Please note that this subject is in the process of being reformed for first teaching in September 2017. The information below reflects what is currently known about the new course. Further details will be available in the Autumn term 2016, when the specification (syllabus) has been finalised and published.
What is this subject about
Media Studies is a subject that integrates theoretical and practical approaches. Media Studies involves the close analysis of the images, sounds and text that we experience via the media. It is the study of individual media texts (such as films, TV programmes, magazines, websites, documentaries, music videos, etc.) and, on a wider scale, you will be required to question how the media impact upon contemporary society. It also enables you to develop some practical skills applicable to a range of careers. The specification has been designed in close consultation with industry professionals and academics.
What will I study over the two years?
On a theoretical level, you will learn the skills of textual analysis. This will involve deconstructing a wide range of media texts in terms of their technical features and how these features are used to create meanings for a range of audiences.
You will explore and debate how different groups are represented in society. You will consider how ideas about gender, age, ethnicity, national identities etc. are constructed and the reasons for this. You will also explore media coverage of key contemporary events and issues, learning to question and challenge the messages that you receive. As part of this process you will apply a range of academic theories in a critical way to media texts.
The course also encourages you to explore social, cultural, political and historical contexts and how these impact on the way in which media texts are produced and received by audiences. As part of this you will look at a foreign language text, an independently produced text and older texts as well as more mainstream, contemporary pieces.
You will also get the opportunity to show your understanding of the codes and conventions of different media forms, through the practical production of your own coursework materials. This will involve comprehensive research that will inform your designs. The briefs will be set by the exam board each year and might include options like: producing a range of marketing materials for a new TV Drama, including a trailer, or creating a music video and accompanying promotional webpage.
How is the course assessed?
Over the two years, the main assessment will be in the form of examinations but there will still be a creative coursework component (likely to be 20-30% of the final mark).
What skills will I need and develop in this course?
You will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of texts, developing skills of observation, critical analysis and personal reflection, as well as developing your creativity and practical skills in desktop publishing, filmmaking and editing. You will also develop essay writing skills and research skills. Please note that this is not just a practical course; it requires you to think, question and challenge ideas.
What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?
With regard to progression, this course does not guarantee a career in the media industry, but many students do go on to read media or film at university. It also provides a good analytical and creative A Level which would support other subjects for university entry. Students who have studied A Level Media Studies have gone on to study a wide variety of subjects at university.
What are the formal entry requirements for this course?
Aside from the general entry requirements that the College requires, you will also need a grade 4 in GCSE English Language and a sound level of creativity as there is a strong requirement for creative thinking and application with the production work.
Subject combination advice
Subject combination advice:
Media Studies is a subject that by its nature requires candidates to consider individual, moral, ethical, social, cultural and contemporary issues. Therefore it combines well with any humanities subject, for example History, English, Politics and Sociology. Students could take Media Studies with Film Studies as with the new specification, they are notably different. However both subjects teach critical, textual analysis skills and have creative production elements so you may wish to go for more breadth over your choice of three A Levels. We strongly advise that you speak to a member of the Department for further information, if you are considering this combination.
What is the difference between Media Studies and Film Studies?
Whilst Media Studies looks at a range of media texts including music videos, radio, TV programmes, webpages etc. Film Studies looks only at film. However both involve a theoretical and practical element. To study Media Studies, you need to be engaged with a range of media texts or be interested to learn about different media industries. With Film Studies, it is essential that you are prepared to watch a diverse range of films from different cultures and time periods. The BTEC Extended Certificate (equivalent to 1 A Level) in Creative Media or the BTEC Specialist Diploma in Film and TV Production may appeal to students wishing to pursue a more practical and vocational route.