Film Studies Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Film Studies?

Film studies is the study of films, cinematic history and film culture and is majorly informed by film theory. Film studies typically focus on studying cinema the way one would with art or literature. It involves not just analysing the content of a film, but also looking into its form, the narrative, technique, stylistic elements and the historical, socio-political, economic, and cultural aspects and context surrounding it.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Film Studies in the following subject areas:

  • Arts (General): Options From Cultural Studies, Economics, Film Studies, Literature & Drama, Media Studies, Philosophy & Psychoanalysis – This programme introduces students to a range of humanities subject areas to introduce a way of thinking about such topics and their role in governing human action and meanings.
  • Film (BA Hons) – This Film course is for those who want to tell stories and express themselves through the medium of filmmaking.
  • Design for Film BA (Hons) – Explore the worlds of character, costume, set, model making, games/VFX design for careers in film, theatre, television, entertainment and the digital narrative arts.
  • TV and Film – A guide through all aspects of Film and TV production.
  • BA In Theatre and Film Practice – This course will provide you with a solid grounding in the practical application of both theatre and film production skills.
  • BA (Hons) In Film & Television Production –This course is designed specifically to prepare you for the workplace and to advance your skills to the highest level.
  • BA In Film & Media – Acquire a broad understanding of the various ways in which the contemporary audiovisual media impact our relationship with the world.

Studying Film Studies

There are many courses in Film Studies that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Careers within the film industry are notoriously competitive and you’ll need resilience and determination to succeed. Work experience and networking are the most effective ways of opening doors to the right opportunities, so start making contacts early to give yourself the best chance of success. Relevant work experience is also a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favourably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Film Studies course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of film and media.

For most fields within the Film industry, you will need a strong creative vision and the ability to communicate your ideas to a variety of people throughout the production process. This will include production teams, crew, actors and those responsible for financing films.

The most common sectors you may find work in are the media, creative, cultural and heritage industries. As well as traditional destinations in the film and broadcasting industries, you may also be interested in other media sectors such as publishing and research.

Employers typically include large broadcasters, cinemas, independent production companies, newspapers and specialist film magazines and market research companies.

Other types of related employment may be found in advertising, PR and marketing companies, organisations involved in festival and cultural event management, cultural and heritage organisations involved in film preservation, curating and archiving, multimedia authoring and digital design companies and further education and higher education institutions for teaching and academic research roles.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Many roles in film and television involve working unsocial hours in the evenings and at weekends. During the production phase, a typical filming day is between 10 to 12 hours.

Related jobs include:

  • Broadcast presenter
  • Film director
  • Film/video editor
  • Location manager
  • Production designer, theatre/television/film
  • Programme researcher, broadcasting/film/video
  • Television camera operator
  • Television/film/video producer
  • Television production coordinator
  • Advertising art director
  • Arts administrator
  • Community arts worker
  • Concept artist
  • Event manager
  • Marketing executive
  • Public relations officer
  • Runner, broadcasting/film/video
  • Special effects technician
  • Talent agent
  • VFX artist

Further study

After completing a course in Film Studies you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practise in certain career areas such as International film production, Filmmaking, Scriptwriting, Documentary film and Film directing.


What is the importance of Film Studies?

Films affect many of us powerfully because the combined impact of images, music, dialogue, lighting, sound and special effects can elicit deep feelings and help us reflect on our lives. They can help us to better understand our own lives, the lives of those around us and even how our society and culture operate.

What skills could be helpful for a career in Film Studies?

For a career in Film Studies, you will typically need to develop subject-specific skills in both film theory and film-making practice. Your technical skills may include camera operation, studio production, sound recording and editing, and you may have the opportunity to specialise in an area of particular interest, for example screenwriting or film journalism.

Theoretical skills are based on the analysis of film and you will develop skills in areas such as film and culture, national cinema traditions, specific film genres and how directors approach their work.

You also develop a broader range of skills, including skills in critical analysis, research skills, communication skills and the ability to effectively articulate an opinion.

Where can I study Film Studies?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • While the Alien franchise swaps in different androids for (almost) every instalment, there is an interesting consistency to them: they go in alphabetical order. Ash, Bishop, Call, and, most recently, David (played by Michael Fassbender in Prometheus and Alien: Covenant).
  • At a time it was considered inappropriate to show a toilet being flushed on screen, Alfred Hitchcock saw an opportunity to add some extra shock to his already shocking film—presenting a scrap of paper, which proves an important clue, failing to flush in a toilet. In the book, the clue was an earring found in the bathroom, but Hitchcock changed it to a piece of paper actually in the toilet, partly to add an extra jolt for viewers.
  • Though now famous as the piano player at Rick’s Café Américain, Dooley Wilson, the actor who played Sam, was an experienced musician and bandleader—but not a piano player. He was a drummer and mimed the piano playing. “As Time Goes By” was dubbed in later.
  • The terrifying noises made by the raptors in Jurassic Park were sourced from recordings of tortoises mating. The sound designer also experimented with horses breathing and geese hissing, but the tortoises proved the most evocative.
  • The best-known line from Jaws, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” was not in the actual script. Actor Roy Scheider said it throughout the filming, joking about the small boat the producers had selected to hold the filming equipment, and it ended up in the final cut.

Mariza Halliday

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