International Media and Communications Studies BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2018 entry

Qualification
International Media and Communications Studies | BA Hons
UCAS code
P900
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
ABB (or BCC via a foundation year) 
Required subjects
No specific subjects 
IB score
32 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
30
School/department
 

Overview

This course allows you to study the theory and history of communications in a global context.
Read full overview

On the BA International Media and Communications Studies course, you will study the theory and history of communications in a global context. You will develop a strong sense of the various political, economic, social and cultural factors that shape the way we understand, or misunderstand, each other on an international stage. In addition, you will study a European or Asian language from beginners to A level standard, or continue with a language you already know (French, German or Spanish). There is an opportunity to spend part of year two abroad.

Year one

In the first year, you are provided with a firm foundation in the themes and approaches of cultural studies and media studies with a focus on the role of new media technologies in a changing public sphere. You will also begin the study of your chosen language, as well as receiving instruction in the academic skills needed to produce universtiy-level work.

Year two

Year two builds on the first year by providing specific research training in the area of culture, film and media which enables you to focus on a potential dissertation topic. More specific modules allow you to explore issues around public relations, political communication and global media. Continued language learning helps to enhance confidence in a second language.

Year three

In the final year, you choose from a number of modules that draw on the research specialisms of staff within the department ranging from activist uses of digital media to media coverage of conflict and disaster. These advanced, research-led modules also support you in your independent dissertation project, undertaken under the close supervision of a relevant member of staff. In this final year, you are supported in achieving a command of your chosen language and in gaining an awareness of the cultures in which it can be utilised. 

 

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB

BTEC: DDM

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level, find out more here.

English language requirements

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE), which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English. Successful students can progress onto their chosen degree course without taking IELTS again.

Alternative qualifications

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC HND/HNC
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.


Flexible admissions policy 

At the University of Nottingham we treat all applicants as individuals; we may make some a lower offer than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances.

Your exam grades are very important, but we also look at a range of other factors and aim to give everyone an equal opportunity to demonstrate their achievements. If we judge that you have experienced extenuating circumstances that have had an adverse effect on your academic achievement, we will take them into account. These may include:

  • being from a less advantaged family environment in terms of income, education and experience
  • being from a school or college where high academic achievement is not the norm
  • having daily family, caring or work responsibilities
  • being a care-leaver, refugee or from a travelling community

We will recognise these personal and/or educational circumstances as a positive factor when assessing your overall potential. However, whether or not we make you an offer depends on our overall assessment. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

To apply for this course, visit the UCAS website

 
 

Modules

Typical year one modules


Compulsory


All are core for single honours students; joint honours students select a combination of modules: either Media and Society plus Cultures of Everyday Life, or Communication and Culture plus Communication and Technology.

Communication and Culture
This module surveys the field of communications theory and provides an introduction to the key methodologies and topics of cultural studies within the context of contemporary life. Students will be introduced to key theoretical approaches to the communications process and encouraged to develop literacies across a wide range of visual and written sources, including advertising, TV, and journalism. Students will also be encouraged to assess the gains and shortcomings of particular theoretical models and to consider the processes that obstruct and frustrate the ambition of establishing clear channels of communication. The module also introduces approaches to cultural studies through the following key themes: 'high' versus 'popular' culture; race and ethnicity; feminism, Marxism and postmodernism; and the internet.
 
Cultures of Everyday Life

Our daily lives are filled with 'realities' and phenomena that exceed our abilities to account for them: we might order a headstone on the way to the supermarket or be captivated by a carrier bag blowing in the wind; we may spend much of our time bored or dreaming of winning the lottery. While we may take the idea of the everyday for granted, associating it with routine, familiar and repeated experiences, our everyday lives are, simultaneously, punctuated by the exceptional, the random and the disruptive. Traditional theoretical attempts to account for the everyday tend to overlook aspects of daily life that refuse system and order: sociology, anthropology, cultural and media studies, for example, deal with activities such as work and leisure but neglect the unique texture of everyday experience. This module thus emphasises the everyday world as fraught with difficulty (in terms of seeing, theorising and representing), and looks at a wide range of attempts to register daily existence, including the modernist novel, photography, film, time capsules, poetry, video diaries and comics.

 
Media and Society

This module explores communication processes in an international context, outlining key imperatives—including technology, mobility, economics, space and time compression, cultural difference, ethics and conflict—that contribute to the way we understand each other across the highly mediated communications landscape. The module pays particular attention to transnational media texts and audiences and the emergence of what has been termed 'the network society'.

