Taught course

Film Studies: Popular Cinema

Oxford Brookes University · School of Arts

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold a good honours degree (2.1 or above), or its equivalent, in an Arts and Humanities subject or similar discipline. Previous study of film is desirable but not essential. Selection will be normally made following an interview.

Months of entry


Course content

This course offers a film education for the 21st century. You are encouraged to develop a broad portfolio of writing and research skills by combining academic and professional writing projects. We cover the history and theory of popular cinema in the US (classical and contemporary Hollywood), Europe and East Asia (especially Japanese cinema), as well as offering a module in advanced screenwriting.

The programme combines the academic rigour of a traditional Film Studies course with creative components enabling you to develop skills which will equip you for a career in academia as well as the media industries. The course is taught by a diverse team of film specialists with different national and cultural backgrounds, as well as by industry professional guest speakers.

Compulsory modules:
Narration in Classical Hollywood Cinema
'Classical' film narration evolved in Hollywood during the 1920s and became the standard way to tell a story through film in the succeeding decades. This approach has been particularly successful and has had a strong influence on twentieth-century storytelling.

Research Methods in Film
In this research module, you learn the research conventions and practices of humanities scholarship. It is specifically organised to guide students in developing a successful research topic for their MA thesis in Film Studies.

MA students can then choose any two of the options below:
Popular European Cinema
This module analyses the history and organisation of European popular film production and the role of audiences within the broader context of national identity in European cinema. You will gain an understanding of the European film industries as well as insight into notions of national cinemas.

Professional Film Cultures
At a national level, the term 'film culture' is used to encapsulate debates around film as art or commerce, media literacy and screen heritage to name but a few. You can elect either to design and implement a research project which builds on these elements, or undertake a professional placement or short internship within the film industry which aims to help you understand the varied career opportunities available within the UK's professional film cultures.

Story Development
This module focuses on the creative aspects of writing for the screen and working with scripts. The module is split into two parts spanning the first and second half of the semester:
Part 1: Based on tutorials and case studies including film screenings, readings and analyses of screenplays, you will learn about narrative aspects (themes, plot, structure, sequences and scenes, characters, dialogue) and technical skills (tone, style, dynamics) of scriptwriting, reading and editing, drawing upon both traditional and alternative models (with particular emphasis on popular film genres, such as the romantic comedy, the film noir and melodrama).
Part 2: You can choose either to develop your own script from an original concept, or to analyse, edit and doctor existing scripts considered for development.

Popular Cinema in East Asia
This module offers a comparative study of contemporary Japanese cinema with cinema from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand.

Independent Study


Information for international students

Please see the university's standard English language requirements

Fees and funding

Please see https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/finance/

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


full time
8 months
part time
6-8 months


full time
4 months
part time
6 months

Course contact details

Programme Administrator
+44 (0)1865 484959