University of Chester

Programme Specification
Media MA
2017 - 2018

Master of Arts

Media

Media

University of Chester

University of Chester

Warrington Campus

Postgraduate (Taught)

Full-time and Part-time

Classroom / Laboratory,

1 year FT, 2-3 years PT

6 Years

Biannual - January - September

P310

No

17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Media

Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies

N/A

Media

Thursday 2nd October 2014

MA Media is designed to give the postgraduate student experience in a range of production areas – encompassing ‘traditional’ media and the newly emerging. Alongside this they will develop their academic skills through researching areas that may be current, newly emerging and/or challenging for the industry. Their research may relate to topics/issues that are of local, national or international concern and will most obviously manifest itself in the Media Project which constitutes the culmination of their studies.

The media are an integral part of most cultures and societies. They provide education, information and entertainment – sometimes all in one media product. The emergence, and embracing, of new technologies and the ability for formerly discrete forms of media to converge has provided both opportunities and challenges for content producers, media industries, governments and regulators, and indeed audiences themselves, both in terms of their culture and sense of identity. This Master's programme allows for the post-graduate student to engage in some ‘hands-on’ creative work in both radio and television, to explore new media practices and to work on real briefs through media industry practices. At the same time, they are actively engaged in critiquing the challenges and opportunities facing the media industries, as a whole and individually; locally, nationally and internationally through academic research and their own practices. Students will be encouraged to explore contemporary issues, debates and concerns that are of interest to industry and the academic field of media. They will develop the knowledge and skills not only to reflect on what has happened, or is currently taking place, but also to predict, and maybe even shape, future media trends.

  • To produce graduates who possess the ability to synthesise transferable skills in a range of environments - practical, policy/industry and academic. Graduates will have developed sector and subject-specific knowledge and understanding, along with a respect and appreciation of professional qualities and standards and transferable communication skills that are of benefit for careers in the media sector, and beyond. A sophisticated understanding of how the media is owned, funded, regulated and operated is important to any organisation.
  • To develop the conceptual awareness of Master's students and encourage critical analysis and evaluation.
  • To provide a structured and supported framework and environment for students' learning.
  • To provide a Master's degree programme which acknowledges and endeavours to meet the media industry's skills and intellectual needs. 
  • To prepare students for progression to Higher degrees or further research, including PhD.
  • To provide a Master's degree, which fulfils the criteria suggested in the QAA subject standards and benchmarks.

At the end of this programme students will:

  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of considerable aspects of the media industries which is informed by academic, production and professional discipline-specific research, theory and practice. (ME7247, ME7252, ME7254, ME7263)
  • Evidence a critical awareness of key issues, debates and developments impacting on the media industries and their political, cultural, economic and audience relationships at both local and global levels. The ability to research and rigorously evaluate current trends, issues, concerns, debates, technological developments and their impact upon the creation of products, audiences and global organisations. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7252, ME7262)


 

 
 


 
 

 



At the end of this program students will:

  • Evidence the ability to present work in a coherent, sophisticated and discipline-appropriate format – communication in a variety of forms: including pitching ideas, oral and or visual representation of ideas, academic writing style. (ME7251, ME7262, ME7263)
  • Exhibit the skills to interpret, critically analyse and evaluate current ideas and debates through the ability to differentiate between various methods of research and justify their appropriateness for own independent academic research and production projects. (ME7249, ME7252, ME7262)
  • Demonstrate the critical awareness to challenge or reinterpret existing ideas, and engage in primary research which adds to knowledge in the field. (ME7262)

At the end of this programme students will:

  • Demonstrate the skills to utilise and apply a wide range of specialist professional, academic, practical, technical and creative skills and techniques, in diverse contexts and situations, in the inception, planning, management and production of ideas for a range of briefs – practical, industry and academic. (ME7247, ME7251, ME7252, ME7263)
  • Evidence an ability to integrate and evidence theoretical learning and knowledge within practical contexts. Create products that synergise ideas and skills from across the programme to evidence the understanding of theory and research enhancing creative content. (ME7247, ME7251, ME7254, ME7263)
  • Exemplify knowledge of contemporary trends within media – how the media sector has developed, the growth of global commercial organisations, the impact on cultures, politics, the economy, geographical shifts in production, mass audience and niche audience, the role of technology. (ME7249, ME7251, ME7263)
  • Exhibit the ability to plan, develop, support and sustain ongoing career and advanced skills development through the understanding and application of, and critical reflection upon, professional process, conventions and modes of conduct within the context of one's own working practices. (ME7251, ME7262, ME7263)