 
Communication Technology

This module takes a detailed look at debates around the impact of new information and communications technologies such as the internet, digital TV, and mobile and wireless communications on processes of communication. The module emphasises the social, economic and political implications of information communication technology adoption, such as the ongoing 'digital divide' between the information-rich and -poor. It also investigates issues surrounding human-machine interaction, exploring the reshaping of communication forms and practices together with notions of posthumanism and cyberbodies.

 
Academic Development
This module is designed to support first year students as they make the transition into degree level work. Students will gain skills in independent and collaborative learning with the aid of guided and self-directed learning tasks.
 
Language
Study a foreign language of your choosing. Language options include: Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish, offered at different levels (including the beginners' level).
 
 

Typical year two modules

 
Political Communication, Public Relations and Propaganda

The module explores the evolution of political communication from the turn of the 20th century and considers its links to the emergence of modern public relations. Starting with the influential work of Edward Bernys, widely considered as the father of modern public relations, we will consider how PR has developed and how its tactics and practices have increasingly been co-opted by modern politicians. The module examines the promotional strategies employed by political parties in campaign cycles and during non-election periods, strategies sometimes described as news management and 'spin'. This module will also look at the history of modern propaganda campaigns from their early origins during the First and Second World Wars, through to more contemporary examples.

 
Cultural Politics

This module develops the political dimension of theoretical approaches to culture and communications. Looking at everyday forms and practices, it highlights ideological investments in questions of cultural value. Concentrating on race, class, gender, disability and sexuality as areas of inequality that shape, and are shaped by, cultural and communications practices, the module emphasises the power dynamics at play in processes of cultural production, consumption and control. The programme moves from macro to micro approaches to culture, beginning with broad questions around ideology, power and resistance and ending with the particulars of everyday strategies and tactics.

 
Understanding Cultural Industries
You’ll learn how show business is broken down into ‘show’ and ‘business’ in film, television and promotional industries and examine how creative decision-making, technology and legislation influence those industries. You’ll also learn about how advertising and market research influence the design and production of media in certain regions and how film and television industries have developed in different contexts and periods.
 
Translating Cultures

This module introduces students to the key concept of translating between cultures as part of inter-cultural communication. The commingling of national and regional cultures in the light of increased flows of people, goods, capital and information is rendering the study of the impact of cultural difference on communication indispensable. This is particularly so for management theory, advertising and marketing, public relations and international news. Using a range of examples and case studies, this module enables students to perform comparative analyses that isolate cultural effects on communication. For example, how does the same advert 'play' in collectivist as opposed to individualist cultures; how might 'high-context' communication in a Chinese context effect a business negotiation; or how might cultural differences around conceptions of truth challenge Western liberal principles of freedom of speech. The module seeks to balance the ideal of harmonious inter-cultural communication on the one hand, and the richness of cultural diversity on the other.

 
Transnational Media

You’ll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You’ll develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media.

 
Cultural Analysis
This module focuses on concepts, theories and approaches explored in first year modules on the analysis of actual cultural phenomena. In the first half of the module we will look at a number of historically important cultural analyses, and in the second half of the module we shall concentrate on the analysis of contemporary culture. Students will be encouraged to understand various methods in cultural analysis, e.g. semiotic, sociological, aesthetic and their relation to cultural critique, with a view to undertaking a cultural analysis of their own.
 
Researching Culture, Film and Media

For this year-long core module you’ll spend two hours a week in lectures and workshops to become familiar with different methods for investigating research topics, including methods such as ethnographic, historical and textual study, and determining their suitability for different projects. You’ll investigate the interdisciplinary nature of film, television and media studies and demonstrate this knowledge by choosing your own research project and methods.

 
Language
Continue to study the foreign language of your choosing. Language options include: Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish, offered at different levels.
 
 

Typical year three modules

 

International Media and Communications Studies Dissertation

This module gives students the opportunity to work independently on a chosen subject area of their choice, with an appropriate supervisor.
 
Visual Culture
The major theoretical approaches to understanding images have included art history analysis, semiotics, psychoanalysis and discourse analysis. Each of these theoretical ways of ‘decoding’ images is explored by this course. The course asks how making affects meaning and how images can be seen as tools of critical theory in media culture. It looks at a wide range of images from fine art, photography, print media, television and film, science and advertising. The course covers many themes such as ‘what is an image?’, ‘what is the relation between language and images?’ ‘what is the relation between image and thought?’ It ends on the open question of what visual literacy might be and mean in a visual culture.
 
