University of the West of Scotland

Postgraduate Programme Specification

Session: 2020/21

Last modified: 30/04/2018 14:43:23

Named Award Title:MA Filmmaking

Award Title for Each Award: MA  Filmmaking
PG Cert  Filmmaking
PG Dip  Filmaking

Awarding Institution/Body:
Language of Instruction & Examination: English
Award Accredited By:
Maximum Period of Registration:
Mode of Study:Full Time
Part Time
Campus:Ayr

School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Programme Leader:Nick Higgins

Admission Criteria

Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admission requirements of the University of the West of Scotland as specified in Chapter 2 of the University Regulatory Framework together with the following programme requirements:

Appropriate Undergraduate Qualification
Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admission requirements of the University of the West of Scotland as specified by Regulation 6 of the Regulatory Framework together with the following programme requirements: Honours degree (minimum 2:2 classification or a bachelor’s degree with significant and relevant work experience. Where candidates do not meet the standard entry requirement, they must demonstrate that they have sufficient relevant professional or practice-based experience to undertake their chosen programme of study. They may be admitted to the programme at the discretion of the programme Admissions Officer/Programme Leader.
Other Required Qualifications/Experience

English language proficiency is also a requirement, with candidates expected to achieve IELTs average standard of 6.0.

Admission based on Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will comply with the University’s Regulatory Framework (Section 6), as well as University regulations on postgraduate study and guidance on RPL. Credit transferred into the programme through Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) must have been subject to reliable and valid methods of assessment at a recognised HEI. Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) entry is also permitted. The amount of credit transferred though RPL (APL and APEL) will comply with the maxima set out in the Regulatory Framework. Candidates should note that transferred credit does not carry a grade, therefore, award with distinction cannot be granted for awards where credit is transferred in at level 11.


Further desirable skills pre-application

Experience of directing, writing, producing editing or cinematography for film, television or on personal projects.


General Overview

The UWS MA Filmmaking degree is designed specifically to support the development of students wishing to work professionally in the independent and world cinema sectors of the film industry, whether in fiction, documentary or experimental filmmaking, including immersive Virtual Reality productions.

Students will benefit from spending substantial periods of time learning from and working alongside internationally-recognised filmmakers as they produce three ambitious and distribution-ready short films that enable them to demonstrate their skills and creative vision and that can act as their “calling card” to launch, or reorient, their professional career.

The course is built around three major practice-based modules: Advanced Documentary Film Practice (40 credits T1); Advanced Fiction Film Practice (40 credits T2); and the Masters Film Project (60 credits T3).

In the first trimester (Advanced Documentary Film Practice), students will work under the direction of the programme core team to explore the boundaries of documentary film practice, and its intersection with other genres (fiction, essay film, transmedia practice). In the second trimester (Advanced Fiction Film Practice), students will work under the direction of an invited filmmaker to explore cutting-edge fiction film practice, including working with actors. Both these modules are launched by immersive one-week full-time hands-on workshops. Students will complete one short film in each trimester both under guidance of both core tutors and the invited filmmaker – a non-fiction film in trimester one, and a fiction film in trimester two.

In the final trimester, students undertake a major creative project – either fiction or documentary or immersive film – as their Masters Film Project under the guidance of the programme team.

This creative core represents 140 credits, and is supported by two 20-credit modules in the first two trimesters: Film as an Industry (20 credits T1) and Development Lab (20 credits T2).

Film as an Industry in trimester one provides a professional insight into the contemporary film industry, looking at every aspect of the planning and logistics of complex low-budget film shoots, from concept to new distribution models and marketing, placing these key activities within their economic and artistic context.

Development Lab in trimester two puts students through an industry-standard development process, in which they prepare their final Masters film project under the supervision of leading professionals active in the practice of the short film form.

The MA Filmmaking also offers part-time routes that are particularly flexible, and have been designed to cater to a broad range of student profiles and priorities. Students can undertake the four PgDip modules in any order. The PgCert exit award is achieved when the student completes at least 60 credits. All four core modules must be completed to achieve the PgDip, after which students can proceed to the Masters Film Project.

For example,  a part-time student may undertake the Advanced Documentary Film Practice module (40 credits) in T1 of their first year. They could then choose to proceed immediately to Advanced Fiction Film Practice (40 credits) in T2, or take the Development Lab module (20 credits). In this way, the part-time student have a choice in their first year between completing two film projects (if they desire a more practical emphasis), or one film project plus major preparation for a second that will give them a deep insight into industry development processes. In their second year, the part-time student may take Film as an Industry in T1, followed by whichever T2 module they have not yet completed. This also gives students proceeding to Masters level a choice as to how much they wish to frontload their learning process in terms of module size. Of course, the part-time student may opt for a different module sequence again, as long as at least 60 credits are completed for a PgCert exit award and all four PgDip modules for the PgDip exit award. All part-time students then have the option to spread their work on the final Masters Creative Project over two or even three trimesters.

