Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Media Studies with an Approved Year Abroad - BA (Hons)

UCAS code W991

2019

Our new Media Studies BA is designed for students with a passion for contemporary culture and a desire to influence future developments in the arts. This interdisciplinary degree allows you to study contemporary culture while undertaking creative practice, such as filmmaking, photography, screenwriting, playwriting, film criticism, theatre journalism and visual arts writing.

Overview

Communication happens through still and moving images, spoken and written words, music, drawing and animation. In the 21st century the boundaries between these forms have blurred. On this programme, you examine how old and new media are creating meaning today and using our first-class resources create work of your own.

How is art different to entertainment? How do filmmakers, performers and artists express themselves using style and genre? What are the distinctions between ‘high’ and ‘low’ media? The teaching staff, leading researchers in the field, guide you to answering these questions and more. They help you understand how media shape us, and how you, through your creative practice, can shape media.

We have embedded practice-based learning within the programme with modules in areas such as filmmaking, photography, arts criticism, screenwriting and curating. The programme has been designed to deepen your understanding of contemporary media through creative ability.

Study Abroad

Exchanges are offered subject to availability and in some cases will be dependent on which degree you are studying at Kent. In most cases, Kent students must also meet the academic and attendance requirements set by their School or Faculty in order to study/work abroad.

See the Course structure tab for more details.

Independent rankings

Media and Film Studies at Kent was ranked 3rd overall in The Guardian University Guide 2018. Communications and Media Studies at Kent was ranked 2nd for student satisfaction in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Communications and Media at Kent was ranked 1st for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2018 and The Times Good University Guide 2017.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

All students take at least two of the following modules:

All students then choose optional modules that may include:

Stage 2

All students take:

  • Media Ethics
  • Mobile Filmmaking

All students then choose optional modules from a list that may include:

Stage 3

All students take the following modules:

  • Writing across Media
  • Industry Project

All students then choose optional modules that may include:


Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This module introduces students to the ways in which meaning is created and communicated across various media. The primary focus will be upon a range of key concepts, such as narrative, narration, form, genre, style, and how the understanding of these across various media helps to explain how meaning is created and embodied within a medium. Media are therefore studied in this module as a means for the transmission of meaning that shape and constrain what can be communicated and how.

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This introductory module examines?how cultural agents have established a pyramid of taste and explores how avant-garde movements have challenged this pyramid even as they depend upon it. Through case studies drawn from the literary arts, film, the visual arts, music and theatre, students investigate the manner in which the parameters of highbrow, middlebrow and lowbrow culture have been articulated by artists, critics and theorists.

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This module draws upon concepts in Media Studies to inform an introduction to moving image production. The module explores various forms of screen culture - from cinema, to television, to content creation in the digital age. Basic technical skills in production and post-production are taught along with craft skills applicable to narrative and factual screen production. Through a combination of lectures, screenings, creative and technical workshops this module encourages critical reflection, independent thought, and dialogue between media theory and practice. Practical work is designed to trigger both conceptual and creative thinking as well as consideration of audience responses to moving images and visual narratives. The essay, a critical analysis of the finished film, is designed to encourage a dialogue between theory and practice.

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This module will introduce first year students to ideas of theatre and performance as sites of citizenship, through exploration of contemporary, popular forms such as music gigs, performance poetry and comedy. Students will learn to identify and analyse key features and techniques present in popular performance forms, and to relate performances to their commercial, cultural and political contexts. This will include understanding of how 'DIY'/commercialist principles of production shape the work, and discourses that position performances as fun/difficult, legitimate/illegitimate and as high/low culture. They will explore how popular performances interact with the politics of government, identity and taste, and will be introduced to key concepts and debates on the usefulness of popular entertainment in shaping citizenship and public opinion. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon the forms of popular culture which they themselves enjoy, exploring the extent to which these shape their own attitudes and behaviours, and will create pop-up performances which demonstrate this awareness. By the end of the module, students will have acquired a foundational understanding of: popular performance as a genre; performance as reflection of its cultural and political contexts; the extent to which performances implicate their creators and audiences as citizens.

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The course introduces students to the language of film, from aspects of mise-en-scène (setting, performance, costumes, props, lighting, frame composition) to framing (camera movement, shot scale, lenses), sound (fidelity, volume, timbre) and editing (from requirements for spatial orientation through matches on action, eyeline matches and shot-reverse-shot structures to temporal manipulations through ellipsis and montage). The study of these elements enables students to understand the spatial and temporal construction of films, as well as the stylistic, expressive and/or dramatic functions of specific strategies

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30

This module examines a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and articulates some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. These include a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity, and postmodernism. It pursues general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, and investigates the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today.

