University of Chester

Programme Specification
Cultural Studies BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Cultural Studies

Cultural Studies

University of Chester

Wirral Metropolitan College

Wirral Metropolitan College
Conway Park campus
Europa Boulevard
Conway Park
CH41 4NT

Undergraduate Modular Programme

Full-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

3 Years (full-time)

7 Years

Annual - September

L000

P300

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film, and Cultural Studies

 

N/A

Department of Media

Wednesday 11th March 2015

Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field in which certain concepts, approaches and theories have converged; the usefulness of this convergence is that it has enabled us to understand phenomena and relationships from a holistic perspective. The subject is informed by a range of disciplines, particularly Literature, Film Studies, Psychoanalysis, History, Sociology and Gender Studies. Cultural Studies is in constant and engaged interaction with developing contemporary themes.

The programme aims to enable students to develop transferable skills that enhance employability and critical analysis for further study. There is an emphasis on independent thought and critical thinking, as a means of furthering student experience and making meaningful contributions to community, society, research and original ideas.

With this educational ethos in mind, the programme aims are:

  • To engage students with historical and contemporary theories and research within this multidisciplinary academic field
  • To promote student aspirations and enhance employment opportunities through the development of transferable skills
  • To foster students' original ideas, independent thought and critical analysis, enabling them to build confidence in their own skills for problem solving.
  • To build confidence and intellectual curiosity through active learning and high standards of teaching and assessment
  • To enable students to achieve graduate status and be effective in their contributions to society and their community
  • To give students the crucial foundations in ethical and professional standards needed for study and employment.

Students will gain key knowledge and understanding through the relevant theories, approaches and perspectives applied to historical cultural developments. Understanding of the core and fundamental elements is gained through informed application of these theories and models to contemporary cultural and social issues. Students are encouraged to draw on their own experience to reflect on these applications and therefore consolidate knowledge and understanding.

The levels of attainment linked to progression through the different levels of the programme are indicated below: 

FHEQ Level 4 Certificates of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 4 on the FHEQ.

  • Knowledge of the underlying concepts and principles associated with Cultural Studies, and an ability to evaluate and interpret these within the context of Cultural Studies.
  • A basic knowledge and understanding of some of the foundational ideas relating to Cultural Studies.
  • An awareness of the context in which Cultural Studies has developed and the changing nature of ideas about cultural forms.
  • (ME4006, ME4019)

 

FHEQ level 5 Diplomas of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 5 on the FHEQ.

  • knowledge and critical understanding of the well-established principles of Cultural Studies, and of the way in which those principles have developed
  • An understanding of the limits of their knowledge, and how this influences analyses and interpretations based on that knowledge.
  • Knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in the subject relevant to the named award, and ability to evaluate critically the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in the field of Cultural Studies.
  • (ME5007, ME5008, ME5011)

 

Bachelor's degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 6 on the FHEQ.

  • A systematic understanding of key aspects of their field of study, including acquisition of coherent and detailed knowledge, at least some of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of defined aspects of Cultural Studies.
  • Apply the methods and techniques that they have learned to review, consolidate, extend and apply their knowledge and understanding, and to initiate and carry out projects.
  • To describe and comment upon particular aspects of current research, or equivalent advanced scholarship, in the discipline of Cultural Studies.
  • (ME6002, ME6007)

 

 

Cognitive skills will be developed throughout the programme across all levels. Development of independent thought through evidence based foundations is promoted in every module.

The levels of attainment linked to progression through the different levels of the programme are indicated below: 

 

FHEQ Level 4 Certificates of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 4 on the FHEQ.

  • An ability to present, evaluate and interpret qualitative and quantitative data, in order to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of Cultural Studies.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems related to Cultural Studies.
  • (ME4008, ME4020)

 

FHEQ level 5 Diplomas of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 5 on the FHEQ.

  • Knowledge of the main methods of enquiry in Cultural Studies, and ability to evaluate critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving problems in the field of study.
  • Use a range of established techniques to initiate and undertake critical analysis of information, and to propose solutions to problems arising from that analysis.
  • (ME5007, ME5011, ME5012)

 

Bachelor's degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 6 on the FHEQ.