All modules use a supportive yet flexible delivery model that replicates real-world working conditions, and is compatible with ongoing professional activity. Teaching is based on intensive periods of workshop-based delivery separated by periods of individual and group development, practice-based research and reflection.

MA Filmmaking builds on UWS’ in-house strengths in film both as a creative industry and as an academic discipline. Excellence in cutting-edge professional practice is promoted through the UWS Creative Media Academy, while the Hub for Culture and Creativity nurtures an active research culture. MA core staff are actively involved in these two structures, whose work underpins our teaching strategy at every point. The course is also closely integrated with the local film industry, and several modules are delivered in close cooperation with industry partners at Film City Glasgow. In addition to UWS staff and industry professionals from across the UK, MA students will also have the opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by prominent international filmmakers who will join us as international “guest faculty”.

By drawing on the national and international networks of key staff, we are able to bring world-class talent to UWS to pass on their skills and experience to our students. Students will learn to situate their own work in the context of both the most creative trends in contemporary international film production, and the larger social, political and cultural scene of which film is only one part. On exit, graduates will be well positioned to pursue a career in independent filmmaking, and will be highly employable thanks to the strong practical emphasis, the direct exposure to cutting edge industry practice, and the opportunity to build a strong personal portfolio.

While firmly rooted in the Scottish film industry, the programme has a strong international character, both in the kind of cinema that is taught, the people who teach it, and the kind of student it is designed to appeal to. Core UWS staff all have extensive experience of working as filmmakers in a range of languages and cultures, both inside and outside Europe (including India, Latin America and the Arab world). The programme team place particular importance on welcoming international students wherever they may come from, and facilitating their integration into the MA Filmmaking community.

Pointers to further study – Progression Routes

For those whose practice is research-intensive, the MA provides a privileged gateway to a practice-based PhD, whether at UWS or at another institution. Research methodologies are integral to the way filmmaking is taught at Masters level, and reflexive and theoretical elements form part of every module. (This integration is reflected for example in the “indicative resources” listed in the module descriptors, which in each case combine practitioner perspectives with reference to landmark theoretical and reflective work in film and media scholarship.) Members of the MA Filmmaking drafting team are currently engaged in PhD support within UWS and at other HEIs, including the supervision of studies that have a strong film practice component, and can offer interested students personally tailored advice on how to make the transition to doctoral research. Professor Higgins, whom previously introduced the practice-based PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh, has supervised 6 students to successful completion, resulting not only in the academic qualification of Doctor of Philosophy but also with industry recognition through selection of doctoral work at film festivals such as Rotterdam, Dubai and Glasgow.

Teaching and learning

The focus throughout the MA is on creating an environment in which students are empowered to explore new ways of working and to learn from their failures as well as their successes. This emphasis also gives our staff the flexibility they need to meet each individual at the stage they are at in their evolution as a practitioner, and provide them with the combination of support and critique that can best stimulate their progress. Throughout, students are encouraged to take a problem-solving approach to the aesthetic, ethical and pragmatic decisions involved in filmmaking, and to learn from their mistakes as well as their successes, in line with the principles of inquiry-based learning. Our core aim is to help students learn how to tap into their own imagination, creativity and life experience, while also preparing them to survive and flourish in the highly competitive film industry of the early 21st century.

The programme is designed to maximise the value for students of our strong links with both the Scottish and European/international industries. With UWS Ayr as its home campus, the MA Filmmaking also makes extensive use of the UWS teaching space in Film City Glasgow, thus enabling us to draw on the skills and facilities of other professionals working out of Film City in order to expose our students to industry-standard practice, and to open the door to opportunities for internship/employment. Much of the teaching, learning and assessment strategy reflects the expectations of the film industry, and their requirements in terms of autonomy, creativity, lateral thinking, personal vision and imaginative engagement.

Distinctive features include:

  • Each trimester’s programme incorporates immersive/experiential/hands-on learning-through-practice led by industry professionals.
  • UWS core staff are practicing filmmakers and research-active academics, whose teaching demonstrates reflection, critique and research as integral to creative practice.
  • The course includes elements of practice that are not assessed directly, so as to encourage risk-taking and experimentation;

Extensive use of non-standard methods of assessment (self-, and peer-evaluation; presentations before industry panels; non-verbal documentation and outputs, including the use of videographic and other multi/mixed-media formats for analytical and reflective essays; and the articulation of creative output with reflexive practices such as production/writing logs and personal essays).