At the end of this programme students will:

  • Exhibit the ability to strongly and clearly communicate ideas, information and arguments to different audiences, in appropriate formats – interpret and evaluate ideas and data and make informed predictions or assessments and convey those ideas in an accessible and clear manner. (ME7251, ME7262, ME7263)
  • Evidence the ability to make informed and measured decisions to solve complex problems that relate to professional, production and academic scenarios. Exhibit the capacity to do this while working independently and as a member of a team in a variety of roles. (ME7251, ME7252, ME7262, ME7263)
  • Demonstrate personal responsibility in all aspects of their work and conduct, developing and adopting a professional approach and attitude to all activities. (ME7251, ME7262, ME7263)

 

The programme offered is a Master's degree studied over one year full-time or two/three years on a part-time basis.  Each module is worth 20 credits with 200 hours of notional student learning, except for the 60-credit Media Project, where the hours of student learning activity is notionally 600 hours.  The proposed programme takes into account the FHEQ level 7 descriptor relating to Master's awards, and the structure has at its core the establishment and development of knowledge and discipline-based skills, and a conceptual understanding of media.  The dual intake proposed for the programme has meant the framework and delivery of the modules has had to be carefully considered and dovetailed.  For instance, a full-time student starting the programme in September, will take the following modules in the first few months:
 

  • ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television (20 credits)
  • ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues (20 credits)
  • ME7251 New Media Practices (20 credits)


These modules will enable students to gain “a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship”, which FHEQ states is a requirement of a Master's degree.  Furthermore, the mix of theoretical and practical teaching and learning will enable students to demonstrate ‘conceptual understanding’ and reflection and contextualisation of their own practice.  Full-time September intake students will then study the following modules:
 

  • ME7252 Research Skills and Methods (20 credits)
  • ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip formats and Magazine Programmes (20 credits)
  • ME7263 Media Industry Practices (20 credits)

 
These modules will develop students’ skills and discipline-based knowledge further as well as prepare them to undertake a substantial piece of research and/ practice with:
 
ME7262 Media Project (60 credits)
 
This major project is in line with FHEQ guidance that a Master's degree “typically include [s] planned intellectual progression that often includes a synoptic/ research or scholarly activity.”  This final project allows students to pursue a topic (dissertation) or produce an artefact (practical project).  The FHEQ’s guidelines also suggest a Master's should be awarded to those students who can show how “to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses”, which the project is aimed to assess.
 
The skills, knowledge and independent learning required for this substantive piece of work chimes with the FHEQ guidelines for graduates of Master's degrees to be able to exhibit “initiative and personal responsibility” as well as “demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level.” The students are prepared to undertake this tutor-negotiated independent project through ME7252 Research Skills and Methods, where they engage with critical thinking, analysis and evaluation, as well as “a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline” (FHEQ).  Additionally, all the 20-credit modules require students to show initiative and independent learning.  For example, in ME7263 Media Industry Practices, students must initiate and subsequently evidence direct engagement with Industry representatives through a Portfolio of work.  Comparatively, students must originate an idea or focus for an analytical report and conduct indepth independent research related to new media for ME7251 New Media Practices.
 
Whilst students entering the programme in January would take modules in reverse order (bar the Project), they will be in no way disadvantaged as the delivery of the programme is structured to ensure 20-credit modules can be taken without pre- or co-requisites.  This approach means that studying the course on a part-time basis is also feasible.

Full-time students, joining the Department in September, would have the following academic journey:

September

January

June

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip  Formats and Magazine Programmes

MA7262 Media Project

ME7249 Contemporary Media  Issues

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

 

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7263 Media Industry Practices

 

Full-time students joining in January would take the following journey:

January

September

June

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip  Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

MA7262 Media Project

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 

ME7263 Media Industry Practices

ME7251 New Media Practices

 


The following is an example academic journey, which a part-time student, joining the programme in September, could take:

Year one

September

January

ME7247 Multi-skilling for Television

ME7254 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes

ME7249 Contemporary Media Issues

 


Year two

September

January

June

ME7251 New Media Practices

ME7252 Research Skills and Methods

MA7262 Media Project

 

ME7263 Media Industry Practices

 