  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student to devise and sustain arguments, and to solve problems, using ideas and techniques, some of which are at the forefront of Cultural Studies.
  • Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions, abstract concepts and data (that may be incomplete), to make judgements, and to frame appropriate questions to achieve a solution, or identify a range of solutions, to a problem.
  • (ME6003)

Time management and effective planning are skills students will develop over the course of the programme. Students are required to meet deadlines, keep to limitations on assessments and attend every lecture. Students will reflect on feedback and use this to develop their own learning and performance. Students will develop employability skills through maintaining a professional approach towards their studies.

The levels of attainment linked to progression through the different levels of the programme are indicated below: 

 

FHEQ Level 4 Certificates of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 4 on the FHEQ.

  • The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of some personal responsibility.
  • Undertake further training and develop new skills within a structured and managed environment.
  • (ME4006, ME4008)

 

FHEQ level 5 Diplomas of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 5 on the FHEQ.

  • The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making.
  • Ability to apply underlying concepts and principles outside the context in which they were first studied, including, where appropriate, the application of those principles in an employment context
  • (ME5007, ME5020)

 

Bachelor's degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 6 on the FHEQ.

  • The ability to manage their own learning, and to make use of scholarly reviews and primary sources
  • The qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:
  • The exercise of initiative and personal responsibility
  • Decision-making in complex and unpredictable contexts
  • The learning ability needed to undertake appropriate further training of a professional or equivalent nature.
  • (ME6006)

The nature of this programme requires a high level of communication skills both verbal and written. Effective communication is a crucial element of the programme and students are given opportunities to practice and develop these skills throughout the programme.

The levels of attainment linked to progression through the different levels of the programme are indicated below: 

 

FHEQ Level 4 Certificates of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 4 on the FHEQ.

  • Communicate the results of their study/work accurately and reliably, and with structured and coherent arguments
  • (ME4018, ME4019)

 

FHEQ level 5 Diplomas of Higher Education are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 5 on the FHEQ.

  • Effectively communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms to specialist and non-specialist audiences and deploy key techniques of the discipline effectively
  • Undertake further training, develop existing skills and acquire new competences that will enable them to assume significant responsibility within organisations.
  • (ME5008, ME5009)

 

Bachelor's degrees with honours are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

Descriptor for a higher education qualification at level 6 on the FHEQ.

  • An ability to deploy accurately established techniques of analysis and enquiry within Cultural Studies
  • Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • (ME6001, ME6002)

The programme runs over three academic years, each year being divided into semesters. Criteria for progression through Levels 4, 5 and 6 relates to programme aims, stated learning outcomes and module outcomes, and accumulation of appropriate credits.

As students progress through the course, they will be expected to demonstrate increasing independence and responsibility for planning and critically evaluating their own learning and individual working methods. To support this progression course delivery shifts from structured and formal teaching methods at Level 4 to the facilitation increasingly of individual-centred, self-directed and self-evaluative methods of learning at Levels 5 and 6. At level 6 students are expected to take on a high level of responsibility for their own learning including the processes of research and critical reflection.

Balance 

The programme comprises of a number of elements, both academic and practical, in its subject specific skills, while making a significant contribution to personal development through key generic skills. The subject matter is wide in breadth and the assessments require an evolving depth of analysis across the levels. 

Coherence and Integrity 

The overall coherence and intellectual integrity of the programme ensures that the student experience has a logical structure and an integrity of purpose linked to the general aims of the course. This is demonstrated by the overall structure of the course as it progresses from level four through to levels five and six and by the content of the modules at each level. The coherence of the course and the possibility of students cross-referencing ideas and approaches between modules at the various levels has often been commented upon by external examiners. The course begins by engaging the students with introductory forms of reading and analysis that encompass several key themes. At level 4 the modules ensure an increased depth and breadth of learning and builds upon the skills and knowledge required at level 5. Level 6 modules allow greater autonomy to develop specialisms and develop a heightened awareness of the more subtle aspects of Cultural Studies.  

 

 

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ME4006 4 Class Consciousness and Urban Culture 20 Comp
ME4008 4 Nation, Race and Empire 20 Comp
ME4010 4 Textual Varieties and Theoretical Approaches 20 Comp
ME4018 4 Introduction to Cultural Studies 20 Comp
ME4019 4 Gender, Sexual Orientation and Class 20 Comp
ME4020 4 Popular Culture and Society 20 Comp
ME5007 5 Research Methods 20 Comp
ME5008 5 Shakespeare in Performance 20 Comp
ME5009 5 Utopias and Dystopias 20 Comp
ME5011 5 Language in Society and Culture 20 Comp
ME5012 5 Gender and Social Change 20 Comp
ME5020 5 The Rise and Development of Modern Urban Culture 20 Comp
ME6001 6 Carnival and its Discontents 20 Comp
ME6002 6 Cyber-cultures 20 N/A
ME6003 6 The Origins and Legacy of Romanticism 20 Comp
ME6005 6 Imperialism 20 Comp
ME6006 6 Developing Professional Practice 20 Comp
ME6007 6 Dissertation 40 Comp

Level four of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education (120 Credits).

