Media and Communication

 



What courses? Media studies; media production; media and communication; interactive media; digital media; media practice. Plus a host of specialist degrees in the likes of television production, digital film production and radio. Media studies is often studied as part of a joint honours, with popular combinations including media and politics, and media and English.

What do you come out with? A BA, or a BSc in more tech-heavy courses. An MA in Scotland.

Why do it? "Phone hacking? Twitter riots? Wikileaks? The media are part of everyday life, and essential to contemporary society, politics and culture. Whether you’re interested in working in the media, or are keen to get involved in debates about technology, or media ownership, or issues of privacy, or the aesthetics of film and television, media studies explores the roles all forms of media play in society, with an eye on issues of globalisation, history, representation, and social power. So turn on, and join the discussion." - Dr Brett Mills, head of the school of film and television studies, University of East Anglia

What's it about? Not just watching TV and reading newspapers, despite what the middle-agers harking on about “Mickey Mouse degrees” tell you. Media studies is about the way information is communicated to the masses, and how that is shaped by, and in turn shapes, society. Expect to learn about the history of the mass media, its economic structure, the development of media technology, globalisation of media, and the creation of personal identity in media. On top of this you're likely to encounter big thinkers like Marx, Sausseure and Habermas, and apply their theories to society’s interaction with the media. Of course, most programmes won’t be entirely theoretical, and more and more courses are allowing students to get stuck into their chosen discipline - whether that be TV, radio or print - and developing hands-on skills that will give them an advantage in the uberly competitive media job market. There are also an increasing number of degrees that are fully geared towards specific areas of media, such as film, television, public relations and journalism. The fact that there are over 1,600 different media courses on offer through UCAS for 2012 shows how popular and diverse these degrees have become in recent years.

Study options: Three years full-time in the majority of cases, or four years in Scotland. Very few places offer a sandwich year, although shorter work experience placements are often encouraged during holidays. Although not compulsary, a lot of media students choose to spend their spare time chasing stories for the student newspaper or honing their production skills on university radio.

What will I need to do it? Anything goes mostly, although an A-level in media studies has obvious advantages. English, sociology and politics all have their advantages too. Entry grades vary between institutions – at East Anglia and Sussex it’s ABB; at Nottingham Trent it’s BBC.

What are my job prospects? While many dream of being the next Huw Edwards or Chris Moyles, the reality is that a large proportion of graduates will not head into the industry. Transferrable skills lend them to a variety of positions in commerce, the civil service and other professional industries. However, the ones who do head towards the media may find themselves in TV production, PR and marketing, media policy-making and journalism. Prospective media students won’t need to be told that the industry is one of the most competitive out there, and a degree is only the start - expect weeks, or even months, of unpaid placements before you land your first job. According to The Times’ Good University Guide 2012, 36 per cent of graduates are in graduate-level jobs within six months of finishing, while 14 per cent are unemployed - one of the highest rates of all subject areas. Graduate salaries average a humble £17,351. Although this does all sound a little negative, there are jobs out there, and they’re up for grabs to the most determined graduates.

Where’s best to do it? Warwick comes top of the Complete University Guide 2012 for communications and media, but doesn’t actually offer a media studies degree, only a BA in film and television studies. East Anglia and Nottingham Trent, however, both offer media studies at undergrad, and came second and third respectively. Students at Southampton said they were most satisfied, but again, a general media degree is not offered there (only a BA in film) so East Anglia comes out top for satisfied media students as well.

Related degrees: Journalism; broadcasting; film studies; marketing and advertising; history; sociology; anthropology.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat