Why study media? The benefits of having a media studies degree

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The rise of students enrolling on media-related courses in the UK has risen in the past decade.

Between 2017 and 2018, studies show 32,000 students enrolled on media studies programmes with about 11,500 enrolling on journalism programmes (Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2019).

Media degrees have since gained popularity with the creation of niche degrees designed for the newest media and technology advances.

There is an abundance of creative degrees related to media that can be studied in UK universities.

So, how do you know which course to take part in for your career prospects? This blog will kickstart your journey into considering an undergraduate degree in media.


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What media degree courses can I study?

In the UK, you are exposed to a number of different media degrees.

Whilst some media degree are primarily practical, other media-related degrees focus on theory, sociology and communicative studies.

Of course, the content of each course will vary depending on the university board, but here are just a few undergraduate courses that are available to UK students:


Media and Communication

By studying a Media and Communications degree, students gain an understanding of sociology within media studies, media research, media language, public relations and media communication amongst a number of other modules.

The course allows students to better understand the culture behind media platforms, as well as the impact or relationship media has with us.

Graduates often go on to careers in TV, radio, social media, copywriting, PR and research sectors.


Media Studies

Media Studies is similar to Media and Communication, though it is widely recognised as a course that covers how media impacts society as a whole.

Media Studies could tackle topics including radio, television, film, media ethics, gender studies and digital culture.

The course may include critical approaches to understanding contemporary media culture.

Graduates often go on to careers in digital media, television/film/video producing, social media, marketing and communication.


Media Production

Studying Media Production involves a variety of practical modules within the creative industries.

You may get an introduction to filmmaking, digital and web design, screenwriting, photography, video production, podcasting, media and public relations.

You are likely to take part in creative practical modules during this course as well as being exposed to the theoretical side of media.

Graduates often go on to careers in video producing, editing, production running, production assistant, animation, set-design, screenwriting and directing.


Digital Media

Digital Media is all about the practical and theoretical aspects found in digital and interactive content.

This course is specialised in taking attention to design and producing digital media.

This may include understanding web programming, interactive media, motion graphics, video game designing and much more.

Graduates often go on to careers in animation, video game designing, web analytics, web development and video editing.


Broadcast Journalism

By studying Broadcast Journalism, students gain an understanding of the versatility of broadcast writing, research and journalism.

This includes, but is not limited to, digital journalism, media law, social media, broadcast news, political journalism, and photojournalism.


PR and Communications

Studying public relations gives students industry knowledge and specialist skills in modules like client relations, media communication, and content management.

Graduates often go to careers in radio, presenting, news reporting, sports reporting, commentating, news analysing, broadcast journalising and print journalism.


What are the benefits of studying media?

Gaining a degree is a huge achievement in itself, but you will also gain a broad range of both industry-specific and transferrable skills to help your post-graduation job search for graduate media jobs and careers in journalism.


Industry Skills

1. Knowledge of media software

Having strong IT skills, in both industry-standard media software and commonly used programs like Microsoft, will hugely benefit your start at an entry-level job.

The rise of popular digital communications and technology warrants current students to use their initiative in understanding the current industry level practices.

Depending on the type of area you are looking to venture into, you may need to know the typical specialist equipment used.

For example, if you are looking to become a camera operator for a production company, you may be required to have knowledge of specific kits used by current camera operators.


2. Media literacy

Even if a job is entry-level, you will likely be expected to have an awareness of the jargon used in the media industry.

For instance, if you are looking into working with digital media or graphic design, you may need to be aware of the interfaces and language used in the industry.

Similarly, if you were to venture into becoming a filmmaker, you would be aware of the film terminology behind creating a composition.

Being exposed to the projects and modules of a media course will provide you with the start you need to grasp the knowledge of media programs and gain proficient media literacy.


Transferable skills

1. Communication skills

Being able to listen, record and express your ideas is a vital skill when working in a professional setting.

This can be translated into any industry, whether you are writing an article for a publishing company, or delivering a business presentation.

Being a confident communicator will be particularly vital to your role if you are customer or client-facing.


2. Teamwork skills

Teamwork skills coincide with having strong communication skills.

Whatever role or industry you find yourself in, you will be expected to partake in group projects and team discussions in some kind of capacity.

As such, learning to collaborate with others and developing your interpersonal skills in a productive way is essential.


3. Time management skills

The ability to multi-task and prioritise work may not come naturally to everyone, but learning and exercising how to organise your workload is a useful tool to being able to manage your tasks.

Almost all positions, whether within the media industry or not, require candidates to have strong time management skills to ensure deadlines are met and finish tasks.

As such, it is vital to have a proficient understanding of how to use your time effectively.


4. Creative thinking

Creative thinking is a tool that is necessary for roles in many industries.

Within the media industry and elsewhere, you will be using your creative thinking in a number of tasks.

Creative thinking is the method of looking at an issue from imaginative and innovative angles, in order to develop an inventive plan of action.

Thinking creatively enables you to view problems from a new perspective, producing unique solutions and dynamic results.

How can I develop my skills and boost my employability?

There are many opportunities that could assist you in developing your skills.

You would be able to gain industry awareness by taking part in work experience and placements.

Usually, this takes place between your second and third year of studying if you are a full-time student.

Most universities allow students to gain work experience or internships in their chosen field as an opportunity to build a portfolio to showcase your skills and experience in the area you are interested in.

It is also a chance to network with those already working in the industry.

Alternatively, you can volunteer and get involved in extracurricular projects whilst studying.

The work experience or placement also works as an advantage when applying to graduate roles as you would have proven experience in the industry of your interest.

Some graduate job positions may provide support for entry-level candidates and the need to thoroughly know the industry or the processes used within it will not be imperative.

However, developing and evidencing your skills will enable you to distinguish yourself from other candidates in a highly competitive jobs market when searching for graduate media jobs and careers in journalism.

To summarise, the skills you will gain from your media studies degree can be used across a range of different industries in a variety of roles.

As such, studying media can enable you to become a successful candidate in your post-university job hunt – whether media-related or not.


Golding, P. Media studies in the UK. Publizistik 64, 503–515 (2019).

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