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The University of Southampton
HumanitiesPostgraduate study

PhD Film Research Programme (P300)

We welcome enquiries on any topic in film and television. We provide excellent research resources locally, and national archives and libraries in London are easily accessible.

Introducing your degree

The study of film and audiovisual culture is an endlessly fascinating subject that provides a wealth of insight into the human condition, ways of thinking and the manner in which societies and the world have developed over the last Century and a quarter. This PhD Film Research Programme allows students to immerse themselves in questions posed by film as art, industry and way of life.

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 scholars 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 candidates, 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 Films, 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.

Doctoral Programme Director:

Dr Michael Hammond
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 6708

View the Doctoral Profile for this course for 2019/20 entrants

View the Doctoral Profile for this course for 2020/21 entrants

To Apply

Application process and required supporting documents

  • University online application including a personal statement
  • Research proposal
  • Transcript
  • 2 references
  • English language certification (if relevant)
  • Sample of written work

Candidates are advised to contact prospective supervisors with the subject of their proposed research prior to application.

Contact for postgraduate enquiries:
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7433

Key facts

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

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

Start date: Normally September and January each year

Closing date: 3 months before start date (also dependent on funding body deadlines); an application decision cannot be guaranteed in time for programme commencement unless a complete application is received in good time - students requiring a visa to study should also allow extra time for visa processes; informal enquiries welcome at any time

Typical entry requirements

View 2020 entry requirements

English language requirements

All applicants must demonstrate they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency. Applicants requiring a visa to study in the UK who do not offer GCSE English language (or GCSE English) at the required level will need to meet the following English language proficiency requirement. Find out more about the University’s English Language requirements.

Band E IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.5 in all components

For 2020 entry

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.

(* Merit 60%-69%, Distinction 70%+)

Previous study of Film at undergraduate level is useful but not essential.

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.

Selection process

Selection process: Online application and interview

Applications will be assessed under the following

  • Evidence of general academic aptitude
  • Preparedness or promise for doctoral research
  • Quality of the research project proposal
  • Fit with Southampton's research expertise

Applicant Quality: Your application will be judged against the following criteria:

  • it provides evidence that you meet our entry requirements
  • it demonstrates your personal suitability and commitment to undertake Doctoral study
  • it provides supportive references that indicate your suitability to undertake a PhD
  • it presents a well-focused and high quality research proposal which indicates potential to contribute original research to the discipline
  • it demonstrates critical awareness of the scholarly field to which the research will contribute, and appropriate methods to carry out this work
  • it may strengthen your application if you can demonstrate genuine interest in working with a named academic in the department 

Personal Statement: Use your Personal Statement to provide additional information relevant to your application. This should include the following:

  • outline your reasons for wishing to conduct postgraduate research in your chosen area
  • explain how your proposed research matches the research environment and supervisory expertise offered by Film Studies at Southampton
  • reflect on how your education, skills, and experience will equip you for PhD study and to undertake your planned research
  • indicate details of any other achievements/interests
  • indicate any special circumstances pertaining to the academic record
  • tell us what you hope to get from the programme

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Typical course content

The PhD by Research programme has no modules per semester. Instead it is an entirely research-oriented programme in which studenst conduct original research under the guidance of their supervisors.

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate research degrees vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Study locations

Avenue campus

Avenue campus

Only a few minutes walk from Highfield Campus, Avenue provides a purpo...Find out more

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