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Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 08/03/2022 09:07:10

Title of Module: Critical Studies In Film

Code: FILM09004 SCQF Level: 9
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Business & Creative Industries
Module Co-ordinator:Rachael  Stark

Summary of Module

The aim of this module is to stimulate thought and debate in preparation for students to create their individual research proposals. As a result, this module will invite students to examine and reflect upon a range of research methodologies within the context of film studies. The module is divided into two sections. During the first part of the module, students will re-engage with the key tools of Textual Analysis and consider its relationship to specific critical theories associated with the study of film. Drawing on a variety of topics such as gender, sexuality, class, race and postmodernism, the key question for this section will focus on: “How can we use the tools of textual analysis to think about films in relation to key cultural theories?” The second section of the module will introduce students to practice-based research. During this part of the module, students will be invited to reflect critically on their own practice. In line with the key learning and teaching strategy embedded within the School of B&CI, an Enquiry-based learning model will be employed across the module.  In addition to this, the module will be underpinned by a library research session and a drop-in ‘pre-assessment surgery’ where students will receive formative feedback on their assignment plans.

  • Critical engagement with research skills

  • Engaging and reflection on research skills

  • Cultural theories in film studies

  • Research methods in film studies

  • Critical reading

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
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Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:


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Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


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Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of major theoretical perspectives used in film studies, and an understanding of significant research strategies concerning film and cinema.

L2. Practice effective methods of research in a critical context.

L3. Assimilate and synthesise complex information and analyse and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, and issues across a range of professional, scholarly, and creative contexts.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 9.

Demonstrate and/or work with:

A critical understanding of a selection of major theoretical perspectives used in film studies, and an understanding of significant research strategies concerning film and cinema.

A broad and integrated knowledge and understanding of the scope, main areas and boundaries of film studies as a discipline

They will be required to:

understand the critical and contextual dimensions of selected films in particular, and of film in general, for example the business, cultural, economic, environmental, ethical, global, historical, political, societal, and/or theoretical contexts;
generate ideas, concepts, proposals, solutions or arguments independently in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 9.

Students will be able to: Practice effective methods of research in a critical context.
Use a selection of the principal skills, techniques, practices and/or materials associated with film theory. Practise routine methods of enquiry and/or research.
Employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with a range of critical approaches to film, studied with skill and imagination whilst observing good working practices.
Understand the critical and contextual dimensions of selected films in particular, and of film in general, for example the business, cultural, economic, environmental, ethical, global, historical, political, societal, and/or theoretical contexts.
In addition to this, students will develop the following visual and critical skills: observation: close and systematic visual examination, informed by appropriate knowledge of materials, techniques and cultural contexts; description: describing scenes and sequences from selected films with clarity and precision, using ordinary and specialist language as appropriate to the topic and the intended audience, and with consideration for the differences between visual, verbal and aural codes of portrayal; interpretation: the ability to: · set the films studied within appropriate historical, intellectual, cultural and institutional contexts; · draw upon personal responses to films while recognising how these should be distinguished from other relevant meanings; · develop arguments concerning production processes, and concerning formal and functional ambitions and effects from close observation of films; · relate the processes of making films to their cultural functions;· understand the role of films as carriers of meaning and value; identify and analyse the development of and interrelation between different critical approaches.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 9.

Assimilate and synthesise complex information and analyse and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, and issues across a range of professional, scholarly, and creative contexts.
Undertake critical analysis, evaluation and/or synthesis of ideas, concepts, information and issues;
Identify and analyse routine (professional) problems and issues;
Draw on a range of sources in making judgements.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 9.

Use a range of routine skills and some advanced and specialised skills in support of established practices in a subject/discipline, for example: Make formal and informal presentations on standard/mainstream topics in Film Studies; Use a range of IT applications to support and enhance work, including participation in and use of the Blackboard Learning environment; Interpret, use and evaluate different critical approaches to film.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 9.

the ability to work across a variety of group and independent modes of study, and within these to demonstrate flexibility, creativity, and the capacity for critical self-reflection; Exercise autonomy and initiative in some activities at a professional level: Practise in ways which take account of own and others’ roles and responsibilities;

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

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Learning and Teaching
This module utilises a range of teaching and learning methods. The content will be broken down by topic and each topic will be addressed via asynchronous lectures, assigned tasks and synchronous seminars.
Student learning will be further supported by a Library Research Skills session
and formative feedback on their plans for assessment.
The module supports the acquisition and development of graduate attributes and employability, lifelong learning and citizen competencies by:
- developing the student as a researcher
- encouraging peer communication and support in the design of research projects
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery39
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity0
Independent Study161
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Cook, Pam (ed) (2007) The Cinema Book (3rd ed), London: BFI [electronic]

Bordwell, D Thompson, K & Smith, J (2019) Film Art: An Introduction, New York: NY McGraw-Hill Education

Costley,C& Fulton, J (eds) (2019) Methodologies for practice research: Approaches for professional doctorates, London: SAGE

Deacon, D (2007) Researching Communications: A practical guide to methods in media and cultural studies London: Hodder Arnold

Hill, John & Gibson, Pamela Church (eds.) (2000) Film Studies: Critical approaches, Oxford, England: David Fulton Publishers; New York: Oxford University Press

Hollows, Hutchings & Jancovich (eds.) (2000) The Film Studies Reader, London: Arnold

Leavy,P (2015) Method Meets Art: Arts-based research practice, New York, London: The Guilford Press

McIntyre, P (2012) Creativity and Cultural Production Issues for Media Practice, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Skains, RL (2018) 'Creative practice as research:Discourse on methodology' Media Practice and Education, 19:1, 82-97 [electronic]

Strinati, D (2004) An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture, Routledge [electronic]

Thompson, K (1999) Storytelling in the new Hollywood: understanding classical narrative technique Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement 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 the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
Engagement with recorded lectures, tasks, live seminars and assessment processes.

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Supplemental Information

Programme BoardArts & Media
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelArts & Media
ModeratorAndrew Jarvis
External ExaminerA Nevill
Accreditation DetailsSkillset (UK Delivery Only)
Version Number


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Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Formative assessment will be provided on the students’ assessment plans. The first element that will be summatively assessed will be a 2,500 word essay that requires the students to utilise two of the cultural theories discussed and apply them to analysis of their own choice of film. This part makes up 65% of the overall mark.
The second part of the assessment strategy is a case study where students will devise a 1,500 word research proposal. Students will receive formative feedback on their assessment plans for this element also. This part makes up 35% of the overall mark.
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essay check markcheck mark650

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Case studycheck mark  350
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

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  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content. The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.