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History and Film Studies

VW16 BA (Hons) 3 years


Film studies is a genuinely interdisciplinary academic field. An encounter with films of different genres, styles, periods and national industries is the core of the subject, and as a film student you will naturally devote a lot of time to viewing films, reading and writing about them, and discussing their meaning and importance. Through practical modules, you will also gain hands- on experience of the roles of producer, director, screenwriter and actor, gaining crucial insights into the fundamental aspects of film production. However, this is just the beginning. Film studies fosters an understanding of visual aesthetics, narrative forms and technological ability, but that also leads students into areas of study as diverse as history, politics, philosophy, technology and performance.

Film studies demands creative and original thought. For example, you will question how class, race, ethnicity and sexuality are represented on the screen. You will investigate why this might be different from country to country, or from period to period. You will think about film production in terms of the development and impact of new media technologies. You will examine the effects of international commerce on the type of films that we get to see, and probe the impact of practices and regulations such as censorship, cultural policy, star systems, festivals and industry awards. You will think critically and theoretically about media practices, and anchor this understanding in a framework that is both intellectually rigorous and culturally relevant.

This programme enables you to combine modules in Film Studies with modules in American, British and European history. More particularly you will be able to choose modules centred on the unique film cultures which developed in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States throughout the Twentieth Century and beyond. The first year combines modules which introduce you to key concepts in film studies with modules in modern history. In the second and third years, you are encouraged to select pathways that combine modules on the history of a particular country, particularly those that focus on a country’s film history and culture. In your final year, you work on primary source material either through a document-based special subject or through original research on a subject of your own choice, leading to a 10-15,000 word research dissertation.

Why study Film Studies and History at Queen Mary?

In recent National Student Surveys (NSS), Film Studies at Queen Mary has rated consistently highly in terms of overall student satisfaction and in terms of the quality of teaching across the programme. We have performed consistently well in national newspaper league tables: we were placed 7th out of 90 UK institutions in the Times Good University Guide 2013 and were ranked 6th out of 86 UK institutions in the Guardian University Guide 2013. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film was ranked highly for the quality of the research being carried out by staff. This means that you will be taught by people who are breaking new ground in their field, who will be able to pass on their passion and knowledge to you.

Our staff have expertise, notably in British and American cinema, and in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian filmmaking. You are encouraged to develop your skills in film criticism and copy-editing by contributing to our online journal, Mapping Contemporary Cinema, run by staff and students. Queen Mary also hosts Living British Cinema, an exciting new forum that promotes the appreciation of British film culture and history, bringing together students, scholars, writers, filmmakers and industry professionals.

Our London location is another advantage. The city is home to the National Film Theatre, British Film Institute and the London Film Festival, as well as to major film premières and art-house cinema venues. And, with much film and television production based here, there are opportunities to gain valuable experience in a film-related part-time job or work placement. We have excellent facilities, particularly our state-of-the-art 41-seater cinema, used for screenings and lectures, our ‘black box’ studio and our Film Production suite, with high-end Apple Mac computers running Final Cut Pro.

In the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008), History at Queen Mary was ranked among the top 15 departments in the UK. Our academics are internationally renowned in their fields, and our track record in both research and teaching is excellent. We count the former President of the Royal Historical Society and five fellows of British Academy among our number.

Our staff regularly contribute to academic and public life with books, journal papers, and media broadcasts. Dr Mark Glancy is a frequent contributor to BBC History Magazine, for which he writes on historical films. Broadcasts from History staff include: BBC Two series Behind Closed Doors and At Home with the Georgians and BBC Radio 4’s Voices From the Old Bailey by Professor Amanda Vickery; Monsieur Non – a programme on Charles de Gaulle delivered by Professor Julian Jackson for Archive on 4; and Dr Tom Asbridge developed and presented The Crusader’s Lost Fort for BBC2’s Timewatch.

Our intellectual diversity is a key feature of our community. This will enable you to study political history alongside the history of art and architecture, or English literature. By following cultural and intellectual themes you could investigate topics as diverse as: the lives of Oscar Wilde; the representation of war in contemporary British popular culture; or the Medieval Islamic world. You will have membership of the Queen Mary Library and the University of London Library, Senate House, both of which have extensive collections. You will also enjoy reading access to the other college libraries within the University of London, and can take advantage of our London location and ready access to a wealth of other libraries, museums and archives.


