Media Studies BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

University Centre Harlow

September 2017

Please note that this course is only accepting applications for years 2 and 3. We are no longer accepting applications for year 1.

code: P300

Apply via UCAS


If you want to work in creative industries such as marketing, broadcasting or journalism, this wide-ranging course will give you the skills and knowledge you need.

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Full description


Our graduates go on the careers in many sectors including marketing, media consultancy, public relations, web design, publishing, advertising, broadcasting, journalism, human resources, television, radio and newspapers.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Media, Culture and Society
    This module will give you an overview of approaches to the media, including theories of the media and the broader issues and questions that have traditionally concerned media theorists. You'll be introduced to all aspects of the media, including structures and organisations, production processes, contents, and audiences. You'll critically discuss and evaluate theories of the media, along with the different perspectives, including organisational theories of media production, sociological and psychological approaches to media contents and reception, and the challenges posed by the new media.
  • Analysing Language and Image
    This module will introduce you to some of the main terms, methodologies and concepts employed in analysing media texts interrogating communication through word and image. You'll explore language and visual imagery as systems of signs that signify meanings that may be said to be context-specific and/or culturally and ideologically motivated. In addressing language, you'll explore the work of Saussure and the extent to which his structural linguistics laid foundations for notions such as the death of the author/subject, the instability of meaning and the problems attaching to claims of truth and knowledge, extending Saussure's semiotic method to address visual imagery. By studying the ways meaning is constructed, transmitted and received through still and moving images, you'll learn how responses and judgements are shaped by the organisation of events on the screen and in the frame. Through analyses of selected texts, you'll engage with issues such as representation, realism and ideology. Modes of textual analysis you'll look at include semiotics, narrative analysis and discourse analysis, with examples drawn from a variety of media including newspapers, magazines, art, film and television. You'll develop a vocabulary when considering and discussing meaning and form that will give you a useful theoretical foundation for later stages of study in media.
  • Introduction to Radio
    You'll consider the relationship between theory and practice in radio production by studying a wide range of radio programmes and discussing the different requirements of commercial radio stations and public broadcasting. You’ll learn the basic elements of radio production, writing, presentation, journalism and technical expertise in recording and editing your material, and become more aware of the differences between writing for radio and writing for press, film or television. You'll look at the arts of interviewing, researching and scriptwriting, along with news and current affairs programming, by adapting print journalism for radio, preparing scripts, recording and editing a short current affairs dispatch and radio programme for a named target audience using music, vox pops, interview clips and sound effects as appropriate. You'll also produce a range of individual radio items to be compiled into a 15 minute magazine programme, the latter involving group work in the selection and editing together of items.
  • Media and Technology
    On this module you'll address the issues of technology and communication, exploring how the introduction of new communication technologies transforms notions of space, place and time. You'll discuss critically a variety of theoretical positions concerned with how we evaluate the role of technology within communication practices. Technologies and associated practices will be situated within their specific historical periods (for example, the role of printing in Reformation Europe and the role of the internet in contemporary culture). You'll also consider the manner in which communication technology affects cognitive processes such as memory, together with how technologies (for example, mobile phones) affect assumptions about the meaning and nature of communicative practices in general.
  • Print Media
    This module will introduce you to the theory and practice of print media. You'll explore the principles of desktop publishing, writing copy, and picture, text and graphics management. Throughout the module, you'll examine methods for generating, researching and writing stories in a variety of different formats, including design principles, headline and lead writing, writing to length, to deadlines, and using appropriate sources. You'll have access to a range of desktop publishing and graphics packages. You'll also be introduced to issues of ethics and copyright and you’ll also cover issues of audience, distribution and reception.

