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 expert academic staff and extensive library of books, journals and films will support and inspire you in your research. There is easy access to the impressive collections of the National Library of Scotland and local cultural centres. The city is home to the Edinburgh International Film Festival, along with many other festivals, cinemas and film organisations.

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 and study areas as well as a high specification digital screening room.

We have an extensive collection of film books and journals, a large number of films available to stream and an impressive 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 and host regular film screenings.

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

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 23 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 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.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

There are a number of scholarship schemes available to eligible candidates on this PhD programme, including awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh.

Please be advised that many scholarships have more than one application stage, and early deadlines.

*(Revised 27 November 2020 to update featured funding information.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures
  • 50 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LH
Programme start dates Application deadlines
13 September 2021 31 July 2021
10 January 2022 31 October 2021

If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

*(Revised 11 November to remove contradictory deadline information.)

You must submit two references with your application.

Before you formally apply for this PhD, you should look at the pre-application information and guidance on the programme website. This will help you decide if this programme is right for you and help us gain a clearer picture of what you hope to achieve in your research.

For this PhD, the pre-application guidance includes a downloadable template for completing your PhD research proposal, one of the most important aspects of your application.

You should also include a sample of written work of about 5,000 words (this can be a previous piece of work from an undergraduate or masters degree and should preferably be written in English), and supply two references.

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

Further information

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