Cinematic Arts
BSc (Hons)

2021/22 Part-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Science with Honours


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Arts and Humanities


Magee campus

Start date:

September 2021


The start of your creative adventure into the world of film. Get ready for your future as a creative in high quality storytelling across all screens.


The BSc (Hons) Cinematic Arts is an exclusively practical degree for those who want to work in film, tv drama and streaming media. You will study specialist skills modules in directing, producing, screenwriting, cinematography, editing, art direction and visual effects.

All assessment for the course is practical, there are no written exams or theoretical modules. The BSc (Hons) in Cinematic Arts is taught in our new studios at Magee Campus in Derry.You will make films and create media in using our state-of-the-art camera and post-production equipment at industry standards ready for submission to festivals, broadcasting and streaming. You will be trained by lectures and award-winning industry professionals with experience in media production.

You will be joining a team of creative filmmakers in our internationally renowned course with strong industry links. Our students and alumni work as creatives in feature films, tv shows and as freelance professionals producing content for streaming media.This course has been designed with the future at the forefront, ensuring your skills remain relevant and preparing you for the ever-evolving professional world.

Ranked 2nd for Film Production and Photography in The Guardian University League Tables 2020 Ulster University is one of the top places to study this highly practical and creative course. Create your future at Cinematic Arts at Magee!

Halloween Activity
Check out our current Cinematic Arts students in action as they premiere new horror movies at the Derry Halloween Folklore and After Dark series on thursday 29th Oct from 9.30pm.
>Watch trailer.

Social Media
To stay up-to-date with the latest news from the Cinematic Arts team, our student work and relevant industry information, join the conversation on twitter at @cinematicarts_. Need some creative inspiration? View videos by current students at Vimeo.

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About this course


This degree is for those who want to develop practical methods in dramatic filmmaking (movies and TV series) by drawing on a variety of creative and technological disciplines.

The course is extremely practical, and 100% coursework based. With such a broad spectrum of skills covered this provides you with the opportunity to find what you enjoy and specialise in it. If you are a creative thinker interested in becoming a film director; screenwriter; film producer or production manager; cinematographer; art director, postproduction supervisor, film editor and colour grader; tv and commercial director or researcher then this course is an excellent way to gain the knowledge and experience needed to start your career.

The degree can be taken over 3-4 years. 4 years, if you decide to take year three out to work in the industry on placement. During the placement year, you can also earn a Diploma in Professional Practice.

You will receive software training in non-linear editing and visual effects using the Adobe Creative Suite for both sound and video. Foyle Arts building on our Magee campus is Derry houses dedicated screening rooms, two Maclabs and a dedidaced DaVinci Resolve colour grading suite. WWe have two studios equipped with green screen. We have a full range of 4k Blackmagic and Canon cinema, GoPro mobile and drone cameras.

A hands on, project-based course, taught by enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff (93% of students agreed staff made the subject interesting, Unistats, 2019) here is a flavour of some of the modules you can expect each year:

Year One focuses on visual image and developing key skills with modules including Intro to Film Art, Editing, Visual Storytelling, Light/Camera/Sound and Intro to Acting. By acquiring high-level technology and software skills you will be uniquely placed to present your ideas in innovative ways.

Year Two focuses on narrative elements including character development and production design with modules including Screenwriting, Advanced Cinematography, Advanced editing, Art Direction, Dramatic Short, Visual Effects, Independent Cinema and World Cinemas.

On completion of year two, you can opt to take a sandwich year, either undertaking a year placement in industry or studying in one of our partner institutions in America, Europe, or Asia. The placement year or study abroad (see Careers and Opportunities for more information) means that students gain an additional qualification, a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) and the International Year means that students gain a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS).

Year Three consists of optional practice-based modules which include Web Series, Film Business, Documentary Practice, Horror and Experimental Filmmaking. You will collaborate with other students to plan, produce and present a major piece of digital work. Examples of projects include short dramtic film, short documentary film, a feature screenplay, or a series of music videos.

This hands on, practical course replicates roles you would be performing in a real life set scenario helping to get you industry ready by graduation.

Cinematic Arts course has extensive links with international partners such as Berlin Film Festival which our second year students visit every year. Also a range of film schools in Europe (Lisbon, Madrid, Budapest, Istanbul) and USA are available for a study abroad exchange year between year 2 and 3.


This course must be completed as a full-time degree over three years or four years should you opt to take a placement or international study year.

In line with the University’s attendance policy, attendance at all taught sessions is compulsory. It is expected that you will engage not only with the taught elements but also with independent learning.

