Undergraduate course

Media BA (Hons)

Get an insight into the world of film, TV and advertising and explore how media influences society and culture.

Student working at a computer

This degree will take you on an exciting journey through a combination of critical analysis and creative projects to help you understand how media and culture affect who we are, what we do and how we interpret the world around us.

100% of Media students were satisfied with their course - NSS 2018

  • UCAS Code – P305
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the history, nature and power of the media through learning about the relationships between different forms of media, culture and society. As well as critical analysis, you will creatively engage with media in a variety of ways, from writing for different platforms to exploring digital media. We encourage our Media students to write, produce and market our magazine and web-platform Neutral  which engages critically and creatively with media, culture and society, allowing you to work with industry professionals in producing and promoting media.

There are no formal examinations during this programme, with assessment taking place through a mixture of creative and analytical assignments, which include essays, critiques and analysis, together with creative and digital projects across a range of media. 

In your final year you are offered the exciting chance to take part in an international field trip, which has previously included visiting the cultural highlights of Amsterdam. There is also the opportunity to work with a graphic designer on a marketing-based module developing an idea for an app and a rebranding project.

Our students are engaged in the exploration and analysis of mediated culture from film and TV to art and advertising, discovering the central role that media and popular culture occupies in contemporary society. As a media graduate you may choose to pursue a career within the ever-expanding media, entertainment, creative, cultural and communications industries in which graduates will be attractive to a range of employers owing to the broad skill set which you will have developed throughout your studies.

Course structure

Level 1

In Media core skills are identified and honed in the first year of study.

Modules

Modules include:

Writing the Media This module encourages you to explore and critically engage with a range of contemporary media debates and communications. The module is both exploratory and practical, using a range of current sources, structured exercises, hand-outs and discussion. Drawing upon this material you will explore media issues in relation to persuasion, tone of voice and dialogue. In doing so, you will analyse the ways in which media texts and images operate and start to question what they can learn from them. Through the investigation of these topics you will consider their own cultural practices and how they construct a sense of identity and give rise to certain meanings.

Critical Perspectives The module aims to introduce the understanding that differing critical perspectives are possible in the consideration and analysis of any given media text or texts. You will explore the subject of ideology through the viewing practices and belief structures of media audiences. Through the study of media communication models and their history, and through engagement with the extensive body of media audience literature (primarily but certainly not exclusively relating to television audiences), you will explore the nature of contemporary mass communication.

Media Research This module introduces you to experiences in higher education. It uses a variety of methods to engage you and to develop their your in research, referencing, critical thinking, academic writing, presentation skills and group work. Relevant examples of contemporary topics, themes and images will also be used to illustrate the importance of analysing the media. Overall this module provides a range of skills that will be essential to producing successful work as an undergraduate. A key element will be to encourage the idea that studying is fun as well as hard work.

Media, Culture and Society This module aims to explore theories and concepts associated with analytical readings of the media. You will examine a variety of ‘texts’ to exemplify essential theoretical perspectives and will introduce key issues and debates relating to Media in social and cultural contexts. In addition, you will be introduced to key methodologies which will be of use throughout their degree and which can be adapted for a wide range of critical enquiry. The module will provide opportunities for you to assess and evaluate key modes of critical and analytical investigation.

The Medium is the Message – Media Evolution and History The module will introduce you to the area of study known as ‘media ecology’ which encourages an understanding of a medium as anything in which meaning or communication of any sort talks place. Key thinkers in this field are most importantly Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and Walter Ong amongst a number of others. The module will provide an introduction to the deep history of media and allied technologies (writing, printing, painting) and will examine how media, in the broadest of senses, determine the possibilities of communication, creative activity and understanding.

Level 2

In the second year you are given the opportunity to develop your communication skills using visual media and design packages with the help of a professional graphic designer. This level also involves an employability and enterprise element which further cultivates transferable skills.

Modules

Convergence Cultures This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of convergence technology and with associated areas of transmedia activity and network theory. You will be encouraged to engage with the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and the ways in which these can shape our everyday lives. The module will invite you to consider these developments in communications technology in relation to social, political and cultural factors and how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content.

Issues of Taste This module aims to engage students in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products which have produced controversy. It aims to analyse the debates about taste and the reception of text in a range of traditional, new and emergent media and to conduct this analysis using terms from aesthetics, from studies in contemporary media, and from the writings and records of those involved in critical debate and rereading. It will include concepts such as: propaganda, artistic licence, canonical status, acceptability, pornography, ‘harm’, censorship, etc.