Year two, core modules

  • Media, Identity and Difference
    You’ll focus on the question of identity in late modern culture and societies, interrogating how individual and collective identities come about, gain solidity and transform as a result of cultural, social, historical, (media) technological, and psychic processes. You'll consider how various media are involved in the construction of our identities, considering how identities are outcomes of the symbolic forms, systems of thought, power relations and techniques of the self, disseminated and enabled by the media. You'll be introduced to leading paradigms of thinking in media studies, critical theory, philosophy and the broader field of humanities that are crucially important when investigating identity. For your assessment, you'll submit a 3,000-word critical essay.
  • Media and Politics
    You'll consider the significance of the rise of the media in shaping politics, in terms of public opinion, policy formation, formal democratic procedures, public debate and political advocacy. Your studies will include the history of the press and the broadcast media, as well as the emergence of the internet. You'll examine the core concept of the 'public sphere' and explore its rising significance in Europe during the Enlightenment and expansion and management in the 20th century. You'll analyse the crucial role journalism has played in public debate throughout these developments, and look at changes in areas such as privacy, human rights, freedom of speech and civil society. You'll also address and evaluate the contemporary notion of the counter public sphere, and the increasing use of new media to formulate 'subaltern' publics, (which mobilise sections of civil society via issues from environmentalism and gender to 'anti-globalisation' movements), and alternative democratic theories. You'll be assessed through a 2,000-word critical essay and a 1,000-word news commentary.
  • Internet Communication
    In this module, you'll explore, experiment with and develop skills in internet technology and web design, applying techniques of interface, navigation and manipulation to creative composition to make small-scale web-based products. Using textual, graphic, moving image and audio material, you’ll create an internet product that serves a specific purpose for an identified client/audience. You'll engage with the computer tools, software packages and terminology required for effective work in this medium and gain a working knowledge both of the strengths and limits of the medium. You'll consider ethical issues, such as pornography and privacy, as well as legal issues such as copyright and libel. Multimedia studio-based sessions will allow you to explore a range of selected internet sites and assess critically the features that contribute to their aesthetic, clarity of purpose, ease of use and mode of address to projected audiences. Your assessment will comprise these practical outcomes along with a reflective commentary and an evaluation of both your process and product.
  • Radio Packages
    This practice module will build on the technical, editorial and production skills you develop in Introduction to Radio. Using specialist facilities for audio recording and for on-screen editing, you'll learn to produce the short 'package' format, a staple of the radio 'magazine programme' and a widely used form of the feature genre. You'll learn good practice through a variety of broadcast examples that illustrate suitable subject matter for packages, and develop your critical skills by reviewing these and through class discussion, as well as further developing your skills for writing cues and links. You'll practise presenting skills, and develop your skills in recording, editing and mixing audio material. Your studies will also include a basic study of media law with particular reference to defamation, and a discussion of using 'bad' language on radio programmes. The radio products you'll submit for assessment will include work produced individually and in production groups. You'll also submit a critical commentary and an evaluation of the group product.
  • Theorising Popular Culture
    On this module, you'll examine popular culture as defined, practised and consumed, against and within 'official' or 'high' culture. You'll explore issues of identity, resistance and consumption, focusing on specific case studies, including sub-cultural practices and style. You'll critically explore the relationships between taste, style and ideology through an analysis of various sites and products, such as the shopping mall, popular musical forms, television, dress, eating, and leisure activities. You'll address contemporary icons for what they are able to indicate about forms of resistance, diversity and identity, and consider the social metaphors a cultural group may employ in terms of the spectacular and the public against the more silent and private strategies of consumption involved in, for example, fashioning of the body and identity.
  • Non-Fiction Filmmaking
    To take this module you must already have taken Introduction to Video. You'll explore the nature and practice of documentary filmmaking, addressing the aesthetics of documentary in relation to expository, poetic, observational, performative, and reflexive modes of practice. You'll consider, reflect and implement appropriate responses to the range of issues that might arise in your work, including the ethical, creative, methodological, theoretical, and technical concerns relating to documentary. To rationalise the subject of non-fiction film and video in terms of forms and conventions of documentary language, you'll examine in detail various examples of contemporary, historical, independent, and mainstream documentary.
  • Media and Economy
    You'll examine the role of economics, politics and culture in relation to the media and communication industries, considering this in the context of local, national and global developments in communications technologies and institutions in the early 21st century. You'll explore the tradition of the political economy of communication, from a perspective rooted in Marxist thought and critical theory, and contestations around the influence of 'base' on 'superstructure'. These relationships will give you a framework in which to investigate specific questions emerging from the areas of ownership and control, individual agency, professional practice, technological change, distribution and markets, competition and regulation. You’ll also look at specific case studies, for example the impact of the vertical integration of global media corporations on freedom of choice and expression or the role of the BBC in a multi-channel digital age. You'll be assessed through a critical essay of 3,000 words.

