Should I study another BA or do a Master's?

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student101bea
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#1
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#1
I am interested in studying at the University of Greenwich. Academically I am at a crossroads and I wanted to speak to somebody who could suggest the right choice for me. Ideally, I would like a career in screenwriting, script editing or producing.

Firstly, I studied Media, Film and Television Production BTEC Level 3 at Lambeth College. I really enjoyed the course but ended up going to Roehampton University to study Combined Honours in Media, Culture and Identity, and Journalism. The Media side of my university course was to do with research, comms and marketing. I didn't touch a camera for three years.

I graduated in 2019 but am keen to get back into film and television production.

I am torn between doing another Undergraduate or a Master's. The Film Production MA & MSc require a strong creative portfolio of work to be considered. Whilst I have a lot of UCAS points, the only portfolio I have are a few collections of videos from my BTEC college years, which are not up to university standards. I am worried this will impact my eligibility to do a Master's.

For this reason and others, I am considering doing the Film and Television Production undergraduate course. I really like the look of the Portfolio Production modules and Studio Labs, as I wish I had continued with Media production after college instead of journalism. It would be an opportunity to build on my portfolio at a university level.

With all things considered, is it best if I try to apply for a Master's or do another undergraduate course?
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KatetheLecturer
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#2
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#2
It probably depends on whether you can afford to do another undergraduate degree - since, if you can get accepted on the MA, you would be eligible (in theory) for the MA loan, which would help reduce your costs. Obviously, you'd have a stronger portfolio doing another BA - but can you afford full fees, plus your living expenses, on a part-time job?

I think, if you can't afford to self-fund for another degree, and actually, even if you can, it's worth seeing if you can get accepted on the MA - if you aren't, you can then think about another undergrad - even if you've got tens of thousands to spend doing another undergrad, why do this if it's not totally necessary?
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bolonibaloni
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#3
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#3
Hey!

I worked in film & TV for a few years (changed my career path now) after getting a BA in Film Prod.
I'd advise against MA in Film - they do look for practical skills so degrees don't help you much with getting a job in film prod.
If you really want to study I'd recommend NFTS! But it's very competitive and they tend to accept older applicants.
The best way to start working in film is to get onto productions! Search online and hit up some productions company They always need runners!
Then you can get promoted to more specialised & more advanced roles
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student101bea
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#4
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#4
(Original post by bolonibaloni)
Hey!

I worked in film & TV for a few years (changed my career path now) after getting a BA in Film Prod.
I'd advise against MA in Film - they do look for practical skills so degrees don't help you much with getting a job in film prod.
If you really want to study I'd recommend NFTS! But it's very competitive and they tend to accept older applicants.
The best way to start working in film is to get onto productions! Search online and hit up some productions company They always need runners!
Then you can get promoted to more specialised & more advanced roles
Hi! Thank you so much for your reply.

Yes I realise that they do prefer practical skills over education in the film industry. My only reason for considering doing an MA is because of my particular situation. I haven't done anything production related in 5 years so my portfolio is fairly empty/outdated. 5 years ago was my divergent point because I went to study Media Theory (mostly communications/marketing orientated) and Journalism. So I haven't done any camera work, video editing, script writing etc since 2016.

I have been applying for runner positions and stuff on sites like Creative Access but so far no luck, as they prefer people with actual industry experience. My only production experience was on my college course when I was 17-years-old.

Going back into university (to study the right course this time) would grant me access to industry connections, the editing suites and hopefully some work placement opportunities. Once I've built up my new portfolio and gained some relevant runner experience, I'll be more employable after graduating. I know it is a big stretch to do an MA just to find more work experiences/connections etc but I finished my BA two years ago and so far haven't found anything so I'm starting to panic and do a lot of life reflecting haha. I figured If I'm not being very lucky outside of these institutions, then it might be worth going back in...

If some of my 'plans' seem skewered or not realistic please let me know as I'm trying to figure this out on my own so any wake up calls would be appreciated
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student101bea
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#5
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#5
(Original post by KatetheLecturer)
It probably depends on whether you can afford to do another undergraduate degree - since, if you can get accepted on the MA, you would be eligible (in theory) for the MA loan, which would help reduce your costs. Obviously, you'd have a stronger portfolio doing another BA - but can you afford full fees, plus your living expenses, on a part-time job?