Level five of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education (240 Credits).

Level six of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours (360 Credits).

N/A

NA

A minimum of 240 - 280 UCAS points from GCE A Levels or equivalent

BTEC:

BTEC National Diploma/Certificate: merit/distinction profile

Irish/Scottish Highers:

B in 4 subjects

International Baccalaureate:

26 points

QAA:

QAA recognised Access to HE Diploma, Open College Units or Open University Credits

OCR:

OCR National Extended/Diploma: merit/distinction profile

Extra Information:

The Advanced Diploma: acceptable on its own

Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer

Admission is through interview where potential students must evidence the following:

  • Be able to work flexibly and independently, showing self-discipline.
  • Be able to plan, organise and demonstrate good time management skills.
  • Be able to communicate effectively.
  • Be able to work productively in a group, showing abilities to listen and contribute effectively.
  • Be able to deliver work to a given brief, length and format.
  • Be competent in ITC, including power-point presentation, word processing, using email and the internet.
  • Be able to evidence a basic understanding in the content of the programme.

All potential students are offered initial impartial advice and guidance from Wirral Metropolitan College's Student Advisers. The Student Advisors service offers help and advice in completing UCAS forms and acts as a central point for receiving UCAS applications. This will then lead to an advisory interview from an admissions tutor. 

English Language requirements: If English is not their first language, applicants may need an English language assessment before enrolling on the course. This assessment is provided by the ESOL department. An IELTS 6.0 or higher is required (Min. 5.5 in each sub-skill section).

The content of the programme is aligned with the QAA (2008) Subject Benchmark Statements. The Subject Benchmark Statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies (2008) are available on the QAA website (www.qaa.ac.uk). This programme of study incorporates these subject benchmark statements and all of the modules integrate appropriate benchmark statements in varying degrees. The QAA states that there are a number of core domains, those relevant are listed below and mapped in detail across all levels of the programme: 

The Subject Benchmark Statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies (2008): 

FHEQ Core Domains relevant to Cultural Studies:

  • Communications, Culture and Society
  • Culture and identity 

FHEQ Subject specific and generic skills relevant to Cultural Studies

  • Skills of intellectual analysis
  • Research skills 

Benchmarks are interpreted below: 

FHEQ at level 4 students are introduced to concepts of culture through module ME4020, where they will develop an appreciation for the development of culture and the complexities of its terminology. Through ME4019 students will explore the concepts of class, gender and sexual orientation and other social divisions that play key roles in terms of both access to the media, and modes of representation in media texts. Students will explore how communications, media and culture play increasingly pivotal roles in economic and political organisations at local, regional, national, international and global levels. Students develop an understanding of the roles of communication systems, modes of representations and systems of meaning in the ordering of societies. Exploration of the roles of cultural practices and cultural institutions in society help students to understand the dynamics of public and everyday discourses in the shaping of culture and society (ME4008). Through module ME4006 (which emphasises historical aspects of the contribution of media that have shaped the modern world) students develop their understanding of wider issues. A clear foundation in understanding the interconnectedness of texts and contexts is given through ME4010. Students develop their understanding of the aesthetic and formal qualities at play in module ME4009. This in turn supports students to gain insight into the cultural and social ways in which aesthetic judgements are constructed and aesthetic processes experienced. 

