Undergraduate Course

BA Media and Digital Culture

(including Placement Year)

BA Media and Digital Culture

Overview

The details
Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year)
LP34
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus

How does the media shape social and cultural life? How have digital and internet cultures transformed personal and networked interactions? What is the relationship between the media, mass politics, and governance? What is media power, and who wields it? Whatever the questions that interest you, at Essex you can develop the skills to go beyond simply arguing about them, and instead find the evidence needed to answer them.

At Essex we investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others.

You experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue a variety of topics including:

  • The impact of computer games on crime
  • Mass media and modern life
  • The art, film and personal testimony of war
  • Practical research methods, including designing interview schedules and surveys and handling cultural data

The Department of Sociology and Criminology also offers expertise in many areas that complement the study of communications and digital culture, including criminology, social history, visual sociology, economic sociology, US and European studies and cultural rights.

Why we're great.
  • Our teaching is underpinned by research - new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
  • You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating.
  • You develop the critical and inventive thinking skills necessary for many graduate jobs.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university

Placement year

You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

Training social scientists of the future

We offer you the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds quantitative methods in your degree. Successful completion of specified modules entitles you to receive the qualifier ‘(Applied Quantitative Methods)' at the end of your degree title, for example BA Sociology (Applied Quantitative Methods) and this will appear on your transcript. You can also receive student bursaries to go on work placements, helping you stand out when applying for jobs.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

Our staff have worked at local, national and international level with bodies like news organisations, advertising agencies, local councils, the Home Office, Amnesty International and the United Nations.They are high-profile researchers with interests across the field of media, culture and society.

Professor Sean Nixon is an expert on media history, consumer cultures and advertising. Dr Michael Bailey leads on cultural policy studies, critical theory and heritage and has been closely involved with national debates on the Leveson Inquiry into UK press regulation. Dr James Allen-Robertson specialises in digital cultures, disruptive technologies and gaming.

Core staff on this programme include:

  • Dr Xintong Jia

    Dr Xintong Jia's research interest intersects media and gender, feminist epistemology, reality dating television, advertising and consumer culture, and audience reception in global and transnational contexts. Her recent work seeks to explore an emerging and distinctive Chinese postfeminist sensibility and contributes to research on female subjectivity, mediated intimacy, and more generally to the global interrogation of how postfeminism and neoliberalism are lived, experienced, and represented.

Specialist facilities

  • A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students' work, and attend workshops on research skills
  • The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
  • Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
  • Our students' Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
  • Links on Campus with the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and its BA in Multimedia Journalism supported by former BBC staff

Your future

Careers linked to communications and digital culture are varied. Our courses provide an excellent training for work within the cultural industries, communications, PR, marketing, publishing and social research.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The Institute of Public Finance
  • Media Analysts
  • Guardian Professional
  • United
  • Synergy Healthcare Research

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email ugquery@essex.ac.uk for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please contact our Undergraduate Admissions team at ugquery@essex.ac.uk to request the entry requirements for this country.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We'll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website and in line with your contract with us. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, we'll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Media, Culture and Society
(30 CREDITS)

Does the media make people violent? Objectify women? Tell you what to do? Study the modern media as a social terrain, order of communication and domain of ideas, using examples from cinema, photography, newspapers and TV. Examine popular debates and consider practical methodologies for undertaking media research in the future.

View Media, Culture and Society on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

The Sociological Imagination
(30 CREDITS)

How can sociology help you understand the world in which you live? What are some of the major features and trends in present-day societies? Using sociological tools, you analyse key features of different societies, such as stratification, poverty, racism, consumption, multinational corporations, religion, and the gender division of labour in low-income countries.

View The Sociological Imagination on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Researching Social Life
(15 CREDITS)

What research methods do sociologists use? And what are the methodologies underpinning them? Wish to learn how to critically evaluate social research? And receive training in collecting quantitative and qualitative data? We study the principles of social science investigation and how to carry out original research.

View Researching Social Life on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Unlocking Your Academic Potential: How to Study at University
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Ethical Issues in Journalism
(15 CREDITS)

This module is all about how the internet has transformed the media in the 21st century. Building on the History of Journalism module, this module is taking in several related topics, including the way the internet has changed the working practices and business models of existing news media organisations – local, national and international; the increasing dominance of social networking corporations in advertising; the rise of ‘citizen journalism’ online; how journalists can use social media; the challenge of big data for journalists, from Wikileaks to ‘fake news’; the difficulties of regulation in the online age. The scope is broad: you will be encouraged to explore the economic, political and ethical issues of the still-emerging new media landscape in all its aspects and to engage with debates worldwide. The majority of reading is extremely contemporary – and liable to week-by-week change – and the format of classes will be a mix of lectures, seminars and audio-visual material.

View Ethical Issues in Journalism on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Option(s) from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Digital Society
(30 CREDITS)

Does technology determine history? Can games teach us about power? Does software shape society? Develop a critical understanding of the role played by human-machine relationships in contemporary cultural change. Evaluate recent developments in media technologies from a sociological perspective. Develop your own blog as part of your final assessment.

View Digital Society on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Creative Media
(15 CREDITS)

Get yourself out there. Digital and social media provide invaluable platforms for showcasing your creative work, creating new and innovative content, and connecting with future employers, agents, and collaborators. In this module, you investigate the potential of both existing and emerging social and multi-media channels, getting hands-on in practical sessions, and gaining key knowledge of the legal aspects of web-based media.

View Creative Media on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Option(s) from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

SC201-5-FY or Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

AR327-5-AU and/or Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

This is a co-curricular module carrying zero credits but is compulsory. Upon the completion of the module, each Sociology student will have developed an understanding of their skills, interests, and goals and how these can be implemented to address the societal challenges of the future. 

View Career Development and Making a Difference on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Placement Year
(120 CREDITS)

Students will undertake their placement at a host organisation. The student is responsible for securing the placement, with support from the University. The module enables you to undertake a full placement year with an external Placement Provider. During the placement, you will be supervised by an academic member of staff to complete a number of assessments which will enable you to utilise and develop the links between the knowledge and skills developed in your academic course and the work-based skills developed in carrying out your placement role.

View Placement Year on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

The Current Issues in Social Science
(30 CREDITS)

This module gives students an opportunity to apply social science to address key issues facing society at the local, national and global level. For example, what is the impact of the war in Yemen or in Syria? What is the impact of Brexit? How does global warming affect us? What are the major challenges in the 21st century? This module will tackle a different theme each term to better understand how Social Science can be used to understand the big issues.

View The Current Issues in Social Science on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Mass Media and Modern Life
(30 CREDITS)

What impact has the printed press had on our social and cultural life? What about radio, cinema, TV and recorded music? And how important is all this in the light of new technological advancements? Examine the development of our mass media culture, from the nineteenth century to the present day.

View Mass Media and Modern Life on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

SC301-6-FY or option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

This is a co-curricular module carrying zero credits but is compulsory. Upon the completion of the module, each Sociology student will have developed an understanding of their skills, interests, and goals and how these can be implemented to address the societal challenges of the future. 

View Career Development and Making a Difference on our Module Directory

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.

Teaching

  • Undergraduate students in the Department of Sociology and Criminology typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each module per week. There are some variations in place depending on the module.
  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions to improve technical research skills

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
  • Weighting is 50% coursework and 50% examinations
  • Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday 17 August 2024 - Colchester Clearing Open Day
  • Saturday 21 September 2024 - September Open Day
  • Saturday 26 October 2024 - October Open Day

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Ask us a question
Ask us a question

Want to quiz us about your course? Got a question that just needs answering? Get in touch with us on live chat!