Film & Visual Culture and History of Art at Aberdeen adds to your rigorous training in the history and theory of the moving image in the 21st century with a fascinating awakening of your ‘sociological imagination’. You will explore how the societies we live in shape us as individuals in all sorts of ways, with top-rated teaching and a culture of dynamic research that will give you the skills to be a sought-after graduate by employers in many sectors.
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.
Sociology at Aberdeen will add insight into the lives and times of film-makers you are studying. You will explore how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways and study sociology of the family, work-life balance, religion and society. You will be taught by experts in social movements, conflict and peace, religion and secularisation and global political sociology. You will become skilled in the social research methods used to gather the evidence to better understand aspects of society – such as observation, interviews, large-scale surveys or analysing the content of documents and videos.
In addition to your technical ability, you will develop great skills in thinking critically and posing probing questions, which have tremendous value to employers, for example in journalism, marketing and advertising, social and market research, teaching, health services, social work, charities, and human resources.
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 Language & Literature (AW1008)
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.
- Introduction to Sociology I: Self, Identity & Society (SO1007) - 15 Credit Points
Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analysing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.
- 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.
- Introduction to Sociology II: Systems of Power (SO1509) - 15 Credit Points
This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyses the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.
- 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.
- Sociology of Everyday Life i: the Embodied Self (SO2006) - 30 Credit Points
This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.
- 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.
- Sociology of Everyday Life II: Global Issues in the 21st Century (SO2509) - 30 Credit Points
This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.
- Year 3
- Social Research Methods (SO3524) - 30 Credit Points
Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.
Select one of the following:
- Religion and Society (SO3067)
- Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)
Plus, select a further 60 credit points from level 3 Film courses
- Religion and Society (SO3067) - 30 Credit Points
Modernization changes the nature and social position of religion: what was once imposed on entire societies becomes a matter of choice and as societies become more religiously diverse, religion is increasingly confined to the home and the family. National churches are replaced by denominations and sects and the state’s increasing neutrality allows new religious movements to flourish. This course uses secularization to examine such basic sociological concepts as social differentiation, individualism, social cohesion, community versus voluntary association, immigration, conversion, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.
- Thinking Sociologically (SO3066) - 30 Credit Points
Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.
- Year 4
- Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 Film courses
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology
- Dissertation in Sociology (SO4049)
- Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 Film courses
- Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology
- 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.
- Research Project (SO4049) - 30 Credit Points
This course affords students the opportunity to apply their sociological knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and approved by the department. Over the course of the project, with guidance from a member of staff, the student will conduct a literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods, gather and analyse data, and write a final report. All students will be guided in the arts of critical analysis, report planning, and report writing. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop their own skills.
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.
- 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: 28%
Learning Methodscheduled: 18%
Learning Methodscheduled: 15%
Learning Methodscheduled: 12%
Why Study Film & Visual Culture and Sociology?
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.
- An international reputation for our sociology research, and recognised by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as a centre for research training and supervision for postgraduate students.
- Teaching with a top rating of ‘Excellent’ in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment.
- Consistently rated very highly, including by students in the National Student Survey (NSS) from whom we get great feedback.
- Sociology at Aberdeen is rated as 5th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2017.
- The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with its top-class study environment, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive collection of sociology publications and resources for your study.
- A packed programme of student and public events, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, plus the annual May Festival, British Science Week and Being Human Festival regularly featuring Aberdeen research in social sciences.
- Participation in the European Social Survey, one of the largest and most reliable sources of data about Europeans’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences, with data from more than 350,000 individuals across 36 countries since 2002.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
General Entry Requirements
- 2019 Entry
- 2020 Entry
Standard Offer: AABB - BBB
Applicants who have achieved between AABB - BBB are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers / Advanced Highers may be required in order to receive an offer of admission.
Adjusted / Access Threshold: BB (or below)
Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one or more Widening Participation criteria, are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers / Advanced Highers will be required in order to receive an offer of admission.
Standard offer: BBB
Adjusted / Access Threshold: BB (or below)
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)
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).
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.
For international students (all non-EU students) the tuition fee charged upon entry will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.
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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University of Aberdeen