  
Students could exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate, after obtaining 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma after obtaining 120 credits.  Students wishing to exit with the Master's would need to obtain 180 credits.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
ME7247 7 Multi-skilling for Television 20 Comp
ME7249 7 Contemporary Media Issues 20 Comp
ME7251 7 New Media Practices 20 Comp
ME7252 7 Research Skills and Methods 20 Comp
ME7254 7 Radio Studio: Strip Formats and Magazine Programmes 20 Comp
ME7262 7 Media Project 60 Comp
ME7263 7 Media Industry Practices 20 Comp

 
All modules are compulsory


60 credits for the award of Post Graduate Certificate Media


120 credits for the award of Post Graduate Diploma Media


180 credits for the award of MA Media

N/A

N/A

A first degree; there is no requirement for prospective students to hold a first degree specifically in a Media subject, as the level of theoretical and practical teaching and learning accounts for students who hold degrees from different disciplines.

Applications from non-traditional or mature students, with relevant professional experience, are welcomed.

Applicants may be invited to attend an interview and/or submit a portfolio of work.

For those international/overseas students whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of 6.5 is required.

The programme accords with the subject benchmark statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies and Master's Degree Characteristics document (www.qaa.ac.uk).

Developing a systematic and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the media industry will clearly be at the heart of the programme; there will be a focus on key areas such as legal, ethical and creative constraints and considerations, issues and developments related to new media technologies as well as more traditional media forms and honing of production-related skills. Incorporating the study and practice of new media reflects a contemporary focus on ‘fusion skills’ and convergence, which relates directly to an M-level characteristic as defined by QAA: “an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the discipline informed by current scholarship and research, including a critical awareness of current issues and developments in the subject.”  Students of all the PGT Media programmes will take the Media Industry Practices module to develop a critical understanding and knowledge of the media industry. Emphasis will be placed on regulation, policy and practice. Students will develop an awareness of the current media job markets with specific focus on freelancing and entrepreneurship and there will be opportunities for employer engagement and client liaison.
 
The subject benchmark states (1.5) that “Degree programmes in communication, media, film and cultural studies are characterised by a diversity of emphases, drawing in different ways on the disciplinary and professional sources outlined above, and offering a range of approaches to theoretical, critical, practical and creative work within these fields.”  Both the content of the programme, for instance the study of new media technologies and practice, and the diversity of delivery and assessments chimes with QAA’s guidance on the characteristics of a media degree.
 
A defining principal of such a degree is stated (subject benchmark statements for Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies, 2.3) as a programme, which has “the aim of producing graduates who have an informed, critical and creative approach both to understanding media, culture and communications in contemporary society, and to their own forms of media, communicative and expressive practice”.  The Media Project is the culmination of the development of these practical and conceptual skills but all the modules aim to address this principal.  For instance, New Media Practices, Research Skills and Methods and Contemporary Media Issues all require substantial systematic and evaluative research skills and Multi-skilling for Television requires students to critique their own practice.
 
In the M-level Characteristics guidance, QAA states that graduates of Master's degrees generally have:
 
A range of generic abilities and skills that include the ability to:
·      use initiative and take responsibility
·      solve problems in creative and innovative ways
·      make decisions in challenging situations” and “communicate effectively, with colleagues and a wider audience, in a variety of media”

 
Whether in conceptual or practical contexts, this programme aims to produce graduates who can demonstrate a critical awareness of their discipline and their own practice.

Students will experience a range of teaching and learning methods, which are related to, and relevant for, the acquisition of key and subject specific knowledge and skills. The curriculum and learning experiences offered to students will be designed to reflect the specific aims, emphases and learning outcomes of the programme. Students will be made aware of these at the outset from the programme and individual module handbooks available through the VLE. Further, students of this programme will reap the enormous benefits of exploring a range of materials and sources, from both academic and non-academic contexts cognate with the field of study.

As graduates, students of the MA Media programme will already be expected to have a level of aptitude for independent learning and autonomous decision-making. However, in applying these skills to a technically, intellectually demanding area such as programme making, students will be guided through initial stages of idea generation and production skills, allowing them to gain confidence as they progress through the programme.  Students will increasingly be expected to demonstrate the individual ability to originate, research, assimilate, develop and critically review and reflect on ideas across a range of practically and academically focused modules, in accordance with level-related assessment criteria. The concurrent and subsequent reflection on their own and current industry practices should enhance the student’s portfolio of knowledge and experience and enable them to think critically and engage openly with their chosen field.  This increasing emphasis on student self-direction and personal responsibility will be reflected in the learning and teaching strategies and methods deployed.  Students will have opportunities to reflect upon their own background/nationality etc., and contextualise their work with this perspective.

