Film Studies, Programming and Curation



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 Masterclasses. Recent guests include David Fincher (Fight Club), Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Steve McQueen (12 Years A Slave), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Ben Wheatley (Free Fire), Rapman (Blue Story), Louis Theroux, Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone), Denis Villeneuve (Bladerunner 2049), Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here), Sam Mendes (1917), Asif Kapadia (Senna), Joanna Hogg (The Souvenir), Russell T Davies (Doctor Who) and Ben Roberts (BFI).

Recent credits and successes

MAureen Guenet image

“The course was instrumental in finding my own voice as a programmer” Maureen Geunet graduated from the Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA in 2018 and is now working at online SVOD platform, MUBI. Full story here.

Nicolas Raffin image

“My time at the NFTS was truly empowering” Nicolas Raffin graduated from the Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA in 2018 and is now working as Film Programme Co-ordinator at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Full story here.

Giada Liu image

Giada Liu graduated from the NFTS Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA in February 2019 and is now working at film sales company, Rocket Science as Sales Co-Ordinator. Read her story here.

Steven Ryder image

Steven graduated from the NFTS Film Studies, Programming and Curation MA in February 2019 and is already working in the industry as Curation Officer for film educational charity, Into Film. Read his story here.

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 and which underpin our 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 practical and 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. The course includes devising and contributing to programming projects; writing film criticism and reviews; researching and producing video essays.

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 (PDF)

Download course outline (PDF)


Course Leader

The course is run by Sandra Hebron. Sandra is a film curator who has worked in independent film since the late 1980s, with roles in exhibition, festivals, funding, production, education and training. She was Head of Festivals and Artistic Director of the BFI London Film Festival from 2002-2011, and prior to that was Cinemas Director at Manchester Cornerhouse.

She has also programmed and worked in an advisory capacity for a range of other UK and international festivals, including the Rome International Film Festival (2012-2014) and the Pinyao Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Film Festival (2017-2020). Other work includes writing and broadcasting about films and the wider culture for a range of outlets including the BBC, and hosting industry debates, masterclasses and Q&As with contemporary British and international filmmakers organisations such as BAFTA, The British Council, Curzon Cinemas and Studio Canal UK.

Current or Recent Tutors

Senior Tutor is Lindsey Moore, experienced film lecturer, currently also contributing to BA teaching at Central Saint Martins Art School; Visiting Tutor is Dr. Jonathan Romney, a film critic writing for publications including Sight & Sound, Screen International and Film Comment, who is also a curator and filmmaker. 

Academic Tutors include: Professor Ian ChristieDr. Maria Delgado, Professor Will Higbee, Professor Annette KuhnSo Mayer and Dr. Lucy Reynolds.

Contributing industry professionals include: Clare Binns (Co-Managing Director, Picturehouse Cinemas); Birds Eye View; Melissa Cogavin (Event cinema consultant); Louisa Dent (Managing Director, Curzon Artificial Eye); Helen DeWitt (Curator and lecturer); The Final Girls; June Givanni (Pan African Film Archive); Alex Hamilton (CEO Studio Canal UK); Sarah Harvey (Publicist); Michael Hayden (Festival and cinema programmer); Pamela Hutchinson (writer and broadcaster); Wendy Ide (Film critic, The Observer and Screen International); Nick James (Former editor, Sight and Sound); Justin Johnson (Lead Programmer, BFI Southbank); Sonali Joshi (distributor and curator); Nico Marzano (ICA Head of Cinemas); Tony Rayns (Writer and festival programmer); Herb Shellenberger (Curator, Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival); Keith Shiri (Festival Programmer); Leigh Singer (critic and curator); Anna Smith (Girls on Film); Tricia Tuttle (BFI Head of Festivals); We Are Parable; Adam Woodward (Little White Lies).

Fees and funding options

Fees for this course are as follows:

Home Fees:  £11,850 per year 

International Fees (including EU nationals): £18,000 per year 

These are the fees for January 2023 intake.

Please note:

EU nationals who have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU settlement scheme may be eligible for “Home Fees”, subject to meeting the residency requirements. (You need to be  ordinarily resident in the UK or EEA for 3 years prior to the start of your course).  

The NFTS has £900,000 of scholarships and bursaries available.

There is a compulsory, non-refundable £25 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, graduation project meetings and events, and when contributing to screenings and events with external partners. If students choose to attend festivals other than BFI London Film Festival, the costs are born by the student except when attendance is part of the timetabled Curriculum. Students are also expected to bring their own laptop or tablet to use.

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 on our What You Need To Know section of our Students From Abroad page. 

If you have any questions, please email

How to apply

Application deadline: 08 Sep 2022

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) The changing forms of cinema distribution and exhibition. This should not exceed 1,000 words.
  • Submit 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. This can either be a written review (not to exceed 500 words) or a filmed or audio review (not to exceed 4 minutes). Filmed or audio recorded reviews should be uploaded as a viewable link such as YouTube or Vimeo.
  • 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. This should not exceed 1,000 words.

You can apply online by clicking on BEGIN YOUR APPLICATION below. We are happy to receive applications at any time up until the midnight of the application deadline date.

Begin your application