Study English Literature or Language? Here’s 5 reasons why Media and Cultural Studies could be for you!

people sitting with open note book on knee and pen in hand

Libby Ainslie, a current Media and Cultural Studies student at Lancaster University, reflects on some of the links the degree has with studying English Literature and English Language

Thinking about your future degree and the subject you’d like to study for three or four years can be a scary, stressful situation. But, it doesn’t need to be that way, particularly when there are so many options waiting for you here at Lancaster! If you have a background in English Literature or English Language – at A-level for example – and are looking to branch out your studies into a new and exciting field, here are 5 reasons why Media and Cultural Studies could be right for you:

Reason #1: You already have the skills for this degree

Media and Cultural Studies draws upon critical thinking and analytical skills, which may sound daunting, but are likely something you already possess. The ability to pick out words from a text and thinking about their meaning? That’s critical thinking and analysis! Just switch those words and texts in a book, for example, for images, symbols and texts in a media product, and there you have it, you are completely ready to take on Media and Cultural Studies.

Reason #2: You are already familiar with media and its texts

As someone living in an age of ever-growing technology, television, film, internet and more, you are probably surrounded by media products for most of your waking hours. Some may say this is a disadvantage of the 21st Century, but when studying the role of media, this is the biggest advantage of our current climate! Being near and understanding media is an essential part of being a Media and Cultural Studies student, and once again is something you are likely already a pro at, so why not extend that understanding even further?

Reason #3: You can explore the things you are interested in even more!

Media and Cultural Studies has so many options and pathways to explore for each and every person. Enjoy exploring the meanings behind language? Try analysing captions or taglines on posters and advertisements. Love learning about other cultures’ literature and practices? Easily explore the way media products change globally and how other countries and cultures respond to said products. Have a particular TV show you follow religiously? Take that passion and turn it into a piece of academic work! There are so many possibilities when studying media and culture.

Reason #4: You can often study English alongside Media and Cultural Studies

Here at Lancaster, our Part 1 system allows for students to take two modules in their first year from other subjects, alongside a core Media module. This means that you could potentially further your study of English Language and/or Literature whilst still exploring Media and Culture as a new option for yourself! The flexibility of our programme means that before the end of the year, you can see how things are going and switching or combining programmes* to make sure you are studying something right for you, so give studying Media and Cultural Studies a try!

Reason #5: Well, simply put, it’s fun!

As a current student who found learning to be a chore during A-Levels, coming to university and studying Media and Cultural Studies reintroduced my passion for and love of academic work. I found that being able to learn about new, constantly changing topics is exciting and feels so relevant to your own life, and also means you are keeping up with our changing environment in a way that prepares you for life after University. Each lecture and seminar allows you to explore other people’s perspectives and share your own ideas in a comfortable and inviting climate, one which lets you enjoy yourself too. I personally loved exploring topics like gender and representation, fans and participation and reality TV in my first year, all which offer a great insight into the subject of Media and Cultural Studies and also into our current media climate. Choose to study a great subject like this now!

Hopefully, these 5 reasons have offered some insight into Media and Cultural Studies and why it could be the perfect degree for you. Don’t be afraid to try something new and explore this field of study, it may end up being your favourite decision ever.

*Always best to check the details with our admissions team (, as there may be prerequisites or timetable limitations for some switches or combinations. Cover image used courtesy of Unsplash

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