Critical Approaches to Film
English and Film
School of Arts and Media
In a nutshell
This well-established joint programme allows you to explore these separate disciplines and to exploit the synergies between them.
Studying literature, you will harness core skills in critical and independent thinking to analyse a range of literary texts, gaining a sophisticated appreciation of how texts interact with their historical and social contexts.
Studying film, you will examine a range of critical approaches, investigate developments in American and British cinema from their origins to the present day and discover how cinema has become a significant part of international culture as a major entertainment industry.
This course is just one of our English and Creative Writing programmes, which have risen ten places in the 2020 Guardian university league tables.
- Learn about a wide range of literature and film from around the world
- Develop a sophisticated appreciation of how texts interact with their historical and social contexts
- Discover how cinema has become a significant part of international culture
This is for you if...
You have a passion for both literature and film
You are interested in analysing a wide range of films and literature with a critical eye
You are contemplating a career in the media and creative industries
All about the course
In year one, through a series of core modules, you will be introduced to studying literary and popular novels and the context and theory you need to study them a higher levels. Alongside this you will study the history of cinema from its origins to the present day. You will also examine a range of critical approaches to film as well as investigating the world’s most powerful film industry: Hollywood.
During the first part of your second year you will extend your basic knowledge and understanding of literature and cinema through core modules that focus on areas such as the romantic period, British cinema and contemporary Hollywood. Following on from these, you will begin to focus your studies on the areas you find most interesting by taking a number of module options that reflect the expertise of Salford’s teaching staff.
The final year of the course offers a range of options from which you can choose to specialise. Film options are completed in the first semester, while the second semester focuses on English literature.
You will evaluate a range of critical approaches to film in relation to the social and cultural developments that informed and influenced them. Throughout the module, you will focus on key approaches such as film as art, film as propaganda, film as mass culture, authorship, genre and ideology.
Narrative, Fiction and the Novel
From early texts such as Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe to postmodern writers such as Jeanette Winterson, this module examines the history of narrative by tracing the development of narrative strategies and cultural themes such as gender and class.
You will be introduced to key concepts relating to the study of popular fiction as well as develop a knowledge of the main genres and forms of popular literature. You will study a number of representative texts from key phases in the development of popular forms, including critical attitudes towards them.
Film Form, Film Meaning
During the course of this module, you will look at the idea of film form and how it contributes to the meaning of a film. Considering various components such as narrative, cinematography, editing and sound, this module aims to answer the basic question of: What is a Film?
Classical Hollywood Cinema
This module introduces the idea of ‘classical Hollywood’ cinema and its role in the development of our understanding of film. Analysing Hollywood as an organising structure for film production, you will identify the production methods employed by the Hollywood studios, the production techniques and practices widely termed as the ‘classical Hollywood style’, and the economic rationale behind the establishment of Hollywood.
Theory into Practice
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to literary and cultural practice. You will gain an understanding of how both literary and cultural texts can be read and analysed, and how different theories can be applied to them.
This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to the history of British cinema, its institutions, its stars and some of its production personnel.
The Romantic Period
Study literature emerging in a time of revolution and consider themes such as the rights of man, of woman, and of slaves, the sublime, childhood, empire, the self, and the gothic. This literary period refines and develops literary forms and styles from previous eras, as well as pursuing artistic experimentation, so this module explores language and form in detail in relation to key themes within their historical and cultural context.
Choose from two Film and two English modules from the following indicative list (the top four modules are Film options):
You will learn to write in a concise and entertaining manner in this module, acquiring the writing and editing skills necessary to undertake film reviews, features and interviews. Whilst the module will focus on film-related matters, the skills learned will be highly transferable into other journalistic realms.
Building upon several ideas covered in Year one, you will begin to take a more in depth look at the range of cinema produced across Asia. In addition to covering a variety of cinematic traditions from countries including India, China, Korea and Japan, you will also articulate the differences in aesthetic forms and strategies and critically assess the place of Asian cinemas in the increasingly global film industry.
Comedy and British Cinema
Focusing on comedy films produced within British cinema, this module will enable you to identify different characteristics associated with various styles of British film comedy. You will also analyse formal strategies employed by comedy filmmakers and various performance techniques utilised by a range of comedic performers within British cinema.
Contemporary American Cinema
The landscape of American film-making has been affected by a range of economic, social and cultural changes in recent years. This module will consider these tumultuous changes as well as address conflicting definitions of independence within a global marketplace and the importance of marketing strategies within contemporary film-making.
Utopias and Dystopias
Learn to understand the complex relationship between utopian ‘thinking’ and ‘real-world’ thinking by studying and debating representations of utopian societies; you will also study a variety of dystopian texts by authors such as Anthony Burgess, Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury.
