What is media studies?
From television to cinema, radio to podcasts, social media to blogs and vlogs, and everything in between – media studies plays a big part of our every day. And it’s never been so relevant than in the internet age, where actors, singers, and personalities can make their own celebrity online using their media skills. As technology, creativity, and competition increases, these skills become more in demand all over the world.
Media studies will equip you with the communication and technology skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace, whether in the media industry or not. Whether you choose to pursue a career in film and television, fight for your own fame, or take your skills into business – you’ll be well equipped for what the modern workplace is looking for.
Media studies course entry requirements
Needless to say, media studies is the most useful subject you can show you’ve studied in your application for this degree. If you didn’t study it, don’t worry, as the most common subjects in media studies applications are English language and English literature. Psychology and sociology are also useful, but it’s your passion for media that most universities will be looking for.
Media studies is more practical than academic, so be prepared to show a portfolio or speak about your experience with the media. When it comes to soft skills, you’ll want to show curiosity, a natural flair with technology, creativity, consistency, patience, and drive
- Apply by the January deadline
- Write a personal statement
- Submit a portfolio
- Audition for a place
- Attend an interview
- Pass an entry test
- Show work experience
Would I be better off studying journalism over media studies?
Media studies is a broad subject, and journalism is one of many modules on offer throughout the course. If you want to be a journalist, then that’s your best degree choice. But if you want a range of options that will get your foot in the door of a lot of careers in the media industry, then media studies is for you.
Why study media studies at university?
Pursuing a job in the media industry is a competitive process, so a degree in the field will help you stand out from the crowd. It will equip you with skills ranging from copywriting to camera work, and gear you up for a fastmoving industry that requires you to change with the times.
Whether you want to be the brains behind the scenes of film and music, or you want to make a difference as a broadcaster or journalist, a degree in media studies will give you a shot at a number of different careers.
You can also use your media skills to investigate and analyse the theory of media studies, helping businesses and organisations predict the outcome of news items and current affairs. By looking at the history of media studies and its place in society and culture, you can help design public health campaigns, or advise on communications for big businesses.
Some modules you may study are:
- Global digital cultures
- International journalism
- Community media for social action
- Producing and consuming social media
- Elements of visual media
- Power and resistance
- Media morals and ethics
- Critical approaches to media
A levels – Entry requirements range from CDD to ABB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for BBC.
Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AABBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for ABB.
Vocational courses – Other Level 3/Level 6 qualifications (e.g. Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, or an SCQF Level 6) may be accepted as an alternative to A levels/Highers by some providers. It’s essential that you check alternative entry requirements with universities or colleges.
What can you do with a media studies degree?
Media studies will equip you for a wide range of jobs, including as a:
- advertising media buyer
- media researcher
- broadcast journalist
- social media manager
And an even greater list of related job families, including:
- television/film producer
- PR consultant
- web content manager
- political adviser
- editorial assistant
What’s it like to study media studies?
The job market for media studies graduates is competitive, and that’s reflected in the course. Don’t expect to be watching videos or listening to music all day, there’s a high degree of theoretical, research, and analytical work that goes hand-in-hand with the creative aspect of the subject.
As you look at the role of media studies in contemporary society, you can expect to recognise bits of other subjects in your studies, including history, sociology, philosophy, psychology, and politics. Whichever route you choose – academic or vocational – you can expect a lot of self-study.
Media studies are generally three years long, resulting in a BA. You may have the chance to add a sandwich year and spend 12 months in industry, meaning that your degree will last four years. With the competition for jobs in the media industry, you should consider your placement options very carefully. You may also want to develop a niche during your second and third years, when you begin to choose your own modules and specialise in certain areas.
With the media industry going through such rapid change, there has never been a better time to enter this academic field. The rise of online platforms, and the innovations within the traditional media giants, is creating a need for highly skilled media professionals who can adapt and change with the times.
Media studies undergraduates can expect the following tasks during their studies:
- writing reports and essays
- presentations and pitches
- film, music and creative projects
- attending lectures and seminars
- hearing from industry speakers
- placements and industry experience
- project and teamwork
Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three.
If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.
Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.
Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.
Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)
- Junior 2D artist (visual effects)
- Marketing executive
- Post production technical operator
- Public relations and communications assistant
Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)
- Broadcast and media systems engineer
- Digital marketer integrated degree
- Marketing manager
- Outside broadcasting engineer (degree)
Discover more about apprenticeships in media, publishing and information services
Our guide has all the info you need to know about doing an apprenticeship in this industry. Find out what it's really like from current apprentices and decide if it's the right route for you.