As Cinematic Arts enters its third year, and we begin preparations for our first set of graduates in 2017, the team felt it was time to render a number of updates to the programme. Normally, updates to courses are considered every five years when undergraduate programmes at Ulster go through a mandatory revalidation process. We felt however that three years was too long to wait—a contemporary and consistent student experience is very important to us—and so we're pushing the UPDATE button now!

Over the last two years we have listened closely to the feedback gathered from our wonderful students, and via liaison with industry partners, we have identified a series of optimisations which will ensure a more coherent learning experience. In particular, more time engaged in practical filmmaking—even though we felt we were already quite a hands-on programme with a practical to theory ratio of ~ 2:1—is central to the update. As a university programme the balance between both theory components—which are essential for research—and practical components is a recurring challenge. High level practice informed by research is our mantra.

All modules continue to be assessed by coursework. This simply means that in each module you will be asked to create something; this might be a script, or a final edit, or a short film, or a combination of these. There are no exams as we find this to be a generally ineffective way to assess the type of work that we do. In all cases, the instruction you receive in class builds towards the final assignment, and indeed your final project in final year. Teaching and assessment are therefore tuned to support your learning in the most relevant way possible.

The Cinematic Arts programme can be approximated as follows:

  • Year one will direct attention towards the visual image, and the development of key skills.
  • In year two we introduce narrative elements, character development, and production design while continuing to expand your understanding of film history, and develop more advanced hands-on skills in editing and cinematography.
  • An optional placement year enables students to either study abroad, or engage in work placements with industry partners. We should also note at this point that work-based learning initiatives have been expanded in a number of modules, and in so doing the range of opportunities available to students to engage in real-world work has been greatly increased.
  • The final year includes a selection of optional modules in semester one—designed to provide more advanced instruction in key areas—and a final project which is completed throughout semester two.

In summary, we are pleased with the new structure and are quite excited about the creative opportunities it will present.

The new programme structure can be found here

Thoughts or queries? Please use the comments below or get in touch with us directly

AuthorGreg O'Hanlon