I think, if you can't afford to self-fund for another degree, and actually, even if you can, it's worth seeing if you can get accepted on the MA - if you aren't, you can then think about another undergrad - even if you've got tens of thousands to spend doing another undergrad, why do this if it's not totally necessary?
Hi! Thank you for your reply.

Yes, you're right. I am more financially able to do an MA (and even that is a stretch with my limited funds atm). I will apply for the MA to see if I am eligible and if I am not financially able to study it in September, I suppose I could always differ it until next year and just build my funds until then?
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TCL
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#6
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#6
Have you looked into whether you can get a student loan? The Student Loan co only finances 1 undergraduate degree, I don't know whether your BTECH is A level or degree equivalent.
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KatetheLecturer
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#7
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#7
(Original post by student101bea)
Hi! Thank you for your reply.

Yes, you're right. I am more financially able to do an MA (and even that is a stretch with my limited funds atm). I will apply for the MA to see if I am eligible and if I am not financially able to study it in September, I suppose I could always differ it until next year and just build my funds until then?
If it's a stretch to afford an MA, a BA is likely to be completely out of reach :-(

You may be able to defer an MA place, but maybe not - it depends usually on the course, on the year, and whether the course is heavily over-subscribed: but you can definitely check this direct with the university. You should also take a look at whether they offer the course with a part-time route - that way, you would take two years, instead of one, (assuming it's normally a 9-12 months course) but you would have more time for paid work as you'd only have half the study commitments as taking the course full-time. Also, in this case, you pay the tuition fee across two years, usually, so again, that might be more affordable. If you are eligible for UK MA funding, take a look at your local SF site, to see how much you can apply for also. (That loan covers part- and full-time study, but, obviously, you can still only borrow the max that's available overall -you can't have the money two years running or anything.)
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KatetheLecturer
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#8
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#8
(Original post by TCL)
Have you looked into whether you can get a student loan? The Student Loan co only finances 1 undergraduate degree, I don't know whether your BTECH is A level or degree equivalent.
OP went to Roehampton to do Combined Honours after BTEC, unfortunately, and as they mention being three years without being behind a camera there, it seems as though they either were awarded a degree, or, if they left without one, would only have one further year of potential funding, so it seems as though it's self-funding or nothing, unfortunately.
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bolonibaloni
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#9
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#9
(Original post by student101bea)
Hi! Thank you so much for your reply.

Yes I realise that they do prefer practical skills over education in the film industry. My only reason for considering doing an MA is because of my particular situation. I haven't done anything production related in 5 years so my portfolio is fairly empty/outdated. 5 years ago was my divergent point because I went to study Media Theory (mostly communications/marketing orientated) and Journalism. So I haven't done any camera work, video editing, script writing etc since 2016.

I have been applying for runner positions and stuff on sites like Creative Access but so far no luck, as they prefer people with actual industry experience. My only production experience was on my college course when I was 17-years-old.

Going back into university (to study the right course this time) would grant me access to industry connections, the editing suites and hopefully some work placement opportunities. Once I've built up my new portfolio and gained some relevant runner experience, I'll be more employable after graduating. I know it is a big stretch to do an MA just to find more work experiences/connections etc but I finished my BA two years ago and so far haven't found anything so I'm starting to panic and do a lot of life reflecting haha. I figured If I'm not being very lucky outside of these institutions, then it might be worth going back in...

If some of my 'plans' seem skewered or not realistic please let me know as I'm trying to figure this out on my own so any wake up calls would be appreciated
Hi!

I completely understand, it's not easy to get your foot in the door! I'd still recommend doing some courses at NFTS (even the short ones!) as they provide you with what you're looking for. Networking you get there brings higher chances of getting your foot in the door as you'd be working with people who work/have experience and other connections in university. NFTS is also the most respectable educational institution in the film industry.
I think that studying MA will always be first and foremost an academic experience. I found that the connections you make studying film don't really stick so it'd be a big gamble relying on potential people/work placement you might get. Mind you the academic course is only 9ish months!

