Your first year of Media and Cultural Studies
During your first year, you have the flexibility to both explore something new and deepen your existing knowledge.
2nd for Communication & Media Studies
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide (2023)
Access to Digital Media Studio and specialist equipment
Joint 6th for Graduate Prospects (Communication and Media Studies), Guardian University Guide (2023)
Media shapes who we are, what we think and what we value. At Lancaster, we’ve created a course where expertise meets practical skills. New technology and new platforms mean you’ll be preparing for careers in the creative sector and digital journalism that didn’t even exist until recently.
Bring ideas to life
We know it’s important for you to understand the way media is changing, but you also need to be able to apply this knowledge to succeed in this competitive industry. Whatever fascinates you will influence what you create on this course, whether that’s short films, digital content and podcasts, or any media relevant to today’s world.
We’ll look at how media is produced and consumed to help you become a better creator, as well as studying the social, economic and political dimensions of this industry on a global scale. You’ll look at practices and platforms in the ever-changing media landscape to make you aware of the challenges facing professionals.
Your platform, your voice
Our research influences real world conversations. You’ll be learning from experts who testify for parliamentary enquiries, run their own podcast series, or raise awareness of issues like gender inequality through their work.
When it comes to doing your dissertation, you’ll follow in their footsteps. You can complete your dissertation either via writing about research you have carried out or via media practice. Either way, we’ll expect you to thoroughly research your topic and the intended audience. We’ll encourage you to let your imagination run wild! Past students have created music albums, board games and even a multimedia cookbook.
Roles like digital content creator didn’t even exist a couple of decades ago, and platforms like Patreon have changed the way we consume media. What comes next is unknown, but you’ll have the skills you need to adapt to whatever challenges you face.
Your analysis, research, presentation and writing skills will be valuable to employers across a range of areas. If you want to be your own boss, you’ll have the foundation of knowledge you need to create your own media company.
Our graduates find rewarding roles in:
This course also provides a strong basis for diverse types of postgraduate study, including areas like television production or teaching.
Lancaster University is dedicated to ensuring that you gain a highly reputable degree. We are also dedicated to ensuring that you graduate with relevant life and work-based skills. We are unique in that every student is eligible to participate in The Lancaster Award, which offers you the opportunity to complete activities such as work experience, employability/career development, campus community and social development.
Visit our Employability section for full details.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via email@example.com
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme to complement your main specialism. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster please visit our Teaching and Learning section.
The following courses do not offer modules outside of the subject area due to the structured nature of the programmes: Architecture, Law, Physics, Engineering, Medicine, Sports and Exercise Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine and Biomedical Science.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, and the University will make every reasonable effort to offer modules as advertised. In some cases changes may be necessary and may result in some combinations being unavailable, for example as a result of student feedback, timetabling, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes and new research.
From mass media to social media, from debates on authenticity and representation in reality-tv to struggles between users and the creative industries on platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
This full-year module enables you to critically examine and analyse a range of media and cultural practices, texts, and technologies in a wide variety of contexts. It introduces you to a number of key concepts and theories that deal with media and culture, and it enables you to become a creative, critical, and confident consumer and producer of media in an ever-changing cultural and technological landscape.
This module is divided into a number of blocks, focusing on a variety of important topics such as: Media and Representation, Media and Practice, Media and Participation, Media and Technology, and Media and Reality. These topics will be discussed and explored with help of a range of contemporary examples, cases, and debates in television, digital games, film, advertisement, popular music, and social media.
One advantage of this full-year course is that it is carefully designed to help you develop skills at presenting your analysis and ideas in different ways, including in group discussions, essays and exam answers. By the end of the module you will be able to interpret and analyse different contemporary media and cultural phenomena with confidence, and be able to support your views and opinions with plenty of academic sources.
This module challenges you to think about why some private troubles become public concerns or social problems while others do not. It considers how certain issues are constructed as ‘problems’ and the factors that contribute to this. It helps you to understand more about both why we study social problems and the various ways in which we can do so.
Throughout the module we explore broad historical and contemporary responses to social problems. In particular, we will seek to understand how contemporary social problems reflect and reproduce economic and social inequalities and how those inequalities are constructed through different welfare ideologies and approaches.