FHEQ at level 5, students develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between discourse, culture and identity in ME5012. Students will evaluate and examine the ways in which identities are constructed and contested through engagements with culture and social change. Students will investigate in depth how people's lives, especially in the modern world, are thoroughly permeated with a great variety of communicative, cultural and aesthetic systems and practices in ME5020. Study of the many forms of mass media, by applying theories and methods of enquiry developed within the arts and humanities discipline, will equip students with a solid knowledge base in cultural history, literary and textual analysis, philosophy, and theatre and film. Students will also produce a piece of self-managed research requiring critical engagement demonstrating their command of research skills (ME5007). This module also enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the history of communication and media technologies, and a recognition of the different ways in which the history of, and current developments in, media and communication can be understood in relation to technological change. Students will gain a comparative understanding of the roles that media or cultural institutions play in different societies as well as particular media forms and genres, and the way in which they organise understandings, meanings and effects. Module ME5009 will demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which different social groups may make use of cultural texts and products in the construction of social and cultural realities, cultural maps and frames of reference. Students will also examine the role that aesthetic and other pleasures and judgments may play in the production and maintenance of social relations. ME5008 enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the social, cultural and political histories from which different media and cultural institutions, modes of communication, practices and structures have emerged. Knowledge and understanding of the historical evolution of particular genres, aesthetic traditions and forms, and of their current characteristics and possible future developments are also included in this module. ME5011 focuses on the narrative processes, generic forms and modes of representation at work in media and cultural texts, giving students an awareness of a range of works which generate different kinds of aesthetic pleasures. 

FHEQ at level 6, students gain further insight into the different modes of global, international, national and local cultural and social experience and their interaction in particular instances in ME6001. Through literature students will gain an understanding of the ways in which forms of cultural consumption are embedded in everyday life, and serve as ways of claiming and understanding identities. ME6003 enables students to explore forms through which people imagine the past and define the present. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of new and emergent media forms and their relation both to their social context and to earlier forms, and an understanding of the ways in which participatory access to the central sites of public culture and communication is distributed along axes of social division, such as class, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. ME6002 enables students to demonstrate their understanding of the interrelationships of technological and social change. This module focuses on the ways in which specific media and their attendant technologies make possible different kinds of aesthetic effects and forms. ME6001 enables students to consolidate their understanding of the historical development of practices of cultural consumption (including subcultural forms and everyday lived practices). Whereas ME6005 gives student the awareness of the ways in which critical and cultural theories and concepts have developed within particular contexts. Students complete a dissertation (ME6007) demonstrating an understanding of the ways in which people engage with cultural texts and practices and make meaning from them. Students will draw upon and bring together ideas from different sources of knowledge and from different academic disciplines. 

 

Teaching and learning

A wide range of teaching and learning methods are used, including screenings, lectures, guest lecturers, seminars, individual tutorials, class-based exercises, group work, guided study, internet resources, group discussions, guided reading and self-guided study. There is an emphasis upon relating teaching and learning to employment; therefore, transferable study skills are supported at all levels through workshop sessions. Progression through the programme will lead to an increasing emphasis on student self-direction and self-responsibility in the teaching and learning strategies deployed.

Students enter the programme with varying levels of academic qualifications, experience and abilities. Therefore students are introduced to a number of college services and University facilities during the induction period at level 4. The learning context will encourage active engagement with cultural and communication forms.

Teaching and learning strategies will be oriented towards the following learning processes:

  • Awareness-raising and knowledge acquisition: At level 4 and 5, students will develop new areas of knowledge and experience, and broaden and deepen existing knowledge.
  • Conceptual and critical understanding: At levels 4, 5 and 6, students will engage in the critical analysis of texts, fields of knowledge, concepts and cultural and production practices, testing their analysis against received understandings and practices.
  • Practice experience: At level 6, students will acquire the skills and opportunities for creative expression and thinking in a range of activities, from research to presentations, and receive and give feedback on their own performance.
  • Critical reflection: At level 6, students will reflect on new knowledge and understanding, and on their own learning experiences and performance, and acquire new awareness and understanding.

At level 4, teaching and learning strategies are supportive and encouraging, in order to help students grow not only in confidence but also skills. The focus is upon raising awareness and knowledge acquisition. Teaching and learning methods include lectures, screenings, and seminars. Drop-in workshops to support students with referencing and study skills are scheduled as optional sessions. Group work in class-based sessions is used to develop the group as a supportive resource. One-to-one tutorials to support students to reflect on their own performance and sessions that emphasise knowledge acquisition, skills development (both specific and general-transferable) and analysis and evaluation are also employed. Students are encouraged to read widely, develop discursive skills and discriminate between choices of relevant texts and resources. Feedback is given both verbally and orally to students and work is corrected for spelling, grammar and punctuation, as part of employability development.

At level 5, students are encouraged to build on their developing skills gained at level 4. Teaching and learning methods used at level 4 are continued; however, the methods employed require students to engage their understanding and knowledge to take responsibility for their own learning and performance. Class discussions are used to develop critical argument and communication skills. There is an emphasis upon students’ independently applying their knowledge base to develop their understanding. Critical evaluation, analysis and application of evidence-based research is expected at level 5.

