A degree in English/ Film or just Film?

(21 Posts)
doglover Thu 13-Apr-17 21:06:36

My younger dd is currently in Y12, studying Eng Lit, Classical Civilisation and Film Studies at AS and will be continuing all three subjects to A2.

Her sixth form college have advised her to consider joint Eng Lit/Film at uni but her real love (and genuine talent) is the theoretical analysis of film. She is aware that the Eng/Film pathway would keep her options open post-degree - although she doesn't yet know what career she would like to follow - but she's not sure that she loves Lit enough to study it at uni.

She's currently looking at courses at Exeter, Bristol, Warwick ........ would the excellent reputation of these places stand in her favour in the future whether she was studying Eng/Film or just Film?

Our elder dd will (hopefully!) be starting an English degree this autumn and has that real passion for the subject which her younger sibling, although working at a similar level, doesn't share. My gut feeling is that Film Studies at a good uni would probably suit her better.

Any thoughts welcomed! TIA.

OP’s posts: |
WallToWallBastards Thu 13-Apr-17 21:11:28

My experience of joint honours is that it's difficult and quite frustrating and I wouldn't recommend it personally. Everyone I know has dropped one subject after first year as they felt too stretched across two departments and like they weren't able to properly engage with either subject. I dropped my second subject as the deadline clashes etc were a pain and I am considering going back to what I dropped later in life. She should really research what she would be studying and always has the option to change if she chooses.

Stopyourhavering Fri 14-Apr-17 11:16:39

What does she want to do with degree?.... my dd did Philosophy and Film joint honours and graduated last year. She loved the course and became involved in student TV, eventually become station manager in her final year with a thought of doing film /TV work. However a chance of some work experience at local national TV station soon put paid to that as she realised how difficult it is to progress as a female and the stark reality of the career
She returned to uni and is now completing a MSc in TESOL, as she was planning to teach English in SE Asia. However her supervisor was so impressed with her research topic, she's now been invited to apply for PhD in Linguistics !

FlyAwayPeter Fri 14-Apr-17 11:42:24

Another view of Joint or Combined Hons is that at a well-run university that offers bespoke Combined degrees, there will be co-ordination between the Departments and the students who are really committed to both subjects find the connections and synthesis between the subjects.

There's a point, in Humanities scholarship (and I'm sure in STEM as well), where the divisions between disciplines are fairly meaningless.

Historically, Film Studies in Britain grew out of English Departments. At Bristol Film used to be part of the Drama Department and there are still close connections. At Exeter, Film is within English largely. And at Warwick the Film Studies department has close connections with both English & Theatre Studies.

So all 3 places she's looking at are excellent, and will offer useful interdisciplinarity. If a student is really attuned to their work, they'll find very productive connections. I know I love teaching Combined students, as they bring interesting & different perspectives to my classes.

doglover Fri 14-Apr-17 18:37:16

Thanks for your opinions. Much appreciated.

OP’s posts: |
bojorojo Sat 15-Apr-17 00:38:52

I think Joint Honours tells employers that you can multi task and keep going when things may not be straightforward. I would do joint honours with no hesitation! Film is niche.

123beanie Sat 15-Apr-17 01:00:12

If her genuine love is Film, she should just do that in my opinion. She'll be doing this for 3 years so it's best to choose something she has a genuine passion for, not just something that looks good. If she's looking at those unis that have really good reputations anyway, either degree that she chooses from them will make her employable (if that's what you're considering)


toffee1000 Sat 15-Apr-17 01:09:53

Also if a joint honours degree is fairly common e.g. English/History or whatever then the departments are probably used to lots of students taking those. English/Film doesn't sound like a hugely unusual combination to me.
Although if your DD isn't sure that she loves Lit enough to do a degree then I prob wouldn't. It's a lot of essays and reading (from what I gather, don't do it myself).

StiginaGrump Sat 15-Apr-17 01:27:26

Joint honours - film is niche and if she takes it and doesn't find work easily. Quite possible because it's a tough industry then she has paid a fortune for a degree that will make may employers roll their eyes (rightly or wrongly). English has more status, makes you more employable and if you look what most of her film teachers at school and uni have as their back ground degrees English not film will be the common denominator.

FreeNiki Sat 15-Apr-17 01:42:41


This degree does practical film too.

I found English supremely dull at uni. Better to do what she enjoys.

FreeNiki Sat 15-Apr-17 01:45:12

As stigina says though film is niche.

I know several people who did film degrees and none of them has used it or gained employment in the field.

swingofthings Sat 15-Apr-17 09:16:19

I really do think that Uni courses should be about -finally- studying what you are really passionate about, whether it is passionate for the career it will lead to or passionate about the course. It's about developing yourself in that field and making learning personal. It is much better that she dedicates all her enthusiasm in a field that is indeed very hard to break in and make it a career, then to try to juggle doing so with what will be intended to provide an escape route.

She would be better focusing on her course and try as early as possible to network and gain some experience in the field outside of her studies.

IfYouGoDownToTheWoodsToday Sat 15-Apr-17 09:22:23

I agree with "better to do what she enjoys". My dd started doing joint honours and although at a good uni the depts did virtually no coordination and she found it all very difficult. She dropped one subject after 2nd year and is now doing fantastically well.
Even if the uni depts do coordinate, 3 years is a long time for your dd to do something she doesn't love.

bojorojo Sat 15-Apr-17 10:36:10

English and Film is probably the same Department though. It is not like Spanish and Engineering! The beauty of joint honours is that you do both but less of both. Most people see Film as a "fun" degree to pursue your interests whilst English is more academic but of course is seen as enjoyable by those who read books. Why not combine the two? If she does Film or English, or both, she still has to think of possible careers afterwards. Thre are practical film-making courses that probably have more kudos in the film industry. Film at a RG university is usually a more critical and analytical approach rather than practical. This is why it combines with English very well.

FlyAwayPeter Sat 15-Apr-17 10:40:08

I know several people who did film degrees and none of them has used it or gained employment in the field

Film Studies at university is not (and never has been) about making films, just as EngLit is not about writing poetry.

And yes, she should do what she's really interested in. An Arts dehree - done properly - has excellent transferable skills, much in demand by employers.

FreeNiki Sat 15-Apr-17 10:45:53

FlyAwayPeter the people of which I speak wanted to work in the industry.

Their course was mostly theory but with some practical work.

One wanted to be a director, that sure as hell didnt happen, she hasn't used her degree and couldnt get any work in the field

For those of you saying film is a fun and easy less academic degree grin grin it really isnt if you go to a decent uni the course is as hard as English. You analyse a film the way you do a book for an English degree

FlyAwayPeter Sat 15-Apr-17 11:31:13

the people of which I speak wanted to work in the industry

Well, they should probably have realised that a university Film studies degree is not generally the best way into the industry. My sister is an Art Director, never went to university but worked her way up from "gofer" jobs (the runners), and 16 hour days.

That your friends didn't make it is not down to the degree they did ...

leghoul Sat 15-Apr-17 11:35:24

Film! Just Film. Niche but interesting

pinkyslippers Sat 15-Apr-17 11:47:33

I like the posts by flyawaypeter and bojoro which are positive about joint Honours. Refreshing to hear this. Some students like my DD just can't drop one of her subjects - she feels so committed to both.

FreeNiki Sat 15-Apr-17 12:03:25

Yeah i agree flyaway. One of them was my ex. He thought he was such a hot shot at uni but he hasnt used his degree at all.

FreeNiki Sat 15-Apr-17 12:03:25

Yeah i agree flyaway. One of them was my ex. He thought he was such a hot shot at uni but he hasnt used his degree at all.

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