Students who are interested in the news, or why certain videos go viral, or the work that happens behind the camera will be interested in studying Media or Communications. Communication and Media Studies degrees prepare students for working in the media industry, and analysing the way media represents, reflects and influences audiences.
Unfortunately, some may view media and communication degrees as ‘easy’ subjects without decent job prospects, when in truth, the media industry is one that is continually growing and will always be in need for smart, creative and hardworking graduates.
Media and communication courses vary from theoretical and practical modules enabling students to create pieces and to study the history and theory behind why the media is the way it is.
Universities will typically like their students to have related subjects, such as Media Studies qualifications at GCSE and A-Level, and any humanities or social science subjects will be an advantage (Learn more – What A Level should I study). The entry requirements will vary depending on the institution, ranging from BBB to ABB, and anything above 260 UCAS tariff points.
Students are advised to conduct research into their desired courses and chosen universities to establish what entry requirements are needed for admission.
You can also see our Communications and Media Studies personal statement examples; these will help you to gain an insight into what you need for your personal statement.
There are many different types of degrees available within media and communications – as it features a diverse range of topics. Students can study from the following the options (no doubt there will always be new courses available): Communications and Media, Film and Media, Film, Photography and Media, Web Design and Media, Communication and Journalism, Media and Journalism, Japanese (any language) and media, new media.
The majority of degrees in this field are the standard three years in length, and sandwich courses are not that common either. Many universities encourage students to apply for work experience placements to gain valuable skills and experience to aid them upon graduation. Universities will typically have relationships with businesses already, visiting university open days, allows students to speak with pupils and lectures and will be able to find out what partnerships they have already. Students should try to gain as much experience as they can alongside their degree to help them when they graduate as they will be entering a competitive job market (Learn more – Is having a placement good for your degree).
We are entering a digital age, and there has never been a more interesting time to study Media and Communications. There are new platforms, new ways of communication, and room for ethical debates and research that students will study throughout their courses.
Depending on the modules students study, this area offers both practical and theoretical study options. Practical modules can offer students skills in creating blogs, websites, journalistic features, design pieces as well as filming and editing their own short film.
Theoretical modules will focus on the theory and ‘science’ behind all of this work, looking at techniques, historical perspectives and looking at society in a different light.
Assessment will depend on the module, whether coursework or practical work is needed to be assessed. Through practical work, students are usually asked to submit a written piece alongside their project which is also assessed. There will be coursework, written examinations, group discussions, presentations and project work, each institution will vary with how the course is assessed, so choosing the right university and course is vital for students to tailor degrees to their own preferences.
Media and communications aim to equip students to become informed citizens of society within a media-saturated society. Candidates will study content, reception and production of media, and understand the social production of meanings and ideas and how these are circulated.
Students will develop skills and insight into the analysis of different media texts, including audio, moving images, print and visual. If practical modules are studied, students will learn skills related to that area of study – from web design to editing software.
Students who attend university will gain skills and disciplines that can be used later in life and within the world of work. University offers individuals the chance to learn transferable skills within the organisation, time management and working towards a deadline, as well as social skills through presentation assessment and group work.
Communications and media offer joint study which can widen employment opportunities upon graduation. This area offers insight into how our modern world works, how we react to media events and how embedded media is to our everyday and popular culture.
The media industry is notoriously competitive and challenging to get into, and one way to securing employment is to complete unpaid work experience or student internships to prove they have the experience and the know-how to do the job.
Students are advised to complete work experience throughout their degree to enhance job prospects when they graduate – as everyone will be graduating at the same time and have the same qualification on offer.
Postgraduate qualifications are options for those who wish to obtain extra training or to become specialised in their studies and skills.
Particular job areas that students can consider are; Media Planner, Programme Researchers, Public Relations Officer, Television Runner, Producer and Multimedia Planner.
Examples of entry-level jobs in media and communications include; Content Author, Digital Media Executive, Research Intern, Social Media Policy Advisor, Editorial Intern, PR Executive/Assistant, Reporter, Policy Intern, Teaching Assistant, Campaign Executive and Project Manager.
An exciting range of Master’s programmes and research degrees are on offer, from MA in Print, Magazine and or Broadcast Journalism, International Communications, Gender, Media and Culture, and an MA in Media and Communications.
Marg Helgenberger, who played CSI Catherine Willows in CSI studied media and Charlton Heston; actor also studied Communications at the School of Communications of Northwestern University. David Letterman, host of The Late Show, studied communications at Ball State University.
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