Have you tried attending student/graduate productions? A lot of people start from the smallest productions (often without pay unfortunately) so they have some time spent on a set shown on the CV. Have you thought about advertising film sets? I have to be honest - it sometimes might take a good amount of years to get on a medium/big budget film set so don't lose hope! Keep applying for everything you can and build that CV up. You will meet a lot of people who will, by the word of mouth, get you your next gigs If you want to get into script writing etc, you can write scripts and pitch them to the companies or wait until you have some sort of recognition and offer screenwriting help with the productions you will be working at.

However, I do understand that you might still want to do MA. It won't hurt you, it will always help however it might not be the most effective solution.
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TCL
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#10
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#10
(Original post by KatetheLecturer)
OP went to Roehampton to do Combined Honours after BTEC, unfortunately, and as they mention being three years without being behind a camera there, it seems as though they either were awarded a degree, or, if they left without one, would only have one further year of potential funding, so it seems as though it's self-funding or nothing, unfortunately.
Oh yes, I didn't read it properly! If they have graduated, sadly they are not even eligible for 1 more year of undergraduate funding. I think schools/colleges do not make it clear enough to people choosing degrees that they only have access to funding for 1 undergraduate degree in their life, so they should choose wisely!
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artful_lounger
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#11
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#11
(Original post by TCL)
Oh yes, I didn't read it properly! If they have graduated, sadly they are not even eligible for 1 more year of undergraduate funding. I think schools/colleges do not make it clear enough to people choosing degrees that they only have access to funding for 1 undergraduate degree in their life, so they should choose wisely!
There are exception courses which SFE does fund second degrees for - these are however determined based on the needs of the UK economy/industry, so they are currently allied health professions courses, part-time STEM courses, and a few other exceptions (like I believe planning and Arabic/middle eastern studies). I don't think a film course would be eligible for further funding, unless it qualified under the part-time STEM side which would probably need to be one focused on media technology somehow.

(Original post by student101bea)
I am interested in studying at the University of Greenwich. Academically I am at a crossroads and I wanted to speak to somebody who could suggest the right choice for me. Ideally, I would like a career in screenwriting, script editing or producing.

Firstly, I studied Media, Film and Television Production BTEC Level 3 at Lambeth College. I really enjoyed the course but ended up going to Roehampton University to study Combined Honours in Media, Culture and Identity, and Journalism. The Media side of my university course was to do with research, comms and marketing. I didn't touch a camera for three years.

I graduated in 2019 but am keen to get back into film and television production.

I am torn between doing another Undergraduate or a Master's. The Film Production MA & MSc require a strong creative portfolio of work to be considered. Whilst I have a lot of UCAS points, the only portfolio I have are a few collections of videos from my BTEC college years, which are not up to university standards. I am worried this will impact my eligibility to do a Master's.

For this reason and others, I am considering doing the Film and Television Production undergraduate course. I really like the look of the Portfolio Production modules and Studio Labs, as I wish I had continued with Media production after college instead of journalism. It would be an opportunity to build on my portfolio at a university level.

With all things considered, is it best if I try to apply for a Master's or do another undergraduate course?
As above you probably can only realistically consider the masters option unless you have boatloads of money available to you (and if that is the case, why bother, just use that money to start a production company directly!).

PQ might have some suggestions on routes into film production/practice for grads from non-production courses?
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elyxe
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#12
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#12
(Original post by student101bea)
I am interested in studying at the University of Greenwich. Academically I am at a crossroads and I wanted to speak to somebody who could suggest the right choice for me. Ideally, I would like a career in screenwriting, script editing or producing.

Firstly, I studied Media, Film and Television Production BTEC Level 3 at Lambeth College. I really enjoyed the course but ended up going to Roehampton University to study Combined Honours in Media, Culture and Identity, and Journalism. The Media side of my university course was to do with research, comms and marketing. I didn't touch a camera for three years.

I graduated in 2019 but am keen to get back into film and television production.

