This is a ground-breaking MA delivered in partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI) to prepare students to build successful careers in film exhibition, programming, criticism or archival work.

“I wholeheartedly support courses like the NFTS Film Studies MA. Finding and developing talented individuals who can programme unforgettable content is priceless.” Efe Cakarel, Founder, MUBI 

The course is delivered by film professionals in exhibition and distribution, festivals, archives and film criticism, alongside academics and film makers.

Students will learn about the practicalities of film exhibition, distribution and preservation in the changing digital landscape and study the practice of film criticism and comment, including reviewing and critical writing about films, filmmakers and the broader culture.

Students will attend film festivals and have the opportunity to curate or contribute to festivals, seasons, pop up screenings and other events. 

All NFTS students can attend the School’s masterclasses programme, with recent guests including Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), and Debra Granik (Leave No Trace).

What you will study

The course gives students a theoretical, historical and critical understanding of film, which they will apply practically in film curating and programming, and related fields, including film criticism.

The course provides a detailed understanding of the concepts, contexts and critical thought that have shaped the production and reception of film as a basis for engagement with rapidly changing contemporary film and moving image culture. Students gain a thorough understanding of the process by which a film moves from a creative idea to an audience experience. They will explore the history, theory and critical contexts of film and look at a variety of critical writing.

A rigorous academic framework is combined with real world applications enabling each student to develop their own skills, knowledge and understanding to provide a strong basis for a career in film and media.

With all the resources of the NFTS available to them, students benefit from working alongside a new generation of filmmakers, encouraging creative dialogue between makers and curators/critics.


Download programme specification

Download course outline


The course is run by Sandra Hebron, Head of Screen Arts. Senior Tutor is Lindsey Moore, and Visiting Tutor is Jonathan Romney. 

Academic Tutors include: Professor Ian Christie, Dr. Lucy Reynolds, Professor Annette Kuhn, Dr. Maria Delgado and So Mayer.

Contributing industry professionals include:  Clare Binns (Co-Managing Director, Picturehouse Cinemas), Louisa Dent (Managing Director, Curzon Artificial Eye), Michael Hayden (Artistic Director, Cork Film Festival), Helen DeWitt (Curator), Nick James (Editor, Sight and Sound), Edward Lawrenson (writer, filmmaker and festival programmer), Tricia Tuttle (BFI Acting Head of Festivals), Justin Johnson (Lead Programmer, BFI Southbank), Alex Hamilton (Managing Director EOne), Christelle Randall (Senior Account Director, Premier Communications), Herb Shellenberger (Curator), Tony Rayns (Writer and festival programmer), Keith Shiri (Festival Programmer), Melissa Cogavin (Event cinema consultant); Nico Marzano (ICA Head of Cinemas).



Current or recent tutors

Sandra Hebron

Sandra Hebron

Head of Screen Arts

Former Artistic Director of BFI London Film Festival; current programmer at Pingyao International Film Festival

Lindsey Moore

Lindsey Moore

Senior tutor

Experienced film lecturer, currently also contributing to BA teaching at Central Saint Martins Art School

Jonathan Romney

Jonathan Romney

Visiting tutor

Film critic for publications including Sight & Sound and Film Comment; curator and filmmaker

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home/EU/EEA £10,800 per year

Overseas £17,000 per year

We welcome EU/EEA students on the same rate as our UK students – and those enrolling onto a two-year MA in January 2019 will continue to pay home fees for the second year of their MA.

In the last year, 8 in 10 UK MA students received support, with more than £800,000 given out in total.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £60 application fee for each MA application. A non-refundable deposit of £500 is required against the cost of your fees on confirmation of your place. 

Students are required to cover their travel and subsistence costs for work placements and when contributing to screenings and events with external partners. Students are also expected to bring their own laptop or tablet.

The NFTS is committed to ensuring it is open to students of genuine ability, no matter what their background or financial circumstances. We don’t want anybody to be put off applying for a place at the NFTS because of the cost, which is why we award more scholarships and bursaries to British students, relative to the size of our student body, than almost any other educational institution in the UK.

Entry requirements

This course invites applications from students with a BA (Hons) degree (or equivalent) in arts, humanities or science. Film and media related degrees, while welcome, are not essential for admission.

Applicants without a degree but with professional experience may also be considered for admission.

For international students, more information about our entry requirements, including Visa and English language requirements, can be found here

If you are not sure whether your experience or qualifications are appropriate, please ask the Registry for advice -

How to apply

Application deadline: Contact Registry


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Applicants must complete the online application form and submit the following supporting material:

  • Please submit a brief essay on either a) The preservation of film culture, through archiving, exhibition and restoration, or b) Discuss the changing forms of cinema distribution and exhibition.
  • Write a review of either a) A contemporary film that has impressed you, or b) an earlier film that you believe to be of artistic or historical importance. The review should not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Choose a movement in cinema or one particular national cinema that is important to you. Briefly discuss your personal response to it. This should not exceed 1,000 words
  • Discuss one author or film critic, or one book of critical writing on film that has influenced you. Discuss why you have found this author/book of value to you.

Begin your application