Graduate Attributes, Employability & Personal Development Planning

The programme is fully aligned with institutional priorities around the development of graduate attributes and with the institutional policy on personal development planning. The mapping of programme and module learning outcomes and employability-integrated assessment ensures the visibility of graduate attributes, employability and citizenship competencies. Personal development is embedded and explicitly signposted in the curriculum, with students provided with regular opportunities to capture and evaluate progression and development, stimulating reflection, self-regulation and a more constructive engagement with employability. It is recognised that personal development planning is an essential component of lifelong learning and continuing and professional development. To support this activity, all students are provided with access to personal development planning tools and enabled to develop a personal e-portfolio across the programme.

The programme places the highest possible value on producing graduates who are not only employable in the traditional sense of the term, but also capable of creating their own career opportunities through the initiation of innovative creative projects that are able to attract funding from a range of private and public sources.

The practice dimension of the programme is built around familiarising students with cutting-edge industry practice, not only in the UK, but internationally, and is largely delivered by UWS staff and invited filmmakers, screenwriters, producers and craft specialists, who are themselves successful practitioners with active national and/or international careers. Students will graduate with a portfolio of personal work (three short films, including both documentary and fiction) that demonstrates their creative and practical capacities, and with a sound knowledge of how the film industry works and what steps they can realistically take next to advance their careers. The programme is specifically designed to attract filmmakers who are ready to explore and express their own individual vision, and who are looking for a supportive context in which to develop “proof of concept” work beyond the limits inevitably imposed by undergraduate education, and/or free of the competing demands of their professional careers.

As a member of the Scottish Film Talent Network, the UWS Creative Media Academy is particularly well-placed to facilitate the most able graduates in making the transition to professional film production in the shortest possible time span, and the Film as an Industry and Development Lab modules specifically expose students to industry-standard processes for developing, funding and producing new work, thus ensuring they are ready to engage with the profession with full knowledge of its working methods.

The entire course is conceptualised to encourage students to think of their work in terms of developing a practice that is both personally satisfying, and economically and artistically sustainable in the long-term. To that end, Personal Development Planning is embedded at every level leading to and including the Masters programme.

The delivery of personal development planning will be based on encouraging reflective practice.  The principles of PDP and e-Portfolios will be introduced within the Advanced Documentary Film Practice and Advanced Fiction Film Practice modules in Trimesters 1 and 2. Students are asked, for example, to submit a reflective log along with each film submitted for assessment.  Although PDP will be linked to learning outcomes at every opportunity it will be predominantly formative, while also drawing on assessed activities. The aim is not only to encourage students to develop skills such as numeracy, language, study skills, employability and analytical thought, but also to raise students’ self-awareness and confidence through a process of critical reflection and planning. Guidance by staff should be in the form of articulation of goals, support in actions to achieve goals, and encouragement to monitor and reflect on progress.

The nature of the programme ensures that ICT and communications skills are developed in several modules, including the advanced software skills that are required for different specialist roles within the film industry. The core emphasis is, however, on developing the student’s capacity for creative thinking and artistic imagination, through a combination of disinhibition and constructive critique, with a consequential emphasis on empathetic understanding of others, enhanced social and cultural awareness, and sensitivity to the ethics and politics of human choice and action. These are seen not as secondary competences, but as core skills without which the potential for high-level creative work is seriously compromised. They are also eminently transferrable skills which will continue to serve graduates well as both employees and citizens, even if they should in the future decide to leave the film industry and seek alternative employment elsewhere.

Work Based Learning/Placement Details

Because of the highly practical nature of the course and its employment focus, all of the modules to a lesser or greater extent can be classified as being work-based learning. All modules contain elements that simulate, or actually are, activities carried out at a professional level, and the learning outcomes have been drawn up accordingly. All three trimesters are built largely or entirely around learning through practice, and it is hoped that many of the student projects engaged through the core practical modules will go on to receive industry confirmation through distribution to festivals, broadcasters, independent cinemas, and online (VoD).

Engagement and Attendance

In line with the Academic Engagement and Attendance Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on Moodle, and complete assessments and submit these on time.


Programme structures and requirements, SCQF level, term, module name and code, credits and awards ( Chapter 1, Regulatory Framework )

A. PG Cert
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of one form of filmmaking (documentary or fiction).

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1A range of technical skills in creating a collaborative creative output.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Communicate complex ideas in appropriate forms to professional audiences

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1Some originality in devising and making a creative output.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1An ethical and reflective understanding of your own role and the roles of others in a collaborative context.

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
               

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
11FILM11001Advanced Documentary Film Practice40      
11FILM11002Advanced Fiction Film Practice40      
11FILM11003Development Lab20      
11FILM11004Film as an Industry20      

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes
Optional Modules (at least 60 credits from the following, of which at least one will therefore be Advanced Documentary Film Practice or Advanced Fiction Film Practice)

Criteria for Progression and Award

To progress to Diploma, students must meet the criteria outlined in University Regulation 7.3

For information on progression with credit deficit please refer to University Regulation 7.3.4

The Post-Graduate Certificate in Filmmaking is typically offered as an exit award after successful completion of 60 credits at level 11 of which a minimum of 40 at level 11 with no module less than level 10.

