Key facts

Options: MA Independent Filmmaking, PG Dip Independent Filmmaking, PG Cert Independent Filmmaking.
College of Liberal Arts
Campus or location
Newton Park
Course length
One year full time (three trimesters). Two years part time.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

An industry focused MA in the business and practice of modern independent filmmaking.

  • Taught by active and award-winning industry professionals.
  • Flexibility to work in your area of choice: fiction, documentary or animation filmmaking.
  • Supported by Pinewood Studios Group.

Do you have aspirations of becoming a writer, director or producer? We’ll help you develop the skills necessary for a career working in the film industry.

Delivered at our Production Hub at Paintworks in Bristol and our Newton Park Campus, we provide an environment which nurtures and inspires creative vision, including storytelling.

You’ll also have access to the University’s postgraduate campus at Corsham Court.

What you'll learn


We teach you how modern film-makers work, alongside offering practical experience. You should graduate with:

  • A range of professional contacts
  • A showreel
  • The knowledge to get ahead in the film business.

You’ll create a portfolio detailing your preparations for the delivery of a short moving image production. This project could take the form of a short narrative film, documentary, animation, music video or digital marketing strategy.

We’ll encourage you to make your proposed project, however, your success in academic terms doesn’t depend on you completing your project during the course. Research based practice is an equally valid form of study.

Be aware that all projects will require personal or private financing. We’ll provide you with insights into the business side of filmmaking from leading professionals, and expect you to draw on this to seek the resources to complete your project.

Course structure

You're introduced to experienced filmmaker teams who give case studies on how they developed and produced their films. You'll also receive coaching on pitching.

The Philosophy of Film
David Puttnam will draw upon his own distinguished career as a filmmaker to discuss the philosophy of film, the grammar and the language of film through critical and practical analysis.

You'll attend workshops on script development, casting, budgeting/scheduling, relevant software (e.g. Movie Magic), locations and contracts/legals.

Film Lab (optional)
Space is created for you to develop and workshop your work for TV or film-based work, around cold reading of your scripts within the group.

Transnational Cinemas: Screen and Practice (optional)
Structured around weekly screenings and seminars, this module explores films in theory and practice.

Creative Project
You'll complete a moving image related project, e.g. short film or animation, with the option of completing a written practice-focused dissertation, discussing context, audience, avenues for distribution or other relevant subjects.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the course handbook or definitive programme document for full details on which modules are core, required or optional.

  • Development
  • The Philosophy of Film
  • Pre-Production
  • Film Lab
  • Transnational Cinemas: Screen and Practice
  • Creative Project.

How will I be assessed?

You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways, including scriptwriting, production folders and either a written practice-based dissertation or film project.

To receive a Master’s degree in Independent Filmmaking, you’ll need to demonstrate via coursework a detailed understanding of the process by which moving image productions are made, and have a portfolio of project work that shows a creative mastery which matches your grasp of Independent Filmmaking.

Your final mark for the production module will depend on the creativity and originality of your work, as well as your demonstrated ability in your role.

How will I be taught?

You’ll be taught through a combination of intensive workshops and seminars. The programme is designed to build on your previous filmmaking experience and current professional practice.

You’ll be required to plan and deliver work. The projects you work on are chosen by you, they could take the form of a short narrative film, documentary, animation, music video or digital marketing strategy.


Learn more

You’ll be able to attend workshops with MA Scriptwriting students, as well as a wide range of seminars, lectures and research workshops offered by the Media Futures Research Centre and the Digital Academy. You can also attend cross-disciplinary postgraduate events.


We’ll equip you with skills across a number of technical and craft areas – lens, digital, sound, and lighting. You’ll graduate in a suitable position for further postgraduate study, such as a Bath Spa PhD programme, or portfolio careers in the media and digital production sectors of the economy.

Competitions and awards

We encourage our students and graduates to exhibit their films in competitions and festivals.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught


MA Independent Filmmaking students can borrow industry standard equipment using SISO, Bath Spa University’s free equipment loan service.

The Commons building at Newton Park offers state-of-the-art studio production facilities that rival those offered by commercial broadcasters.

Paintworks offers a large production office, modern edit suites with the latest software, lights and video cameras including the Sony F3 (used on Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer and This is England 88), Blackmagic and Canon 7D (used on Lena Dunham’s SXSW award winner Tiny Furniture).


UK and EU students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £7,600
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,800
Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £14,500
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

Applications are particularly welcomed from students with a degree where film production has been a significant component.

We expect a further 270 learning hours per 30 credit module in independent work outside of the class – that’s 540 hours independent work per trimester for full time students.

You’ll need to apply with an idea for an original project that you’d like to explore and produce. If your application is successful, you’ll develop this in each of the first four modules before having the opportunity to produce it in the creative project.

Applicants will embrace the limitations and freedoms of low budget film production, have a project that is achievable within these restrictions but also have a creative cinematic vision of how they will be able to tell their story.

How do I apply?

Ready to apply? Click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

Need more guidance? Head to our how to apply webpages.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Rob Brown
Email: r.brown2@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk