normally Masters at Merit*level, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in an arts-related subject. Previous study of Film at undergraduate level is useful but not essential.

* Merit 60%-69%; Distinction 70%+

Equivalent qualifications: We will also consider candidates who do not have a Masters degree if they can demonstrate outstanding undergraduate performance including evidence of preparedness for research (e.g. first-class honours and 75% or more in the dissertation in a relevant subject) or other appropriate qualifications.

English language entry requirements:

  IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in all components, or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Duration: Up to 4 years (full-time); 3-7 years (part-time)

Assessment: Thesis (max. 75,000 words), viva voce

Start date: Normally October and February each year

Intake: Variable

Applying: University application with transcripts, research proposal and samples of writing (5,000 words maximum)

Closing date: Applications will be considered at any time; funding deadlines may apply

Funding: School and discipline studentships may be available

Fees: See programme fees and funding page 

Apply for a postgraduate research degree
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Research Themes

Film Studies' research is very diverse, but can be grouped under a number of specific themes - all are summarised on this page.

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