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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

PhD in Film Studies

Research Areas

Research in Film at QMUL is organised into four main areas, Film Cultures, Film Philosophy, Film Practice, and Decolonizing Film with the Centre for Film and Ethics as the main research centre. We are always interested in receiving applications from highly qualified prospective PhD students wishing to work with us in these general research areas:

Film Philosophy cluster boasts research not only within two main schools of Western philosophy (continental and analytic) but in Eastern thought as well. Members of the cluster have strengths in ethics, ideology, Marxist and post-Marxist critical thought, phenomenology, film archaeology, non-human and environmental humanities, vegan cinema and permacinema, end of life, finance, icon/icity, religion and film, philosophical exegesis, neurodiversity, gesture, cognitivism, fiction, Daoism, and works of specific philosophers including Agamben, Carroll, Benjamin, and Murdoch. The members include Lucy Bolton, Ashvin Devasundaram, Steven Eastwood, Grazia Ingravalle, Alasdair King, Sasha Litvintseva, Janet Harbord, Anat Pick, Libby Saxton, Mario Slugan, Guy Westwell, and Kiki Tianqi Yu. 

Film Cultures cluster investigates film histories, national cinemas, and various aspects of cinema as an institution. The cluster’s expertise lie in specific historical periods (early cinema, Classical Hollywood era, the interwar period, post-9/11 cinema), the cultures and industries of national cinemas (US, British, French, Russian, German, Italian, Yugoslav, Indian and Chinese cinemas), and a range of topics including stars, directors, producers, production companies, independent cinema, archives, production design, representation of war, cinema memory, film festivals, and studios. Lucy Bolton, Ashvin Devasundaram, Sue Harris, Grazia Ingravalle, Annette Kuhn, Mario Slugan, Guy Westwell, and Kiki Tianqi Yu count among the cluster’s members. 

Film Practice investigates the formal, ethical, and philosophical processes of moving image production and exhibition, including documentary filmmaking, artists’ moving image, fiction cinema, screenwriting, live art, and performance. Members of the cluster have made award-winning works on the end of life, Syrian refugees and forcibly disappeared, extractive zones, the environment, displaced economies, a transgender Chinese migrant, neurodiversity, measurements, monsters, originality and copying, and the relationship between eater and eaten among others.Steven Eastwood, Yasmin Fedda, Sasha Litvintseva, Athena Mandis, Daniel Mann, and Kiki Tianqi Yu are the cluster’s core members.

Decolonizing Film research cluster seeks to challenge not only the Global North canons of films, filmmakers, and film scholars but also the very epistemological underpinnings of film studies as a discipline. The cluster does so through work on film restitution, imperial legacies in archives, extraction zones, displacement, urban violence, effects of contemporary imperial warfare on antibiotic resistance, and dewesternizing film history, film analysis, and film theory. Its members are Ashvin Devasundaram, Eugene Doyen, Yasmin Fedda, Grazia Ingravalle, Nikolaus Perneczky, Daniel Mann, Mario Slugan, and Kiki Tianqi Yu.

Find out more about our research

Structure of the PhD Programme

The programme is normally a 3-year full time (or 6-year part time) research only PhD programme (i.e., there is no mandatory coursework component and students are expected to immediately start their research). In May of every year of the programme full-time equivalent PhD students are expected to pass an annual progress review.

All students are expected to participate in regular training and research activities organised by the department. Students also have the opportunity to present their ongoing research to the department in a variety of both formal and informal settings, one of which includes the monthly Post Production forum. Students can also take advantage of professional training events offered by the QMUL Academic Development Unit. Our current and recently completed PhD projects: Postgraduate students


Application Procedure

Please check the following sections as you begin working on your application:

Entry Requirements

Funding Competition

Prepare your Application


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