Popular Genres The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of popular genres within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of popular genres as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of popular genres and to encourage an understanding of popular genres within the context of media production and innovation.

Visual Culture This module aims to acquaint you with critical debates in visual culture and allow you the opportunity to try out theoretical notions in a creative manner. They will be able to integrate material developed in previous and current modules which will provide a potential focus for the later stages of the programme. You will be able to understand the essential relationships between word and image from illustration to the internet. The module will investigate how visual strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas.

Globalisation ‘Globalisation’ is a fundamentally important term in understanding the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world. The role of the media in reacting to these processes through representation and articulation, and also in contributing to these changes, is inescapable. The aims of this module are to introduce you to the key theoretical debates and ideas which surround the contested notion of ‘globalisation’ and to examine the ways in which globalisation has been articulated and understood through media representation. The module will also examine the role of the media in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation and its role in affecting emergent, resistant and dominant cultures.

Media Enterprise The module examines some of the different processes required to produce a professional portfolio in the context of practical and vocational activities. The module aims to offer you the opportunity to engage with a more vocational element in the media and cultural context of their degree. You will work in groups to produce a portfolio which requires you to consider, amongst other things, marketing, advertising, business cases, product development and effective communication of ideas.

Level 3

In the final year you are given the opportunity to write an extended dissertation where you can go into detail regarding aspects of Media which have caught your imagination. You will also at this point be invited to our international field trip to see global Media in action.

Modules

Modules include:

Futures The module provides an advanced understanding of the ways in which new and emergent media, communications and other technologies shape our ways of living, acting and understanding the world and our place in it. You will build upon work undertaken in other modules which will enable a richer and more productive understanding into the development of various technologies and our relationship with them as well as recognising the profound global inequalities in the availability and importance of these. By considering the history of communications, media and other technologies you will be better able to appreciate how these affect, contribute to and challenge our notions of human philosophy, ethics, morals and meaning as well as how developments in convergent technology might influence aesthetic activity in its production, consumption and cultural value.

Media Geographies The module aims to further explore and develop the concepts and issues of globalisation, localisation, regionalism and national identity in relation to city cultures. The module will draw upon the media and cultural studies area of ‘urban studies’ in order to consider the representations, symbolic and social structures, development, uses and experiences of the modern and contemporary city. You will be encouraged to engage in experiential exploration of contemporary cities and identify their historical traces. Alongside this, you will consider technological advances and futuristic narratives of the city.

Special Study This module aims to encourage students registered for a Joint Award to become independent learners through an extended piece of work which should demonstrate the ability to offer a sustained critical and analytical examination of a student’s chosen, relevant topic and a similar engagement with the literature available on their chosen topic. This module offers the student the opportunity to integrate and develop aspects of the taught components of their programme and to provide a context for the selection, application and exploration of relevant analytical techniques

Special Study This Level 3, 40 credit weighted module aims to encourage students to become independent learners through an extended piece of work which should demonstrate the ability to offer a sustained critical and analytical examination of a student’s chosen, relevant topic and a similar engagement with the literature available on their chosen topic. This double module offers the student the opportunity to integrate and develop aspects of the taught components of their programme and to provide a context for the selection, application and exploration of relevant analytical techniques.

Teaching & Assessment

In Media you are encouraged to participate in the ways which suits you best and challenge yourself to engage with others regarding debates and creative practices. We pride ourselves on a high level of tutorial support and will always be available to arrange to meet and discuss any challenges ideas you wish to explore. You will have support from the teaching team and be assigned an academic support tutor to offer advice and guidance.

In your first year, you will typically study three modules each semester. Each module will normally have three hours of contact time each week, so you’ll have a minimum of 9 hours each week in University. 

This is just the starting point for your learning, as we also expect that you’ll be engaging each week in independent study: you’ll be undertaking reading and writing activities outside the classroom as directed by your module tutor. There’ll be additional guest events and individual tutorials with your academic tutor to attend throughout the year.

In Media there are no exams and your work will be considered in a number of ways including essays, portfolios, presentations and creative visual displays. This involves working individually and as a team which is a valuable transferable skill.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

96 UCAS Tariff points

3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

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