Year three, core modules

  • Theorising the Global Information Age
    In an age increasingly dominated by flows of information, understanding and theorising this phenomenon is becoming an imperative, not just in the context of the study of media and communications but for grasping social change, the formation of subjectivity, and the functions of the economy. You'll explore strategies, approaches and methodologies for capturing the multiple issues, conflicts and dynamics of the information society. This includes issues such as the impact of computer mediated communication (CMC) on work practices and the shift in the nature of production from a material to immaterial economy. You'll also consider the significance of the revolution in person-to-person communications (P2P). You'll be assessed on your understanding and critical response to the material studied through a presentation and a critical essay of 2,500 words.
  • Creative Publishing
    This module will provide you with a reflective environment in which to apply techniques of electronic publishing to your own writing, selected from your broader portfolio or created through a commission. You'll need to draw on your learning experiences from other modules and then research and produce a design plan suitable for directing the production of a published document from initial thumbnail sketches through to finished product. Experimenting with appropriate software, you’ll generate, store and transfer information, then move on to copy editing, proofreading and production. You'll consider such questions as house style within the broader context of message and audience and the impact of diverse and developing technology on the reproduction of writing in paper based media. You'll engage critically with a range of case studies. You'll be assessed through your portfolio of work, as well as a commentary on and an evaluation of your process and product.
  • Creative Radio
    In this practice module, you'll demonstrate a high level of editorial and technical expertise in radio production as you experiment with, develop and consolidate these skills by planning, writing and producing imaginative work for an appropriate radio market. You'll consider current models of practice in a variety of radio networks/stations, and initiate and carry forward ideas already suitable for or adaptable to radio. You'll also show critical reflection of your own practice by completing a thorough and rigorous commentary and evaluation.
  • Working in English and Media
    This module, with a focus on work experience, will help prepare you for targeted entry into the world of multimedia, film, television, cinema, radio, video, teaching, publishing, arts administration and related creative and cultural industries. You'll identify, negotiate and carry out a work placement, or produce a commissioned product, in a chosen area, with guidance from the relevant Course Leader and Module Leader, who will provide ongoing consultation, supervision and support in association with the University's Careers Service. You'll develop a portfolio and write a critical essay, both of which you'll submit at the end of the semester. Your portfolio should include: your CV; copies of a range of academic work (including a DVD showreel, where appropriate); evidence of extra-curricular activities; evidence of work experience. Presentation is crucial to your portfolio, and you should make use of all available multi-media when refining your work. This module will form part of your ongoing programme of Personal Development Planning.


We’ll assess your progress using your portfolio, essays, practical work, major project and performance in seminars.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

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Whether you aim to work in the creative industries or the social sciences, the legal profession or public service, the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need for professional life.

Our lively, diverse community and ambitious academic environment will broaden your horizons and help you develop your full potential - many of our courses give you the chance to learn another language, study abroad or undertake work placements as you study.

If you’re interested in art, music, drama or film, check out our packed programme of events. Together with our partners in the creative and cultural industries, we’re always working to enrich the cultural life of the university and the wider community.

Our research is groundbreaking and internationally recognised, with real social impact. We support the Cultures of the Digital Economy Research Institute (CoDE), whose projects include interactive music apps and documenting lifesaving childbirth procedures, as well as nine international research clusters, such as the Centre for Children's Book Studies and the Labour History Research Unit.

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014, six of our subject areas were awarded world-leading status: Law; Art and Design; English Language and Literature, Communication, Cultural and Media Studies; History; Music, Drama, Dance and Performing Arts.

Where can I study?

University Centre Harlow

University Centre Harlow (UCH) is a bright, modern campus with a range of top-class facilities.

Explore UCH

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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UK & EU applicants

01279 86 83 16

Email University Centre Harlow