BA (Hons) Film Studies

On this dynamic and responsive Film Studies degree, you will engage critically and creatively with the art and entertainment of film. This mainly theoretical course will build on your love and knowledge of film, and you’ll come to appreciate its historical, cultural and theoretical dimensions. You’ll study how film is written and created; how it’s promoted, distributed, exhibited and curated; how it’s consumed, analysed and enjoyed. Your studies will recognise film’s unique role in our understanding of the world. You will also examine film’s intersections with other art and entertainment forms such as television, literature, photography, performance and digital media. As well as gaining in-depth knowledge and appreciation of film, cinema and related media, you’ll gain vital skills for the workplace and develop sound, multi- platform communication skills that are invaluable in any career.

BA Film Studies is taught in the heart of Cardiff, a city with a thriving film and TV industry. It’s home to Pinewood Studio Wales and it’s where the BBC films many of its drama shows, including Doctor Who and Sherlock. You’ll study alongside filmmakers from our new Film and TV School Wales, and benefit from industry events on and off campus such as talks by filmmakers and industry professionals and visits to studios and festivals.

This course will continue in 2019 as BA (Hons) Cinema. If you are interested in a practical film degree take a look at our BA (Hons) Film course.


Students on our Film Studies degree will study a variety of topics across screen history, criticism and theory. You’ll engage with a broad range of historical periods, genres and creators, developing crucial research, critical and analytical skills.

You’ll undertake scriptwriting, which will not only develop your creative thinking and writing skills, but will also help you understand the relationship between practice and theory. You’ll learn how to make short films and video essays, to blog and vlog about film, and to develop yourself as a film entrepreneur.

Unique to this course, you’ll work collaboratively on Film Symposium – a module where you’ll organise and present in your own mini lm conference or festival. You’ll attend workshops and networking events with industry professionals, and have the opportunity to gain work experience at arts venues and film festivals.

Year One

  • Critical Approaches to Film
  • Employability for the Film Industries
  • Screenwriting 1: Fear and Desire
  • Film Analysis
  • Cinema and Power
  • Hybrid Cinema

Year Two

  • New Hollywood
  • European Cinema (Central and Eastern)
  • Histories and Theories of Documentary Film
  • TV Genres
  • Film Symposium
  • Screenwriting 2: Writing the Hero

Year Three

  • Gender, Media and Culture
  • Film Studies Dissertation
  • Comedic Traditions in Film and Television
  • Hispanic Cinema
  • Cult Cinema
  • The Self on Screen: Autobiographical Film
  • Major Project in Scriptwriting (Theatre, Screen, Radio)
  • Screenplay


The Film Studies degree is taught in a variety of ways, including lectures, seminars, workshops, practical demonstrations and site visits. The emphasis, however, is always firmly on viewing films, so there will be weekly screenings in the Cardiff campus cinema.


Assessment methods are varied and challenging, and include essays, extract analyses, blogs, practical projects, class tests, individual and group presentations and reflections.


Our newly enhanced USW Cardiff has industry-standard facilities, including an on-site cinema that is available to students to screen their work, as well as hosting regular guest lectures and masterclasses.


Dr Lesley Harbidge, Film Studies Course Leader
Dr Philip Mitchell, Academic Subject Manager
Ian Staples, Senior Lecturer
Sian Summers, Senior Lecturer
Daryl Perrins, Senior Lecturer
Dr Deirdre Russell, Lecturer
Dr Jesse Schwenk, Lecturer

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

This course requires an interview. As part of your interview please bring a piece of your written work on a film or TV topic of your choice. This could be something you have written as part of your studies (i.e. a short critique) or in your spare time (i.e. a blog). Do be ready to discuss it with staff.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD to include a relevant subject such as Art, Drama, English, History, Theatre, Film Studies, Welsh or Media Studies (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level to include a relevant subject such as Art, IT, English, Visual Arts, Welsh, Film Studies, Media Studies or Photography (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass in a relevant subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with higher grades of between 655-445 to include a relevant higher subject (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes in a relevant subject (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes in a relevant subject (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C or above, or their equivalent but consideration is given to individual circumstances

International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £450
Books/ films. (All academic years)
Kit (Uniform and Equipment) £300
Print costs .(All academic years)
Field Trips £300
Field trips. (All academic years)
Field Trips £1500
International field trips .(All academic years)

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK/EU. 

Admissions statement

Studying a film degree can be a springboard to a wide range of careers in the dynamic fields of the media, culture and education.

Graduates of this Film Studies degree have pursued careers in teaching, film education, media, research, production and distribution, and scriptwriting. The skills you’ll develop on the course would also assist careers in film programming and curation, film journalism, arts education and publishing.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.