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BA (Hons) Media & Communications

  • UCAS
    P300
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: AAB/ABB
    BTEC: DDD/DDM
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time
  • Department
    Media and Communications

Course overview

Bringing together media practice and communications theory, this degree covers a broad spectrum of critical perspectives on the media, and will introduce you to a range of contemporary media practices.

Why study BA Media & Communications at Goldsmiths?

  • You will study in one of the UK's and the world's top media and communications departments.
  • You'll be taught by leading names in media, communications and cultural studies.
  • We concentrate on high quality lectures and small group work, and all our teaching takes place on one purpose-built site.
  • On practice modules you'll be taught by industry professionals engaged in TV, film, journalism, radio, photography, scriptwriting, short fiction, illustration, interactive media and animation.
  • You'll have access to industry-standard practice facilities, including TV/film, radio and photography studios, digital video and audio editing suites, and animation software and hardware.
  • Our close links to the media industry bring you into regular contact with media professionals. You will have the opportunity to apply for an internship in the media as part of the course.
  • We regularly host debates and talks by international figures in media and cultural research and the media industry; recent guests have included Danny Boyle, Gurinder Chadha and Noel Clark.
  • You'll be taught alongside students from all over the world and with diverse cultural experiences that enrich the department and the learning experience.
  • You'll develop skills that you can use throughout your career whether in the media industries or elsewhere. Our recent graduates are now working as television producers, news readers, editors, journalists... Others have gone into a whole range of careers such as research, teaching and law.
  • We're ranked third in the UK for the quality and impact of our research (Research Excellence Framework), which means that by studying in the department you'll be working alongside academics who are leaders in their fields.

If you are an international student and you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, you may be able to apply for our BA Media and Communications with International Foundation

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the Admissions Tutor

Modules & structure

Overview

The degree consists of 50% media theory and 50% media practice. We aim to provide an inspirational learning experience in which theory and practice influence and enrich each other in the production of original creative and intellectual work.

Far more than just a media degree this programme incorporates philosophical perspectives on technology and human life as well as sociological approaches to media production.

We look at issues of identity through critical race studies, queer theory and critiques of post-feminism. We investigate global screen cultures and also the role of news in democracy. All of this, together with critical, creative practice in production equips our students to be the thinking media practitioners of the future.

Level 4

Media Theory

In the first year, the theory element introduces you to the study of verbal and visual languages, and encourages you to assess changes in the media. You'll be acquainted with debates surrounding the term 'culture', and will look at how experiences of gender, age and race affect our understanding of the concept. You'll also examine various media texts, and take a module that will address theories of society and approaches to the modern state as they relate to media. 

You take the following compulsory 15 credit compulsory modules:

  • Media History and Politics
  • Culture and Cultural Studies
  • Key Debates in Media Studies
  • Film and the Audiovisual
  • Media Arts

Media Practice

In practice, you take an induction module that introduces you to some of the practice options offered by the Department – currently television (with the possibility of film fiction specialisation in years two and three), radio, journalism, animation, illustration, photography, and creative writing (script and short story). There is also a specialisation in interactive media in years two and three. You then choose two practice options.

You take the following compulsory modules:

Level 5

Media Theory

In the second year you take theory modules covering a range of approaches to the study of communications and the media. You'll look at theories of postmodernity, identity and globalisation; be introduced to differing psychological perspectives on the analysis of culture and communications; consider cultural theory; and investigate concepts of audience. 

You take the following core modules:

Module title Credits
  Psychology, Subjectivity and Power 15
  Media, Modernity and Social Thought 15

And a choice of two 15 credit option modules (one Autumn term, one Spring term). Options offered recently have included:

Module title Credits
  Culture, Society and the Individual 15 credits
  Moving Image and Spectatorship 15
  Money and the Media 15
  Media, Memory and Conflict 15

Media Practice

Practice modules introduce you to media production in a different area to the one you studied in year one.  You'll apply production skills in the creation of small-scale projects, and develop critical skills through the analysis of examples and of work produced in each area. You then choose a practice area in which to specialise.

You take:

  • Media Production Option 2
  • Media Production Specialisation (30 credits)

.

