Research ( full-time, part-time)
January, April, September
Distance-learning supervision available on this course.
This course is located in Cambridge School of Creative Industries. Find out more about our research.
Our PhD research programmes will allow you to join one of our research projects or explore your own interests in Film and Television Production, supported by the expertise of our staff.
Informed by your particular discipline, you’ll critically contextualise your work, clarifying theoretical and practical research-based enquiries, and contributing distinctive new ideas to the field.
You’ll be allocated two supervisors, with additional staff members available if necessary. Our supervisors are experienced in most areas of film and television production, including the management of media SMEs, the effect of digitisation on programme production and distribution, narrative in factual programming, experimental film and video, cinematography and the role of the director of photography, and the 'glass ceiling' in factual programming. You can see a full list of research areas in the Supervision and support section below.
Based in the historic Cambridge School of Art, you’ll be part of a growing community of researchers from many different fields. We provide various research forums and hold regular seminars and informal presentations for our postgraduate and research students. We also have links with our Faculty’s StoryLab Research Institute and Anglia Research Centre in Media and Culture (ARCMedia).
You’ll have the chance to take part in various exhibition and conference opportunities in the area of film and television production, and benefit from our strong links with institutions like the Cambridgeshire Film Consortium, the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, Kettle's Yard, and the University of Cambridge's Centre for Research into Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH).
All your subject-specific studies will be enhanced and supported by our University-wide training sessions, where you’ll gain important research expertise in areas like ethics, presentations, intellectual property and digital scholarship.
MPhil: full-time 1-3 years, part-time 2-4 years.
PhD via progression from MPhil, including that period: full-time 2.5-5 years, part-time 3.5-6 years.
PhD: full-time 2-4 years, part-time 3-6 years.
For further guidance on the duration of research degrees please refer to the Research Degrees Regulations.
You’ll be supervised and supported by staff who have professional and academic expertise in film and television production, and have worked on the production of many films, documentaries and television programmes. Our research expertise includes:
Shreepali Patel: documentary; creative tools of production in storytelling across genres; audience/user engagement in site specific, multi-platform and interactive audio-visual projects; cross-disciplinary collaborations between audiovisual art, science and politics.
Catherine Elliott: social history and film; the documentary; gender and television; current trends in the British television industry; the history of educational television.
Sophie Jackson: alternative storytelling in both fiction and non-fiction films; the changing landscape of financing and distribution of independent films.
Using our creative expertise and industry connections in Cambridge and beyond, we create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
At Cambridge School of Creative Industries, we believe in the importance of experimentation and risk-taking to create experiences that entertain, educate, inspire and improve lives.
Whether writing bestselling fiction, creating challenging documentaries or sharing a piano with people on the autism spectrum, the expertise of our staff goes far beyond teaching. Their research produces significant funding success, leading to important publications and international conferences.
You’ll have the chance to work in our television studios, multimedia studios, and DVD, video, animation and 16mm editing suites, as well as access to the British Film Institute, the University of Cambridge Library and our own campus library.
You’ll also have access to our Faculty’s PhD room, where all our doctoral students can meet up to work and take an active part in our postgraduate student community.
In some cases extra costs known as bench fees will be charged for a postgraduate research degree. These are to cover additional/exceptional costs directly related to a specific research project.
Some examples of these costs are (the list is not exhaustive): equipment hire, access costs to specialist equipment/workshops, volunteer expenses, specialist tissue/cell culture, specialist reagents or materials, specialist software, access to specialist databases, data collection costs, specialist media, recording or digital storage needs.
We charge bench fees in bands. They may apply for every year of your course. These bands are the same for full- and part-time students.
If you have to pay bench fees this will be made clear at your interview, and stated in your offer letter.
For 2021/22 the bench fee bands are:
Initial registration: £1,300
Full registration: £4,000
Part time: £1,000
Full time: £1,800
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us. Find out more about paying your fees.
ARU's academic excellence was recognised in 2021, as part of the Research Excellence Framework (REF), an exercise which assesses the quality of academic research. Sixteen areas of our work were classed as generating world-leading research. The results showed that we're making a significant impact on the societies we live in.
We’ll provide you with many opportunities for career development and training, and encourage you to get involved with external activities like film projects, conference organisation and giving papers.
In conjunction with University research support, you can request specific support for writing-up, conference papers, general research methods and other research skills if you need it.
If you're interested in finding out more about research study opportunities in this area, please email [email protected].
MPhil or PhD with progression from MPhil: You’ll need a Bachelors degree or equivalent with first or upper second class honours, in a related subject area.
PhD: You’ll need a Masters degree or equivalent in a related subject area.
Please note we consider candidates for PhD with progression from MPhil in the first instance. If you want to be considered for direct entry to the PhD route then this can be discussed at interview if you are shortlisted. Please note you’ll also need to provide academic justification for this request.
If English is not your first language, you'll require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component (or equivalent test). If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the programme as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Contact our postgraduate research degree team for more information about studying a PhD, MPhil or Professional Doctorate at ARU.
You'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your research programme.
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