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PhD Film Studies (Creative Practice)

PhD Film Studies (Creative Practice)

Different course options

Full time | Colchester Campus | 4 years | OCT-23

Study mode

Full time


4 years

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Film Studies Creative Writing

Course type


Course Summary

Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars and film theorists. Our PhD Film Studies (Creative Practice) draws on this unique tradition, offering supervision for students in all fields of our wide-ranging staff research expertise, including an exceptional variety of approaches to mainstream and experimental practice, global cinemas, and comparative media.

This PhD offers you a choice of pathways for you to develop your creative practice. You will either work on a full-length original screenplay or equivalent short screenplays (80-120 pages, equivalent to 80-100+ minutes of screen time and roughly 30,000 words) accompanied by a critical commentary of 40,000 words. Alternatively, you may choose to work on a full-length film or equivalent short films (80-120 minutes screen time), a sample screenplay excerpt (10,000+ words) and critical commentary (30,000-40,000 words).


From the first day of your research within our department, we encourage you to plan your work so that you can expect to submit your thesis for examination by the end of three years. A typical first year of undertaking research within our department would involve developing a statement in which you will define the aims, theories and methods proposed for the thesis and practical project, an indicative bibliography, and a timetable for completion of all elements of the thesis. During this year, you will start collecting your primary and secondary research material according to your chosen topic and timeline, as well pre-production for practical elements.

Your typical second year should involve continuing to investigate and write, while further developing the practice-based elements. In this second year (or the end of your third year, if studying part-time), your first supervisory board of the year will be your Confirmation Board. This will review the evidence to confirm whether you should progress and whether your work is at PhD level. After confirmation of your status, you should undertake further substantial research and writing over the next 12 months.

In a typical third year, you should complete the practical project while also finalising draft chapters, then revise your work into a final version ready for submission.

Your future

Our graduates have gone on to undertake successful careers in production and academia, as well as other careers. Other past students in the Department are now established as university lecturers, teachers, publishers, publishers’ editors, journalists, arts administrators, theatre artistic directors, and translators.


This module is for PhD students who are completing the research portions of their theses.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK students

For this course (per year)


International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

For this course (per year)


Entry requirements

You will need a good Masters degree or equivalent, in a related subject. Some applicants may be accepted on the basis of an outstanding Bachelors degree. A well-developed research proposal is also essential.

University information

The University of Essex is a hub of innovation and stereotype-breaking success. It offers students a fantastic academic experience, and a fresh way of thinking about some of the key challenges faced by society today. The university delivers an impressive selection of postgraduate courses at a number of levels, including master’s programmes, doctoral degrees, research positions and short courses for continued professional development. The...more

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