Level 6

Media Theory

You can choose any combination of options or dissertation to the value of 60 credits. Options offered recently have included:

Module title Credits
  Structure of Contemporary Political Communication 15 credits
  Race, Empire and Nation 30 credits and 15 credits
  The City and Consumer Culture 30 credits
  Music as Communication and Creative Practice 30 credits
  Embodiment and Experience 30 credits and 15 credits
  Strategies in World Cinema 15
  Media, Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures 30 credits and 15 credits
  Promotional Culture 30 credits and 15 credits
  Archaeology of the Moving Image 30 credits
  Politics of the Audiovisual 30 credits
  Social Media in Everyday Life -
  Media Audiences and Media Geographies 30 credits

You can also undertake a work placement as one of your option modules.

Media Practice

You undertake the research, planning and production of a major project or a portfolio of work in the practice area in which you specialised in Year 2 (60 credits).

Find out more about the practice options.

Assessment

Coursework, extended essays, reports, practical work, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Media Practice

In practice, you take an induction module that introduces you to some of the practice options offered by the Department – currently television (with the possibility of film fiction specialisation in years two and three), radio, journalism, animation, illustration, photography, and creative writing (script and short story). There is also a specialisation in interactive media in years two and three. You then choose two practice options.

You take the following compulsory modules:

  • Induction to Media Practice (15 credits) [you choose five from seven ]
  • Media Production Option 1 (30 credits) [options one and two are chosen from seven ] 

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB/ABB
BTEC: DDD/DDM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

You'll need to demonstrate practical experience in some aspect of creative work. If you are an international student and you don't meet the entry requirements for this programme, you may be able to apply for our BA Media and Communications with International Foundation

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 at distinction and 15 at merit
Scottish qualifications: ABBBB/ABBBC (Higher), AAC/ABC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 80%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A1 B2/A1 A1 A2 B1

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Read more about our general entrance requirements

Department

We are ranked:
27th in the world for communication and media studies**
1st in the UK for the quality of our research***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills. You'll also go to workshops and tutorials that will develop practical skills in media production.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.

Skills & careers

Skills

Some of the skills you'll develop during a Media and Communications degree include:

  • critical and analytical skills
  • proficiency in assessing evidence and in expressing ideas clearly
  • ability to bring together insights from a range of subjects
  • IT skills
  • communications skills
  • journalistic and creative writing skills

Careers

Alumni from the Department have gone on to careers in television, radio, the press, publishing, film-making, advertising, marketing and public relations, web design, teaching and research, advertising, arts and administration, business and industry, European Union private sector management and personnel work, and many more both in the media industries and elsewhere.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles

George

"Goldsmiths gave me a feeling; it felt like the right place for me."

"When I first considered going to University it felt like a daunting prospect. There was so much choice, with so many destinations to choose from, with so many variants as far as the course I wanted to do went. In all honesty I felt a little lost. When I arrived at Goldsmiths I finally felt as though I had some clarity, and my confusion began to fade. At first there wasn’t anything particularly tangible that drew me to the college, but unlike the other universities I visited Goldsmiths it just gave me a feeling; it felt like the right place for me.

Now I look back on my time there so fondly and feel lucky to have experienced a university with a distinctive character. Goldsmiths provides its students with the tools needed to approach the world with a critical mind and a creative hand. Whatever your discipline you feel connected to something credible with a progressive cultural identity. It equips you for the working world with your personality in mind, and doesn’t just role you off a modular production line. Goldsmiths provides you with a fluid theoretical framework, thereafter it is up to you to develop your own academic and artistic pathway.

My final year project was a documentary shot in Northern Québec, Canada. Our film revolved around the effects of modernisation on the environment and how that affects indigenous culture. We stayed with native Canadian Cree for two weeks shooting our documentary, but it was not until I faced this challenge that I realised how well equipped I had been by the university in the build up to my final project. As a group our course had prepared us through a balance between theory and technical skill. Shooting live action in -30 is tough, but we were encouraged by the university to be ambitious and do something different, and that will always remain one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Since finishing a course in Media and Communication in 2011 I have gone into television production, working for ITV and the BBC amongst others. Getting into these industries isn’t easy, but I feel that Goldsmiths has given me a certain distinction and has aided me in my transition into the working world. In my opinion to do this successfully you need to be able to think critically and be creative, but on your terms. This personal development has been key and my spent at university has a lot to do with that. For me being able to critique your opinions and consider your own views objectively is the fundamental dynamic of progressive thought. Goldsmiths has increased my ability to do that, as well as provide me with the technical skills for that progression to transcend out into the world through my use of a camera."

