Our four-year BA Film and Drama (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.
You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.
After successful completion of Year Zero in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.
Our course is perfect for the creative types. Upon graduation you’ll be ready to break into the world of cinema, the stage and behind the scenes – and a whole range of other graduate careers in the arts, media, education, and the creative industries. We don’t stop there though, we make sure you know the theory behind theatre and the screen too.
You study themes in drama such as gender, identity, tragedy, human rights, devising and playwriting. Your film modules explore directing, screenwriting, classic and contemporary texts and many aspects of screen media, from cinema to social media.
You also gain the skills in technical theatre and film production, like design and stage management, camerawork, editing and film-making. You’ll still write essays as in any other Humanities degree, but alongside honing your critical writing and thinking, you’ll also have the chance to be assessed on your creativity, performance and technical skills.
What makes us different? We also offer many modules which bring the disciplines of film and drama together. Our modules Directing Actors for Film and Introduction to Screenwriting give you a seamless mix of both film and drama so you can excel throughout the screen and the stage.
Our high-spec facilities mean you’ve always got somewhere to rehearse and edit. You’ll also be offered careers guidance and training, preparing you for the career you want upon graduation.
This course is based in our Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies. You’ll be taught by academics who are also practitioners in their field and have significant experience in the industry – from film-makers to award-winning theatre specialists.
We are ranked top 20 for dance, drama and cinematics in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021.
Our expert staff
We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.
Core teaching staff on this course include:
- Dr Liam Jarvis has been Co-artistic Director of Analogue, an award-winning alt. theatre company with whom he has created devised work that has toured the UK/internationally since 2007. He is also a member of many organisations in the industry. Some of his research and teaching interests lie within immersive performance and participation and Experimental Neuroscience, Selfhood, Embodiment and Body Transfer Illusions in Performance. His new book explores the science behind inhabiting another’s body.
- Professor Jonathan Lichtenstein is a playwright who has written for Radio 4 and the National Theatre. His awards include a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival and his plays have been performed internationally. He is a recognised expert in teaching playwriting and dramatic form.
- Eirini Konstantinidou specialises in science fiction films about memory and technology. Her first feature film was released in 2019 and is called Mnemophrenia, a self-reflexive film exploring artificial memories and their close relation to the medium of film. Eirini has also directed and written four short films, two of which are award-winning and all of which have played in various international film festivals.
- Nic Blower is an industry specialist and has worked extensively for the BBC, producing and directing documentaries and drama documentaries. His critically acclaimed film Transplant followed both sides of the organ donation story, a first for UK television. He teaches and supervises students in fiction and documentary filmmaking.
- Mary Mazzilli is a renowned specialist in World Theatre and is also a practicing playwright and Creative Director of Lumenis Theatre company. As well as touring her work internationally, Mary has published on Chinese Theatre, dramaturgy, translation and digital theatre.
- Bevan Walsh’s Love Does Grow on Trees, was nominated for a British Independent Film Award. It premiered in the US at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it was named one of New York Magazine’s “Top Five Shorts at Tribeca” and then went on to win numerous accolades at festivals internationally.
You have priority use of industry-standard editing facilities, two state-of-the-art studios, and a range of cameras and other filmmaking equipment. You also gain experience using professional film production software including Avid and Final Cut; everything you will need to produce films to an expert standard.
You also have access to our other departmental facilities:
- Show off your work on our Vimeo channel
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
- Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
- Participate in regular workshops at the Lakeside Theatre which help you to improve your performance skills
- Our Research Laboratory allows you to collaborate with professionals, improvising and experimenting with new work which is being tried and tested
- Write for our student magazine Rebel or host a Red Radio show
Why we’re great
- We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
- Guarantee your place on your chosen course if you successfully complete your foundation year at Essex.
- Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
- A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
- Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention
- Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects