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May 30, 2008
Cultural Studies Degree Courses: How to Utilise Your Media Studies A Level
Courses are being added over time. This is being published now to help AS student returners begin to consider possible courses as personal tutors begin to help you prepare personal statements and think about how to spend some time over the summer researching what you want to do.
You are a student who has now returned from your AS exams as an A2 student: Suddenly the world has changed. This time next year you will be on your way to somewhere probably a higher education course. If you have studied subjects such as Media, Communications Studies, Art History, History, Geography, History, English, Film Studies or else contemporary foreign languages this could be the sort of course for you.
In principle Cultural Studies is very demanding for interdisciplinary work requires a lot of reading and a committment to working across different disciplines. But this work is truly fascinating and rewarding. It can give you real insights into the world and you will be surroundided by very enthusiastic students. If you are doing the current OCR Media Studies A2 the critical research unit is an excellent introduction to research methods for research is a practical and intellectual set of disciplines. My students do some secondary research and primary research including textual research, qualitative research and some quantitative research. This means that you will not only have found out something interesting about the chosen subject area but you will learned about the basics of research design. This is a enormously important skill which has many applications in contemporary society and can be used in a wide range of jobs and careers.
Below I have listed a range of some of the University Degree Courses in Cultural Studies. Often Cultural Studies can be combined with a modern language which is a very nice combination. There is no judgement being passed here on the courses, you must research them for yourself as all of them have different flavours and priorities. There may be sociological tendencies, textual tendencies, or other country tendencies depending on the range of expert knowledge available. The nice thing about cultural studies is that it is incredibly diverse and it can go into areas where other subjects dare not.
You will find that the useful online guide to university courses doesn't have an entry under Cultural Studies. This is precisely because of its interdisciplinary nature which means that it cuts across categories. It is suggested that you check out the results for the different departments that you are interested in which may contribute to Cultural Studies. The link here is to Media Studies and Communication however you may wish to look under sociology or the foreign language sector to get a better idea.
Where did Cultural Studies Come From?
The origins of cultural studies come from the educational corps that was established during World War 2. Several people who served in this were very keen on ensuring that the worling classes received high quality education and as a result they joined the WEA (Workers Education Association) which often provided Trade Unionists with the knowledge and skills to carry out their work more effectively.
Some of those who had been in the Army during the war were to become celebrated academics strongly associated with what was to become cultural studies. These include:
Richard Hoggart. Hoggart wrote aong other things the very influential The Uses of Literacy and established the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Raymond Williams. Williams had a genuinely working class background from a railway signalman's family in Wales. He rose to be a literature professor at Cambridge.
E.P Thompson. thompson became a history professor at the University of Warwick writin many influential social history books such as The Making of the Working Class in Britain as well as become a leading anti-nuclear campaigner.
Professor Stuart Hall. A Director of The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham and then Professor of Sociology at the Open University
These people were later joined by Stuart Hall who was a Rhodes Scholar. After running the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies based at the University of Birmingham he became professor of sociology at the Open University.
These scholars and activists between them made a hugely important contribution to British post-war thought and society and have spawned many more important thinkers, scholars and teachers who are now themselves professors of Cultural Studies or media related subjects.
Cultural Studies Courses in the UK 2009
University of Warwick Centre for Lifelong Learning
Warwick University Centre for Lifelong Learning is offering either part-time day / evening routes for a BA in English and Cultural Studies or else full time course can be undertaken. Introductory modules in English and Cultural Studies are offered by the Departments of Film and TV Studies, History, Classics, Italian, History of Art and the Language Centre.
Day and Evening Study
It is possible to take the English and Cultural Studies degree on the basis of either day or evening study, or as a mixture of the two. Each year the English department offers a full range of modules in the day and a selection on rotation in the evening so students may choose when to study. The Language Centre offers modules for part-time degree students in the day and in the evening. Film and TV Studies, and Classics offer a small number of modules in the evening and History has a good range of evening modules. History of Art, German French and Italian offer modules only in the day-time.
There are no prescribed entry qualifications for the degree; all applicants are normally interviewed by the academic co-ordinator in the Department of English. The academic co-ordinator will look for evidence of academic ability and commitment and, in addition, for evidence of serious interest in the study of literature. This evidence might be obtained from study of literature in an Access course, 'A' Level course, Warwick University Open Studies course or a less formal engagement with literature.
Please Note: The Kinoeye blog is in existence because of the author's connection to the Centre for Lifelong Learning. There is not going to be a pretense at impartiality for an institution which I think offers an excellent service to students and is making high quality education available to all who live within reasonable travelling distance. For those people who don't feel that they can afford to take a degree after leaving college with A levels this is an excellent way of continuing your education in a way which is financially manageable.
For those interested click on the image for the official page or contact: Flexible Courses Manager - 024 7652 8100
All too often Media Studies can be dehistoricised yet a perception of the history and development of cultural studies including media cultures is very important. This degree provides an opportunity to develop historical knowledge and skills alongside the important skills of textual analysis which can be provided within the Department of Film & TV Studies. A wide range of departments contribute to this course and again broad-based thinking and mental flexibility are advantageous.
For those A level students who enjoy aspects of social and critical research offered on a level media studies there are several areas here with which you might have started to become familiar. I have highlighted these.
This elective Specialism offers you the opportunity to develop a critical understanding of cultural practices and identities in everyday life, including how they are shaped by, and shape the social world. Particular aspects of culture are examined, auch as news media, photography, fiction, aesthetics of the body, and particular methods are taught, including the production and interpretation of visual imagery, memoi and fiction, and media reportage. This combination of understanding and skills acquisition is further pursued through a dissertation in cultural studies.
In Year One, you must take Sociological Imagination and Investigation and Media Sociology.
In Year Two, you must choose one of the following: Gender, Culture and Popular Media; Narratives of Disease, Death and Difference: The Sociology of Story; Visual Sociology; The Social Construction of Masculinities.
In Year Three, you must choose from one of the following, providing that the module has not already been taken: Narratives of Disease, Death and Difference: The Sociology of Story; Technologies of the Gendered Body; The Social Construction of Maculinities; Visual Sociology. In Year Three, you will undertake a dissertation in this area.
Although a very new university there has been an impressive investment in getting well established staff and good resources. This type of degree provides an excellent range of opportunities to flexibly minded students who have A level media amongst thier qualifications.
In recent years Sunderland University has been gathering momentum and offers an excellent range of courses within its school of Art , Design, Media and Culture. This is how it describes what is on offer:
It is an exciting and important area with a very broad range of approaches. You will be able to select from a wide range of texts and practices including popular music, reality TV, cyberculture, and black popular culture, as well as Hollywood cinema. It also offers an exploration into institutions, sexual cultures, star systems, and celebrity culture, as well as audiences and sub-cultures.