For this 3 year, full time degree, students are expected to be in attendance during the normal working week. Typically students will have around 12 weekly hours in class lectures a week during each semester. The majority of time is dedicated by each student to practice outside of the classroom.

In addition, students working on projects and in independent work may be required occasionally to attend for group meetings/seminars in the evenings and at weekends.

Start dates

  • September 2021


The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

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Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

Introduction to Film Art

Year: 1

With an emphasis on variety of film practice, this module aims to introduce students to the essential elements of film narrative and engage them in thinking critically about the choices made by film-makers in constructing the look and sound of their films. We will be asking, therefore, how meaning is created in the cinema, as well as what ideas and arguments such meanings may generate among critically aware spectators of it. In doing so we will be exploring the richness and complexity of cinema's potential to communicate with its spectators through a carefully selected variety of films. Represented amongst these will not only be the classic Hollywood model with which we are all most familiar, but also films from other national and artistic traditions. These will be examined in the context of both weekly lecture/workshops and practical tutorials.

Visual Storytelling

Year: 1

This module aims to introduce the students to the art, craft and technique of filmmaking. Students are expected to learn basic principles of film script development, pre-production processes and paperwork and final post-production stage.

Year two

Editing 1

Year: 2

This module aims to provide students with a basic of narrative editing for film. Students will be introduced to the use of non-linear editing software for filmmaking and appropriate networked lab procedures. They will gain practical experience in managing the order and timing of each shot in making editing decisions to produce positive narrative continuity.

Mobile Moving Image Production

Year: 2

This module aims to introduce students to the necessary skills and techniques for successfully producing a 3min single-camera mobile moving image production.

Ligthing, Camera, Sound

Year: 2

This module demonstrates lighting, sound and camera techniques for digital video productions. Through in-class tutorials and group projects students will learn equipment operation and production roles. Topics also include operating film cameras, lighting setups and mixing location sound.

Issues of Performance 1: Structures of Performance

Year: 2

This module serves as an introduction to the fundamental structures of dramatic performance. Weekly lectures will introduce a range of core concepts. Students then take a weekly seminar through which they will develop the knowledge and frameworks provided to analyse the creation and reception of dramatic performances. The module will refer in detail to a range of set plays, studied from both the script and in live performance.

Year three

World Cinemas

Year: 3

This module covers the entire period from the silent era to contemporary filmmaking, taking into account the technological, formal, stylistic, socio-political, economic and cultural backgrounds of different movements and styles. Classes will be supported by film screenings.

Feature Screenwriting

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module aims to develop the students' ability to fully execute a feature film script to a high commercial standard. Students will show their creative writing expertise in story development, structure, plotting, character, use of arena, dialogue, visual exposition and narration. They will also complete a detailed professional production strategy to an industry standard, which places the work in a marketing and commercial arena, indicating the feasibility and practicalities of its production.

Art Direction/Production Design

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module introduces students to Art Direction and Production Design in film. The module is structured to follow the design process used by practicing Art directors and Production Designers culminating in the creation of an online Portfolio/Show Reel which they may use to disseminate their developing practice.

Editing 2

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module aims at providing the students with conceptual knowledge and the techniques of visual and audio editing. Students will learn how to develop their storytelling craft by assembling scenes and sequences. Special emphasis will be given to concepts such as cinematic space and time, cinematic reality, rhythm, and continuity. Through practical experience with digital editing software students will learn to manage the order and time of each shot and the decision process to produce positive visual continuity.

Independent Film

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module introduces the students to ideas and concepts related to film policy in the creation of independent cinema. Special focus is on Irish cinema and film festival studies.

Visual Effects

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module supports student learning in the area visual effects for film. The module is structured to support a wide range of techniques employed by visual effects artists from industry and to support individual student learning culminating in the creation of a show reel and developmental weblog of their developing practice.

Sound for Productions

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module aims to introduce students to the necessary skills and techniques for successfully producing a 5-10-minute sound piece.

Writing for Stage and Screen

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module offers the student the opportunity to explore the processes of creative writing for a range of media, including live and filmed performance. The student will read from a range of materials and encounter a range of working methods, before opting for one medium and developing a piece of writing for performance in that medium.

Year four


Year: 4

This module is optional

This module offers students an introduction to the terms, ideas and craft, involved in the creation of screenplays. The module explores the conventions of dramatic structure, new narrative forms and short film variations. Students are encouraged to think critically about screenplay writing and will have an opportunity to write their own screenplay. A selection of writing exercises have been designed to take them through the writing process; from preparation and initial concept to final draft. The emphasis here will be on practical knowledge and support as student's uncover their creative voice.


