Here, our course team answer key questions about the course such as how you’ll learn, the ways you’ll be assessed and the facilities you’ll use.
In our days, when we spend most of our time on platforms such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams, a Screen Studies degree is more relevant than ever. The course team answers some frequently asked questions they often receive during open day.
In what ways is this degree different from other film degrees?
There are two major aspects of the course we emphasise here. First, the focus of the degree is on screen media rather than just film. Even if this medium is still the main focus, we do not believe you can study any screen medium independently anymore. All the different screen industries have become so interconnected, both in terms of how they produce content and how we access it, that a more holistic approach is indispensable for any training or study on these media. The focus of the degree is therefore what theorists describe as transmedial and intermedial – each module will have individual classes not just on film, but on TV, videogames, tablets, photography, etc. There are even entire (optional) modules on these other media only.
The second aspect we highlight is our threefold focus on industry, theory and history in our teaching of screen media, which is what gives this degree its academic value. It has always been the case that some major filmmakers were self-taught, but by now it has never been easier to make films on your own: even your phone may have some very powerful camera in it and good video editing software is available for free. But you’ll become better at your job and you’ll be more employable if you become an expert in the histories of these media and the theories used to analyse the messages and images they communicate to audiences. The uniquely high degree of optionality in our course – the fact that you can choose one optional module per semester during year two and three – also allows you to make this a more practice-based degree if you want to.
How much teaching is there on the degree?
Every academic year consists of two semesters and students take three modules per semester. The required ‘contact time’ is 3 hours per week for each module. So in total it is 9 hours of ‘contact time’ per week during each semester, which may be lectures, seminars, or workshops. Each module also requires a number of hours of ‘independent study’ that includes reading, viewing and note-taking. Students are also seen in individual or group tutorials aimed at supporting them while preparing their assessments or at providing them with feedback after marking has been done. Additional events also run regularly, such as external speakers, screenings, social events – these are called ‘extra-curricular’ events.
What about assessments? Are there any exams?
One of our foremost priorities is to equip students with diverse skills that will make them employable to a wide range of various professional sectors. For this reason, there are many different types of assessments across various modules that you need to pass in order to graduate: traditional critical essays, individual or group presentations, film reviews and textual analyses but also marketing portfolios, academic posters, video essays, short documentaries or films. Often students can choose between different types of assessment for some modules, depending on their skills, inclinations or interests. We do have two exams, one per semester of the first year, but these are brief and easier than students expect.
Can I bring my own examples?
It goes without saying. If anything, we encourage students to actively engage with and tailor their studies and we always appreciate a sense of initiative and independent thinking. So please bring your own experiences, interests and viewing into the classroom.
Where does teaching take place and what facilities are available?
Most teaching takes place in the recently refurbished Edward Street building in the City Campus, only minutes away from the Royal Pavilion, the Palace Pier and the Lanes. All rooms have therefore been recently redecorated and have new furniture and equipment, including interactive 4K screens, iMac suites and a dedicated Screening Room. The main Grand Parade building is only a few minutes away, with café, Student Union shop and the Media Hub, where you can borrow cameras. St Peters library is five minutes away and you also have access to the libraries of other campuses in Moulsecoomb and Falmer.
Who’s teaching on the degree?
Our team comprises a group of expert academics of diverse backgrounds, from Film and Television Studies to Media Studies and English Literature. All our tutors are also very active in their research and they have a record of publications and academic events (such as conferences and symposia) of national and international standing. Sessional lecturers who are not part of the core team but arrive from within and beyond the institution also offer individual classes or optional modules. We firmly believe in the importance of team teaching within each module, so that students experience different styles of teaching and interact with a wide range of academics and professionals.
Do we need to make any additional purchases to get the degree?
No additional purchases are required to study the degree. You will have access to the University’s extensive libraries. All required readings are available online and you may access them with your university username and password. We also provide hard copies of module readers with all the required readings for free. You may also borrow video and photographic cameras, tripods and lights from the university. Laptops may also be available for loan to students with mitigating circumstances. So, in answer to this question, it is at your discretion if you want to buy additional material (books, equipment) that will support you in your studies but there is no need to do so whatsoever.
Why choose Film and Screen Studies?
Everyone in the team is very passionate about their topic and the commitment to educate young people, equip them with knowledge about the subject area, encourage them to think critically and independently about the media and train them with a wide, diverse range of skills that will open many doors in the screen industries and further afield. We work very closely with our students and prefer working with smaller groups and on a one-to-one basis and get to know each student individually. In this way, we get familiar with their own personal strengths, inclinations, interests but also any challenges and concerns of theirs, with a view to help and support them to the best of our abilities. Last but not least, as stated in the introduction, the topic has never been timelier.