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Find out about the research we do in Film and TV Studies

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Screen Media (Film and TV) PhD

Start date




Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time

MPhil option available
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Research profile

Screen Media at Brunel has established a substantial body of research in a range of topics, including numerous major contributions to the field. Four themes provide strands across which much of this work can be categorized:

  • The politics of representation
  • National and transnational film and TV
  • Documentary practice and theory
  • Gothic, horror and fantasy

Areas in which staff have published major work recognized in the field include British, European, Hollywood, American independent, Hong Kong, and Third cinema; horror, comedy, the integration of video practice and theory, Marxism and the media, contemporary British and American television. Some staff are also filmmakers, particularly in documentary, and/or use documentary itself as a form of research. 

Find out about the exciting research we do in this area. Browse profiles of our experts, discover the research groups and their inspirational research activities you too could be part of. We’ve also made available extensive reading materials published by our academics and PhD students.  

Learn more about research in this area.

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

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Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

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:

Sean Holmes (

  • 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 (

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

Caroline Ruddell (

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

Daniele Rugo (

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

Mike Wayne (

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

Jon Hackett (

  • Migration and human trafficking in film and media
  • Film theory and cultural theory
  • Representations of monstrosity in film and popular music
  • Masculinity in film and popular music
  • Political economy of film and media

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we are providing you with some ideas for your chosen field of research:

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    Research journey

    Potential research projects areas for PhD students

    • Recent and contemporary British, European, Hong Kong, Hollywood and American independent cinema
    • World cinemas, art cinema
    • Cult film, television and other media
    • British and American television
    • Science fiction, horror, comedy, the western, crime films
    • Documentary, video practice
    • Practice-based research
    • Relationships between documentary and fiction
    • Political cinema, activist media
    • Imaging, surveillance, political power and military violence
    • Gender, sexuality and the body in film
    • Marxist and psychoanalytical approaches to screen media
    • Cinematic spectacle, narrative
    • New cinema/media technologies
    • Avant-garde and experimental cinema
    • Ecocriticism and screen media
    • Trade unionism in film and TV industries
    • Animation
    • The Gothic; fairy tales
    • Representations of nationhood and ethnicity in film, games and other media; ideas of national media cultures, local ethnographies of media production and consumption

    This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April.

    Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

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    Research support

    Research support

    Excellent research support and training

    The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

    Library services

    Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students.

    Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

    Find out more: Brunel Library

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    Careers and your future

    You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

    In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

    Find out more.

    Following the completion of the course students may follow several career paths:

    • Career path within academia starting as a University Lecturer/Assistant Professor, or researcher
    • Various potential career paths, or enhancements to careers, relating to film, TV or other media, depending on area of research, including film/video making
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    UK entry requirements

    The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

    An interview will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

    Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
    Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.   

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    EU and International entry requirements

    If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

    English language requirements

    • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
    • Pearson: 59 (59 in all subscores)
    • BrunELT: 63% (min 58% in all areas)
    • TOEFL: 90 (min 20 in all) 

    You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

    Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

    Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

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    Fees and funding

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

    Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

    Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

    Scholarships and bursaries