What is Media Studies?

Media Studies involves the close analysis and comparison of media products. These are assessed in their social, cultural, economic, political and historical context. As they study, students are asked to build an understanding of how each piece of media constructs and communicates meaning, and how critical theories have helped us to gain a better understanding of the media. Students will develop skills in making media and grow their understanding of the legal and moral issues that influence its development.

How is it studied?

The nature of Media Studies means that students are introduced to a very broad range of ideas. There is an in-depth study of how news is presented, looking at print media as well as the increasing influence of online sources of news (both official and unofficial). Students also study advertising content for a variety of products and in a variety of media. Music videos and long-term TV drama are analysed, as well as the increasing influence of online social and participatory media.

Students also develop a broad range of practical skills for their final coursework product. This is created in response to a brief given by the board, and must involve a range of media such as moving image, online, print and radio.

How is A Level Media Studies assessed?

Unit Modules Weighting Format
1 Issues and Debates in Media 35% External Exam: 2 hours
2 Analysis of Media Products 35% External Exam: 2 hours
3 Cross Media Product related to brief set by board 30% Coursework task


Exam Board: AQA

What do I need to study it?

There is no requirement for previous study. Students do need to recognise that they must study a broad range of media products and that these range from printed media through radio and TV to film, online resources and video games. All elements are essential, so students should not expect to specialise narrowly.

What should I study with Media Studies?

Media Studies goes well with a broad range of subjects, and the practical and analytical skills gained means that it can broaden the perspective of other subjects.

What can I do with A Level Media Studies?

Many students move on to study media-related courses at university, but Media Studies can also support applications in design, art, humanities, business and social science courses.

Questions about the course

Can I study Media Studies in one year?

It is possible, but bear in mind that the coursework is a major task that needs time and careful planning.