Peter Symonds College

Study at PSC

The media is a dynamic and vital part of contemporary culture. This course provides you with the opportunity to explore a wide range of media forms, from television programmes, music videos and magazines to video games, vlogs and social media. Through the course, you will develop an understanding of key critical debates in the subject. You will explore the role that the media plays in shaping our understanding of events, issues and groups, as well as looking at the cultural and institutional contexts in which media production and consumption take place.  You will also have the opportunity to put theory into practise through planning and producing a range of media products.

Course Content

Year 1:
In Year 1, you will be introduced to some of the main critical approaches in the subject, developing an understanding of how media texts convey their messages and meanings, as well as considering debates regarding media representations and audience response. You will do this through the analysis of a wide range of media forms including videogames, film trailers, TV, magazines, newspapers, radio and music videos.  

Year 2:
In Year 2, you will study a broader range of texts, including examples produced outside of the commercial mainstream such as Huck magazine and Rip Tide by Vance Joy, as well as looking at more advanced critical theories such as Postmodernism, Post-colonialism and Feminism. You will also apply knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework and digital convergence to the planning and production of a cross-media production (music video and music magazine). In order to prepare you for this,  you will have extensive DSLR camera, studio and editing training where you will learn advanced camera and post-production techniques.

What sort of work will I be doing?

  • Analysing a wide range of media products in relation to their key cultural and industrial contexts, using relevant critical theories.
  • Close study of key media industries such as Television, Magazines and On-line Media.
  • Training in camera and editing skills including studio filming, advanced DSLR techniques, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and AfterEffects
  • Creating media products according to a set brief (hands-on experience).
  • Exploring and debating media texts e.g. documentaries, video games and blogs with reference to audience responses, representation and genre.
  • Training in camera and editing skills including studio filming, advanced DSLR techniques, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and AfterEffects

Methods of Teaching

These are varied and include group work, including practical exercises; whole class and group discussions; individual and group research; individual and group presentations; lectures; student directed learning; technical training and activity sessions.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Through a combination of two written examinations (70%) and coursework (30%). For the coursework, you will create your own cross-media production e.g. a music video and related music magazine.

Media Products, Industries and Audiences (35% of qualification)

  • Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Section A - Media Language and Representation
  • Section B - Industy and Audience

Media Forms and Products in Depth (35% of qualification)

  • Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes. Assesses media language, representation, media industries, audiences and media contexts. It consists of three sections:
    • Section A – Television in the Global Age
    • Section B – Magazines: Mainstream and Alternative Media
    • Section C – Media in the Online Age

Cross-Media Production (30% of qualification)

Non-exam assessment: An individual cross-media music marketing production based on two forms (music video and music magazine) in response to a brief set by the exam board

Where Could It Take Me?

Career possibilities include journalism, practical production (directing, filming, editing), marketing, PR, programming, research and advertising, among many other roles within a wide range of media industries. Media Studies courses provide students with experience in a number of these fields and offer guidance on how to access these industries.

Many of our students go on to study Media, Cultural, Film, Communication or English related courses at competitive universities. An understanding of Media practices and industries and a strong portfolio of work produced on this course will enable students to progress to the next level with practical experience, self-confidence, academic collateral and a critical awareness of the media-saturated world in which we live. Although this is a course which offers a number of creative opportunities, Media Studies is largely about developing the students ability to think critically, to analyse and to synthesise academic theory and research, formulating their own arguments and ideas.  An enquiring subject for an enquiring mind.

Financial Implications

You will be required to buy an SD card which costs £7.99 in order to keep all your production work safe. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Work Experience

You will have the oppotunity to attend a week of industry events and master-classes at the PSC Film and Media EXPO run by external media professionals including animation and screen-writing workshops, theatrical film make-up, Q&A sessions with journalists, and the 48 hour edit competition.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English.

Most Recent Results

Below is a summary of the most recent set of results for this subject:

Grade: A* A B C D E U Total
Total: 9 17 40 25 3 2 0 96
Percentage 9.4 17.7 41.7 26.0 3.1 2.1 0.0