Media, Communication and Cultural Studies AssociationStudying Media,Film and Communicationsat UniversityChoosing the right course for you
Media, Communication and Cultural Studies AssociationIntroducing our fieldWelcome to this brief introduction to agrowing and dynamic field of university study.We hope that you find it useful.Dear student,Media, cultural and communications systems arefundamental to the ways in which we now work and live,so it is not surprising that they are also a vital andexpanding field of university study. Over 100 universitiesin the UK now offer degree courses in the field, witha range of different degree titles, from Advertising,Communications, Media or Cultural Studies through toDigital Media, Film Studies, Film Production or Journalism.Drawing on the best academic traditions from the arts, How do degrees vary?humanities and social sciences, they can also involvecreative and professional practice in the cultural, film and Degree courses across media, film, communications and culturalcommunications industries, or skills in design, business, studies have different emphases and purposes.computing and advanced technologies. Some place more emphasis on creative Often degree courses offer you a combination ofThese courses are challenging and exciting, and the skills production, and can be located in art and design these elements and approaches. Here, you will be or performing arts as well as in media, film and expected to gain a broad understanding of mediathey will enable you to develop are crucially important to communications departments. These degrees may and/or film in relation to the changing contexts ofour contemporary world. Different degrees, however, may be focused on one medium or area of employment the modern world whilst simultaneously developinghave very different emphases and entry requirements. such as journalism, film or television production, creative, practical and production skills, using aSome require very specific entry qualifications, whilst photography, or public relations, or they may give range of media technologies to construct media you the opportunity to work in a range of media so texts and meanings for yourself. Different degreesothers accept a wide range of ‘A’ level subjects or that you can explore your own interests and talents may have differing balances between thesevocational qualifications. This means that is extremely and develop a broader range of skills. elements and allow you greater or lesser flexibilityimportant that you think carefully about what kind of in choosing your own balance of elements. Other courses emphasise critical skills, exploring,course you want to do and how it might relate to your for example, how media content affects the way Finally, media, film and cultural studies are alsoexisting qualifications and your ambitions for the future. people think about themselves and other social popular as part of Joint Honours degree courses.This brochure aims to help you to do this. groups, cultural changes such as globalisation Here, too, you need to consider carefully, to see and consumerism, or technological developments whether the particular aspect of media, film orProfessor Sue Thornham and the impact they have on everyday life. They communications that you are most interested in may concentrate more on media texts, as in film is emphasised within the more limited range of aChair of the Media, Communication or television studies, on media or film histories, specific Joint Honours degree.and Cultural Studies Association on media and communications structures and industries, or on media uses and audiences. Many, of course, combine these, drawing on a wide range of analytical and research traditions from across the humanities and social sciences.
Media, Communication and Cultural Studies AssociationMy Media Practice Degree My Media and Communications Degree My Film Studies Degree My Joint Honours Degree‘My Media Practice course enabled me to gain ‘The thing that surprised me the most about ‘Before applying to university I didn’t have a clear ‘A joint degree enables me to cover a range ofthe necessary filmmaking, writing, producing, and my degree was the scope of the work and the career path but when I saw Film Studies it felt like topics from each part of the degree – as well asdirecting skills to produce my own forthcoming subjects covered. The opportunities to learn a light bulb came on. I find the course endlessly overlapping courses that tie the two subjectsfeature film… It also gave me the grassroots skills about the philosophical, political, sociological interesting and I feel really privileged to be together. The media has an overwhelming influenceneeded to enter the world of independent media’ and historical dimensions of different media combining my passion with my degree.’ on our society and culture, and my courses have was invigorating and inspired me to look further allowed me to understand the way our everyday‘It definitely helped me get my current job. I am afield…. I know I’m prepared for whatever my ‘What surprised me about the course was how lives are shaped by these industries.’ using all the practical skills career throws at me.’ much film connects with other subjects. History, politics, economics, literature, feminism, sociology, ‘My degree gave me the flexibility to take charge of‘I learned from my degree in my career… My ‘I learned enhanced critical thinking skills; and psychology, are key to the study of cinema. my own studying, working to deadlines, and to becareer has developed because I was able to show … research, analytical skills; Confidence in Not that there weren’t plenty of films to watch as fearless about the unknown.’that I could do all these skills.’ presenting/developing arguments. well…. Film is hard work, but if you truly love films, you’ll get a lot out of it.’ ‘Studying a Joint Honours degree… I got to study‘My Media Practice course allowed me to try out ‘My degree gave me the confidence to pursue the “core” courses from both my degrees, givinga wide range of disciplines I had not considered my dreams and gave me the tools necessary to a ‘Whilst my course was challenging it was also me a really good grounding in both subjects…’before, from radio production to photography and career in media.’ extremely rewarding, significant, and exciting.documentary. Through the course I was able to The invaluable knowledge I have gained has setdiscover my own strengths and the areas which me in good stead for my future in film.’interested me most.’ To summarise, then, you should think carefully about: • How much emphasis you would like on • Whether you want to combine study of another practical, and how much on analytical work in subject with that of media, film, communications the degree you choose; or cultural studies; • How much you want to focus on a particular • How much flexibility there would be for you to medium or skill, and how far you want to aim for change your emphasis as you progress, once a broader base; you have found out where your main interests • How much you want to focus on the analysis of and talents lie. media or film texts, and how far on their broader structures, uses and contexts;
Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association Many media graduates go into areas such as teaching, archiving, cultural management, social Here are some of the jobs recent graduates and community work, information management, have gone on to do. We have divided them public relations or the civil service. For those into three lists: those which involve working who do choose to go into one of the media or in media industries, those which are communications industries, research suggests that communications related, and those which what employers value above all is: are more general graduate jobs. “the opportunity to bring some fresh ideas, fresh Media jobs blood, fresh questioning attitude in, that’s the main Journalist thing. Somebody who would come in here and Video Editor have the confidence, on their first day, to say ‘why Production Editor on earth do you do that?’...That’s the main thing Production Assistant I’m looking for, people with the critical faculties that Senior reporter have been sharpened by having done the course”. Director/Creative Director Television format acquisitions executive (SueThornham and Tim O’Sullivan, ‘Chasing Programme Controller the real: “employability” and the media studies Studio manager/engineer curriculum.’ (2004) Editor Assistant TV Producer If I want a career in the media industries, what will help me? Communications jobs Creative Marketing Executive • The media industries are rapidly changing. Communications Coordinator Specific skills taught today may well be Media & Publications Administrator redundant in a very few years. What you will Communications Officer: need is an understanding of this fast changing PR and Corporate Relations context and a proven capacity to learn and use Communications Designer your initiative and above all to be flexible. Press Agent • Work placements and other links with industry E-Comms Manager professionals will help you understand the Corporate Communications Officer contexts in which people work in the media. Press consultant This knowledge and experience could also help PR and Marketing AssociateWhat careers can I go on to? guide your choice of career once you leave Other Graduate jobs university. TeacherAll of these degrees will improve your employability. professions, many do not. Recent reports haveIndeed official surveys show that graduates from emphasized that what employers value above • Specialist training is available at postgraduate Counsellorsuch courses do extremely well in the career all in graduates are skills of communication, self- level where you can opt for courses that Writermarket. The most recent survey of graduates management, team working and problem solving, prepare you for direct entry into employment, Knowledge Management Consultantshowed that 76 per cent of media graduates found all of which are central to degrees in this area. As building on the broader skills you acquired as an Parliamentary Assistantemployment within six months. This compared a recent Director-General of the Confederation of undergraduate. Graduate traineewith 62 per cent for law graduates, 68 per cent for British Industry has written, Film programmercomputing and information technology, 65 per cent A university education, however, means a great Festival programmerfor English graduates, and 63 per cent for history “A degree alone is not enough. Employers are deal more than training for a specific job. Media Artist(Higher Education Statistics Agency 2010-11). looking for more than just technical skills and and related subjects, are of most value where Researcher knowledge of a degree discipline. They particularly they develop a range of abilities, that enableBut the concept of employability is far broader than value skills such as communication, teamworking you to understand the most dynamic sectors Creditsjust skills training for a specific job. The knowledge and problem solving. Job applicants who can of the modern economy, offer skills in research, Photography: Stuart Robinsonand skills acquired by media students lead to a demonstrate that they have developed these skills Design: launchpad-design.co.uk presentation, communication and team-working, Text and editing: Tim O’Sullivan and Sue Thornhamwide range of careers. While many students do will have a real advantage.” plus the ability to think critically and creatively and With thanks to all the Media, Film and Communicationsgo into film, media, communications and design so become one of the innovators of the future. students who contributed to this leaflet.
Find out moreVisit our website at www.meccsa.org.ukwhich offers answers to some common queries.You can find useful listings at:www.ucas.ac.uk/search/index.htmlwww.bfi.org.uk/education/coursesevents/mediacoursesSee also for relevant discussion:www.manifestoformediaeducation.co.uk/