Alice

Alice is an established animator, director and film-maker. She is also an associate lecturer at Goldsmiths.

"I completed an Art Foundation and then jumped back to science, deciding I wanted to do a degree in Psychology. There was a pattern forming here - so when it came to looking at places to study Psychology I thought that Goldsmiths would suit me perfectly, with its combination of psychology and the arts subjects.

Obviously, I did change my mind again. Goldsmiths was buzzing with people performing, building things and rushing around the chequered corridors and on the green with cameras and microphones, or sketch books or cellos. The walls were covered in art work and the whole atmosphere of the place was electric. I was like a kid in a sweet shop and gradually I started to spend more and more time in the media centre helping out 3rd years, rather than doing my own work in the psychology department so I realised it was time to change direction again. Although this time is was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I never thought I would be someone who dropped out of University. I had worked so hard to get there and felt I was letting myself and other people down and had just wasted a huge amount of money.

Looking back, it was one of the best choices I have ever made as it made it certain of the direction I wanted to persue. I knew the college was right for me and it was just the course that wasn't and so I reapplied for BA Media and Communications the following year. The Media and Communications course has a fascinating, well structured theoretical side but also allows you to experiment and play around with all forms of media; illustration, journalism, photography, film, script-writing, documentary, radio and (best of all) animation. It was wonderful and more than held my attention for the full three years! The college allowed me to specialise in animation, make my own film and also be involved in other projects with people from other departments, which was always hugely inspiring.

Being based in London, Goldsmiths was ideal for getting work experience in the film and animation industry during the holidays. And most (if not all) the tutors in the department were working professionals and were always there to give advice and to get you placements if they could. The work experience really was invaluable. It enabled me to see which industry and role I liked and allowed me to build up a number of good contacts. It meant that by the time I graduated, I had three years of experience in the industry and a huge list of people who I'd worked for, for free and who would (hopefully) be ready to help me when I really needed it.

Luckily the hard-work paid off and thanks in part to a friend I met at Goldsmiths, I managed to get some work experience on Wes Anderson's, animated stop-motion feature film, 'Fantastic Mr Fox' straight after graduating. This is turn lead to a paid role of 3rd Assistant Director on the film. Since then, I have been working as a free-lancer in the animation industry in London as an animator, compositor and animation director and producer. A lot of the work I do is for animation company, VooDooDog, who I was introduced to by one of my Goldsmiths tutors and I am still very grateful for the introduction. Earlier this year (again largely thanks to a friend I made at Goldsmiths who set up a Freetown based-ethical fashion Label, NearFar) I spent 3 months living in Freetown, Sierra Leone and with 3 others, set up the first ever Sierra Leone International Film Festival (SLIFF) and ran an animation workshop out there.

Despite graduating from Goldsmiths four years ago, I still feel support from the staff and tutors from the media and communications course and am always keen to keep in touch and to see the work that they are producing. I am also eternally grateful to the place for the friends I made during my time there - they are a wonderful mix of film-makers, writers, performers, musicians, fashion designers, historians and philosophers who continue to inspire me and my work everyday.

In October this year, I'm starting at the Royal College of Art to do a Masters in Animation."

Alex

"If you want to be an individual there is nowhere that will encourage you more."

"Since moving into halls of residence last year to study the programme I could probably only describe the atmosphere here to be a fusion of eccentricity and libertarian expression.

If you want to be an individual then there is nowhere that will encourage you more. When I looked at my course it appeared to endorse this notion of diversity and has given me a freedom to choose what I learn. Goldsmiths is as beguiling as the people that come here."

Julia Dorn

"Goldsmiths offered academic disciplines cobbled with classes that provided practical hands-on training."

"Fueled by a can-do attitude, creative spirit and a passion for documenting real life scenarios I started out as a reporter for newspapers in my hometown Berlin, Germany.

My passion for finding and writing engaging stories was soon met with a desire to express myself visually. Plus, I still wanted to go to university before getting sucked into working only. One of my co-workers was a Goldsmiths alumni and she inspired me to look into their Media & Communications course.