For information on the award of Distinction, please refer to Regulation 7.5.2.


B. PG Dip
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of one form of filmmaking (documentary or fiction).
A2Critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of documentary and fiction film.
A3Critical knowledge and understanding of creative research practice methodologies.
A4Critical knowledge and understanding of the economic and technological context of film aesthetics.

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1A range of technical skills in creating a collaborative creative output.
B2Practical knowledge and understanding of contemporary film workflow practices from pre- to post-production.
B3In using a range of advanced technical skills, some specialist, in creating a collaborative creative output.
B4In applying knowledge of legal, financial and ethical dimensions of creative practice.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Communicate complex ideas in appropriate forms to professional audiences
C2Communicate complex ideas in appropriate forms to professional audiences.
C3Construct and present analytical arguments using appropriate academic conventions and media

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1Some originality in devising and making a creative output.
D2Contribute to original research utilising ethical research methodologies and participating responsibly in peer review.
D3Demonstrate imagination and/ or originality in devising and making a creative fiction output.
D4Capacity for critical reflection on own creative outputs and those of others.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1An ethical and reflective understanding of your own role and the roles of others in a collaborative context.
E2Contribute to successful planning and management of creative project in context of substantial autonomy.
E3Demonstrate commitment to reflective practice and professionalism.
E4Openness to professional mentoring, advice and supervision.

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
11FILM11001Advanced Documentary Film Practice40      
11FILM11002Advanced Fiction Film Practice40      
11FILM11003Development Lab20      
11FILM11004Film as an Industry20      

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
               

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Criteria for Progression and Award

To progress to Masters, students must meet the criteria outlined in University Regulation 7.3

For information on progression with credit deficit please refer to University Regulation 7.3.4

The Post-graduate Diploma in Filmmaking is typically offered as an exit award after successful completion of 120 credits of which at least 100 are at Level 11 with no credit below Level 10).

For information on the criteria for the award of Distinction please refer to Regulation 7.5.2.


C. Masters
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of one form of filmmaking (documentary or fiction).
A2Critical knowledge and understanding of theory and practice of documentary and fiction film.
A3Critical knowledge and understanding of creative research practice methodologies.
A4Critical knowledge and understanding of the economic and technological context of film aesthetics.
A5Integrated and critical knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and practical context of filmmaking.

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1A range of technical skills in creating a collaborative creative output.
B2Practical knowledge and understanding of contemporary film workflow practices from pre- to post-production.
B3In using a range of advanced technical skills, some specialist, in creating a collaborative creative output.
B4Apply a range of advanced specialist technical skills in completing a creative output to professional standard.
B5Apply integrated and critical knowledge and understanding of the creative practice research process.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Communicate complex ideas in appropriate forms to professional audiences
C2Communicate complex ideas in appropriate forms to professional audiences.
C3Construct and present analytical arguments using appropriate academic conventions and media
C4Communicate complex concepts and ideas from the leading edge of the discipline to a specialist audience.

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1Some originality in devising and making a creative output.
D2Contribute to original research utilising ethical research methodologies and participating responsibly in peer review.
D3Demonstrate imagination and/ or originality in devising and making a creative fiction output.
D4Capacity for critical reflection on own creative outputs and those of others.
D5Substantial imagination and/ or originality in devising and making a creative output.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1An ethical and reflective understanding of your own role and the roles of others in a collaborative context.
E2Contribute to successful planning and management of creative project in context of substantial autonomy.
E3Demonstrate commitment to reflective practice and professionalism.
E4Openness to professional mentoring, advice and supervision.
E5Autonomously plan and manage a substantial creative project from initiation to completion.

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
11FILM11005Masters Film Project60      

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTermFootnotes
123
               

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Criteria for Award

The award of MA Filmmaking shall be awarded to students who have completed 180 credits with a minimum of 160 at least SCQF11 and no more than 20 credits at SCQF10

For information on the award of Distinction, please refer to Regulation 7.5.2.


Regulations of Assessment

Candidates will be bound by the general assessment regulations of the University as specified in the University Regulatory Framework .

An overview of the assessment details is provided in the Student Handbook and the assessment criteria for each module is provided in the module descriptor which forms part of the module pack issued to students. For further details on assessment please refer to Chapter 3 of the Regulatory Framework.

To qualify for an award of the University, students must complete all the programme requirements and must meet the credit minima detailed in Chapter 1 of the Regulatory Framework.



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