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15

This module examines a wide range of contemporary forms of art and artistic practice, and articulates some key distinctions useful for addressing the question of the place of art in culture. These include a discussion of ideas of the avant-garde, of modernity, and postmodernism. It pursues general themes and case studies of particularly controversial art objects, and investigates the different means by which our notions of art and of the artist are 'framed' today.

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30

This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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15

This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focusing on a sequence of so termed 'canonical' works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc.

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15

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focusing on a sequence of so termed 'canonical' works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc

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30

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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15

This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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30

This module introduces students to discussions and debates surrounding modern culture. It looks at why culture has always been such a contested sphere and has a decisive impact on society at large. Students will look at culture in the widest sense, ranging from ‘the arts’ to the banalities of everyday life in our consumer society; at how culture has expressed and organised the way people think and live from the days of 'protestantism' to those of post-punk. Books, magazines, radio, TV, movies, cartoons, fashion, graffiti, the cult of celebrity, youth subcultures and pop music will be used to understand class, history, sexuality, colonialism, revolution, conflict and globalisation.

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15

Contemporary culture is 'now-time' culture, but when did 'now’ begin - and, will it be over before the course starts? This module focuses on analysing contemporary culture and media and aims to demonstrate the range of possible interpretations that mediated culture can be open to. It raises questions about how culture can be viewed from aesthetic, political, ethical and economic perspectives. What is culture really for? Is it product or a process? Who owns it? Is it for fun or is it deadly serious? In order to think through contemporary issues such as gender relations, sexuality, multiculturalism and otherness, and what they might imply about our changing perceptions of space, place, and belonging, we'll be taking a case study approach to a range of cultural products and objects, media and institutions, and post-modern practices of communication. This module aims to understand the transformation of culture and media and everyday life we are living through and the way it changes who we are.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module seeks to investigate some of the most pressing ethical issues in contemporary media culture and the mediated arts. Topics may include: violence in video games, nudity on the screen and in advertising, anti-heroes and villains in fiction, propaganda and manipulation, sexism and racism in humor, shock value in the news and in contemporary art. To answer the many moral questions that arise in this context students will examine basic notions such as truth, objectification, voyeurism, exploitation, offence, harm, gender, and stereotype.

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This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

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This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose three practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.

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The proliferation of mobile devices and the rise of participatory culture have had a transformative effect on how moving images are generated and experienced. The ease with which we can now create and share images, audio and video has impacted how stories are told and films are made. This module explores some of the many new forms of content creation and narrative practices that have appeared as a result of this technological and cultural change, and encourages students to engage with these forms critically and creatively. Students will examine digital storytelling as an emergent form of participatory media by exploring new media narrative methods such as vlogs, citizen journalism, social media based storytelling and video essays. Students will create short works in a number of these forms.

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The digital sphere has given voice and meeting spaces to communities and activist groups, enabling social action, art and change. It has also been used by reactionaries, nationalists and the far-right groups to amplify hate filled messages. Analysing platforms that may include Facebook, Twitter, Uber and Wikipedia, the module engages with concepts such as participatory and collaborative culture, sharing economies, democracy and surveillance.

Students will engage in sourcing, analysing and critiquing social media content by way of a Digital Portfolio. This work will be contextualised by an essay that situates students' multimedia exercises within key debates in online culture. To facilitate this, lectures and seminars will explore various case studies - from mainstream politicians’ use of social media in campaigning, to the intensification of hate speech in the cyber sphere, to the ethics of using unpaid journalists and the economy of sharing - in order to encourage students to engage critically with the relationship between politics, economics, personal expression and art making practices in the digital age.

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This module addresses the influence of the early avant-garde on later experimental performance forms such as performance art and multimedia performance. It examines the impact of new technologies on performance and representation throughout the last century, and explores the relationship between media culture and theatre practice. Key modernist and postmodernist practitioners are discussed as the module traces the evolution of multimedia theatre and performance art. Students analyse how time, space and bodies manifest within a diversity of contemporary media art and performance art, and focus is placed on the nature of audience engagement. The module also considers questions concerning the live and mediated aspects of performance, and explores concepts such as 'liveness', ‘the body’, ‘intermediality’, ‘posthumanism’ ‘public space’ and ‘participation’.

