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MA Directing Film & Television

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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

The Director is central to the creative process in media production and this course has been designed to build and develop your knowledge of the industry, enabling you to step up to the challenge of delivering winning productions. This hands-on course provides many opportunities for practical production across platforms and genres. It will enhance your storytelling skills and build your technical understanding of film, television and transmedia production, developing advanced skills as a director in line with current industry practice.

The Faculty of Media & Communication encourage dynamic collaborations between students across courses. Working with the producing, scriptwriting, cinematography, sound and editing students you will create a showcase of your skills as a visual, creative storyteller. Many of these collaborations have continued beyond the course as students set up their own production companies. This comprehensive course will equip you with the skills to understand and manage the entire production process, from effective planning and pre-visualisation to overseeing creative post-production work alongside our editing students.

Under the guidance of experienced media professionals, you will develop your own directorial flair and style, and will gain a sound theoretical grounding of the social, cultural and intellectual context for media production work. The final production project will allow you to use the technical and directorial skills you have developed to mastermind your own portfolio of work in collaboration with other students within The Faculty of Media & Communication. As an alternative, you can choose a research-based option to undertake a detailed study of an aspect of directing.

You may have an undergraduate qualification in a related subject or may be able to show your suitability for this programme of study through associated work-experience or evidence of and outputs from other related activities.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2018, September 2019


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


1 year full-time


The International Moving Image Society (IMIS)

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

  • Directing Across Genres: Develop practical and critical skills for creative directing in a variety of genres, formats and media, and build competence and understanding through seminars and practical workshops. You'll be prepared for collaborating in the development process through working closely with writing and producing Master's students.
  • Narrative Constructions: Establishing a social, cultural and intellectual context for production work on the course, in combination with the other practical and professional skills taught, this unit offers a critical foundation for the effective realisation of production work. You'll collectively engage with narrative theory in a critical and analytical forum.
  • Directing & Developing Story: You'll direct a 10-minute documentary or a 10-minute drama, which will help you develop skills in short form storytelling for fiction and documentary. Drama scripts will be developed by collaborating with scriptwriters and producers, and documentaries will be developed with producing students.
  • Professional Practice: An introduction to key concepts, skills and knowledge you'll need for employment in the media industries.

Option units (choose one)*

  • The Master's Production Project: This is where you can create a calling card for the industry. You'll plan and shoot a project, negotiated with a tutor. Taking advantage of the Faculty of Media & Communication's collaborative environment, you can work with MA Scripwtwriting students to make exciting drama scripts. You can also work with MA Producing Film and Television and MA Post Production Editing students to benefit the story you're telling.
  • The Master's Research Project: You can produce a practice-based research artefact supported by a written analysis, or an individual or collaboratively-written paper. The latter consists of a written investigation into an aspect of practice, supported by media artefacts.

*Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Key features

  • Develop authorship skills for directing dramas and documentaries
  • Network with leading practitioners from the film and television industry
  • Work in a collaborative environment that follows industry practice
  • Develop critical thinking and intellectual skills for reflecting, learning and growing as a practitioner
  • Graduate from the UK’s only Centre for Excellence in Media Practice and a recognised Skillset Screen and Media Academy with an excellent track record in graduate employment and industry reputation.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the university's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for MA Directing Film & Television.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Selection criteria

Background and experience

For MA Directing Film and Television we are looking for applicants who:

  • Have some prior experience of directing on a practical level
  • Display the ambition, commitment, organisational flair and team working skills required to work in their chosen media production specialism
  • Are flexible with time and energy levels
  • Are creative and enthusiastic
  • Can adapt to varying demands/workloads.

We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking applications and show-reels.


We’ll be selecting the candidates for this course by looking at their applications and show-reels. We may also interview applicants, either at the university or over Skype for international students. This will mark you on the following criteria and you can ask for feedback afterwards:

  • Potential for further development
  • Professional understanding / ambition
  • Appreciation of director’s role
  • Collaborative ability
  • Capacity for masters level inquiry
  • We continue to accept applications to postgraduate courses until the course is full. We would advise you to apply as early as possible to avoid disappointment.


It is assumed that, prior to embarking upon this course that you will have engaged with the directing at a practical level. Therefore, we ask you to submit a short show reel of your work exhibiting what you perceive as being the best examples of your craft, along with your application form.