Attitudes to English
This module will trace the origins and development of prescriptive attitudes and linguistic insecurity, and the extent to which these ideas are relevant to contemporary users of English. Topics include received pronunciation, grammar and ‘morality’, and politically correct language.
Literature, Adaptation and the Screen
In this module, you will study a range of literary texts and their screen counterpart(s) including Oliver Twist, Psycho and The Great Gatsby. The distinctiveness of each cultural form will be considered, as well as the comparative roles of author, screenwriter and director. There will be opportunities to explore the role of technical and digital arts such as scenography, music, and sound production.
Victorian Literature: Progress and Panic
You will enhance your skills in close analysis, studying 19th Century writing within a range of historical and theoretical contexts. Texts include novels, poetry, and non-fiction and the module covers a range of issues including class, culture, urban experience, women’s writing, decadence and identity.
Revival and Revolution: Irish Literature 1890-1930 (English)
You are introduced to Irish literature in English from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. You will examine the main texts produced in this period and relate them to the political, social and historical circumstances in which they were produced.
Gender, Race and Empire
This module examines constructions of gender, race and empire in fictional and non- fictional texts from the last thirty years of the nineteenth century. We will consider how scientific, literary, political and other texts construct and reimagine the roles of men and women, colonisers and colonised peoples, animals and the environment during this transitional period between the Victorian and the Modern.
Reptiles of Genius
This module studies the most characteristic mode of writing in the eighteenth century: satire. It will allow you to gain an appreciation of the complexities of satire as a mode of writing: you will learn to recognise what it is, what it tries to do, and who writes satire and why. Satire was practised in a wide variety of genres, ranging from drama through poetry to fictional and non-fictional prose. These written forms will be explored, as will visual satire and how to read it.
21st Century Women’s Writing
This module will explore a range of contemporary texts written by women and will include novels, short stories, poetry and other forms of writing including memoirs, creative non-fiction, and journalism. As a consequence, you will learn about the socio-political and cultural climate of today’s society as it affects and is shaped by women.
The Female Gothic
You will analyse a selection of Gothic novels and novellas by women, and learn about the themes of Gothic writing as well as explore the significance of various recurrent tropes and features such as: the uncanny, Gothic spaces and places, the absent/dead mother, voyeurism and surveillance.
Introduction to Screenwriting
The module examines fundamental aspects of fictional storytelling: narrative structure, character development, character types, relation of character to plot, and the use of subplots. The module goes on to explore differing conceptual and technical approaches used in screenwriting for theatre, TV and film. You will workshop your screenplay in class, which can be written in any genre or style appropriate to screen work to produce a finished script that is a whole linear narrative.
This module explores recent and contemporary texts in relation to critical issues such as authorship, narrative structure, linear progression, and identity. Selected texts will include novels, films and short stories.
Choose three Film and two English options from the following indicative list (the top five modules are Film options):
Sequential Art (Comics and Graphic Novels)
You will study important examples of international comic strips, series and ‘graphic novels’. At a time of proliferating texts inspired by material introduced in comics, a section of the module will look at film and TV adaptations, evaluating the importance of comic-derived material to the modern media landscape. The unique ways in which comics can be said to create meanings will be highlighted, and you will experience designing a narrative with expert guidance. Themes studied may include: Comics and Childhood; The Graphic Novel Era: Comics ‘come of age’; Alan Moore; Comics, Ideology and Form: Case Study of 1970s British Comics; Fandom; Comics and Other Media.
This will let students explore key (transitional) representations of men and masculinity throughout Hollywood history. Beginning with an examination of the pre-code ‘mob men’, moving to representations of men (and dangerous women) in film noir and 1980's muscular hero action pics, among other key masculine characterisations, the module will analyse how the representation of Hollywood’s leading men has always been an altering document, drawn and redrawn to meet the demands of the day. Critical skills concerning gender, identity and representation theories will come to bear on one of the burgeoning, most hotly-debated areas of the film discipline.
Film Programming and Curating for Cinemas and Festivals
Building on the previous year’s ‘Film Distribution and Exhibition’, this module will focus on creating programmes for independent cinemas and film festivals. In order to provide the understanding needed of the various industrial contexts involved, you will look at areas and activities such as:
- Film Festivals: - What is a film festival?
