Research course

Film Studies

University of Sussex · Media and Film

Entry requirements

Normally a Masters degree in a subject relevant to your chosen area of research.

Months of entry

January, October, April

Course content

  • PhD in Film Studies
  • MPhil in Film Studies
  • Our PhD provides you with the support and resources necessary to complete an 80,000-word thesis that represents an original and substantial piece of research.

    Our MPhil provides you with the support and resources necessary to complete a 40,000-word thesis that represents an original contribution to knowledge or understanding, or a valuable presentation or interpretation of material put together in an original manner.

    Our internationally respected team of researchers offers expert supervision across a wide range of topics, including Hollywood, British, Asian, Latin American, Middle Eastern and European cinemas; gender, sexuality and representation; film, history and popular culture; genre, authorship and stardom; film and new
    media; documentary; film audiences and industries; curation and visual cultures.

    Research proposals in these areas are particularly welcome.

    Research training

    All new research students are required to participate in a programme of research training and to take other modules that may be recommended by their supervisors (exemption from research training modules can be granted to those who have already taken such modules at postgraduate level).

    Throughout your studies, as part of your intellectual training, you are expected to take part in the research culture of the School of Media, Film and Music and relevant research centres. This might include participation in reading and discussion groups, skills development training, research-in-progress seminars, etc.

    You are expected to present your research both within the School and beyond. The School offers support for conference attendance and studentled symposia. There is a mentoring scheme for PhD students within the School, and you will be joining a lively, well-established interdisciplinary research community.

    The University’s Doctoral School runs a wide range of training courses covering the needs of students throughout all phases of their studies.


    The first term (or first two terms for part-time students) is devoted to developing your research plan – typically refining research questions, designing a methodology and engaging in a literature review. By the end of the first year (or second year if you study part time), you will have written and presented your first research paper and will be ready to pursue fieldwork or other primary research for analysis and completion in the final year.

    Recent and current PhD thesis titles

    In the mood for travel: mobility, gender and nostalgia in Wong Kar-Wai’s cinematic Hong Kong

    John Hughes and new Hollywood cinema

    No crinoline-covered lady: stardom, agency, and the career of Barbara Stanwyck

    Screen dance: corporeal ties between dance, film and audience

    Technofetishism of posthuman bodies: representations of cyborgs, ghosts and monsters in contemporary Japanese science fiction film and animation

    The queer punk films of Bruce LaBruce

    The transitory, institutional and activated spaces of direct cinema

    Towards a sensual understanding of national identity: food, film and the porous screen

Department specialisms

For further information, visit the webpage below.

Information for international students

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study and offers one of the most generous scholarship programmes of any UK university. For full details of our scholarships please

Qualification and course duration


full time
24-48 months
part time
36-72 months


full time
12-36 months
part time
24-48 months

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 873525