Year 1

History core module:

  • History in Practice

Two history options from:

  • Europe and the Wider World Since 1800
  • Unravelling Britain: British History Since 1801
  • Building the American Nation: 1756-1900
  • The American Century: the United States since 1900
  • Reformation to Revolution: Europe and the World: 1500-1800

Compulsory film modules:

  • Introduction to Film
  • Auteurism: The European Tradition
  • Stars

Film options include:

  • Critical Approaches to Film: Alfred Hitchcock

Year 2

Compulsory History module:

  • Historiographical module (title to be confirmed)

History modules may include:

  • Race in the United States: Slavery to Civil Rights
  • Film History: The United States and the Second World War
  • British Horror: Film, Television and Literature
  • Japanese Film: History, Culture and Fantasy
  • Art since 1965: from the Rejection of Modernism to Post Modernism
  • London and its Museums

Compulsory film module:

  • What is cinema? Critical Approaches

Film modules may include:

  • The French New Wave
  • Introduction to British Cinema
  • Documentary: Theory and Practice

Year 3

History module:

  • History Research Dissertation or special subject

Film modules may include:

  • Screening the Past: The French History Film in the 1980s and 1990s
  • Contemporary Hollywood Cinema
  • Modern/Postmodern Cinema

Entry requirements


Typical tariff or grades required: 320 points from 3 A-levels with a B in History, B in Film/media or a relevant subject.

Excluded subjects: General studies and Critical Thinking.

International Baccalaureate:
Subjects and grades: Overall 34 points with 5 in Higher Level History and 5 in Film/Media or relevant subject at Higher Level

Vocational and other qualifications:
The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our further information page.

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration. 

Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications

Learning and teaching

Learning and Teaching:
A typical weekly timetable might include four lectures in groups of between 25 and 75, and four seminars in classes of under 20. There are weekly film screenings for most modules, and workshop sessions for many practice-based modules, as well as group work in the studios or on location. Typically, your timetable might include 16-20 hours of classroom time overall.

Independent Study:
For every hour spent in classes you will be expected to complete a further 2 - 3 hours of independent study. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; producing written work; completing projects; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study sessions you attend, along with your reading lists and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability.

Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.

Most modules combine assessed coursework and an end-of-module exam, though the proportion may vary. Some modules, including the practical ones, are assessed by coursework only. Final-year students have the opportunity to pursue a sustained piece of research or to develop an extended film production project or long script.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate Employment

Graduates from Queen Mary’s BA History and Film Studies programme go on to work in a wide variety of careers spanning the media, government and politics, academia, business, finance, the charity sector and legal services.

The national 2011 destination survey confirmed that 93.4% of graduates from the School of History were in employment or study six months after graduation with 67.1% of this group already working or studying at graduate level. Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of History also have a strong earning power, with a median salary of £22,583.

The broad range of skills gained through programmes in the School, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, have enabled students to move into careers such as: 

Communications CoordinatorLB Design
Civil ServantThe Home Office
Online Content EditorNet Media Planet
Press Office Client ServicesPress Lost
Graduate Trading TraineeSchneider
Creative WriterGroupon
Management GraduateTower Hamlets Council
Marketing AssistantMCBX
Business Development ExecutiveDialogue Communications
Dayshift SummariserGorkana Group
Charity FundraiserGlobal Foundation for the Elimination of Domestic Violence
Executive OfficerThe Department for Work and Pensions

Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QM Projects work experience scheme, QM Temps job agency, Experience Works events and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 800 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.

Queen Mary’s extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from Student Journalist to Library Assistant and from Society President to School Mentor. History and Film Studies students can engage in political debate via on-campus forums such as the Mile End Group and New Turn, work with the production unit, Mile End Films, or volunteer for QMedia (which produces QMTV, QMessenger and CUB Magazine from the Students’ Union).

Throughout their time at Queen Mary, students have access to a bespoke careers programme to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This includes workshops on job-hunting and job applications as well as over 70 employer events each year to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. Employer events include recruitment fairs, networking forums (e.g. the 2012 Queen Mary Film Festival), professional panels and an on-campus jobs fair.

Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages




Name: Tom Symmons
Studying: History and Film Studies

“The critical skills and depth of knowledge I acquired during my BA in Film and History provided me a solid foundation for my postgraduate studies. My doctoral research thesis on the New Hollywood of the late-1960s and 1970s is now nearing completion and I intend to pursue a career in academia.

"The joint honours degree course is structured to allow plenty of flexibility, and the modules on offer are diverse and well formulated; the interdisciplinary course 'Critical Approaches to Film: Alfred Hitchcock', was a particular favourite. It is also led by academics who are both leaders in their respective fields of research, and take a great deal of pride and interest in providing the best educational experience for their students.”