It appealed to me that Goldsmiths offered academic disciplines cobbled with classes that provided practical hands-on training. So I soon became a student in New Cross, London.

While giving me the creative freedom to explore, grow and try out anything, Goldsmiths’ tutors and professors taught me the skills and knowledge to adhere to real life conditions of the film and TV industry.

Upon completion of the BA, I continued at Goldsmiths with an MA in TV Documentary. During this time I also started working as a PA on various video, TV and film productions, gaining valuable experience in the industry. Gradually broadening my skill set and network of employers, I was offered positions as a Researcher, Associate Producer, Camera Operator, and even as a Prop Mistress.

My wanderlust then took me to Australia and South East Asia, where I traveled and worked on various paid and unpaid video productions. After that I relocated to the USA, where I taught video production at the Technical College of Louisiana in New Orleans. Only a year into living in New Orleans, however, I had to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina and relocated to San Francisco, California.

Wanting to get my foot in the door of the local TV industry, I took a low-paying assistant job on a documentary project about Hurricane Katrina. Soon this entry-level gig led to an Associate Producer position on a Discovery-series that profiled athletes from childhood to stardom.

I was then hired as an Associate Producer at another production company for a natural history special about great white sharks that we produced for the National Geographic Channel. I was truly in my element. Suddenly I applied everything I had learned in all my previous jobs -- ranging from researching, to writing, to hiring crew, to setting up shoots, to interviewing subjects, to guiding an editor, to keeping track of the budget, to completing all legal deliverables for the Network.

Ultimately, this show was my breakthrough – I was promoted to Producer. In the US, factual entertainment and reality TV shows mostly don’t separate between Producers and Directors, meaning that Producers get to wear two hats and take care of the logistical, budgetary, as well as the creative and editorial elements of the production.

The first two shows that I’m credited for as a Producer were wildlife shows for National Geographic Channel, and I filmed Giant Salamanders in rural rivers of Japan, Tasmanian Devils in forests of Australia, tarantulas in the jungle of French Guyana and other animals throughout the US.

Making myself a name for international travel, rural expeditions and challenging shoot environments, I continued producing natural history and wildlife factual entertainment shows. Amongst them the long standing series ‘Hooked’ for the National Geographic Channel, ‘Man Vs Fish’ for the Discovery Channel and ‘Fish Warrior’, again for the National Geographic Channel.

NGC’s series ‘Fish Warrior’ has been the most adventurous production in my career yet. Documenting pro-fisherman Jakub Vagner’s pursuit in catching and releasing the largest freshwater fish in the world we shot in some of the most extreme conditions throughout Peru, Ecuador, Kenya, Mongolia, Canada, France and the US. On these expeditions I swam with crocodiles, hunted with Amazonian Bushmen, ate bugs and worms, and even battled malaria.

All in all, I’ve now produced numerous one-off specials and episodic series about wildlife, crime, inventions, addiction and other topics for the National Geographic Channel, National Geographic Wild, Discovery Channel, Discovery Fit & Health, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, 3Net (Discovery/Sony/IMAX), and the History Channel. And being freelance, I’ve branched out to the TV industry in Los Angeles where I’ve taken temporary positions as a Supervising Producer, as well as a Co-Executive Producer.

Reflecting on the diversity of topics and show formats I’ve dealt with, locations I’ve been to, production companies and clients I’ve worked for, and the enormous range of experiences I’ve had, I must say it’s been an amazing journey."

Angus

"All of the units on my course were things I already wanted to know more about so that was really exciting."

"I did well in school and college which is why I chose Goldsmiths. It seemed to fit my ability and offer the potential for even more growth, but mainly I was attracted by the critical nature of the whole institution. All of the units on my course were things I already wanted to know more about so that was really exciting. The location in South-East London and Goldsmiths reputation for radical politics made it even more appealing.

Overall the course was great, it was more or less what I expected when I applied, and now I feel like I have a strong understanding of contemporary social issues, more so than my friends on similar courses elsewhere. 

If you're thinking about taking the BA in Media and Communications course at Goldsmiths then I would say go for it, it's definitely a worthwhile course."

Fees & funding

How to apply

Please note that we don't accept applications for deferred entry.

Find out more about applying.

Related content links

University statistics for this course