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Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities in Europe, the USA or Asia.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability, language and degree programme.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad including achieving a merit at Stages 1 and 2.  If the requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent three-year programme. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Teaching and assessment

All modules involve live lectures, small group seminars, screenings and occasionally group trips to galleries, museums, libraries and festivals. Methods of assessment vary between modules. The majority of modules are assessed solely by coursework, while others have a mix of coursework and exams.

Typically, students attend two lectures a week of one-and-a-half to two hours in duration, as well as two seminars a week of similar length. In addition, many modules will have screenings, readings, trips and related learning activities.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • develop existing and new areas of teaching in response to current research and scholarship within contemporary media arts
  • provide students with a rich understanding of contemporary thought about the media of the visual and performed arts, visual culture and aesthetics
  • encourage and consolidate a distinctive approach to media arts, focusing upon our strengths in film, aesthetics, contemporary art, and practice-based learning.
  • enhance students’ awareness of sensitivity to the context in which the arts are produced, disseminated and received in the contemporary world.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You will develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • particular media forms and genres, and the way in which they organise understandings, meanings and affects
  • the interconnectedness of texts and contexts, and of the shifting configurations of communicative, cultural and aesthetic practices and systems
  • the historical evolution of particular genres, aesthetic traditions and forms, and of their current characteristics and possible future developments
  • the material conditions of media and cultural consumption, and of the cultural contexts in which people appropriate, use and make sense of media and cultural products
  • the aesthetic and formal qualities at play, and their relation to meanings, in particular cultural forms
  • the student's own creative processes and practice through engagement in one or more production practices
  • narrative processes, generic forms and modes of representation at work in media and cultural texts
  • an understanding of the ways in which specific media and their attendant technologies make possible different kinds of aesthetic effects and forms
  • the ways in which people engage with cultural texts and practices and make meaning from them.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual abilities:

  • engage critically with major thinkers, debates and intellectual paradigms within the field and put them to productive use
  • understand forms of communication, media and culture as they have emerged historically and appreciate the processes through which they have come into being, with reference to social, cultural and technological change
  • examine forms of communication, media and culture critically with appropriate reference to the social and cultural contexts and diversity of contemporary society
  • analyse closely, interpret and show the exercise of critical judgment in the understanding and, as appropriate, evaluation of these forms of communication, media and culture
  • develop substantive and detailed knowledge and understanding in one or more designated areas of media arts
  • consider and evaluate their own work in a reflective manner, with reference to academic and/or professional issues, debates and conventions.

Subject-specific skills

You gain specific skills in the following:

  • critically appraising some of the widespread common sense understandings and misunderstandings of communications, media and culture, and the debates and disagreements to which these give rise
  • critically evaluating the contested nature of some objects of study within the fields of communication, media, film and cultural studies, and the social and political implications of the judgements which are made
  • showing insight into the range of attitudes and values arising from the complexity and diversity of contemporary communications, media, culture and society, and the capability to consider and respond to these
  • drawing upon and bringing together ideas from different sources of knowledge and from different academic disciplines
  • carrying out various forms of research for essays, projects, creative productions or dissertations involving sustained independent enquiry
  • formulating appropriate research questions and employing appropriate methods and resources for exploring those questions
  • evaluating and drawing upon the range of sources and the conceptual frameworks appropriate to research in the chosen area
  • exploring matters that may be new and emerging, drawing upon a variety of personal skills and upon a variety of academic and non-academic sources.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • working in flexible, creative and independent ways, showing self-discipline, self-direction and reflection
  • gathering, organising and deploying ideas and information in order to formulate arguments cogently, and express them effectively in written, oral or other forms
  • retrieving and generating information, and evaluating sources, in carrying out independent research
  • organising and managing supervised, self-directed projects
  • communicating effectively in interpersonal settings, in writing and other media where appropriate
  • working productively in a group or team, showing abilities at different times to listen, contribute and lead effectively
  • delivering work to a given length, format, brief and deadline, properly referencing sources and ideas and making use, as appropriate, of a problem-solving approach
  • putting to use a range of information communication technology (ICT) skills from basic competences such as data analysis and word-processing to more complex skills using web-based technology or multimedia, and developing, as appropriate, specific proficiencies in utilising a range of media technologies.

Careers

Media Studies graduates have the same wide-ranging career opportunities as other graduates in the faculty of humanities. These include teaching, local and central government, business and the NGO sector. Our graduates also have skills and experience relevant to careers in the creative industries and media journalism, galleries and museums, heritage and tourism, and marketing and advertising.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall including 16 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £19000
Part-time £4625 £9500

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.