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More in this section Postgraduate research

Programme of Studies

All research students in the Media Arts Department are registered for the degree of MPhil. In the first year of your research degree, your supervisor will advise you on the initial planning of your research project and provide you with feedback and suggestions as your project takes shape. 

You’ll be asked to attend tutorials with your supervisor on a regular basis. You’ll also participate in centrally and departmentally organised training programmes that enable you to develop and continuously enhance your research skills.

The Media Arts Department, along with other members of the London University Screen Studies Group, offers intensive research training specifically organised for postgraduate research students working on MPhil/PhD projects in film, television or other screen media and on practice-led research projects in media arts across the University of London.

We also offer a Generic Skills Programme designed for research students to help develop their skills alongside their research. Some of these courses are specifically designed to help you complete your degree, while others assist growth of more general skills and aid your employability.

MPhil and PhD students are also encouraged to participate in the cross-faculty Critical Theory Reading Group, organised by Royal Holloway’s Humanities and Arts Research Centre (HARC).

Our Annual Postgraduate Summer Conference, where all of our research students present their work to staff and fellow students, gives you another invaluable opportunity to practice your presentation skills. You’ll also have the chance to meet leading scholars in the filed whom we invited to deliver keynote lectures. Recent keynotes have been given by Professor Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam), Professor Yosefa Loshitzky (University of East London) and Professor Laura Marcus (Oxford University).

You’re also encouraged to participate in the department’s research seminars to which members of staff and high-profile guest speakers contribute. You’ll also have the opportunity to bid for funding in order to organise their own postgraduate conferences and workshops so as to develop additional skills in research management. Over the past few years, our students have organised a number of international postgraduate conferences on themes including:

Questioning Transnationalism: Culture, Politics and Media.

World Cinema in the Context of Postcolonial Studies.

Experiments with Narrative Cinema.

The State of the British Film Industry.

Welcoming Strangers.

The progress of your research is monitored carefully by your supervisor and advisor, and, annually, by the Research Committee on the basis of the annual review documentation. In June of each year, you’ll be required to go through the Annual Research Review. 

If you have made sufficient progress and produced satisfactory written work (normally two chapters of a thesis or the equivalent of 10,000 words), a formal evaluation for transition from MPhil to PhD status will be scheduled. Such evaluations usually take place in the second year of full-time studies or third or fourth year of part-time studies.

The supervisory relationship is the most important element in the successful completion of your research programme. The relationship is two-sided with obligations on both yourself and your supervisor.

All staff selected to supervise postgraduate research students have the necessary skills and experience to monitor the overall direction and development of their projects. You supervisor will offer guidance about the subject and methodology of your research and about designing a research programme with realistically achievable goals and deadlines. S/he will also be able to advise you on relevant libraries, archives and other research sources and direct you to generic and specialised research training provided by the College and the University of London.

You’ll be expected to meet your supervisor on a regular basis (usually once a month during term time for full-time students) to discuss your project. S/he will give you feedback on any written work submitted, providing constructive criticism. However, as a PhD student you take on certain responsibilities such as the progress of your research and ensuring it is completed within the agreed timeframe.

 You’ll also be assigned an advisor, with their primary role being to participate in the annual review process as an external assessor of your work. Your advisor can also be called upon if your relationship with your supervisor breaks down or if they become ill, retires or moves to another university.

If you’re working on a practice-based PhD, such as making a documentary film or writing a screenplay, you’ll be working together with a supervisory team consisting of a member of staff who is a media practitioner and someone with a more traditional academic background. Their joint guidance will ensure that your project will be a successful synergy between creative practice and critical investigation.


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