This full-year module is organised into different ‘blocks’ underpinned by key themes, such as: need, community, citizenship, rights, and equality and social justice. We look, for example, at research and conceptual ideas that can help us understand poverty in contemporary society: we explore different ways of defining and measuring poverty, explanations of why people are poor, how the state attempts to tackle poverty and how it impacts upon the lives of individuals.
This module is normally taught by lecturers from a range of disciplines and considers how gender emerges and matters in society. It explores the gendering of identities, relations and institutions and the links between gender and power. It also examines challenges and resistances to the classifications, processes and consequences of gendering: forms of resistance and protest. It is a module which is concerned with the ways in which gender is constructed, lived, challenged and studied, and makes connections between academic work and sexual and gender politics and activism.
This full-year module is suited for anyone with an interest in issues pertaining to women and gender relations, the different social conditions in which women live, especially in relation to differences amongst women, and the way that this leads to a diversity of feminist politics
What does it mean to ‘think sociologically’? When there are so many academic disciplines and non-academic areas of professional expertise, what is unique and important about starting with the social? This module begins with fundamental questions about the value of sociology in understanding the contemporary world and goes on to explore how the significance of our questions and everyday experiences are transformed when investigating all kinds of contemporary social problems, from inequality to globalisation, sociologically.
This full-year module is organised into different ‘blocks’ that connect themes in sociology – such as the relationship between self and society or between self and power – to both long-standing and newly emerging research. Whether or not you have studied sociology before, this module will introduce you to new areas of sociology, as well as demonstrating how key themes such as consumption, identity, social justice, or culture and media intersect with different sociological questions and sites of enquiry. Lecturers draw upon the ongoing research undertaken at Lancaster, giving you access to current insights that are inspiring change in policy and professional organisations.
The benefit of having multiple topics and themes addressed within one year-long module is that the assessments are carefully designed to slowly build up your research and study skills over your first year of study, whilst still giving you the flexibility to write major essays on the topics that are most interesting to you. The module provides you with a fantastic opportunity to explore new ideas and find new inspiration for understanding how we lead our lives today, and what possibilities there are for change tomorrow.
This course focusses on the relationship between media, representation and power. We engage closely with the most influential cultural theories of modern times, putting them to work to understand how power operates through forms of mediation in late capitalist societies. We address these issues through analysis of a contemporary cultural phenomena ranging from the food poverty to the spectacular brand management of the British royal family, from Pride parades to our culture’s obsession with weight. We focus on a range of media including advertising, film, photography, multimedia art, theme parks, news media, social media and the internet.
Example topics covered include:
This module is designed around active learning – helping you to develop skills to do your own research.
Lectures address cross-cutting methodological debates as well as established methods (such as interviewing, discourse analysis, ethnography and quantitative surveys). Most of your time, however, is spent in seminars where you will try out methods such as interviewing, analysing media texts, and doing observation on campus.
There are ample opportunities for feedback as you develop ideas for your project-based final assessment, and build diverse skills to support your final year dissertation.
This module explores how consumption, advertising, branding and promotion shape society. In the module we will ask questions such as:
Documentary Film Practice is a practice-based module. You’ll work in small groups to make a short documentary film. In order to take this module you must have taken Documentary Cultures in your first year. The module builds on knowledge acquired.
By undertaking a practical project in Documentary Film Practice, students are expected to apply theoretical knowledge gained in the Documentary Cultures module to a practical project. As well as applying theory to practice, the module aims to enhance your filmmaking skills, with training provided for camera operation, sound recording and editing skills. You will also have the opportunity to develop skills in group work.
The module aims to develop an understanding of historically important European films from the 1950s to the 1980s and the stylistic and historical significance of these films. It will explore the thematic importance of these films and consider the critical debates relating to this period of filmmaking enabling students to develop a critical understanding of the conditions of production, reception and distribution of these films.
This module examines a historical genre that now occupies the economic centre of Hollywood film production. The module focuses centrally on film and comic book aesthetics; on questions of narration and visual depiction in these two related media; on the shifting norms of this film genre in relation to technological change across history; and on the significance and uses of the comic-book film in society. The module develops ideas and skills introduced in the core Film Studies modules taken as part of the film studies and combined degrees.