- Festival development and change: The Edinburgh International Film Festival case study
- Programming festival retrospectives: Case study in film at the Viva Spanish and Latin American Festival
- Independent Cinemas in the UK
- Understanding the market and programming an independent cinema’s weekly list
- Curating special programmes and seasons: Case study of States of Danger and Deceit - European Political Thrillers in the 1970s (HOME Manchester)
- Initiating Cultural Interventions and working with cinemas: Case study of Chinese Film Forum UK
Alternatives, Independents and the Marginal
Different and radical forms of production and distribution, from online VOD platforms like MUBI to Youtube and 'participatory cinema', have questioned the existence of a stable film 'mainstream'. However, institutions such as financial backers, major awards and festivals have been told that their measures for success are failing to recognise and include women, people of colour, ethnic communities and queer/trans groups. The same limitations are detectable in the mainstream cinema 'canon'. This module asks, what is the canon of cinema? What supports it, how should we evaluate its effects, and that which is beyond it?
Film and Theory
Building upon work undertaken in Year One and Two, this module will provide you with the intellectual tools to undertake a detailed theoretical analysis of film.
British Theatre Post-1950
This module contextualises post-war British theatre in terms of naturalism, the avant-garde and the epic mode. A range of play texts will be explored in relation to form, narrative, action and character while exploring the ways in which they engage with issues of class, sexuality, gender and national identity.
The Language of Names
Names are all around us, and this module explores the linguistic structure, history, development and political significance of names and naming, focusing on the UK but with reference to other countries as well. You will have an opportunity to examine the names of people and places in real life and in literary and other creative contexts.
Shakespeare and the Play of Thought
This module explores the various ways in which cultural intertextuality informs and shapes Shakespeare's approach to character and action. To gain a broader understanding of how Shakespearean drama can be seen as 'the play of thought,' we will analyse Shakespeare's work in terms of literary theories including new historicism, cognitive linguistics, and gender studies.
This module will discuss literature written during the period known as the Northern Irish ‘troubles’, the Peace Process and after. It will consider poetry, prose, drama and film produced in this period, as well as other visual sources (mural, video and performance art) to consider a variety of ways of representing the conflict. While a historical narrative will be presented in the first lectures and seminars, the focus will be on considering how form and content intersect in these fictive representations.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
English and Film will be delivered through a combination of:
These will be complemented on the Film Studies side by a series of screenings and talks by visiting experts.
You will be assessed through a variety of methods including:
- Traditional essays
- Shorter pieces of written analysis
- Longer written pieces based on your own research
School of Arts and Media
The School of Arts and Media is the largest School at the University of Salford with more than 4,000 creative students. Across sites at MediaCityUK and the University's Peel Park campus, we offer a huge variety of courses, from Fashion Image Making and Styling, Television and Radio, Creative Writing and Music to Journalism, Animation, Design and Performance.
This broad range of disciplines offers enhanced opportunities for specialist and interdisciplinary study, including collaborative work across subject areas.
What about after uni?
You will have the opportunity to pursue a number of English and film-related careers such as journalism, cinema programming, teaching and film festivals. These may in turn lead to work writing about cinema, working in the film distribution sector or a role at a cinema or at a film festival. A degree in English and Film Studies will also provide a grounding that could lead to a job in arts administration or education.
The course boasts strong industry links with several local culture organisations including HOME Manchester, Greater Manchester Arts Centre, The Salford Film Festival, and the Viva: Spanish and Latin American Film Festival. This provides those on the course with an in-depth insight into the practicalities of film distribution and exhibition via work placements during the Film Exhibition and Distribution module.
What you need to know
You should be academically inclined and have a passion for both literature and film. You should be interested in watching a wide range of films and reading a wide range of literature in order to think critically about their way of representing their social and historical contexts. While not a production course it is particularly useful for students contemplating careers in media and creative industries. This course is based at both our MediaCityUK and Peel Park campuses
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no element below 5.5, is proof of this.
Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.
English Language at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) is preferred but not essential.
104-120 points. Film Studies or Media Studies preferred but not essential. General studies accepted.
UCAS tariff points
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
BTEC National Diploma
DMM including a humanities subejct area
Access to HE
Pass Level 3 Access to HE Diploma with 104–120 points in a humanities subject area
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
Irish Leaving Certificate
104-120 points including a humanities subject area
Pass Diploma at least 71% overall, including a humanities subject
Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
|Type of study||Year||Fees|
|Full-time home/EU||2020/21||£9,250per year|
|Full-time international||2020/21||£12,960per year|
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for international students 2020/21
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship.
For more information go to International Scholarships.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID QP33
Start this course in September. Call 0300 555 5030 to apply through Clearing.
Our phone lines are open during the following hours:
- 13 August: 07:30 – 19:00
- 14 August: 08:00 – 18:00
- 15 August: 10:00 – 16:00