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Film, MPhil

Newcastle University, the United Kingdom

Newcastle University

Study options for this course

The award How you will study Study duration Course start Domestic course fees International course fees
MPhilFull-time, Part-time12 - 72 monthsfind outfind outfind out

About Film, MPhil - at Newcastle University

Film Practice
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months

Film Studies
MPhil - full time: minimum 12 months, part time: minimum 24 months
PhD - full time: minimum 36 months, part time: minimum 72 months

You can specialise in either Film Practice or Film Studies. Our Film Practice PhD provides you with a unique opportunity to develop your film as a practice-led research project. Alternatively you can undertake a Film Studies, MPhil or PhD studying British, Algerian, Chinese, French or Latin American cinema.

Film Practice, PhD

Newcastle University has embarked on an ambitious programme of growth in film practice under the name of Film@CultureLab. It’s led by award-winning documentary filmmaker Dr Ian McDonald. Film@CultureLab is committed to developing a distinctive approach to non-fiction film practice pedagogy and research. This is rooted in an understanding of documentary film as a cinematic medium and filmmaking as a means of expression and of challenging, critiquing, and intervening in the social and historical world.

If you’re interested in undertaking a PhD, be it practice-led, practice-based, or theoretical, in the following areas, please get in touch in the first instance with the admissions tutor Dr Geetha Jayaraman.

  • most areas of documentary/non-fiction film practice (see supervisor profiles for specialisms)
  • creative documentary practices in the UK, India, South Asia, Africa 
  • intersections between the documentary and sociological, anthropological, cultural studies 
  • sports documentaries
  • feminist film practice
  • social linguistics, translation and documentary practice
  • documentary theory and practice in the USSR / Russia
  • theorising documentary as a critical and creative practice
  • history of the documentary and of documentary movements
  • studies of independent film production and exhibition 
  • World cinema 
  • Indian cinema
  • film festival studies.

Film@CultureLab PhD scholars are based in Culture Lab. You’ll have access to the superb facilities in Culture Lab and join a vibrant community of practice-led PhD scholars in film practice. PhD students are encouraged to regularly present their work to each other as part of the Film Praxis Forum ‘Work-in-Progress’ Series held each year.

Supervisors in Film@CultureLab

Dr Ian McDonald is a sociologist and a documentary filmmaker. Ian is interested in supervising doctoral students in most areas of documentary theory and practice. He is particularly interested in supervising practice-based PhDs in documentary filmmaking, especially alternative, political and observational documentaries.

Dr Geetha Jayaraman, known as Geetha J, is a writer, filmmaker and producer. Geetha's research area is primarily film practice, both as director and producer. Geetha is interested in supervising practice-based research in fiction and non-fiction, as well as subjects under Indian cinema, world cinema, women and cinema. Her interests include:

  • film theory and history
  • film journalism and criticism
  • film societies and festivals.

Dr Alastair Cole is a documentary filmmaker, whose films have been broadcast, and screened in cinemas and film festivals internationally. His academic interests intersect documentary film practice with research in anthropology, language and politics, with regional interests in:

  • sub Saharan Africa
  • Scotland
  • southern Europe
  • Oceania.

He is particularly interested in supervising any documentary film based research projects that aim to creatively inquire into subjects within the humanities and social sciences.


We currently co-supervise a range of film and film-related projects with academic colleagues from: 

  • Media, Culture, Heritage
  • Fine Art
  • English Language and Literature
  • Architecture, Planning and Landscape.

Film Studies, MPhil and PhD

As a Film Studies MPhil or PhD student you will form a crucial part of our research culture. Our thriving community of postgraduate students work across schools and disciplines. Research ranges from modern languages to English literature, English language, linguistics and arts and cultures.

We are keen to work with postgraduates in the major research projects listed below, or in the more general areas related to them. We supervise projects that span academic schools and sub-disciplines, ensuring the best fit between your interests and the expertise of our staff.

Early cinema and cinema culture in Britain and the USA

Dr A Shail

  • the history of film style
  • popular cinema culture
  • points of contact between literature and film
  • Hollywood after 1975

Latin American cinema

Dr P Page

  • cinema and memory studies
  • cinema and the imaginaries of post-conflict
  • cinema and contemporary Latin American society
  • cinema and the city
  • cinema and theatre - performance studies

French cinema

Dr S Leahy

  • popular film from the 1930s to the present
  • stardom
  • gender and representation
  • cinema audiences and theories of spectatorship

Algerian cinema

Professor G Austin

  • postcolonial cinema
  • cinema and the representation of trauma
  • cinema and the Algerian War
  • contemporary French cinema
  • French horror and fantasy cinema
  • cinema and the work of Pierre Bourdieu

Transnational Chinese cinema

Dr S Yu

  • Chinese independent films and film festivals
  • transnational Chinese cinema
  • stardom and performance
  • gender and sexuality
  • audience and reception studies
  • action and martial arts genres

We organise an annual postgraduate conference for the Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and you can get involved in a number of film-related research seminars on campus, including:

  • the Research Group in Film and Media series
  • the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics visiting speaker series
  • the School of Modern Languages research seminar series

You will benefit from the North Eastern Regional Film Seminar, which brings together film scholars from the Universities of Newcastle, Northumbria, Sunderland, Teesside, Durham and York for a one day symposium.

There is also the Film Factory, an exciting new film forum for students and staff, initiated by two PhD students from the School of Modern Languages, Gary Jenkins and Mani Sharpe. It consists of a series of film screenings followed by discussion and debate at the Culture Lab.


You will normally be taught on the Newcastle University campus. Attendance is flexible and agreed between you and your supervisors depending on the requirements of your research project. 

Film Practice, PhD - Facilities

Situated in a Grade II listed building, Culture Lab is a centre for film practice, housing seven industry standard edit suites, a recording studio and event space.

As a PhD student in Film@CultureLab, you will be based in Culture Lab and have access to modern industry standard shooting kits and edit suites.

These include a range of high definition cameras and supporting rigs, a high-spec PC cluster equipped with full Adobe CC, 27” monitors and TVs, and bespoke edit suites with Apple iMacs and Mac Pros, 27” dual calibrated displays and stereo monitoring. They run the latest Apple OS with Adobe CC, Final Cut and Da Vinci Resolve.

Culture Lab is supported by a team of dedicated film technicians.

Film Studies, MPhil and PhD - Facilities

You will have the opportunity to use Culture Lab, a centre for creative practice which includes a stock of film cameras and editing suites, as well as motioncapture, animation and soundmixing technology.

The Language Resource Centre and Peter Robinson Library hold large collections of international films and film magazines. You will also have access to a dedicated postgraduate suite including computers, workspaces, a kitchen and showers.

There are fantastic local film facilities including the Tyneside Cinema  and British Film Institute Mediatheque.

You will also have guided access to Tyne and Wear Archives.

Notes about fees for this course

See Fees and Funding tab in the Programme information in our online Prospectus.

Entry requirements

2:1 honours degree and preferably a merit master's degree, or an international equivalent, in a related subject, such as:

  • MLitt (if applying for Film Studies, MPhil and PhD) 
  • film studies
  • English
  • cultural studies
  • modern languages
  • history
  • sociology
  • art
  • psychology.

You may need to attend an interview, which can be via Skype if necessary.

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 9 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry: IELTS 7.0 overall (with 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other sub-skills) 

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Language Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry:Not accepted         
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.5 overall (with 6.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in all other sub-skills)   

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO London Centre.

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