Introduction

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.

Degree marketing image

Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LW36

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

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.

View detailed information about this course

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

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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.

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Introductory Sociology I (SO1005) - 15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analyzing 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.

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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 FS1006 student will be able to recognize and communicate the ways in which meaning is made in cinema.

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Introductory Sociology II (SO1507) - 15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyzes 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.

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Optional Courses

  • Select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Cinema and Modernity (FS2003) - 30 Credit Points

The first half of a film history sequence at the second year level, Cinema & 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.

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Studying Social Life 1 (SO2005) - 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.

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Cinema and Revolution (FS2506) - 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.

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Studying Social Life 2 (SO2505) - 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.

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Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

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.

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Optional Courses

Select one of the following:

  • Religion and Society (SO3067)
  • Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

Plus, select a further 60 credit points from level 3 Film courses (listed below)

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.

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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.

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The Narrative Within The Frame (A) (FS30IG) - 30 Credit Points

This practice-based course will investigate different forms of narrative construction in paintings, photographs and films by different artists from a range of historical periods. Narrative form and content will be considered from aesthetic, historical and theoretical perspectives. Working in groups, students will explore approaches to still and moving image making that will culminate in creating a video installation project.

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Performance Art (FS30PC) - 30 Credit Points

This course will examine the phenomenon of performance art as it developed both in the capitalist West and the communist East. By considering the artistic production of Western artists in light of what their contemporaries were doing behind the Iron Curtain, we will arrive at a more nuanced understanding of performance art in general, and in the West. Furthermore, by examining these performances from the East in the context of theories expounded on the avant-garde, we will reconsider the idea of the end of the avant-garde and develop an expanded understanding of postmodern art practice.

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Cinema and Science: Beyond Science Fiction A (FS3010) - 30 Credit Points

The course will invite students to explore the relationship between cinema and science beyond the paradigm of science fiction cinema. Underground and mainstream fictional, documentary and educational moving image works will serve the discussion of both theoretical and practical questions at the crossroad of film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

The course will engage students with a wide range of experimental, documentary, educational and narrative works such as, among others, films by Brackage, Painlevè, Wiseman, Guzmán, Herzog, Rotha, Malick.

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Psychoanalysis and Cinema A (FS3021)
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.

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Modern and Contemporary Russian Art (FS35PA) - 30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the major artists and artistic movements in Russia from the late 19th century until today. The main focus will be on the interrelation between art and politics in Russia during one of the most turbulent centuries in the country's history. From the social realism of the Wanderers to the propaganda art of Klucis and Rodchenko, through the Soviet years of repression and into the post-independent era, when artists continued to express their concerns about topical issues, art and politics in Russia have been virtually inextricable.

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The Animate A (FS3521)
Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Option 1

  • Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 Film courses (listed below)
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology

Option 2

  • Dissertation in Sociology (SO4049)
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 Film courses (listed below)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology
Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4506) - 30 Credit Points

This course will provide students with guidance on writing a dissertation on a topic approved by the programme co-ordinator for the Head of School.

View detailed information about this course

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.

View detailed information about this course

The Narrative Within The Frame (FS40IG) - 30 Credit Points

This practice-based course will investigate different forms of narrative construction in paintings, photographs and films by different artists from a range of historical periods. Narrative form and content will be considered from aesthetic, historical and theoretical perspectives. Working in groups, students will explore approaches to still and moving image making that will culminate in creating a video installation project.

View detailed information about this course

Performance Art (FS40PC) - 30 Credit Points

This course will examine the phenomenon of performance art as it developed both in the capitalist West and the communist East. By considering the artistic production of Western artists in light of what their contemporaries were doing behind the Iron Curtain, we will arrive at a more nuanced understanding of performance art in general, and in the West. Furthermore, by examining these performances from the East in the context of theories expounded on the avant-garde, we will reconsider the idea of the end of the avant-garde and develop an expanded understanding of postmodern art practice.

View detailed information about this course

Cinema and Science: Beyond Science Fiction B (FS4010) - 30 Credit Points

This course shall invite students to explore the relationship between cinema and science beyond the paradigm of science fiction cinema. Underground and mainstream fictional, documentary and educational moving image works will serve the discussion of both theoretical and practical questions at the crossroad of film theory, visual culture and science and technology studies (STS).

The course will engage students with a wide range of experimental, documentary, educational and narrative works such as, among others, films by Brackage, Painlevè, Wiseman, Guzmán, Herzog, Rotha, Malick.

View detailed information about this course

Psychoanalysis and Cinema B (FS4021)
Modern and Contemporary Russian Art (FS45PA) - 30 Credit Points

This course will introduce students to the major artists and artistic movements in Russia from the late 19th century until today. The main focus will be on the interrelation between art and politics in Russia during one of the most turbulent centuries in the country's history. From the social realism of the Wanderers to the propaganda art of Klucis and Rodchenko, through the Soviet years of repression and into the post-independent era, when artists continued to express their concerns about topical issues, art and politics in Russia have been virtually inextricable.

View detailed information about this course

The Animate B (FS4521)

Course Availability

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

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

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.

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.

Why Sociology

  • 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.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate 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.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £15,000
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • 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.

Undergraduate Open Day

Our next Open Day will be on

Find out More

Careers

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.

Our Experts

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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX