A-Level Media Studies

What is A-Level Media Studies?

Media Studies A-Level is the study of all aspects of today’s ever-changing media from TikTok to The Guardian, video games to controversial advertisements, Newspapers to Hollywood, and beyond. You will learn to break down, analyse, and challenge the media that surrounds us all.

Media Studies is the kind of subject that goes well with most other A-Levels. Sociology, Psychology, Business, Politics, and Economics are popular companion subjects to Media Studies, along with creative arts subjects such as Art, Photography, and Drama which can be brought into the coursework.

“Sociology and Media Studies were always derided as Mickey Mouse subjects, but now they’re the only subjects which really explain our world.” – Richard Osman

What you'll do

  • How do advertisements hook you, target you, and convince you?
  • Does Disney bring joy, or does it have a stranglehold on too much media?
  • Why does the media persist in depicting stereotypes?
  • Why are fans the best and worst things for media producers?
  • How has social media changed the news, our expectations, and, well, everything?

In Media Studies, you will study the way media is produced, and how media language is used to construct a story, create meaning, or to guide opinions. You will consider how different demographics are depicted in positive and negative ways, and why the media does this. You will also study how the historical, social, cultural, and business context of the media shapes the way products are created and how the choices of media producers are interpreted by audiences. To explore all this, you will look at a range of products including Stranger Things, Disney and Marvel, Animal Crossing, current news stories, music videos, and much, much more. To support our work we will consider several media theorists, including feminist theorists, theorists who explore race and ethnicity, explorations of regulation, and studies on fandoms, interaction, and the effects of media on the audience.

You will also be asked to produce your own piece of cross-media coursework that will be worth 30% of the course. Using all the insights you have gained from studying the media to produce, your coursework could be a music video, a website, an excerpt of a TV drama, a film marketing campaign, or a podcast. The exact coursework specification changes each year, but there is always a great range to choose from.

Whom does this subject suit?

Media Studies suits students who not only have strong opinions and like to debate, but who also enjoy evaluating, criticising, and analysing rather than just accepting easy ‘right or wrong’ answers.

The subject will attract those who are willing to engage with contemporary media and its wider cultural context and who are ready, and brave enough, to see connections between the theory and the media they themselves consume. It will suit those who want to prepare themselves to be able to deconstruct our ever-changing multimedia world.

It is of course ideal for students who want to work in the media, marketing, and other related careers.

What might the subject lead to?

Our students go on to study a range of subjects at university. We expect that a good number will carry on with studying Media and related subjects like Digital Culture at Russell Group universities like Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, or King’s College, London. Universities tend to offer several routes into media, from practical design and creation courses, to courses in the social sciences, like Media and Communication.

A good number of students will go on to study Marketing at university. Others will study a range of subjects from Business, Politics, and Psychology to Art, Fashion, or Film.