Skip to content
Home>Study at York>Postgraduate taught>Courses>Film and Literature (MA)

MA Film and Literature

Explore text, history and theory in film and literature

2018/19 entry


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2018 (term dates)

Fee discount

If you've completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Find out more

Engage in a challenging, imaginative study of contemporary debates in film and literature; create and explore your own balance between these two fascinating fields of study.   

The interdisciplinary MA in Film and Literature combines critical inquiry and independent research with passionately committed teaching from world-leading scholars. You can study high culture and pop culture, silent cinema and contemporary release; you can compare theoretical questions with creative practice, blockbuster with poetry, mainstream with avant-garde. The course explores critical, theoretical, and contextual approaches to film and literature, offering specialisations in global political film, documentary, Shakespeare on film, adaptation and transmediality, post-war and Cold War European and American film, as well as access to a full range of literary modules drawn from our MA programme as a whole. 

The course will provide you with a foundation for doctoral research, and transferable skills for related careers in arts and festival management, teaching, publishing and journalism. ​There will be a diverse schedule of seminars, conferences and reading groups for you to attend as a member of the Department of English, one of the UK's largest research centres in modern English, as well as the Humanities Research Centre, a vibrant interdisciplinary hub which will enable you to form close social and intellectual bonds over the course of your study.

The course is creative and engaging, and the tutors are always friendly and interested in what you have to say.
Alex, MA in Film and Literature

Key issues

The MA in Film and Literature asks what is particular to the forms and conventions of film and cinema in juxtaposition to those of literature and the literary text, confronting questions of medium specificity with an exploration of the shared narratives and histories of transmedial exchange. Through wide-ranging textual and theoretical illustration, it examines the circulation of ideas between these two modes of creativity, and discovers that the relationship between them can be more innovative, varied, sometimes even more surreptitious or subversive than conventionally acknowledged in the study of adaptation.

Course content

The course examines the lively, symbiotic traffic between written word and cinematic image.  You will examine films in their cultural, historical, industrial, technological and aesthetic contexts, and investigate key issues such as:

  • How do different media tell stories?
  • How do narratives change across media and history?
  • How do different audiences and readers interpret film and literature according to the  medium and moment of their production and reception?
  • How do scholars and critics of film and literature understand and theorize these issues?

The course consists of one core module (20 credits) and three option modules (20 credits each), a research skills training module (10 credit) and a research dissertation (90 credits). You can choose from the wide range of options offered by the Department of English and Related Literature and other arts and humanities departments, and have priority access to dedicated film modules. The total number of credits for the course is 180.


These modules present case studies of literature and film in the full diversity of their textual, contextual, historical and theoreticalrelationships.   

Core module (20 credits)

Film/Literature Encounters (MS Word  , 34kb)

The core module Film/Literature Encounters introduces an illustrative range of interdisciplinary ‘encounters’, addressing film and literature as media with their own aesthetics and narrative codes; the social and institutional systems that facilitate (or impede) the transfer between them; the questions of style and creativity that sustain and inspire critical inquiry. 

Postgraduate Life in Practice (10 credits)

This teaches you valuable research, writing and presentation skills. Topics may include using library and online research resources, use of archives, academic writing and how to get work published.

Option modules (20 credits)*

As a Film and Literature Masters student you will be given priority for these modules if they are available:

  • Cold War Culture: Literature, Film, Theory
  • Nation, Genre, Past in British & American Cinema
  • Useful Cinema: Documetary, Educational and Activist Film
  • Political Fictions: Film and the Novel in the Global 21st Century

There are also a wide range of further option modules offered across all the Department's MA programmes which are available to you.

You may also choose available modules from other arts and humanities departments.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


Your dissertation offers you the chance to examine a topic in depth and to develop your research skills.

In Summer Term and over the vacation you will work on a 14,000-16,000-word dissertation worth 90 credits with regular supervision from a member of staff.

You'll submit your dissertation in September. Recent dissertation topics include:

  • Moving Images for a Mobilized Age: Independent Film as Political Activism
  • More Human than Human: Reading the Animal in Film though the Qur’an
  • The Slacker in Film and Literature
  • Speaking into Being in Contemporary Film
  • Widescreen Shakespeare

World-leading research

Ranked first in the UK for world-leading research and second overall (REF 2014).

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2018/19

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,580£16,780
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
year 1 fee
year 1 fee

Additional costs

You will need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, the Department works to arrange digital copies via the University Library. Where this is not practical, you will be instructed in advance of the start of each term about the texts and editions you will need to purchase (whether new or second-hand).

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Department scholarship information

Further information about funding for English.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

  • Two 2-hour seminars each week during the Autumn and Spring Terms; if you are a part-time student you will attend one 2-hour seminar a week during the Autumn and Spring Terms of Year 1 and Year 2.
  • Taught in seminars of up to 15 students for most modules; some core modules may involve a larger number of students.
  • Essential reading is set for each seminar, you are encouraged to read more widely around the topic.
  • A series of training lectures and workshops, designed to address writing at MA level, presenting your work, transferable skills, and career development.

In the course of the year, we will expect you to give regular seminar presentations and to attend research seminars and day conferences hosted by the Department. Many of these events will be organised through the Humanities Research Centre, a state-of-the-art facility unique to York.


​​Writers at York is a lively programme of readings and workshops, and aims to celebrate and explore the work of both emerging and established contemporary writers.
Writers at York is supported by the University of York's External Engagement Awards and the Festival of Ideas.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature on Campus West. Most of your contact hours will be in the Berrick Saul Building and additional locations nearby on Campus West.

Course location

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will submit an essay for each module of approximately 4,500 words. The Postgraduate Life in Practice module will be assessed on the completion of a series of tasks connected to your core work for the MA.

English MA teaching
Humanities Research Centre

Careers and skills

Our postgraduates go into practical and creative work in the cultural industries, academia and teaching, arts and festival administration, journalism, broadcasting, public relations, social work, politics, the civil service, and management consultancy. Many alumni have also gone on to become successful novelists, poets and playwrights.

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, marketing, and public relations
  • Arts and festival administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Film, radio, social media, television, and theatre
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Law
  • Government
  • Academia
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

The course will help you to develop a range of transferable skills including:

  • developing your creativity
  • improving your ability to filter and analyse complex information
  • intellectual independence and independent working
  • time management and people skills
  • communicating your research
  • methodological skills

Entry requirements

Qualification Grade

You should have, or be about to complete, a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification.

We will consider applications from students with lower qualifications, particularly if you have high marks in relevant modules or appropriate professional experience.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, or want an informal chat about whether this course would be suitable for you, please contact us.

The international equivalents of UK qualifications are shown on our country-specific pages. You can also contact the international team for guidance.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability.

Pre-sessional courses in English Language skills, to be taken before the commencement of the degree courses, may be recommended or required.

  • IELTS: 7.0, no less than 6.0 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 6.5 in Reading, and of 7.0 in Writing
  • PTE: 67, with no less than 55 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 61 in Reading and of 67 in Writing
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 185, with a minimum of 169 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 176 in Reading, and of 185 in Writing
  • TOEFL: 96, with a minimum of 21 in Listening and Speaking, a minimum of 23 in Reading, and of 24 in Writing
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Distinction in all components


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

Next steps

Contact us

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions

Dr Erica Sheen

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.