At level 6, high levels of critical analysis and academic rigour are expected. The teaching and learning methods employed form a lecture-based approach. Students are expected to read widely and use primary sources of information to support independent ideas as a body of evidence. Critical reviews of previous literature and synthesising information to support ideas are also encouraged through group and individual sessions.

Assessment and feedback

Feedback and formative assessment play a critical role in enabling students to develop skills necessary to improve and raise aspirations. Assessment strategies follow the outcomes of the degree, and specific module aims and learning outcomes. Assessment is planned with a clear delivery strategy that reflects a range and balance of teaching and learning methods. All learning outcomes are measurable, and assessment of these is appropriate to their level and consistent in the demands it makes on students. Overall, assessment of students focuses on the following areas:

Level 4: Breadth and depth of subject knowledge and awareness of the history and context of that knowledge; subject-specific and generic skills, including skills of investigation and enquiry, oral and written communication skills, and the use of a range of technological systems for assessing resources, contacts and literature.

Level 5: Critical analysis, of texts, concepts and culture, including the ability to contextualise the analysis and engage in critical debate through discursive argument.

Level 6: Critical reflection on issues, on new knowledge and understanding, and on students' own performance against agreed criteria, including the capacity to deploy and evaluate evidence and to express the outcomes of such reflection clearly and fluently.

Therefore, assessment as follows:

Level 4:

  • Short papers and long essays
  • Analyses of textual and cultural forms and practices
  • Reviews and reports
  • Seen and unseen examinations
  • Individual presentations

Level 5:

  • Short papers and long essays
  • Analyses of textual and cultural forms and practices
  • Reviews and reports
  • Seen and unseen examinations
  • Individual presentations
  • Individual project reports

Level 6:

  • Short papers and long essays
  • Seen and unseen examinations
  • Individual presentations
  • Critical self-evaluation
  • Individual portfolios of work (reflection or work experience)
  • Professional practice
  • Individual project reports
  • Research exercises

The programme also requires the production of an extended piece of independent investigation which is undertaken in the final year. This is an individual piece of work. It is a 40-credit module that is a significant component of individually assessed work.

 

The development of this programme has been informed by the graduate characteristics as detailed in the QAA subject benchmark statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies.

The Cultural Studies degree programme specifically embeds transferable skills that are required by graduate employers. Graduates gain transferable skills in ICT, research, analysis and presentation as well as communication, team-working, problem-solving and time-management that are beneficial to careers within teaching, management, heritage work, as well as a range of other graduate careers.

Typically a student graduating from this programme will display:

  • Substantial knowledge of communication, film, media and cultural study forms.
  • An understanding of a range of concepts, theories and approaches to the study of the above and the capacity to apply this understanding.
  • Critical analysis and research skills culminating in the production of a dissertation which displays the extensive range of knowledge and understanding detailed above.

In level 6 of the programme all students undertake the module Developing Professional Practice which involves work experience and career planning. Within this module students produce an action plan relating to their future plans upon the completion of their degrees. Liaison with the work experience department within the College ensures that all placements are health and safety checked. Past placements have taken place within local schools, Wirral social services and National Museums Liverpool, amongst others.

A significant proportion of graduates progress to postgraduate courses particularly in teaching, such as PGCE qualifications. Career pathways have also included journalism, teaching in further education, research through education to media, social work, youth work and social policy careers.

Progression opportunities and anticipated employment options for graduates. The module on Career Planning and Work Experience provides not only an opportunity for the students to undertake work experience but also to complete research based on their placement. In the past this has included for example: evaluation of support planning paperwork within social services and analysis of usage of heritage industries within Liverpool. The Module also includes:

  • Labour Market Information on sector growth
  • Reflective statement based on life span development
  • Action planning & career planning log
  • Presentation incorporating their future plans
  • Skill set analysis and development
  • Digital CV production
  • Lecture by enterprise and employability tutor

 

Wirral Metropolitan College has an Equal Opportunities Policy. This is in the public domain and staff development is undertaken to support their implementation.

The College is committed to widening access to, as well as increasing participation in higher education. The College offers specific support to those who may have a disability or specific learning difficulties. The College is also structurally designed to be accessible and considers the health and safety implications for those using wheelchairs. The programme welcomes all applicants regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation and is designed to promote widening participation.

 

None

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