MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Film Studies:Theory and Practice (full-time or part-time)

College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies

Course overview

The MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice is a pioneering programme that prepares students for a range of careers in film and media related area. This programme combines a strong academic focus on the critical and historical study of film with modules focusing on diverse aspects of contemporary film practice. Past graduates have gone on to pursue PhDs as well as working in a range of roles within media production, administration and education. As part of its unique combination of theory and practice, the programme offers students a choice between an 18,000 word minor dissertation and a final practice-based project to complete their degree.

Students taking this programme will acquire:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the major developments in film history
  • an ability to analyze, interpret, and critique films and other visual media from a variety of theoretical perspectives, using relevant critical vocabulary and methodologies
  • skills in the areas of film practice and arts administration
  • knowledge of the films and production practices of Irish, international and avant-garde cinemas
  • preparation for professional work and/or graduate study via a portfolio of academic work and short films
  • skills in oral and written communication

The programme is delivered by leading film studies academics and film practitioners with extensive experience in the film and television industries. The MA in Film Studies: Theory and Practice is one of an exciting range of postgraduate progammes at the Huston School, including Screenwriting, Production and Direction, Digital Media, and Arts Policy and Practice.  Connections are forged between students on these programmes through the sharing of modules and through the weekly guest seminars which are open to all programmes. Previous guest speakers have included Gabriel Byrne, Laura Mulvey, Lenny Abrahamson, Roddy Doyle, Noel Burch and Donald Clarke.

This programme is designed for students who want to deepen their knowledge of the world’s cinemas and the very latest approaches to studying them. It will train students to undertake further research at PhD level, or for participation in a wide range of film-related careers, including teaching, programming and exhibition, curatorial work, and arts journalism. 

Huston School of Film and Digital Media

The Huston School of Film and Digital Mediawas established in 2003 under the active patronage of the (John) Huston family.

The School offers a dynamic approach to film and digital media training, with a strong emphasis on critical studies. As well as offering postgraduate programmes, the Huston School also hosts a range of guest seminars during the year with academics and practitioners of film.

Key facts

Entry requirements

NQAI Level 8 degree or equivalent, H2.2. GPA 3.0 or equivalent international qualification. Students who do not meet the honours degree requirement but have a Level 7 degree (Merit 1) may be admitted to the PDip course with the possibility of progressing to the MA if they receive a minimum of 60% in their course work during the year. Applicants are required to submit a writing sample consisting of either a graded academic essay or a review essay of a recent film (1,000 words) and a personal statement with their application.

Duration: 1 year, full-time
2 years, part-time

Next start date: September 2016

ECTS weighting: MA—90, PG Dip—60

Awards: MA, PDip. Students may only apply for the MA in Film Studies. Those who do not meet the minimum entry requirements may be admitted with relevant professional experience via a qualifying exam, or be admitted to the PDip.

Closing date: You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

Mode of study: Taught

Course outline

The course may be taken as a full-time degree taken over a twelve-month period (September to August) OR as a Part-Time Degree taken over a twenty-four month period. Social Welfare recipients should contact their local social welfare office to determine their eligibility for continuing payments while taking a Part-Time programme

The year is divided into two teaching semesters (September to December and January to April). The summer period (year 2 in the Part-Time programme) will be used to complete an 18,000 minor dissertation OR undertake a practice-based project consisting of a video essay accompanied by a 7000 word dissertation. The full-time programme comprises four core seminar courses during the academic year and a choice of 4 options (plus a research methods seminar) over two 12-week semesters. Part-time students will take half of these modules each year. 

Core modules:

  • Critical Theory (Semester 1 and 2)
  • Film History 1: Classical Holllywood
  • Film History 2: Cinematic Realism and Auteur Cinema Since 1945

Optional modules include:

  • Film in the Digital Age
  • Filmmaking for the Internet
  • Irish Cinema
  • Film Administration and Education
  • Gender & Sexuality Onscreen
  • Visual Culture

Building on the success of TG4 and Irish-language film production over the past ten years, the programme also includes an Irish-language option module (the first of its type on an MA in Film Studies programme in Ireland), ‘Scéalta Scáileáin na Gaeilge’, which focuses on the history of screen production in the Irish language and expands students employment prospects in Irish- and English-language film and television.

Please enquire regarding optional modules offered in any particular year as these will vary from year to year.

Applications and selections

Applications are made online via The Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Relevant PAC application code(s) above.

To see, in advance, what supporting documents are required to supplement your online application please visit:

Who teaches this course?

Lecturers on the programme may include:

  • Dr. Seán Crosson, M.Phil, PhD 
  • Dr. Conn Holohan, M.A., PhD
  • Professor Rod Stoneman, B.A. PG. Dip.. D.Litt.
  • Tony Tracy, M.A.

Requirements and assessment

Assessments include essay exercises, presentations and in some modules, blog or journal postings. Students must also complete either a final 18,000 word minor dissertation OR a practice-based project consisting of a video essay accompanied by a 7,000-word dissertation.

Find out more

Dr Sean Crosson

Huston School of Film & Digital Media
NUI Galway

T 353 91 495 687

PAC code

GYA09 Full-time
GYA10 Part-time

Fees for this course

EU (Total): €6,015 p.a. 2015/16
 - Tuition: €5,791 p.a. 2015/16
 - Student levy: €224 p.a. 2015/16
Non-EU (Total): €13,250 p.a. 2015/16

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant – please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224.  M.A. EU Full time programme:  €6,015 (inclusive of Levy); P.Dip. EU full time programme:  €5,965 (inclusive of Levy) 2015/16.

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Current students


Past students

Current student 2012 film studies

Aoife O' Connor

2012 Graduate

The Huston School offers an excellent Film Studies programme, which served only to bolster and enhance my pre-existing interest in the medium; in fact, I developed a whole new appreciation of film in all its forms. The core modules of Film History and Critical Theory provide students with an in-depth study into the evolution of cinema as well as a fascinating view into how theory is applied to film to create meaning. The optional modules that are offered give students the opportunity to undertake study into specific areas of cinema, resulting in a broader understanding of the area as a whole. The school has introduced me to some filmic gems as well as offering fresh perspectives on films with which I had already been familiar. 

The Huston is located off the main campus and its student populace is relatively small. As a result, the school boasts an intimate atmosphere – as well as there being a close knit student community within Huston, there is also a strong rapport between students and staff. In addition to being extremely dedicated, the Huston staff are incredibly supportive and encouraging. Lecturers’ doors are always open and they are only too happy to offer guidance and advice to their students. It is this informal and friendly atmosphere which makes the Huston experience unique, and immensely enjoyable. 

For anyone thinking about embarking on a Postgraduate course in Film Studies, I cannot recommend the Huston School enough. Students are provided with the tools to engage with film on an academic level, but in a congenial environment, something which I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced. It’s been a brilliant year – studying something which I am passionate about and meeting some wonderful people along the way.