Film & Visual Culture and History at Aberdeen adds to your rigorous training in the history and theory of the moving image in the 21st century. You will study at Scotland’s top-rated university for the impact of its historical research and will gain the specialist and transferable skills to open up a wide spectrum of career opportunities.
This programme is studied on campus.
Our unique Film and Visual Culture programme combines close analysis of visual objects and artefacts – analogue and digital, moving and still, underground and mainstream – with theories of visual representation, production and circulation. You will gain specialist knowledge and skills in the academic study of cinema, with an emphasis on building analytical skills in research and critical writing. You will also have the opportunity to develop skills in digital video production and web design.
History research at Aberdeen is rated top in Scotland for its impact and 2nd in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework (Ranked by Times Higher Education based on REF 2014 GPA scores), with teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national quality assessment, and student satisfaction of 95%. You will be surrounded by 500 years of national, international and local history, enthused and inspired by teachers who are leaders in their fields with expertise as diverse as medieval Scandinavia, early-modern Poland and modern East Asia and be enthralled by our wonderful collections of historic treasures.
You will graduate highly attractive to employers, with specialist and transferable skills opening career options in film, new media, arts and heritage, publishing, journalism, politics, education and many roles in business.
Key Programme Information
At a Glance
- Learning Mode
- On Campus Learning
- Degree Qualification
- 48 months
- Study Mode
- Full Time
- Start Month
- UCAS Code
What You'll Study
- Year 1
- Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)
This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.
- Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
- Introduction to Visual Culture (FS1008) - 15 Credit Points
What is Visual Culture? Over the last twenty years, the visual landscape has become digital, virtual, viral, and global. A vibrant cross-section of scholars and practitioners from Art History, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Film Studies have responded, not only engaging contemporary image production and consumption, but also the foundations of visual knowledge: What is an image? What is vision? How and why do we look, gaze, and spectate? From the nomadic pathways of the digital archive to the embodied look that looks back, this course will introduce students to the key concepts that shape this fluid field.
- Making History (HI1027) - 15 Credit Points
This course will introduce students to the subject of university level history. Team taught lectures will introduce students to approaches, sources, and the dilemmas facing academic historians. Download course guide
- Introduction to Film and the Cinematic Experience (FS1508) - 15 Credit Points
This course offers an introduction to the language and practice of formal film analysis. Each week we will explore a different element of film form and analyze the ways in which it shapes the moving image. This course invites students to think about formal elements within and across a wide range of genres, styles, historical moments, and national contexts. By the end of this course, the successful FS1508 student will be able to recognize and communicate the ways in which meaning is made in cinema.
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 1 courses in History and/or History of Art
- Select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points
- Year 2
- Visualising Modernity (FS2007) - 30 Credit Points
The first half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Visualising Modernity focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period 1895 to 1945. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and attendance in lectures and tutorials.
- Visualising Revolution (FS2507) - 30 Credit Points
The second half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Cinema & Revolution focuses on crucial moments, concepts and cinematic works from the period between 1945 and the present. Students will be marked according to a mid-term essay, a final exam, short assignments on Blackboard, and participation and attendance in lectures and tutorials.
Select a further 60 credit points from level 2 courses in History
- Year 3
- Thinking History (HI356J) - 30 Credit Points
This course looks at how history is written. It considers the problems involved in studying and explaining the past, and the many dilemmas faced by historians in reconstructing it. By examining the ways in which history has been written from the Ancient Greeks to Postmodernism, it considers the limits of historical study, asks whether history can ever be a science, and reveals the assumptions behind the various approaches to history that inform its writing. It is designed to provide honours history students with an essential understanding of what they are doing when they study history. Download Course Guide
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 3 Film courses (listed below)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 3 courses in History
- Art and Science A (FS3022) - 30 Credit Points
This course offers as an introduction to what is known as visual culture of science and its relationship with the body in the Western world. It provides students with a critical understanding of issues related to the human body and its status in modern and contemporary society, with particular regard to the representation, production and display of still and moving images/visualizations of the body in between art and medicine.
- Confronting the Nazi Past in German and Austrian Film A (FS30EA) - 30 Credit Points
The process of confronting the crimes and legacy of the Third Reich in Germany and Austria has been a long and difficult one. This course will look at a number of key films and directors from the past seven decades to examine the changing discourse and shifts in representation of the Nazi legacy in Germany and Austria. The course will proceed chronologically, encompassing both fiction and documentary film, offering the opportunity to compare and draw connections between films from different periods and of diverse genres.
- Trapped on Film: the Hero and the Captivity Narrative A (FS30GG) - 30 Credit Points
The course will invite comparisons between key critical texts and themes that focus on variants of entrapment as presented in a range of feature films. Film adaptation, analysing narrative form and constructions of place and the production of space will inform our investigations, in addition to considering the linkage between films and their social and historical contexts within popular culture.
- Postmodern Art (FS30PB) - 30 Credit Points
This course will explore a range of approaches to visual culture by artists in the postmodern era, from the explosion of conceptual art and the use of alternative media in the 1970s, to graffiti in the 1980s and the eclecticism of the 1990s and beyond. This course will examine the vast array of artistic expression that developed in the latter half of the twentieth century.
- French Cinema A (FS3523) - 15 Credit Points
An introductory overview of the history of the French cinema will be followed by detailed study of a number of films. The introduction will look at the status of film in France and the position of the French cinema in relation to that of the rest of Europe and Hollywood. It will study the cinema's response to and reflection of the major historical events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The detailed study will be organised chronologically, from the 1930s up to the 2000s, but will concentrate on the aesthetic and formal aspects of the films to be studied. These will change from year to year, but might include films by, for example, Carné, Renoir, Truffaut, Resnais, Malle and Buñuel.