I am torn between doing another Undergraduate or a Master's. The Film Production MA & MSc require a strong creative portfolio of work to be considered. Whilst I have a lot of UCAS points, the only portfolio I have are a few collections of videos from my BTEC college years, which are not up to university standards. I am worried this will impact my eligibility to do a Master's.

For this reason and others, I am considering doing the Film and Television Production undergraduate course. I really like the look of the Portfolio Production modules and Studio Labs, as I wish I had continued with Media production after college instead of journalism. It would be an opportunity to build on my portfolio at a university level.


With all things considered, is it best if I try to apply for a Master's or do another undergraduate course?
Personally, I would consider different factors before making a decision. How would it benefit me to study an undergraduates' in comparison to a masters'? Can you afford to do this? Is the course necessary for my career? Do you have the time to take on the course because I'm guessing that a master's will be much more time-consuming?

I hope this was helpful.
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PQ
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#13
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#13
Kent used to offer a 2 year film conversion MA that would have been perfect for OP. Unfortunately it looks like it has been suspended.

It might be possible to get in on a scriptwriting MA if you have a portfolio of some scripts you’ve written.

Getting in with BFI and screenskills networking and industry events, looking into apprenticeships and training posts at BBC, C4 and ITV is worth a try too. And just generally getting involved in working or helping out in the industry (even on student films). Plus writing scripts in your free time.

Another BA is a non starter. Even for a BA it doesn’t sound like you have the showreel or skills developed to get into the sort of course you would benefit from - you need to take some time to build your skills and portfolio up.

It might be worth keeping an eye on futurelearn/edx/coursera as a useful way to structure building some of those skills.
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student101bea
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#14
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#14
(Original post by elyxe)
Personally, I would consider different factors before making a decision. How would it benefit me to study an undergraduates' in comparison to a masters'? Can you afford to do this? Is the course necessary for my career? Do you have the time to take on the course because I'm guessing that a master's will be much more time-consuming?

I hope this was helpful.
Thank you for your reply. My only real intention to go back to university was to get work placements. I know that is a stretch and quite strange but I've successfully completed work placements through every college/uni course I've been on. However, they were all for industries I have fallen out of favour with. I need experience as a film set runner and because I lack the relevant experience with a broadcaster. I haven't had any lack in applying since graduating so I figured If I've secured placements before via my courses then maybe I'll have some luck by being on an actual film course. I know nothing is guaranteed but it's a chance, perhaps a better chance than what I currently have as a media/journalism combined honours BA currently doing freelance journalism. So yes uni isn't completely necessary but I just feel stuck atm.
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student101bea
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#15
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#15
(Original post by KatetheLecturer)
If it's a stretch to afford an MA, a BA is likely to be completely out of reach :-(

You may be able to defer an MA place, but maybe not - it depends usually on the course, on the year, and whether the course is heavily over-subscribed: but you can definitely check this direct with the university. You should also take a look at whether they offer the course with a part-time route - that way, you would take two years, instead of one, (assuming it's normally a 9-12 months course) but you would have more time for paid work as you'd only have half the study commitments as taking the course full-time. Also, in this case, you pay the tuition fee across two years, usually, so again, that might be more affordable. If you are eligible for UK MA funding, take a look at your local SF site, to see how much you can apply for also. (That loan covers part- and full-time study, but, obviously, you can still only borrow the max that's available overall -you can't have the money two years running or anything.)
Yes, you're right. I could get a postgraduate loan and maybe some additional bursaries if I am eligible. I would plan to study part time so I can work/earn more etc.
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student101bea
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#16
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#16
(Original post by PQ)
Kent used to offer a 2 year film conversion MA that would have been perfect for OP. Unfortunately it looks like it has been suspended.

It might be possible to get in on a scriptwriting MA if you have a portfolio of some scripts you’ve written.

Getting in with BFI and screenskills networking and industry events, looking into apprenticeships and training posts at BBC, C4 and ITV is worth a try too. And just generally getting involved in working or helping out in the industry (even on student films). Plus writing scripts in your free time.