Year: 4

This module is optional

This module covers a range of areas from the technical basics of cinematography, taking full, manual control of industry standard cameras, focus pulling, camera movement (using tracks and dollies), lighting for narrative or pack shots. The module explains basic principles of cinematography - storytelling with visual imagination. By using historical (history of motion picture art) digression, comparing with painting and poetry, the module features analyses of best examples of the European, Russian and American cinematographer's work. At the same time the module provides giving basic information about practical cinematography - motion picture cameras, lenses, film stock, lighting and postproduction.

Dramatic Short

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module teaches students how to apply film production techniques such as writing for screen, directing, camera, sound and editing to effectively tell a story which will engage a wide audience. Subjects include 'industry standards'; students learn the role of the producer in establishing the financing of short films, exhibition and methods of progression beyond short films. The required skills of professional self management, including tax, liability and communication skills, will be an essential part of the student's development in this module.

Acting 4: Acting and Screen

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module develops acting techniques studied at Level 4 and adapts them to screen. Students become familiar with working procedures involving acting to camera and are encouraged to reflect on the place of the actor historically and in relation to creative applications in performance.

Year five

The Business of TV & Film

Year: 5

The module seeks to develop students' awareness of the business context of Cinematic Arts, so that they gain an understanding of distribution, financing, marketing & how to launch their own careers.

Final Project (Theory & Context)

Year: 5

This module involved students in designing a project and negotiation with an appointed member of staff suitable learning outcomes (including technologies, artistic output and presentational issues and contextual/theoretical development) and assessment strategies. The project's practice-based elements must be of a suitable scope to be public-facing. The project should also incorporate forms of learning undertaken in the previous two years.

Web Series

Year: 5

This module is optional

This module will provide concepts related to web series development. Students will learn to critically assess the differences between conventional television and web series and be able to develop, shoot and upload a web series.

Horror Film: Theory and Practice

Year: 5

This module is optional

This module aims to introduce students to the necessary skills and techniques for successfully writing, producing and directing a short horror film. Students will conceive of the craft as a practical way of thinking, recognising skill and technique as manifestations of deep rational knowledge and competence grounded in film history, genre, theme, codes and conventions.

Experimental Film Practice

Year: 5

This module is optional

The module focuses on Experimental Film and Alternative Cinema in theory and practice. The students will individually develop and direct an Experimental Film with the technical and creative support of their peers under the guidance and support of the module coordinator. Activities will include screenings and discussion; the writing of a treatment and proposal; the chronicling of experimental practice on a developmental weblog; and the completion and submission of a final film piece as a manifestation of the student's voice as a filmmaker.

Law, film and visual culture

Year: 5

This module is optional

Law, Film and Visual Culture is a deliberately alternative approach to the traditional study of law, both in terms of the basic materials used to ground an approach to the topics under study, and in the teaching arrangements. It is an attempt to foster a developed spirit and capacity in critical intelligence in relation to the cultural make-up of the social environment and thus aims for wide applicability and to break the notion of law as confined to a specific arena.

Year six

Final Project (Practice)

Year: 6

This module involves students in designing a project and negotiation with an appointed member of staff suitable learning outcomes (including technologies, artistic output and presentational issues and contextual / theoretical development) and assessment strategies. The project's practice-based elements must be of a suitable scope to be public-facing. The project should also incorporate forms of learning undertaken in the previous two years.

Documentary Practice

Year: 6

This module is optional

The module concentrates on documentary film project research, development, and realisation. The students will individually develop and direct a documentary film with the technical and creative support of their peers under the guidance and support of the module coordinator. Activities will include project-oriented writing assignments; practical research assignments; exercises in visual story-telling; individual pitch presentations, discussions and evaluations; practical camera and sound exercises.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

Grades BBC. Applicants may satisfy the requirement for the A level C grade by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

An A-level in Moving Image Arts is not a requirement. There are also no interview or portfolio requirements.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

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Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

Career Sample of Recent Grads:

Megan McArdle: Assistant Director, BBC NI, Winner of RTS NI Best Short Film Award 2018

Lana Knox: Production Assistant on Guillermo del Toro's 'Antlers'

Ayrton McGurgan:Camera Operator on Disney's 'The Lodge'

Orla Finucane: Script Supervisor, Game of Thrones

Ciarán Mullin:Media Trainer at Nerve Centre


Start dates

  • September 2021


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