Postgraduate study

Film Studies PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Film Studies

The PhD in Film Studies is a three-year full-time or six-year part-time degree programme, which allows you to pursue a research topic in depth and produce a thesis of approximately 80,000 words.

As well as being a highly respected qualification from a top-ranking university, a postgraduate research degree in film studies places you at the heart of a vibrant, artistic city with a flourishing film culture.

Our associations with the renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival, along with other festivals, cinemas and film organisations, will support and inspire you in your research. So too will our extensive library of texts and DVDs, editing facilities, in-house cinema and access to the impressive collections of the National Library of Scotland and local cultural centres.

We can provide supervised research on a wide range of topics, such as film aesthetics and film and philosophy, various national cinemas, the work of individual filmmakers, cinema in relation to other art forms, and film exhibition.

We will consider thematic projects and research on genres, movements and theories. For interdisciplinary topics, expertise is on hand from within the school and beyond, including staff researching literature, anthropology, art history, music and more.

The Edinburgh Film Seminar gives you access to presentations, discussions and lectures by leading film academics and film professionals.

You will also be involved in the activities of the Edinburgh Film Research Network including conferences, presentations and study days.

Student-led screenings, discussion groups, Work-in-Progress seminars and film clubs are among the numerous ways in which we will encourage you to widen your experience and develop networks that will help carry you into an academic career or employment related to film and the moving image.

On hand are all the amenities you would expect, such as computing facilities, study areas and a common room and kitchen, and some you wouldn’t, such as our cinema for Film Studies students.

We have an extensive collection of texts as well a DVD library. The National Library of Scotland provides a remarkable choice of texts on film. Cultural centres located in Edinburgh, such as the Institut Francais d'Ecosse and the Italian Institute, also house DVD collections.

A UK 2:1 honours degree and a masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a related subject. We may also consider your application if you have equivalent qualifications or experience; please check with your potential supervisor before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH

Before you apply, we strongly recommend that you discuss your research proposal by email with a prospective supervisor.

In addition to the supporting documents requested on the application form, you should include a sample of academic written work of at least 5000 words (20 pages).

This can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate or postgraduate degree and should preferably have been written originally in English.

Masters by Research applicants should also include an outline of their proposed area of study.

PhD applicants should include a full research proposal using the template available at:

Refer to the application guidance for further general guidance:

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Graduate School
  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • Room 1.13, 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH