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University of St. Andrews

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Established in 2004, the Department of Film Studies at the University of St Andrews brings together some of the UK’s leading academics in Film Studies. Our department was ranked first in the UK on the 2019 National Student Survey and and first for Media and Film Studies in the Guardian League Tables 2021.

Adopting a wide range of approaches and a global perspective, our staff members investigate how cinema and related audio-visual media have helped to shape societies and selves, while also thinking critically about the potentials of moving-image media today. We are interested in both text (aesthetics, sound, performance, on-screen identities, etc.) and context (the processes and practices of screen media including production, exhibition, distribution, technologies, and uses).

Particular research strengths include:

  • Global film cultures (including work on film festivals, industry, cinephilia, film societies, etc.)
  • Film and media history (including media archaeology and non-theatrical film traditions)
  • Work on audio-visual environments (including sensory cinema, sound studies and artist’s installations)
  • Non-fiction and documentary media (including histories of useful cinema and activist film and media)

The department maintains a lively research environment of conferences, events, and screenings, undergirded by two research centres, a regular speaker series and a robust PhD programme (ca. 12-15 students).

IMACS students take courses together with our regular MLitt (Masters) cohort, which currently numbers around 6-8 students per year. All visiting IMACS students must enrol in a total of two modules (courses) during their semester at St Andrews in order to meet the university’s full-time enrolment requirements. Typically, visiting IMACS students would take the following courses during their stay:

Fall semester

  • FM5002 (Skills, Methods and Approaches to Film Studies), module co-taught by several permanent staff members
  • One single-taught elective module on offer (e.g. Colonial Cinema, Film Technologies and Aesthetics, etc.)

Spring semester

  • FM5003 (New Directions in Film Studies), module co-taught by several staff members
  • 1 single-taught elective module on offer

Film Studies is centrally located in two buildings on North Street and is next door to the local independent cinema, New Picture House, which screens popular films. The Department works closely with the Byre Theatre, the Edinburgh International Film Festival and the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre.

Instructor Profiles

The department currently consists of eight permanent staff members, all leaders in their respective fields. Our research profiles can be consulted here.

Necessary Language Skills

The requested language proficiency is Profile 5-D, which is meant to be equivalent to B2 on the CEFR. Please make sure to include your language certificate to your motivation letter when you apply for your mobility at the University of St. Andrews.

Applying to IMACS through St Andrews

Comprehensive information for those wishing to apply for IMACS through the University of St Andrews can be found here.

IMACS students applying to St Andrews for a semester at St Andrews must still apply directly to the Global Office, following the steps listed at the Global Office website here. Please check the website early and respect the posted deadlines. (In 2020 the deadline to apply for Semester One was 15 May, and the deadline to apply for Semester Two was 31 October). For detailed questions, you should contact the Global Office directly as some information might change from year to year.

For your application, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • A completed application form. You should download the postgraduate application form from the Global Office website.
  • Evidence of English Language Proficiency. Visiting IMACS students must demonstrate English language proficiency in one of two ways: a) through submission of a qualifying test score (Film Studies’ English language test requirements are available under Profile 5-D, which is based on an equivalency to B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) or b) through submission of a letter issued by the student’s home institution, usually from their academic supervisor, which confirms its confidence that the student’s English language abilities are sufficient to operate within a postgraduate environment at St Andrews in lieu of an English language proficiency test. More information available here (see “Postgraduate Taught” for test requirements).
  • Personal Statement. You must provide a personal statement outlining your motivation to come to St Andrews and your goals for the semester. This can be adapted from the statement you submitted to IMACS.
  • Transcript. You must submit transcripts from your current and all previous institutions of higher education attended.

Detailed Guidelines for the Application Form (Postgraduate Taught):

1.1. Programme details → Choose “Postgraduate taught exchange programme”.

1.2. Academic year → Fill out as appropriate (e.g. 2021-22).

1.3. Duration of study → Choose “Semester One (September entry)” or “Semester Two (January entry)” as appropriate.

1.4. Home institution → Your home university

1.5. Select the total number of years completed in higher education, include both undergraduate and postgraduate study.

2.1. To which School are you applying? → “Film Studies”.

2.2. Please list some modules of interest below → Follow this link to the course catalogue and provide  a few Film Studies courses (starting with FM5____). You should only include courses at the 5000-level (e.g. FM5102, FM5103, etc.). Normally, 2 of these courses will be listed, which you can use to fill in this answer. Note: the course catalogue provides details on modules available in the current/most recent academic year; some elements may be subject to change in future years.

2.3. Postgraduate research → This is only for visiting PhD students. You can leave it blank.

3.1-6.2 → Fill in the requested personal details and background information.

7.1-7.3 → This is asking for the scores from your English-language test (see above). Leave this blank if you are submitting a letter from your supervisor in lieu of a test.

8. Personal Statement → Insert your personal statement here.

9.1 How will programme fees be paid → IMACS students pay tuition fees only to their home university. Select “Home institution (exchange agreement)”.

9.2 Accommodation fees → State how you will cover your living expenses while in St Andrews.

10.1-10.3 → Fill in as appropriate.

11. Referee Details → Give details of the person writing your reference letter.

12. Declaration → You must check all the boxes here.

13. Application submission → Your completed application, transcripts, reference letter, and English language proficiency test results/ English language letter of confidence should all be sent to