Contesting Culture
This module examines the contested nature of culture in a variety of contexts. Beginning with a definition of culture that includes the arts and media, but broadening out to consider cultural practices in a range of situations, the module asks the key questions: who defines and controls culture and for what purposes and, conversely, what kinds of opportunities exist for cultural and creative resistance?
 
Hearing Cultures: Sound, Listening and Everyday Life in the Modern World
This module introduces students to the cultural and social role of sound and listening in everyday life. Scholars have argued that, since the Enlightenment, modern societies have privileged sight over the other senses in their desire to know and control the world. But what of hearing? Until recently, the role of sound in everyday life was a neglected field of study. Yet Jonathan Sterne argues that the emergence of new sound media technologies in the nineteenth century — from the stethoscope to the phonograph — amounted to an 'ensoniment' in modern culture in which listening took centre stage. Beginning with an examination of the relationship between visual and auditory culture in everyday life, this module introduces a variety of cultural contexts in which sound played an important role, including: how people interact with the sounds of their cities; how new sound technologies allowed people to intervene in everyday experience; why some sounds (such as music) have been valued over others (such as noise); the role of sound in making and breaking communities; the role of sounds in conflict and warfare; and the importance of sound in film and television from the silent era onwards. We use a variety of sound sources, such as music and archival sound recordings, in order to understand the significance of sound in everyday life from the late eighteenth century to the present.
 
Self, Sign and Society
This module equips students with the theoretical tools needed to explore how social identity is both asserted and challenged through the deployment of signs broadly conceived. 'Sign' is understood here primarily with reference to Saussurean linguistics, and the impact of the structuralist and then poststructuralist movements on disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, semiotics, postcolonial theory, cultural studies and visual culture. How does our accent function as a sign of our class origins or cultural sympathies? Does skin colour always function as a social sign? How do the clothes we wear align us with particular lifestyles and ideological positions and how is this transgressed? How has the phenomenon of self-branding colonised our everyday lives? What does our Facebook profile say about how we would like to be read by the wider world? Does the logic of the sign itself exceed what we intend to do with it? How do the signs that construct a social 'self circulate in the context of new media? Are there psychological costs associated with living in this society of the sign? This module will address these and other related questions by introducing students to the approaches of thinkers such as Freud and Lacan, Saussure and Greimas, Barthes and Baudrillard, Levi-Strauss and Geertz, Derrida and Bhabha, and Mirzoeff and Mitchell among others.
 
Teaching Film and Media Studies for Undergraduate Ambassadors
This module is part of the nationwide Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme which works with universities to provide academic modules that enable students to go into local schools to act as inspiring role-models. Students split their time between the university-based seminar and their allocated school, where they are placed in an appropriate department as a teaching assistant. Students are required to design and deliver a teaching project aimed at improving pupil understanding of selected aspects of media studies. Students will be supported by the module convenor and the education specialist on campus, and by their contact teacher at their school. Typically there are fortnightly seminars and 7 half-days spent in school. Placements are in secondary schools and Sixth Form or FE colleges.
 
Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power
This module will adopt an interdisciplinary approach to exploring the relationship between public space, politics and technology. Drawing on research in a range of fields including: critical theory, cultural studies, cultural geography, digital studies, urban sociology and politics, it will give students an empirically focused account of debates the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on contemporary developments in urban environments. A range of protest movements will provide case-study material and offer a central focus for both theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in controlling space, resisting control and enabling new forms of civic participation.
 
The Blockbuster

You’ll examine a number of industrial and commercial contexts to answer the question ‘what is a blockbuster?’ and explore the phenomenon by learning where the term emerged and to what kind of films it has been applied worldwide across the history of cinema. The social value of the term will also be considered, and you’ll discuss the global dynamics of the blockbuster. You will spend six hours a week in workshops and seminars.

 
Language (optional)
Continue to study the foreign language of your choosing. Language options include: Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Spanish, offered at different levels. You can substitute language modules with other optional modules offered in Year 3.
 
 

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.

 
 

Careers

You will have developed independence of mind and will be inclined to question the modern world in more detail. Your transferable skills will include the ability to critically analyse the media, communicate effectively, develop and sustain a reasoned argument, and produce independent research. The language skills you will have gained, particularly if you have spent a year abroad, will recommend you to employers.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 84% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Culture, Film and Media who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,378 with the highest being £36,000.* 

*Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2014/15. Salaries are calculated based on those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.   

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.

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Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 40 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

 
 
 

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Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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