This core module has two main objectives. Firstly, it is designed to develop further your analytical skills in order to examine individual films in greater detail. Secondly, it is intended to encourage you to understand world cinema in relation to a variety of social, cultural, political and industrial contexts. The module will explore such issues as the relationship between film form and modes of production (from industrial film-making through to low-budget art film), theories of film style and aesthetics, and the political function of cinema. In the first term, we focus wholly on various modes of American film production, and in the second term we explore some broader theoretical questions through an analysis of films from a number of different national traditions. Across the whole module, you will gain a thorough grasp not only of the historical factors shaping various national and international cinemas, but also of some key critical and theoretical concepts within the field of film studies.
Everyday life is often described as bombarding us with images, and contemporary culture is therefore frequently understood as a visual culture.
This module will introduce theories and practices that have addressed these questions. Examples of topics studied include:
On this module you will have the opportunity to gain a critical understanding of recent and ongoing themes in Media and Cultural Studies and Sociology on the topic of vision and visuality, media and culture, develop different reading and writing skills and participate in lively discussions and analytical exercises.
In the Short Film Production module you will develop, produce and complete a short dramatic film. You will be taught and given the opportunity to follow industry standard practices throughout your project. You’ll participate in at least two class productions as both a key role member (roles like Writer/Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Art Director, and Sound Designer/Editor) and a minor role member (roles like Assistant Director, Script Supervisor, Assistant Camera, Gaffer, Grip, Sound Recordist, Boom Operator, and etc.). You’ll keep a production diary outlining your individual contributions, and be given the opportunity to gain real world experience of what working on a film production is like in the various roles. You’ll write up your experiences in an essay critically analysing the production process and outcomes.
You will need to have completed Introduction to Film Studies to take this module.
Television remains one of the most pervasive and prevalent communication mediums. It shapes how we perceive and make sense of the nation, and offers representational frameworks through which a sense of identity and community can be constructed. Television has its critics - who consider it vulgar, mundane, stupefying, 'chewing gum for the eyes' - yet despite consistent predictions of its decline, television appears to have weathered the storm of fragmentation and digitalisation and remains a crucial media site that shapes national values and debate. This module introduces students to the field of television studies, its empirical and theoretical tools and the critical perspectives that help us explore and evaluate the recent history of television and explore its possible futures.
Want to "go viral"? In this module you will make stuff: tweets, blogs, videos, GIFs, wikis, music mash-ups, photo essays, machinima, memes. We will hang out in social media worlds like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pirate Bay, 4chan, Second Life, World of Warcraft, Know Your Meme, tumblr. You will learn to tie all of these media and platforms together into a viral video and social media campaign. You will become digitally literate while at the same time exploring the most cutting edge new media theory. When you complete this module you will know how to make most types of simple digital media, you will develop a portfolio of content that may assist you in entrepreneurial work in the new media industries, and most importantly you will understand how new media are challenging existing forms of culture, politics, law, and business.
You will spend your third year working in a graduate-level placement role. This is an opportunity to gain experience in an industry or sector that you might be considering working in once you graduate.
Our Careers and Placements Team will support you during your placement with online contact and learning resources.
You will undertake a work-based learning module during your placement year which will enable you to reflect on the value of the placement experience and to consider what impact it has on your future career plans.
This module comprises a written dissertation (8,000 words) or a media project (4,000 words + practical project) that students will complete in their final year. It offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent piece of research (under supervision) and to apply their understanding of key concepts, theories and debates in media and culture to their own individual dissertation or project.
Students will plan, present and design a proposal in tutorial groups, with a detailed, step-by-step web-based guide available for extra support. They will develop an idea for a research project, work out what is possible, which methods to use, and begin to plan it. They will then communicate their dissertation proposal to other students and then write it up in a way that clearly states their research topic, aims and methods, and where it situates within wider sociological debates.
Students will carry out data collection and analysis, and write it up as a dissertation. They will meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their progress. Media projects may include creative/journalistic writing, audio production, video materials, artefacts, photographs or online campaigns, materials and environments.
