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The award

How long you will study
12 months

Domestic course fees
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How you will study

Course starts
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International course fees
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All study options

About Film at Newcastle University

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.

Led by award winning documentary filmmaker Dr Ian McDonald, Film@CultureLab is committed to developing a distinctive approach to film practice pedagogy and research. This is rooted in an understanding of film as a cinematic medium and filmmaking as a means of expression and of challenging, critiquing, and intervening in the social and historical world.

Acclaimed filmmakers Nick Broomfield and John Akomfrah joined Film@CultureLab as Visiting Professors of Film Practice in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Film@CultureLab also recently established Film Praxis, a public-facing screenings and events initiative.

Supervisors in Film@CultureLab

Dr Ian McDonald is a sociologist and a documentary filmmaker. His films have been screened at film festivals, academic conferences, campaign meetings and in cinemas around the world. Ian is interested in supervising doctoral students in most areas of film 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.

Supervision can also be offered in the following areas:

  • creative documentary practices in India/ South Asia 
  • film festival studies
  • history of the documentary
  • intersections between the documentary and sociological/ anthropological/ cultural studies 
  • sports documentaries
  • studies of independent film production and exhibition 
  • theorising documentary as a critical and creative practice
  • world cinema studies


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

Current PhD projects

Film@CultureLab has a growing community of practice-led PhD students in film. Their PhD topics include:
• a documentary on football fan activism in Greece
• a documentary on the 'Beautiful Socialist Countryside' policy in China
• a series of short documentaries on the concept of place
• a documentary on a religious order 
• a critical study of commodity culture using screen-based practices 
• an exploration of the essay-film form

All practice-led PhDs include a written critical reflection.

Film Studies, MPhil and PhDFilm 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 - FacilitiesFilm 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 - FacilitiesFilm 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. 


Film Practice, PhD

Dr Ian McDonald/ Dr Geetha Jayaraman
School of Arts and Cultures
Telephone: +44 (0)191 208 6525

Film Studies, MPhil and PhD

School of Modern Languages
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 5867

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMPhilHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPhDHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study36 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardMPhilHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardPhDHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study72 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -

Entry requirements

Film Practice, PhD

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

Film Studies, MPhil and PhD

A 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in a related subject such as:
• MLitt
• 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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