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Study Film and Media Studies at Otago

We live in a mediatised world.

Our experiences of reality, relationships and politics are shaped by media and communication.

Our curriculum will enable you to:

  • Engage critically and creatively with a diverse and fast-changing media world.
  • Contribute productively to your communities and chosen profession.
  • Increase your awareness of media’s role in transforming social and cultural relations.
  • Prepare for new career opportunities in emerging fields.

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Why study Film and Media Studies?

Our courses will challenge your thinking, broaden your views and help you develop an increased awareness of the role of media in transforming society and culture.

Our mission is to prepare students to engage critically and creatively in an increasingly mediated world and allow them to contribute to their communities and chosen professional field. To serve this goal, our scholarship and teaching is interdisciplinary, inventive and practical.

But that is not all that we do. Employers look for life-long skills – written and visual literacy, communication skills, the ability to lead and contribute to teams, and to solve problems through effective research methods. All of these skills are taught in our programmes; they underlie most of what we do.

We also value and develop an understanding of cultural diversity and difference, so it is not surprising that our graduates are to be found in many walks of life.

We have a well-established record of teaching and research, with staff who are internationally recognised in their disciplines.

Career opportunities

Our graduates work in a variety of fields, including media production, journalism, education, advertising, administration, archival and curatorial work, media policy analysis, public relations, and tourism. Some go on to postgraduate study in our honours, master's and PhD programmes.

A degree from our programme prepares you for a wide range of career options, including new and emerging career pathways. In the future, media will play an increasingly central role in how we understand and navigate our rapidly changing world. The skills and competencies developed across our two majors – the ability to think critically, communicate in a range of different ways, appreciate diversity, and respond effectively to change – will be in strong demand.

Film and Media Studies at Otago

Film and Media Studies is one of two majors offered by the Media, Film and Communication Studies Programme. The other major is Communication Studies.

Our major subjects

We offer majors in Communication Studies, and Film and Media Studies. Students are able to tailor their studies to pursue their specific interests and goals. Our degrees can also be combined with other subjects to form a double-major or double-degree programme of study.

Communication Studies

In the Communication major, we explore:

  • How everyday life is structured through media and digital technologies.
  • The relationship between data and social power.
  • The historical development of communication theory and practice.
  • How to intervene and communicate critically in our mediatised world.
  • How media creates new public and political formations.

Film and Media Studies

In the Film and Media major, we explore:

  • The role of audio-visual technologies in shaping our reality.
  • The historical development of film and media.
  • The historical development of theories of film and media.
  • The aesthetic, cultural and social developments of cinema, television & new screen technologies.

Teaching style

Our academic staff are experts in their fields (you can read about their areas of interest at the staff page on our website).

Our papers are designed to help you engage with cutting edge research and ideas through a range of coursework and assessment that will help you develop your written, oral and visual communication skills and critical competencies.

Generic skills

In addition to the specialist skills gained, our programmes enable you to develop general personal and professional skills that are highly valued by employers. These are the kinds of skills that are applicable in many career contexts and in many aspects of your life:

  • clear and effective written expression
  • verbal reasoning and clear and effective speaking skills
  • team work
  • research skills
  • a broad general knowledge about the world and current events
  • the ability to analyse and contribute to debates
  • appreciation of diverse points of view
  • the ability to think broadly, critically and creatively about social and cultural processes.

Background required

No prior background is required.


Film and Media Studies as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BCom, BEntr, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree

Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Entrepreneurship (BEntr), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree


MFCO 101, MFCO 102


Above 100-level

MFCO 210 Theory of Film and Media

Two further MFCO papers, of which one must be above 200-level

Note: GEND 205 or 305 or CHIN 242 or 342 may be substituted for one MFCO paper at the same level.


Total 90

MFCO papers

Paper Code Year Title Points Teaching period
MFCO101 2024 Screen Form and Culture 18 Semester 1
MFCO102 2024 Media, Power, Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO103 2024 Introduction to Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO201 2024 The History of Film 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO202 2024 Theory of Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO203 2024 Media History 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO205 2024 Communication Research Methods 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO210 2024 Theory of Film and Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO212 2024 Media and Intercultural Communication 18 Semester 1
MFCO213 2024 Media Genres 18 Semester 2
MFCO216 2024 New Zealand Cinema 18 Semester 1
MFCO217 2024 Television Studies 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO220 2024 Writing for the Media 18 Semester 1
MFCO222 2024 Science, Technology, and Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO223 2024 Documentary and Reality Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO224 2024 Studying Selfies: Celebrity, Surveillance and Cyberspace 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO231 2024 Special Topic: Journalism Now: Seeking the Truth in a World of Disinformation and Fake News 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO242 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO251 2024 Television Studio Production 18 Semester 2
MFCO301 2024 Critical Problems in Film and Media 18 Semester 2
MFCO303 2024 Critical Problems in Communication Studies 18 Semester 1
MFCO312 2024 Communication and the City 18 Semester 2
MFCO313 2024 Culture, Politics, Policy and Global Media 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO314 2024 French Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO315 2024 Digital Media and Society 18 Semester 2
MFCO316 2024 German Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO317 2024 Digital Culture 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO318 2024 Indigenous Media 18 Semester 1
MFCO319 2024 Contemporary American Cinema 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO330 2024 Special Topic 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO333 2024 Film Festivals 18 Not offered in 2024
MFCO401 2024 Advanced Media, Film and Communication Theory 20 Full Year
MFCO406 2024 Audience Studies 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO408 2024 A Topic in Cinema, Gender and Sexuality 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO409 2024 Advanced Media History 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO410 2024 Documentary Film and Media 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO412 2024 Communicating the Self 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO414 2024 Discourse Theory and Practice 20 Semester 2
MFCO441 2024 Special Topic: Digital Asia 20 Not offered in 2024
MFCO490 2024 Dissertation 60 Full Year, 1st Non standard period
MFCO590 2024 Research Dissertation 60 1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period

More information

Contact us

Media, Film and Communication Programme
School of Social Sciences

Studying at Otago

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Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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