MCH1023 : Introduction to Media Studies

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1. To recognise and appreciate the role of mass media communications in contemporary cultures and in social relationships

2. To understand and analyse the codes, aesthetics, forms, and conventions of a range of media texts and practices.

3. To discuss the ways in which the mass media industries shape genres, messages and narratives in order to construct a sense of what the social 'world' is or how it works.

4. To analyse and assess some of the principal themes and issues in contemporary mass media.

5. To examine the role, politics, and power of the mass media in relation to local and global audiences.

6. To consolidate and apply critical and evaluative skills in relation to the outputs of the mass media.

The module will discuss the role the media plays in shaping culture, identity and interpersonal communications. Drawing on work which links audiences and users with genres and industries, the module will examine how the media operate in relation to local and international as well as economic and political spheres. The module will also introduce students to the range of media forms (e.g. radio, television, print media, photography and the visual, popular music, music videos, and the new computer-based information technologies). The module will outline and define the features that mark these mass media.

In addition, the module outlines some key critical frameworks through which we make sense of the mass media. Using a range of analytic frameworks, the module examines issues related to power, identity and representation and assesses their significance for our understanding of the vast array of media material that surrounds us. The module encourages students to undertake close readings of a range of specific media texts and practices as well as understand how producers and consumers make sense of contemporary mass media.

Outline Of Syllabus

1. This module is aimed at students who are new to the field of media and cultural studies and/or who have some initial knowledge of the field. The module will encourage students to critically consider, discuss and analyse some of the key terms, concepts, ideas, and approaches.

2. The module will deal with key introductory material and will offer some answers to the question 'What is media & communication studies?' The module will answer this question in relation to the texts and contexts of the mass media, as well as in relation to the role played by producers and consumers of media texts.

3. In addition, the module will consider and discuss worked examples via up-to-date case study material and will be marked by a strong emphasis on understating how to link ideas and theories to texts, practices, institutions and identities/audiences.

4. Short, clear accounts will outline and consider key notions of media and culture and popular culture in terms of way of life, everydayness, practices, and texts.

5. This will be followed by a discussion of what is involved when thinking about human societies from the perspectives of media studies. The module will consider certain issues involved in further research and critical inquiry in media and cultural studies.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion125:0025:00Critical Review
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion145:0045:00Timed Essay
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyReflective learning activity140:0040:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study134:0034:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module aims to encourage the development and comprehension of contemporary mass media and mass communications. Formal and aesthetic issues will be discussed in relation to content, production and industry values, and consumption and use. Lectures introduce and develop ideas and group work practical allows students to consider material in more practical detail. A mixture of lecture, classroom discussions, small-group work and one-to-one tutorial support will be combined with private study, essay writing and media analysis.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25Critical Review, 1500 words
Essay1A75Timed Essay, 2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The Critical Review requires students to discuss the way that selected academic publications have applied and engaged with a chosen concept.

The timed assessment takes the form of an essay submitted within a week of the release of the essay questions. The timed assessment allows students to demonstrate critical and evaluative skills and stresses the importance of working to deadline.

Reading Lists