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Centre for Film Studies

MA in Global Cinemas and the Transcultural

Duration: 1 Year Full Time, 2 or 3 Years Part Time


Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum upper second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The MA in Global Cinemas and the Transcultural offers students the unique opportunity to study in-depth regional cinemas outside the now standard research topographies, both geographical and theoretical, of mainstream cinema studies, so opening up avenues for advanced research in areas and methodologies as yet untapped. Alternatively, it provides an avenue of study for those simply wishing to obtain a post-graduate qualification in Cinema Studies without being confined to a European- and/or American-centric world-view.The degree is designed around a compulsory core module, Cinema, Nation and the Transcultural, that simultaneously challenges existing critical paradigms defining 'national cinema' in the simplistic terms of geographical zones of production and reception, while offering alternative methodological approaches to the study of cinema within the local/global, inter-cultural contexts of the post-modern world. The elective elements of the degree allow students the opportunity to specialize in one or more of the many regional cinemas on offer in the School: Japanese, Chinese (mainland, Hong Kong & Taiwanese), mainland and maritime South East Asian, Indian, Iranian, Middle Eastern and African). It also enables students to combine specialist film studies knowledge with a minor module in an Asian or African language or to advance their social and cultural knowledge of a given region through an ethnographic module. Alternatively, through our links with University of London Screen Studies Group , students may choose from a selection of elective modules to further develop cross-cultural perspectives in an east/west framework.

SOAS is exceptional in its geographical focus, and the expertise in the disciplines of Film and Screen Studies makes us unique in the field. In a ‘global’ industry, film and media scholars, and practitioners are increasingly recognising the need for a move toward the study of image cultures and industries beyond the historical hegemonies of the European and Hollywood industries. This has been more than evident in the career trajectories of graduates from the MA Global Cinemas and the Transcultural degree. Graduates from this degree have gone on to find employment in Film Festivals (Venice to name one), DVD distribution companies, the art house cinema circuit, while others with a practice based background have gone onto form their own production companies, in one case producing documentaries for Al-Jazeera (see the Contraimage link on the SOAS Centre for Film and Screen Studies website). Other graduates have followed the more traditional pathway into PhD programmes where they have been singularly successful in competing for AHRC studentships.

Email: languagesandcultures@soas.ac.uk


Each student takes 4 units in total: the Compulsory Course (1 unit), the Dissertation (1 unit), one unit from list 3 and one further unit of options of their choice. 

In choosing their courses, MA students are advised to pay careful attention to the balance of coursework across the two terms. In particular it is important to ensure that each term you have three taught courses. However much you might wish to take a mixture of courses that requires more coursework in one term than the other, it is most unwise to attempt to take four courses in one term and two in the other. Experience has shown that students simply cannot manage the load during the heavy term with the result that they either do very badly, fail or are unable to complete the courses in question. As a result Directors of Studies for the degrees and the Faculty staff will not approve a selection of courses which results in an imbalanced workload.

1. Compulsory Core Course
2. Dissertation in Global Cinemas and the Transcultural
3. Compulsory courses in Cinemas of Asia and Africa

Each student is also required to take at least ONE course (comprising either one whole course or two half courses) in Cinemas of Asia and Africa from section two below.

4. Optional Courses:

Students may take up to one full course or equivalent from the following list:

Other Courses on Media
Courses in Social Anthropology

Please note the 'Media Production Skills' will not be available to MA Global Cinemas students in the 15/16 session.

Courses in South Asian Studies
Courses from the following MA programmes offered by affiliated colleges in the University of London

MA in the History of Film and Visual Media (Birkbeck College); MA Film Studies (Queen Mary); MA Screen Studies (Goldsmiths College); MA Contemporary Cinema Cultures (Kings College); MA Film Studies (UCL)


SOAS students may take up to one half unit (0.5) course from the list below.


British Film and Television 1960-85 (Term 1); European Cinema at the Crossroads (Term 1); Exhibiting the Moving Image: Theory and Context (Term 1); Film Festivals (Term 2; this course includes a 10 day field trip); Global Television (Term 2); Exploring the Language of Image and Sound (Term 2); Contemporary American Cinema (Term 2)


Strategies of World Cinema (Term 1); Archaeology of the Moving Image (Term 1) Politics of the Audiovisual (Term 2); Experimental Media (Term 2); Contemporary Screen Narratives (Term 2); Representing Reality (Term 2)

Kings College

Cinema the City (Term 1); Popular European Cinema (Term 1); Cinema and War (Term 1); Film History and the Cinema Experience (Term 1); Analysing Film Performance: Comedy (Term 1); Experimental Film and Philosophy (Term 1) Exploitation Cinema (Term 2); Thinking Cinema: Theory, Philosophy, Ethics (Term 2); Cinema and Sentiment (Term 2); London Film Cultures (Term 2); The Moving Image in Art (Term 2)


These modules are subject to confirmation: Nordic Cinema: Contextualising Dreyer, Bergman and Dogme (Term 1); The French New Wave: Cahier Cinema (Term 1) Genre in Italian Cinema (Term 2); Spanish Film (Term 2); New Argentina Cinemas (Term 2); How to make an 8-minute documentary (Term 2); Political Cinema (Term 2); Film Exhibition (Term 2); Theories and Practices of Film (Term 2); The Idea of Documentary (Term 2); Russian Cinema: Epochs and Genres (Term 2)

Queen Mary

Paris on the Screen (Term 1) Films of Powell & Pressburger (Term 2); Moving Landscapes: the Berlin School in an International Context (Term 2); Hollywood and the 2nd World War (Term 2)

Institute of Education

Moving Image Production (Term 1) Digital Games, Play and Creativity (Term 2)

Language course (subject to availability)

One Language Acquisition course taught at SOAS (list available from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures)

Programme Specification


Teaching & Learning

A Student's Perspective

I've been here for five years now, taking my BA and MA here before embarking on my PhD studies, so I've obviously had a good experience! I'd best describe this time as "enriching", opening my eyes to the best scholarship from around the world.

Lois Barnett