Another BA is a non starter. Even for a BA it doesn’t sound like you have the showreel or skills developed to get into the sort of course you would benefit from - you need to take some time to build your skills and portfolio up.

It might be worth keeping an eye on futurelearn/edx/coursera as a useful way to structure building some of those skills.
Yes I am looking at the websites of BBC, ITV, C4 etc to see their work opportunities and I'll keep checking. I have some skills and a small portfolio from my BTEC in film production years ago so doing an BA in that subject would build on that. I've successfully found and completed a work placement on every course I've ever been on - except they were in industries I've since grown tired of. My hope would be regardless of doing a BA or MA that I would secure a placement in media production. I think what makes me less employable is that whilst I do have media production experience and have filmed/edited/written scripts etc, it's all been academic in nature. I have yet to find real experience with a broadcaster. That is what the employers prefer on sites like Creative Access I've noticed, which makes sense. Being outside of uni hasn't brought me any luck yet so I figured being back in one might help me continue my historic success of securing a valuable placement via the university. I might have more luck because I'd be studying in a relevant field, where as at the moment I graduated two years ago and am a freelance journalist.

Anyway, I think I will just apply for the MA at Greenwich and if the financial reality doesn't hold up by September I'll defer (I'll ring the uni to make sure that's possible before applying) or just cancel my application as a whole. I will also simultaneously apply for some more affordable shorter courses with NFTS that start this winter. That way if I choose not to go back to uni at least I'll have something to work towards. I will in the meantime keep writing scripts to prepare for competitions such as the BBC Writer's Room. I have some old friends who regularly film/produce stuff but I lost their numbers so I've been messaging them on social media but they haven't got back to me. I've made some good new contacts lately so am seeing how those pan out. I'll find some networking events to attend and I'll work on creating a more updated video compilation show reel for myself to showcase. I've also found an old film industry contacts book. There are a lot of contact details for production companies so I will be calling all of them and asking if I can shadow anyone or something.
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student101bea
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#17
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#17
(Original post by artful_lounger)
There are exception courses which SFE does fund second degrees for - these are however determined based on the needs of the UK economy/industry, so they are currently allied health professions courses, part-time STEM courses, and a few other exceptions (like I believe planning and Arabic/middle eastern studies). I don't think a film course would be eligible for further funding, unless it qualified under the part-time STEM side which would probably need to be one focused on media technology somehow.



As above you probably can only realistically consider the masters option unless you have boatloads of money available to you (and if that is the case, why bother, just use that money to start a production company directly!).

PQ might have some suggestions on routes into film production/practice for grads from non-production courses?
Yes, I'll just apply for the MA then and the postgraduate loan.

Thank you, I will try @PQ to see what their suggestions are.
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student101bea
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#18
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#18
(Original post by artful_lounger)
There are exception courses which SFE does fund second degrees for - these are however determined based on the needs of the UK economy/industry, so they are currently allied health professions courses, part-time STEM courses, and a few other exceptions (like I believe planning and Arabic/middle eastern studies). I don't think a film course would be eligible for further funding, unless it qualified under the part-time STEM side which would probably need to be one focused on media technology somehow.



As above you probably can only realistically consider the masters option unless you have boatloads of money available to you (and if that is the case, why bother, just use that money to start a production company directly!).

PQ might have some suggestions on routes into film production/practice for grads from non-production courses?
I've checked out @PQ's page and they say they don't respond to dms or if they are tagged. They say they only respond to people in the TSR or something. Have you ever tried to message them and if so what was your luck?
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artful_lounger
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#19
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#19
(Original post by student101bea)
I've checked out @PQ's page and they say they don't respond to dms or if they are tagged. They say they only respond to people in the TSR or something. Have you ever tried to message them and if so what was your luck?
PQ replies when they feel like I think, which is fair enough! They might not reply if they don't have anything specific to add though.

You may want to make a new thread asking about film production masters courses for grads from other disciplines specifically in the art and design courses forum, as this thread is a bit more general in nature. You'd probably get more relevant information on that (from PQ and others) by doing so, now that you've opted to focus on applying to masters courses
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