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Screen Media PhD


About the course

We offer doctoral supervision in a wide range of areas of staff expertise in film, TV and some other media forms. These include both theoretical/written work and projects that are based on or include practical components.

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.

MPhil degree option
An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.

Potential research projects areas for PhD students

  • Recent and contemporary British, European, African, Hong Kong, Hollywood and American independent cinema
  • Cult film, television and other media
  • British and American television
  • Science fiction, horror, comedy, the western, crime films
  • Documentary, video practice, practice as research
  • Relationships between documentary and fiction
  • Media and press regulation
  • Political cinema, activist media
  • Gender, sexuality and the body in film
  • Celebrity culture
  • Marxist and psychoanalytical approaches to screen media
  • Cinematic spectacle, narrative
  • Avant-garde and experimental cinema
  • Ecocriticism and screen media
  • Trade unionism in film and TV industries
  • Animation
  • The Gothic; fairy tales
  • Film and philosophy
  • Film and memory
  • Representations of Africa
  • Representations of genocide on screen


All research degrees are administered by the Postgraduate Research Programmes Office in Colleges. Once you have identified your area of research and a potential supervisor, you can complete your application online. Please use the contact details below for enquiries. You may also approach your potential supervisor directly.

College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences
Tel: +44 (0) 1895 267051

Prof. Geoff King
Professor of Film Studies

Special Features

Facts and Figures

Brunel University London REF2014 Submission: Communication, Cultural and Media Studies, Library and Information Management 

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008.  The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students

Teaching and Assessment


Supervisors with insight
Our supervisors create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip research students with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse all potential supervisor profiles further here:

Piotr Cieplak (piotr.cieplak@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Documentary film (theory and practice)
  • African cinema
  • Documentary photography
  • Film and memory
  • Genocide on film

Sean Holmes (sean.holmes@brunel.ac.uk)

  • History of film and television production
  • History of trade unionism in the film and television industries
  • Post-war Hollywood cinema
  • The Western
  • Post-war European film

Leon Hunt (leon.hunt@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Hong Kong cinema
  • Martial arts films
  • Transnational cinema
  • British TV comedy
  • Horror
  • Cult film and TV

David Ingram (david.ingram@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Ecocriticism and film
  • Ecocriticism and television
  • Science fiction
  • Crime film
  • The western
  • Avant-garde and experimental cinema

Geoff King (geoff.king@brunel.ac.uk)

  • American independent cinema
  • Recent/contemporary Hollywood cinema
  • Art cinema
  • Film and cultural value
  • Film comedy
  • Film narrative, genre, spectacle

Julian Petley (julian.petley@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Media policy
  • Media regulation
  • Censorship
  • British cinema
  • Horror cinema

Caroline Ruddell (caroline.ruddell@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Animation
  • The Gothic in film and TV
  • Fairy tales in film and TV
  • Film theory
  • Psychoanalysis and film

Daniele Rugo (daniele.rugo@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Film and philosophy
  • European cinema
  • Documentary (practice and theory)
  • Modern European thought
  • World cinema

Mike Wayne (michael.wayne@brunel.ac.uk)

  • Marxist media & cultural theory
  • Political film
  • Latin American film
  • British cinema
  • Documentary (theory & practice-based research)

Fees for 2017/18 entry

2017/18 Fees:

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097

International students

Full time: £15,750 Part time: £7,875


2016/17 Fees:

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,121 Part time: £2,060

International students

Full time: £15,400 Part time: £7,770

Additional course related costs

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Criteria 2017/18

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. This applies even if English is the native language of your home country. An appropriate level of English language competence is also expected as listed below. Find out which alternative English language qualifications we accept. Applicants may also be required to attend compulsory in-sessional English language support. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.

IELTS 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any section)  With the exception: Film and TV: IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in all)

Guidance on writing a research proposal

When writing a proposal, please note that it needs to detail a very specific topic, not a broad area of study. You need to indicate exactly what issues you wish to address, where and how. A key part of what makes for a PhD is an original contribution to knowledge, so you will be expected to indicate how this will be the case in your proposal. This needs to include some reference to existing work on or close to the topic, against which yours will be situated. We are always happy to discuss the development of your proposal before you apply.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.