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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Digital Film and Television Production (MA)

Overview Intensive training for a career in the film and television industries


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

MA Students (L to R) Stein, Xi and Stephen, with actor on the set of ‘Woodrow’. 
Photographer: David Wu

This is an intensive and specialised course that will equip you for the challenges of entering a film and television industry that is undergoing unprecedented and rapid change. You'll have the opportunity to develop specialised skills in screen and television work, such as directing, screenwriting, cinematography, editing and other creative skills.

You'll gain practical experience and detailed knowledge of the equipment and facilities typically used in film and television. By the end of your course you will have produced innovative work that you'll complete to the highest professional standards.

Graduates of this course have gone on to roles in British and European film industries, in British television, and in Chinese commercials, film and TV production.

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the skills council for the UK film and TV industry.

We're ranked 1st in England and Wales for Film Production and Photography in the Guardian's 2017 University Guide.

Course content What you’ll study


This is an intensive course that will equip you for the challenges of entering the film and television industry. You'll learn theory and get practical experience in many different areas: from script writing to camera operation and from lighting to directing and much more.

As you progress through the course you'll get the chance to specialise in areas that you find appealing.

Most of our students study full-time for one year, but you can also study this course part-time over two years.


You'll study a total of 180 credits. 90 of these will be through taught modules in the first two terms. You'll then go on to study a further 90 credits as part of an extended research project in the third term.

Term 1

1. Digital Cinematography (10 credits)

Cinematography has been at the forefront of technological change in the film and television industries in the last decade. You'll learn to work flexibly and knowledgeably in an industry where change will continue. You will receive an aesthetic and technical grounding in visual storytelling, developed with the skilled use of the department's RED and Sony cameras. You'll understand the importance of lighting in cinematography and be expected to put the lighting and grips available to full creative use in a variety of production settings.

2. Digital Production and Postproduction Workflows (20 credits)

You'll study this module alongside postproduction masters students in the department providing an interdisciplinary and collaborative experience of digital film and television production and postproduction. You'll look at digital production and postproduction processes for the creation of commercial film and television programmes.

3. Languages of Film and Television (10 credits)

You'll examine the ways in which moving images communicate with audiences. You'll draw on the analysis of film and television texts as well as the industrial and technological conditions underpinning their production. You'll also explore the connections between theories of film and television and its production, distribution and consumption.

Term 2

1. Script Development (20 credits)

You'll develop a range of creative and technical script development skills and learn to work collaboratively with others (including writers, producers and executives) to develop scripts. You gain insights into various areas of script development, from pitching and script drafting, through narrative structure and character development to visualisation tools such as storyboards and concept art.

2. Directing for Film and Television (10 credits)

You'll explore the creative and technical aspects of contemporary film-making and particularly directing. You'll examine the importance of working collaboratively with other professionals to fulfil the director's vision. You'll also develop the ability to project-manage, organising in a systematic way and managing time effectively to complete the project to schedule.

3. Group Projects (20 credits)

You'll join a team made up of students from across our range of masters courses, including students on postproduction courses. You'll undertake an exercise that first involves the creation of a title sequence for a film or television programme that leads into an action sequence similar to those found in films and high end TV drama. You'll build upon your experience in previous modules to work in collaborative teams creating the sequence to professional standards. This industry-inspired exercise allows you to understand of the creative process and hone your problem-solving skills in an applied setting.


Term 3 and summer

The final term is dedicated to the design and development of individual piece of work and accompanying report. This module accounts for half of all credits in the course, reflecting that it's the most important and also the most challenging part of the course.

Individual Project (90 credits).

You will create a short film: a work of fiction or non-fiction that may be a stand-alone film or work as a piece of episodic television. You may want to make an adaptation, a personal story or a genre piece. Deciding early will allow you time to prepare for the module by exploring what permission, access and background information you'll need. You may find you build upon the development and preproduction work you did in the Script Development module.

You'll devise a concept in consultation with staff; the final film concept, schedule and running time will be agreed your supervisor. All preproduction and postproduction work will be done on campus, although you may find you need to be away from campus for principal photography.

The completed film, mastered to professional specification, will be submitted along with a formal project report of around 10,000 words. You'll be able to attend a screening of your work and meet with examiners to discuss the work. This isn't assessed, but allows the examiners a chance to ask questions about the film.

The equipment and facilities available are the highest quality found in professional film and programme making.

You'll have access to three RED cameras (including the RED Dragon), various HD Sony and Panasonic cameras, industry-standard lighting, grips and sound, as well as fully equipped sound stages, rehearsal rooms, TV studios, green screen stages, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms, props store and workshop, and picture and sound finishing suites (including Foley and ADR).

You'll also have 24/7 access to a graduate-student-only post production suite.

Read more on our new building and facilities

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

MA Student Stein (camera operator), with actors on the set of Woodrow. Photographer: David Wu

Teaching format

The course involves a range of different teaching styles. Most modules will include lectures to give you a fundamental understanding of the subject and then lead on to practical work. The practical work will primarily involve workshops where you can become familiar with industry techniques and equipment, including lighting, grips, cameras (we have Red and Sony cameras as well as Angenieux and Zeiss lenses). You may also attend film screenings.

You'll also have the opportunity to attend talks, productions and festivals outside of your modules.

You'll be assigned a member of our teaching staff who will act as your personal supervisor for the duration of the course. They are there to give advice on academic matters as well as other areas of University life.

On the set of The Technician. Photographer: James Arden


You'll be assessed throughout your course. Some modules have an early assessment that contributes a small amount to your final mark and gives an opportunity to check your progress.

Types of assessment vary depending on the module and include the following:

  • In-class tests
  • Presentations and pitches
  • Essays, draft scripts and reflective reports
  • Individual projects in which you'll use provided source material to produced finished scenes
  • Group and individual projects to explore lighting and composition
  • Blocking exercises
  • A group project working with others across the department to create a short excerpt for a film
  • 10,000 word report for your individual work.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

A large number of graduates from this course have made striking progress in their careers since completing their course. There’s a wide variety of possible career paths open to you after completing this MA, both across industry and academia.

Career opportunities

Graduates from this masters have gone into various roles:

  • lighting and camera work
  • production (including production management)
  • film and television script development and supervision
  • editing for television and online distribution
  • directing
  • commercial distribution.

Transferable skills

While you train to be a professional in television and film you'll also develop skills that are useful in any industry. These include:

  • Collaborative working
  • Problem solving
  • Investigative research
  • Time management and organisation
  • Technical analysis
  • Critical evaluation
  • Reflective learning.

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

You're expected to have at least a 2:1 degree, or equivalent, and evidence of professional experience or a commitment to film making.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically with our online system, which allows you to save progress and return later to finish. If you're unable to apply online, you can submit a paper application.

International options

Guidance on international equivalents for entry qualifications.

English language

If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability.

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • CAE and CPE (from January 2015): 176, with no less than 169 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with a minimum of 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components.

Full details of all acceptable tests and relevant exemptions.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutors if you have any questions

Postgraduate Admissions team

Postgraduate Admissions team

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