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Guide to studying Communication & Media Studies

Communication & Media Studies offers a great insight into how the modern world works through a range of different medium.

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  1. What's Communication & Media Studies?

  2. Why study Communication & Media Studies?

  3. What jobs can you get as a Communication & Media Studies graduate?

  4. What do graduates do and earn?
  5. What qualifications do you need?

  6. What degrees can you study?

  7. How will you be assessed?

  8. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Communication & Media Studies?

If you're fascinated by trends, social media or why something might go viral, this could be the subject area for you.

A degree in Communication & Media Studies prepares you for work in the media industry, where you'll analyse the way media reflects, represents and influences. You’ll have to keep pace with the latest news, tech and debates across press, broadcasting, advertising and other digital media.

Similar courses for Communication & Media Studies include: 

  • Journalism
  • Media Studies
  • Publicity Studies
  • Publishing

Why study Communication & Media Studies?

Communication & Media Studies covers historical and contemporary media events. There are usually no specific A Levels required, so it's ideal if you're unsure what to study and whether you should try something new.

The subject area provides the opportunity for plenty of independent exploration into what interests you most. You'll be encouraged to unearth your own stories and research into your favoured media area.

Communication & Media Studies departments usually offer a number of dual honours degrees, meaning you can combine a cultural education with your passion. Or you could explore two strands of learning in greater detail. Course combinations include with Sociology, Politics, History or a modern foreign language.

One of the skills most prized in graduates by large modern companies is the ability to adapt and use the most up-to-date and modern technology. A knowledge of Twitter and other branches of social media, how to lay up a page in Indesign or edit in Final Cut Pro, will give you a real advantage. 

By the time I finished my undergrad, I knew being a journalist was what I wanted to do and whilst I had learned tonnes on the job, I didn't have any formal training in things like media law, ethics and shorthand, hence the decision to undertake a journalism course.
Laura, University of Sheffield

Close up of smartphone screen. Man reading articles in application

What jobs can you get as a Communication & Media Studies graduate?

Communication & Media Studies degrees teach valuable transferable skills such as presentation, research and communication, as well as how to analyse the latest technological innovations.

Particular job roles include media planner, multimedia planner, programme researcher, public relations officer, TV runner, journalist and producer.

Several professional organisations offer specialised positions for Communication & Media Studies graduates, such as the BBC.

What do graduates do and earn?

In the infographic below, the first table shows what graduates of Communication & Media Studies have gone on to do in the months after their graduation.

The second table shows the average salaries of undergraduate Communication & Media Studies students entering employment. The three skill levels – high, medium and low – reflect the UK's Standard Occupational Classification's major groups 1–3, 4–6 and 7–9 respectively. 

Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18

What qualifications do you need?

You usually don't need any specific A Level subjects (or equivalent) for a Communications & Media Studies course. But English Language or Literature, Psychology and Sociology might be useful.

Grades and other requirements vary between each institution. Always confirm the entry requirements for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Communication and Media
  • BA Film, Photography and Media
  • BA Communication and Journalism
  • BA New Media

How will you be assessed?

For most courses, you'll have to attend classes each week via lectures, seminars, tutorial discussions and student presentations. The exact mixture of activities varies somewhat from course to course.

The majority of assessed work is through coursework and projects which encourage independent thought and learning. You may have end of year exams and the option of a final year dissertation.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include an MA in Print, Magazine or Broadcast Journalism as well as in International Communications, Gender, Media and Culture; and a straight MA in Media and Communications.

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