Wherever possible, we would prefer you to upload you work with your online application. However, if this is not possible we will also accept the show reel submitted on DVD/CD.

Show- reels should last no more than 20 minutes, as we are not able to view many long-form edits and expect the ethos of editing to be applied to the submission.

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • A Bachelors Honours degree with 2:2 in any subject, or equivalent.

  • A show-reel should be submitted with the application form

  • An interview may be required

  • Applicants are encouraged to provide details of relevant work experience.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the Future Students Enquiry Team for more information.

Preferred subjects

All subjects considered however applications are particularly welcomed from:

  • Recent graduates with an undergraduate degree, typically 2:1 or above in any discipline who want to take their expertise and apply it within the media context
  • Applicants with an undergraduate degree in the area of media practice (e.g. television production, video production, interactive media production, scriptwriting, music design, journalism, advertising)
  • Applicants from experienced professionals working within the media industry.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • ​IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading, or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requiremens page.


Skilled professionals who can understand and create moving images suited to a rapidly changing industry are highly sought after. Our students graduate as lifelong learners and reflective practitioners, and the combination of practical and theoretical study means graduates are well-equipped for success. The course has been awarded accreditation by the International Moving Image Society (IMIS) in recognition of its professionalism and industry relevance in moving image education and training.

Some of our Directing Film & Television graduates are now undertaking roles as*:

  • Media specialist
  • Freelancer
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Studio director.

Industries worked in

  • Media
  • Film
  • Television.

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

*All information shown has been taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) or BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.

Your lecturers

Our staff are actively engaged in research and professional practice in the directing film and television sector which is integrated into the teaching of this course. Find out more about some of the staff and their research activities who will be teaching on this course below.

Professor Kerstin Stutterheim

Dr Kerstin Stutterheim is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and Program Leader MA Directing Film & TV at Bournemouth University’s The Media School / Faculty of Media and Communication, she is as well filmmaker, dramaturg and producer. Before she acted as Professor of Dramaturgy and Aesthetics of audio-visual Media at Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf, Potsdam, where she was the founding director of the Institute of Art Research 2008-2011. She was teaching at all levels, undergraduates to PhD, and interdisciplinary.

Prior she was Professor for Film, Video and Media at University of Applied Science Wuerzburg-Schweinfurt, Faculty of Visual Communication 2001-2006. Awarded as Dr. phil. in 1999 at Humboldt-University Berlin.

Most recently published is her “Handbuch Angewandter Dramaturgie. Vom Geheimnis filmischen Erzaehlens – Film, TV und Games” (Handbook practice based Dramaturgy – Secrets of Story Telling for Film, TV and Games) with Peter Lang Publishing, August 2015.

As filmmaker she started 1992 with “Die Waescherei – Ein Herz fuer Umwelt und Gewebe (The Laundry – A Heart for Environment and fabric)” (D 1992, 64 min) and since then works together with Niels Bolbrinker, f.e. “bauhaus – model and myth” (D 1999/2008, 103 min), “Flies & Angels. Ilya and Emila Kabakov and the art of ‘total’ installation” (D 2009).

Visiting professor f.e. at San Francisco State University, University of Toronto, Universidade Federal da Bahia and via Goethe Institute Bangladesh, to name few. Deputy Chair of the international Screenwriting Research Network, member of EDN, SCMC, Cinegraph Babelsberg and more. She acts as editor for the book series Media Production & Media Aesthetics with Peter Lang Publishing and member of the Editorial Board of ‘Klassiker des Osteuropaeischen Kinos’ (Classics of East European Cinema) at Schueren Verlag. She publishes in the field of Film, TV and Media Theory, within practice-based /practice-led research.

No hidden extras

Course specific material(s) included in your tuition fee

  • A contribution to filming related expenses (e.g. travel, subsistence) of up to £25 for projects in semester one and £50 for projects in semester two

Production Costs

The cost of making films and television programmes on the course can vary according to what the student wishes to do. For some, the costs can be very little while others may wish to spend more: how much you spend doesn't affect the assessment of your work and some good productions are often produced for very little money. The focus and attention on the course is developing your learning, and your projects are the vehicles for that to flourish. And of course the university provides all the kit and facilities you need to undertake your work.

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork, and non-financial support whilst on placement
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide.
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Optional fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies (with or without attendance), you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Additional information

Simon Phelps

Career development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

Purbeck House common room

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.