Introduction

Film & Visual Culture at Aberdeen takes you on a fascinating and unique journey through the history and theory of the moving image over the last 100 years of cinema. You will study in the vibrant environment of a leading teaching and research university with a buzzing regional cultural scene, in a region of outstanding natural beauty and inspiration.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
W690
Degree marketing image

Our unique Film & Visual Culture programme at Aberdeen offers a rigorous training in the history and theory of the moving image, as well as the shifting terrain of 21st century visual culture.

You will combine the analysis of visual objects and artefacts– analogue and digital, moving and still, underground and mainstream – with theory to explore a range of underground and mainstream cinematic movements. You will also look at the practical elements of film and visual culture, including the production and circulation of film.

This broad, rigorous and enquiring approach is a great preparation for further study or for a career in the film industry, broadcasting, new media, journalism, teaching and other related fields. New opportunities in Scottish broadcasting are available through our Joint degree in Film and Visual Culture and Gaelic Studies.

As you learn, you will be inspired by our friendly and vibrant international community, on a beautiful medieval campus with great facilities for learning, sports and leisure and will have many opportunities to develop the extra skills and interests that will boost your employability further and to broaden your horizons through study abroad.

What You'll Study

Film & Visual Culture at Aberdeen explores the movements of film and cinema over the past 100 years. The range of courses on offer will enable you to develop your knowledge and understanding of themes that particularly interest you. You will develop advanced analytical and evaluation skills by studying topics such as mise-en-scène, narrative structure, cinematography, cinematic style and ideology, cinema and revolution, visual art and science; global silent cinema and new media.

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
Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select further courses of choice to make up 120 credit points.

Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

FS30EF Film and Politics: German and Austrian Filmmakers Facing T (30 credit points)

Cinema and Science: Beyond Fiction A (FS3010)

30 Credit Points

For much of the twentieth century, the cinema has provided mass audiences with a powerful and accessible source of images and ideas about many aspects of science, medicine and healthcare, including the notion of scientific evidence and objectivity, laboratory experimentation, science and human rights, the relationship between doctor and patient, the public image of scientists, the encounter between human and non-human animals. This course seeks to understand the complex relations between cinema and science, by critically examining a diverse body of works coming from different filmic traditions, genres and periods, challenging the cliché of the mad scientist often represented in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

View detailed information about this course
The Art of Screen Writing (FS3012)

30 Credit Points

This course will focus on the theory and the practical techniques of writing screenplays for cinema and for television. It will encourage students to put together the tool kit of skills which they will require to write effective screenplays based on both adapted source material and on original material. The course will survey the established skills of creating effective narrative screenplays across genres, with an emphasis on contemporary dramatic cinema. The course will provide students with a versatile, practical skill-set of screenwriting abilities set within realistic industry expectations.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
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.

View detailed information about this course
Performance Art (FS35PC)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the development of the genre of performance art in the 1960s and 1970s, through to the present day. The focus will be on performance art in Eastern Europe, where experimental art practices offered a zone of freedom for artists to develop. We will examine a range of issues, including the materiality of the body, gender, institutional critique, political art, as well as issues surrounding documentation, liveness, and re-performance.

View detailed information about this course
Optional Courses

Select 90 credit points from level 3 Film and Visual Culture courses, plus a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following:

  • FS4002 Dissertation in Film and Visual Culture
  • FS4506 Dissertation in Film and Visual Culture

Plus select a further 90 credit from list of level 4 Film and Visual Culture courses below.

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.

View detailed information about this course
Dissertation in Film & Visual Culture (FS4002)

30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within Film and Visual Culture.

View detailed information about this course
Confronting the Nazi Past in German and Austrian Film - B (FS40ED)

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. In West Germany this process began in earnest following the 1968 student revolution, with a younger generation questioning the role that their parents had played in the Second World War. In Austria, the process of coming to terms with the Nazi legacy took substantially longer to get underway, and it is only over the past thirty years that the country's view of its role during the Third Reich has shifted decisively from that of victimhood to complicity. The discussion about the Nazi past in Germany has further evolved following German re-unification in 1990. 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.

View detailed information about this course
Cinema and Science: Beyond Fiction B (FS4010)

30 Credit Points

For much of the twentieth century, the cinema has provided mass audiences with a powerful and accessible source of images and ideas about many aspects of science, medicine and healthcare, including the notion of scientific evidence and objectivity, laboratory experimentation, science and human rights, the relationship between doctor and patient, the public image of scientists, the encounter between human and non-human animals. This course seeks to understand the complex relations between cinema and science, by critically examining a diverse body of works coming from different filmic traditions, genres and periods, challenging the cliché of the mad scientist often represented in mainstream Hollywood cinema.

View detailed information about this course
Landscapes of Film B (FS45ZA)

30 Credit Points

This course will invite students to explore the ways in which 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.

View detailed information about this course
Cinematic Cities B (FS45FD)

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/fl-neur/fl-neuse; 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.

View detailed information about this course
Performance Art (FS45PC)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine the development of the genre of performance art in the 1960s and 1970s, through to the present day. The focus will be on performance art in Eastern Europe, where experimental art practices offered a zone of freedom for artists to develop. We will examine a range of issues, including the materiality of the body, gender, institutional critique, political art, as well as issues surrounding documentation, liveness, and re-performance.

View detailed information about this course

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

Film is a popular subject and therefore first and second-year courses involve large lecture classes. Weekly tutorials, however, enable closer work with the tutor and with other students. Marks for the course are normally based in part on participation in these tutorials and involve research, essays, exams and My Aberdeen written submissions, depending on individual course requirements. Honours courses are based on seminars which encourage active participation.

Learning Methods

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • Directors Cut, the University’s popular events series inviting leading international film-makers to campus for masterclasses with students, and packed public events, filmed for the web.
  • Previous Director's Cut guests include Sir David Attenborough, Nicholas Roeg, John Akomfrah, Raul Ruiz, Kevin MacDonald, and Peter Lambert, film editor with successes from Love Actually to the Twilight Saga.
  • 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.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library providing a stunning study environment with state-of-the-art technology.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, café discussions and film showings, including the annual May Festival and Director’s Cut events as highlights of the programme.
  • 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.
  • Your programme also looks at the practical elements of film and visual culture, including the production and circulation of film.
  • 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.  

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2020 Entry
2021 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

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.

Minimum: BBB

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.

Adjusted: BB

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.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

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.

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

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.

Minimum: BBB

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.

Adjusted: BB

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.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

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:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

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

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

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

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2021/22
EU / International students £18,000
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2021/22 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

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 EU Scholarship

The Aberdeen Global Undergraduate Scholarship is open to European Union (EU) students.

This is an £8,000 tuition fee discount available to eligible self-funded Undergraduate students who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status.

View Undergraduate EU Scholarship

Careers

Our Film & Visual Culture programme at Aberdeen is designed to advance your knowledge in the academic study of cinema and you will also have the opportunity to develop skills in digital video production and web design. This programme will provide you with an invaluable platform for further study or a career in the film industry. Previous graduates of our programme have gone on to work in areas such as broadcasting, teaching, new media and journalism.

A Unique Scottish Film and Visual Programme

Unique in Scotland for combining Film with Visual Culture and a hybrid study of theory, history and production.

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.

Features

Teaching Excellence

Teaching staff on our Film & Visual Culture programme adopt a range of teaching methods to ensure that you learn in a way that fits your learning style. Our small tutorial groups enable you to work closely with your tutor and other students. Many of our staff are actively involved in research of film and visual culture, and you will benefit from their first-hand insight.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. 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