This third-year course will add to the theoretical, historical and cultural aspects of film investigated in Years 1 and 2, while focusing more closely on the challenging aesthetic and critical debates surrounding the concept of modernity. It will look at films made in the silent era, in post-war Europe and in Britain and the US. Writings on film will be considered in conjunction with viewings of particular films, close analysis of specific filmic techniques and methods, and historical and theoretical approaches to film. The course will also pay attention to the debates of classical and contemporary film theory, feminist approaches and other critical traditions (semiotics, structuralism, formalism, cognitivism). Students will be introduced to key debates in classical and contemporary film theory, with topics exploring the relations between film and art, cinema and politics, cinema and psychoanalysis, and, above all, the question of how films produce meaning(s).
This module explores the history and theory of African American cinema, primarily since the 1960s, focussing on the complicated relationship between this filmmaking tradition and mainstream (Hollywood) projections of blackness. Chronologically organized, it starts with the work of Oscar Micheaux and the “race” films of the 1920s and 1930s, ending with films made in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, such as Dee Rees’s Pariah and Mudbound,Tyler Perry’s Madea franchise, Ava DuVernay’s Selma and 13th, Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, and Ryan Cooglar’s Fruitvale Station and Black Panther.
On the way to the 21st century, you will examine the cross-over stardom of Sidney Poitier (In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner) in the context of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, the rise of blaxploitation cinema (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Shaft, Superfly, Coffy and The Spook Who Sat by the Door) in the context of Black Power in the late 1960s and the political disillusionment of the 1970s. Blaxploitation’s commercial breakthrough is compared to films by members of the “Los Angeles Rebellion”, such as Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep) and Haile Gerima (Bush Mama), who strived for an alternative independent black film aesthetic.
These contrasting legacies are connected to the rise of hip hop cinema in the 1980s and 1990s, in the work of Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing), John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) and the Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society).
Culture and creativity are key assets that cities use to attract a ‘creative class’ and succeed in a global context of urbanisation. But do the kinds of cultures and creativities promoted give citizens (and non-citizens) the right to the city? Can cultures and creativity be ‘used’ for economic competitiveness and foster a social production of city space? This module examines how social, artistic and media practices shape cities and people, and urban development in the Global North and South. It combines theoretical readings and discussion based seminars with case studies that examine examples of creative urbanism in cities such as Gaza, Hamburg, Sao Paulo.
The Experimental Cinema module introduces you to the non-mainstream, avant-garde, modes of production and the key movements and practices since the 1920s. You will be given the opportunity to study the theoretical concepts of historical and contemporary avant-garde movements and practices and witness the different ways artists and filmmakers have challenged the mainstream narrative and stylistic conventions. Throughout this module you will look at important figures in the development of experimental film aesthetics such as Man Ray, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Michael Snow, Chantal Akerman as well as some lesser known, emerging contemporary experimental filmmakers.
The first half of the module provides a conceptual and historical overview of avant-garde filmmaking and the second half will focus on contemporary debates and the institutional shift in experimental film production with the rise of digital technology. As well as having the opportunity to develop an understanding of experimental cinema through reading and writing research papers, you will have a chance to engage with the formal and technical aspects of making an experimental film through practice-based assignments.
You will need to have completed Short Film Production or Documentary Film Practice in order to take this module.
How do we make sense of the various understanding of being a fan nowadays? How has the experience of being part of a media audience transformed over the decades in different parts of the world? In what ways do fan culture and audience community manifest social transformations in both the local and global scale?
This module aims to provide you with a critical understanding of fandom and audiences in a global and transnational context. You will first be introduced to the contested concepts and typologies of ‘audience’ and ‘fan’ and the cultural hierarchy of knowledge underneath theses definitions. The module will focus on four dimensions – participation, pleasure, performance, and power – by investigating fan culture and audience communities of a wide range of transmedia texts (television, music, film, and other media) in a global perspective. You will analyse the multi-layered dynamics between individual fan, fan community, audience participation, media texts, and the industry through sociological and interdisciplinary lenses, for example, cultural studies, feminist studies, queer studies, and postcolonial studies.
In this module, you will learn about the basics of journalism -- reporting and storytelling using digital technologies. From audio recording and video production to writing, photography, and innovations using data, technology, and interviews, this module is an introduction to journalism of today and tomorrow. You will also interact with key theories and practices of journalism, discussing and debating international perspectives. In the end, you will have a final journalistic product based on a story of your selection.
