As the media and communication sector becomes ever more diverse and dynamic, degrees in the field of media and communication studies are also growing in popularity. Read our guide to see if this could be the right subject area for you, and to find out about the different specializations and careers paths you could pursue.
Did you have your own blog, Twitter account and Pinterest board before most people even knew what those words meant? Are you fascinated by the way a news story gains momentum, an image or video goes viral, or the whole process that goes into getting an idea from script to screen?
If any of these applies to you, then you may be heading for a media and communication degree. This relatively young academic discipline once had a lot to prove, but in today’s media-dominated cultural landscape, media and communications have become some of the most relevant, exciting and powerful subjects you could choose to study.
What do media and communication degrees cover?
Study media and communication and you will face the challenge of keeping pace with the latest trends, technologies and debates. Media and communication degrees aim to prepare students for work in media-related industries, and train them to critically analyze the ways in which the media reflects, represents and influences the world.
Media studies courses may vary significantly in their content and approach to the subject, but most offer a combination of practical preparation for various media careers, alongside opportunities to analyze media representations from different perspectives – including moral, political and historical. For instance, as well as gaining practical skills such as film production or copy-writing, students may also have the opportunity to explore issues such as media representations of gender or race, or of a particular culture or political conflict.
The slightly broader field of communication studies extends beyond areas typically considered within the “media” domain, to explore human communications in all kinds of environment and context. This includes not only careers in media such as journalism, marketing and entertainment, but also business and management, education, politics, international relations, law and more.
Entry requirements for media and communication degrees
Most media and communication degrees accept applicants from a variety of different academic backgrounds. You will, however, be required to demonstrate good grades at your previous study level, alongside a passion for media and communication. You may be asked to attend an interview (in person or via phone/Skype) and to submit an application essay, explaining your motivations, any relevant skills and experience, and your ambitions for the future. You’ll also need to be proficient in the language of tuition, which may mean submitting results of a relevant language test.
Course structure and assessment methods
Courses in media studies and communication studies are typically taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, screenings, various practical activities and assessments, and one-to-one supervision, all of which aim at providing students with a broad understanding of today’s media world. During the first year, most of the modules will be introductory and theoretical. During the following stages of your studies, you will have the option to choose a field of specialization. Tasks and assessments are likely to come in a variety of forms, including exams and essays, class presentations and written assignments, as well as more practical project work, such as film or online content production.
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