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Cinematics Arts at Ulster University is a new and vibrant area of research that combines theory and practice of moving image arts in the new digital media age. Applicants can propose practice-based research topics, cinema studies related research questions or focus on the uses of alternative media practices that involve moving image.

Proposals are welcomed in a wide range of areas relating to staff research interests. Current priority topics are listed below:

  • Contemporary Filmmaking Practice
  • Modern and Contemporary Cinema
  • Alternative, Amateur and Resistance Media

Applications for practice-based research are especially welcome, as are interdisciplinary projects. The MRes (Arts) is offered in Cinematic Arts for students wishing to undertake a preparatory year before commencing the doctoral programme.

About this course

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All research students, i.e., those registered for MPhil and PhD degrees, are members of the Faculty of Arts Research Graduate School. Postgraduate rooms with computing and study facilities are available for students on the Coleraine and Magee campuses, and annual series of research seminars offer students opportunities to engage with current research in their discipline.

Research staff are members of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, and PhD candidates are associate members. Postgraduate students are encouraged to participate in the wider research community and to develop their skills and experience by presenting at research seminars within the University as well as at national and international conferences.

Current research students have been successful in achieving financial support from the Department for Education and Learning (DEL) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with additional assistance from sources such as the Standing Conference of University Drama Departments (SCUDD) and Ulster University’s Library Travel Fund.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

How to apply

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.

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Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

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

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).


Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.

Once you have selected your chosen project from the lists available on the Faculty pages, you are advised to make contact with the named supervisor on the project as they will be able to guide you in writing your research proposal.

You should then apply using our online application system:

How to apply

Fees and funding

A number of funded scholarships are available across the University each year for PhD projects. Applications for studentships will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate's qualifications, skills, experience and interests.

Sources of funding

Fees (per annum)

Full Time:

Home and EU £4121

Overseas £13400

Part Time:

Home and EU £1455

Home and EU (with External Sponsor paying fees) £2070

Overseas £7635

Distance Research Study (Home and EU) £6225

Research facilities and groups

The University libraries have extensive resources relating to drama and theatre and contemporary Ireland, including the TransGender Archive, CAIN, and the John Hewitt Collection amongst others. The campus is a train or bus journey from the Linenhall Archives and PRONI in Belfast, and the National Library and National Archives in Dublin.

The historic Foyle Arts Building on the Magee campus in Derry was converted in 2003 to provide a multi-disciplinary arts complex, housing the School of Creative Arts, which includes Drama, Music, Design, Cinematic Arts and Creative Technologies. Drama facilities include two flat-floored studio spaces, a dance studio, teaching rooms and staff office accommodation. The building also houses music recital and practice rooms, a Mac Lab and music technology editing suites.

Current and most recent research theses:

“Technology, body and gender: The representations of new reproductive technologies in the twenty-first century independent science fiction cinema”

“Let's make it American: American remakes of the British films”

“Internet censorship: The conflict between global and local laws”

Staff research areas

Contemporary Filmmaking Practice

Projects will investigate an aspect of one or more of the following areas of professional practice in filmmaking: Screenwriting; directing, documentary narration, and digital storytelling. Under this heading we would particularly encourage projects that seek to generate knowledge with a potential application to the Creative Industries. Projects undertaken will combine both traditional PhD thesis and a practice-based response to ideas surrounding emerging modes of digital filmmaking.

For this area applicants should have experience in Film Production and a background in practice-based research.

Modern and Contemporary Cinema

Proposals are sought which investigate any aspect of 20th- or 21st-century film practice. Areas of staff expertise include in particular: MENA cinemas, cinemas of the global south, film historiography, post-9/11 horror film, otherness, marginalization and rurality, representations of the US heartland. Enquiries and applications are welcome in any aspect of the field.

Alternative, Amateur and Resistance Media

Alternative and resistance media is an interdisciplinary area of study attracting interest from areas such as social media, digital technologies, cultural studies, and international politics. At the moment we are especially interested in applications in the following subject areas: alternative media use, social movement media, radical media mobilization, diasporic use of social media mobilization, anti-globalisation/occupy movements and media, amateur media in conflict and reconciliation, citizen journalism, alternative technologies of masking (zello, vpn), soccer fan media, hacktivism, temporal control, visibility and immediacy in social media protests, and digital protest art.


Dr Murat Akser

+44 28 71675202