Name: Will Hadley
Studying: Film Studies

“Being in London was important to me and Queen Mary offered the best programme, in terms of content and quality. It covers both practical and academic elements, both of which are important for understanding Film.

“The modules on offer cover many different interests, the tutors are enthusiastic and engaging, and the facilities for practical work are great; we regularly borrow camera kit to use on our own projects. My favourite place on campus is the Hitchcock Cinema.

“The East End is the most vibrant and diverse part of London, we’re close to Shoreditch and Dalston and a short journey to central London, and there are plenty of parks nearby. “I am the photography editor for the College magazine, CUB. It’s a way of keeping up other interests apart from stuff on the course, filling out my CV and meeting new people.”


Name: Alissa Timoshkina
Studied: BA and MA in Film Studies
Currently: After working as a film projects coordinator at a London-based Russian cultural foundation, I have started my own Multimedia Events Company ‘GLAZ’, currently developing two film projects (Festival of Sergei Paradjanov, London-Bristol, and Berlin Wall film season at the Barbican), and one multimedia dance and theatre project, called ‘Digital Stages’. Also, starting a PhD in Film Studies.

Why did you choose Queen Mary?
I was impressed by the competence and expertise of the staff at the School of Languages, Linguistics and Film, it’s highly ranked among other London universities and colleges. There’s also a warm and friendly atmosphere in the postgraduate community, and good relations between students and teachers.

What did you gain from your time at Queen Mary?
An extremely useful and inspiring knowledge of film, appreciation of culture, thought and visual arts. I also improved my ability to formulate and express personal views and opinions, both in written and verbal form. Overall this gave me the confidence to pursue a professional career in a film-related field, and strong enough academic knowledge to continue research on a PhD level.

What are your career plans in the next five years?
To establish my company as one of the respected and well-known organisations to work with moving image in the UK; to complete a PhD; to complete a script for my first feature film.


Name: Julian Ross
Studied: BA Film Studies, graduated 2009
Currently: PhD Student, University of Leeds

Why did you choose Queen Mary?
I chose Queen Mary because it has a good reputation, and is based in London. I also wanted to do a single honours film studies programme.

How did you find out about your current job?
One of the film studies lecturers, who taught the Chinese Cinema module, forwarded me a document that included a call for applications for a studentship for a project that closely resembled my final year research project at Queen Mary.

How did your time at Queen Mary prepare you for work?
The staff support individual thinking and originality, which helped me prepare for postgraduate-level research. They also encouraged me to be active outside of the programme which motivated me to get involved in events and develop my CV. Most of all, the staff at Queen Mary are great examples of academics, and their excellence in research and teaching along with their ability to balance both continue to be an inspiration.

What does your current job involve day-to-day?
Reading, watching films, writing, putting together presentations, occasional teaching and planning events.

Jaspreet Sangha

BA History

“I chose Queen Mary not only because it is one of the top universities in London but also because of the friendly atmosphere that the campus had. The university allows each individual to feel valued and respected through its numerous societies and social events. The History course itself has some of the most renowned historians in the country that have a distinct passion for their field, and that passion is then absorbed by the students.

“The thing that I like the most about Queen Mary is the perfect balance of enhancing your academic ability and allowing you to have a fun social life through its societies and events on campus and in London itself. Queen Mary also helped me find part-time work within a prominent tuition school in London, which has allowed to me to gain the perfect experience I will need in the future for my career in teaching.”

Katie Choi-Yan Lo


Why did you choose to study at Queen Mary?

“I chose Queen Mary because of its renowned History department, with its wide range of modules covering various periods and countries.

The location of the university is also advantageous, the East End being an area rich with history itself, and the university being close to Canary Wharf and the City.

How did you find your academic and social experience at QMUL?

“Queen Mary has offered me great flexibility in my degree, allowing me to study a broad range of topics and specialising in areas of interest to me. The course itself is well-structured, yet diverse, with different methods of assessment, thus helping me to develop a range of key transferable skills. I have had the chance to join many clubs and societies, as well as participate in volunteering schemes, mentor and tutor local students, and complete various internships, exposing me to a wide range of career opportunities.

The tutors have been very supportive both in terms of my studies, but also in other endeavours, including their enthusiasm for the Queen Mary Undergraduate History Journal, for which I am currently the Managing Editor, and also in helping me to obtain a training contract and place at law school after my degree.”


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