- Russian Art, Modern and Contemporary: 1863 - Present (FS35PA)
- Cinematic Cities A (FS35FD) - 30 Credit Points
The course will focus on the relationship between the cinema and the urban environment, focusing on specific thematic issues. These include: the city and cinematic visions of utopia/dystopia; the city and the figure of the detective/flaneur/flaneuse; the city as site of cultural encounter and social conflict; the city as a site of globalisation; the city and production and consumption; the city and the development/reworking of cinematic tradition. The course will also explore the relationship between the experience of cinematic space and urban space, and how they have been interconnected throughout the history of cinema.
- On Documentary: History, Theory and Practice (FS35IB) - 30 Credit Points
This course will allow students to engage in documentary production by putting into practice methodologies they have studied through a series of seminar discussions, workshops and screenings. Students will research two topics (one assessed and one non-assessed) and work in teams to film them and utilize the Media Lab's facilities to complete the projects through post-production.
- Landscapes of Film A (FS35ZA) - 30 Credit Points
This course will invite students to explore the ways films engage with and represent a variety of landscapes, and how, in turn, landscape can influence both the production and the creation of meaning in mainstream, underground and art films of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students will study films from around the world alongside theoretical and critical writing on film, landscape, space and place.
Filmmakers to be studied may include, among others: Andrea Arnold, Jane Campion, Joel and Ethan Coen, John Curran, Tacita Dean, Werner Herzog, Im Kwon-taek, Abbas Kiarostami, Ang Lee, Terrence Malick, Philip Noyce, Lynne Ramsay, Andrei Tarkovsky, Agnes Varda and Andrey Zvyagintsev.
- Year 4
- Select one Special Subject (HI40XX)
- Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)
- History in Practice II (HI4518)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 Film courses
- Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 Film courses
- Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506) - 30 Credit Points
Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Film and Visual Culture.
- Undergraduate Dissertation in History (HI4516) - 30 Credit Points
The undergraduate dissertation is the final-year major research undertaking, based on primary and secondary material and providing a critical analysis of a specific subject chosen by the student. It is obligatory for Single Honours students, whereas Joint Honours students choose to write their dissertation in either of the two subjects. After initial sessions about the nature of the dissertation and research approaches, students develop a topic with the help of a member of staff, who will also supervise their project throughout. Download Course Guide
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
How You'll Study
- Individual Projects
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
- Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
- Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
- Written examinations at the end of each course.
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
- View detailed learning and assessment information for this programme
How the programme is taught
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
How the programme is assessed
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
Learning Methodscheduled: 27%
Learning Methodscheduled: 17%
Learning Methodscheduled: 17%
Learning Methodscheduled: 11%
Why Study Film & Visual Culture and History?
Why Film & Visual Culture
- A curriculum which perfectly balances creativity with broad study, theory and critical analysis as you learn to think within the movements of cinema, and pursue questions beyond the film frame.
- Director's Cut, the University’s popular events series which invites leading international film-makers onto campus for masterclasses with students, and packed public 'in conversation' events, filmed for the web and for teaching.
- Sir David Attenborough, Nicholas Roeg, John Akomfrah, Raul Ruiz, Kevin MacDonald, and film editor Peter Lambert (Love Actually to Twilight Saga) all among previous guests for Director's Cut.
- The George Washington Wilson Centre for Visual Culture, promoting interest and organising events in visual culture, including film, photography, art history, anthropology and museum studies.
- A programme which also looks at the practical elements of film and visual culture, including the production and circulation of film.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, café discussions and film showings, including the annual May Festival which features Director’s Cut events as highlights of each spring's programme.
- Strong emphasis on applied learning as well as theory, so you develop a range of practical skills that will give you a good grounding in your future career.
- An exciting and flourishing cultural scene in north-east Scotland, including the independent Belmont Filmhouse which celebrates world cinema in all its brilliance and diversity, and frequently partners with this academic programme.
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library providing a stunning, iconic and inspiring study environment with state-of-the-art learning technology and reference works on film and visual culture.
- Ranked top University in Scotland for the impact of its History research, and second in the UK in the latest UK Research Excellence Framework. (Ranked by Times Higher Education based on REF 2014 GPA scores)
- Teaching rated ‘Highly Satisfactory’ in the last national Teaching Quality Assessment, and with student satisfaction of 95% – way above the national average of 86%.
- Particular strengths in Irish and Scottish studies, Scandinavia, late medieval/early modern period, and research centres studying global empires, history and philosophy of science, technology and medicine, and Russian and Eastern European history.
- The inspiration of our beautiful historic campus in Old Aberdeen, where King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, is a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence.
- Major international treasures including 7,000 early printed books, the magnificent 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, large Jacobite collection, works of the Scottish Enlightenment, and fascinating local records dating from the middle ages.
- A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes world-famous authors, broadcasters and personalities including well-known historians to campus every spring.
- Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and an online catalogue giving you access to thousands of books and millions of journal articles on the web.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
General Entry Requirements
- 2020 Entry
Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.
Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.
Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.
32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.
Irish Leaving Certificate
5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).
Entry from College
Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.
The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.
English Language Requirements
To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54
Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:
OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
Fees and Funding
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2019/20|
|Students Admitted in 2019/20|
International non-EU Applicants
- In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
- For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.
Our Funding Database
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.
Information About Staff Changes
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
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