This module offers an introduction to the broad area of silent cinema and to a range of critical approaches to this rich area of study. You will have the opportunity to view and analyse a number of important films. We will also explore a number of critical questions raised by this material with regard to the writing and study of histories of cinema (and popular culture in general). We will examine the relationships between technology and form, the economics of film production, distribution and reception, the relationship between cinema and national identity, the social and cultural impact of new (entertainment) media and the study of cinema audiences.
This module will explore how the politically powerful and the politically radical use the internet to consolidate and revolutionise the distribution of power around the globe.
Like many communication platforms before it, the internet is mobilised by the politically and economically powerful as well as those seeking radical change. However, unlike other platforms, it has created an almost universally accessible platform for public dialogue. Pro-democracy revolutionaries, freedom hackers, feminist mediasmiths, anti-capitalists, data leakers, and others use the internet to organise their social movements. Conversely, those opposed to the liberal project, such as authoritarians and extremist groups, also use the affordances of the internet to distribute their message and rally their supporters.
This module examines these issues and investigates the implications of “big data” control by governments and corporations. The module looks also at the understanding social networkers and other content uploaders have of this “big data” control along with the consequences that it comes with.
This module addresses contemporary debates in sociology and cinema by focusing on a single film each week. Its overall aim is to employ cinema for the purpose of social diagnosis.
The module engages with cinema as a social fact, before linking together cinema (producing images of the social) and sociality (socialisation of the image) for analysis.
This module analyses the relationship between society and terror, taking point of departure in the discussion of 9/11 and the political responses it has provoked. The module focuses on how different forms of terror are related to the changing nature of society and how terror can be theorized from a sociological point of view. It also explores how the study of terror can contribute to the discipline of sociology. An example of concepts covered are: terror, the war against terrorism, dispositif, nihilism, flow, consumerism, post-politics, politics of security.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2024/25 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2023/24 were:
There may be extra costs related to your course for items such as books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation, you may need to pay a subscription to a professional body for some chosen careers.
Specific additional costs for studying at Lancaster are listed below.
Lancaster is proud to be one of only a handful of UK universities to have a collegiate system. Every student belongs to a college, and all students pay a small college membership fee which supports the running of college events and activities.
For students starting in 2022 and 2023, the fee is £40 for undergraduates and research students and £15 for students on one-year courses. Fees for students starting in 2024 have not yet been set.
To support your studies, you will also require access to a computer, along with reliable internet access. You will be able to access a range of software and services from a Windows, Mac, Chromebook or Linux device. For certain degree programmes, you may need a specific device, or we may provide you with a laptop and appropriate software - details of which will be available on relevant programme pages. A dedicated IT support helpdesk is available in the event of any problems.
The University provides limited financial support to assist students who do not have the required IT equipment or broadband support in place.
In addition to travel and accommodation costs, while you are studying abroad, you will need to have a passport and, depending on the country, there may be other costs such as travel documents (e.g. VISA or work permit) and any tests and vaccines that are required at the time of travel. Some countries may require proof of funds.
In addition to possible commuting costs during your placement, you may need to buy clothing that is suitable for your workplace and you may have accommodation costs. Depending on the employer and your job, you may have other costs such as copies of personal documents required by your employer for example.
Details of our scholarships and bursaries for 2024-entry study are not yet available, but you can use our opportunities for 2023-entry applicants as guidance.
Check our current list of scholarships and bursaries.
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The information on this site relates primarily to 2024/2025 entry to the University and every effort has been taken to ensure the information is correct at the time of publication.
The University will use all reasonable effort to deliver the courses as described, but the University reserves the right to make changes to advertised courses. In exceptional circumstances that are beyond the University’s reasonable control (Force Majeure Events), we may need to amend the programmes and provision advertised. In this event, the University will take reasonable steps to minimise the disruption to your studies. If a course is withdrawn or if there are any fundamental changes to your course, we will give you reasonable notice and you will be entitled to request that you are considered for an alternative course or withdraw your application. You are advised to revisit our website for up-to-date course information before you submit your application.
More information on limits to the University’s liability can be found in our legal information.
We believe in the importance of a strong and productive partnership between our students and staff. In order to ensure your time at Lancaster is a positive experience we have worked with the Students’ Union to articulate this relationship and the standards to which the University and its students aspire. View our Charter and other policies.