Media and communication topics
If there’s a particular sector of media and communication studies you want to focus on, it should be possible to find a course that closely matches your interests from the outset. On the other hand, if you’re still keeping your options open, you may be better suited to a course which offers a general overview to begin, followed by opportunities to specialize later on. Common media topics available, either as degree courses in their own right or as individual course modules, include:
Communications and new media
If you are interested in digital media and its rapid evolutions, specializing in communications and new media is likely to be the right choice for you. The focus here is on recently developed and developing technologies, such as the use of ‘interactive’ media on digital platforms, and students have the option to take some course modules taught from within the computer studies department. You may learn about digital media design and development, digital methods of data collection and analysis, and related contextual and social issues.
A specialization in social media is for those fanatical about this hugely influential recent addition to the global communications sector. You’ll learn about the evolution, ethos and applications of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr, becoming proficient in using these platforms not only as an individual but also to represent an organization, product or campaign. As in most media studies specializations, you’ll need to be prepared to constantly adapt your strategies and approach to keep pace with changes in the media available, and in the behavior of your target audience.
One of the most popular specializations for those interested in media careers, journalism can be studied as a degree course in its own right, or as a specialization within a media and communication studies course. This field will introduce you to various journalistic platforms and processes, including professional skills such as how to work in a newsroom, how to find sources and how to present a story to the public. Journalism courses are usually very practical, and students will have lots of opportunities to research and present their own news and feature stories, using written presentation or exploring alternatives such as photo or video journalism.
Publishing and editing
A specialization in publishing and editing is designed for those interested in pursuing media careers within the publishing industry. Here you’ll cover topics such as magazine publishing, newspaper publishing, book publishing, and new media. Other useful modules may include business development, publication marketing and distribution, graphic design, copyediting and legal issues. You may further specialize in an area such as children’s publishing, academic publishing or electronic publishing, perhaps benefitting from guest speakers from the industry.
Radio and TV broadcasting
If your passion lies within the field of radio and TV broadcasting, you’ll be looking for a media studies course which allows you to gain the professional knowledge and skills needed to get a foot onto the ladder in these highly competitive sectors. You’ll learn about each stage that goes into creating a TV or radio program – choosing the right story or concept, filming or recording, finding locations, checking facts and interviewing people, editing and presenting. This course should enable students to develop technical skills in several areas, as well as developing their creativity and artistic vision.
Film and media studies
A film and media studies specialization is likely to be the top choice for anyone with an interest in working in the film industry – perhaps as a producer, script writer/editor or critic. Courses in this field are again likely to combine theoretical and practical aspects, giving students a range of analytical and professional skills. You’ll gain a broad understanding of the film industry, both past and present; learn about different cinematic styles and genres; and perhaps focus on films of a particular period, culture or theme. You should also gain a range of practical film-making skills, including script-writing, production, directing, filming, lighting and editing.
Other topics you may encounter within media and communication studies include: advertising, audience behavior, celebrity culture, comedy, gaming and virtual environments, intercultural communication, marketing, media law, media research, postmodern culture, theatre, visual culture, web design, and youth culture.