Students may gain valuable experience with the Department of Media's commercial enterprise, The Hot Room, working on live briefs for internal and external clients.  Some opportunities may be embedded in the curriculum but some students gain paid employment through the Unijob system, therefore gaining both money and work experience to detail on their CV.  

Learning opportunities will be via a mix of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials given by lecturers, visiting lecturers, external contacts and practicing media professionals from across the media industries.  Lectures and seminars will be the typical method of learning and teaching, with seminars allowing for whole and smaller group activities to take place.  Individual and group presentations, screenings, discussion of own and others' work can all take place successfully in this environment. Workshops will be offered in which students will learn, practice and develop technical and creative skills and competencies. The workshop is one of the most instrumental and important methods of sharing creative and technical practice, offering a supportive environment for the discussion and dissemination of tutor-guided student-centred practice and constructive peer criticism. The tutorial will be a forum within which individual and group ideas and projects will be discussed, critically developed and strategies for successful completion evolved.  Tutorials will also be utilised for the discussion and development of individual portfolios of work and written projects.

Guest speakers will be involved in the delivery and success of the programme; industry representatives willing to share their knowledge and experiences with the group will be invited to add breadth and depth to the experience of the cohort and add to the currency and vibrancy of the programme.  Students will engage throughout the course with external bodies to facilitate research and development of both academic and production outcomes; thus developing a network of future contacts and forging working relationships between themselves, the media creative industries and the University. There are also opportunities for work-based learning through the Media Industry Practices module and the links that the department has with outside organisations - media, business and community projects.

Students will be expected to work independently outside timetabled teaching sessions. They will be provided with structured reading for seminars and expected to work individually and within groups, to successfully complete both academic and practical assignments. Students will be expected to keep up to date with current affairs and developments related specifically to sectors of the media industry, and they will, naturally, be expected to read critically a wide range of media-related academic texts, newspapers, journals and magazines and engage meaningfully with a variety of media forms.

Assessment on this programme is designed to provide feedback to students, both formative and summative at regular stages throughout each module, on their performance in order to shape future learning, to verify achievement so that students can progress through and beyond the programme and to evidence, for internal and external use, the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the programme. In the early stages of the programme, the formative role of assessment to help students learn may be as important as the summative assessment for certification. As students progress through the programme more emphasis may be placed on the verification of achievement.

The assessment strategy of this programme is based on the following assumptions and practices:

  • Assessment is acknowledged to be a major driver of student learning.
  • A variety of assessment practices will be employed in order to provide students with a range of opportunities to display intellectual, practical and transferable skills, and to accommodate the different learning styles of individual students.
  • Clear criteria for grading and the rules and regulations for assessment and awards will be available for all students throughout their programme.
  • Assessment at early stages of the programme will focus on evidencing the acquisition and development of knowledge, skills and understanding: later stages of the programme will focus on the demonstration of students’ ability to independently synthesize advanced knowledge and skills.
  • As the academic year progresses students will have significant elements of self-direction in their coursework.
  • Tutors delivering the programme have explored and discussed maps of module aims, learning outcomes and assessments across the programme during the programme's design process in order to understand how their module assessments complement others in the programme and to develop equivalences in assessment weightings and balances.
  • The plagiarism detection software Turnitin continues to be used in the Media Department and now feedback is also generated through this application's grademark facility.  This process allows tutors to give specific feedback on assignments and for students to utilise this for future projects and to recognise the importance placed on accurate referencing and original work.

 

The development of the programme and curriculum has been informed by the graduate characteristics detailed in the benchmarking statements for ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’ in addition to the QAA ‘MA Characteristics’ document. A course that has at its core the synergy between theory and practice, relating critical and reflective thinking in an academic environment to the practice of media production and practice, is likely to reflect many of the characteristics detailed in these documents.

Typically, students graduating from this PGT programme will display many of the characteristics detailed in the ‘Communication, Media, Film and Cultural Studies’:

  • "Engagement with forms of critical analysis, argument and debate, expressed through an appropriate command of oral, written and other forms of communication."
  • "Understanding of production processes and professional practices within media, cultural and communicative industries."
  • "Critically informed competency in the management and operation of production technologies, procedures and processes."
  • "The ability to engage with and to advance creative processes in one or more forms of media or cultural production."
  • "The ability to consider views other than their own, and exercise a degree of independent and informed critical judgement in analysis."
  • "The ability to work across a variety of group and independent modes of study, and within these to demonstrate flexibility, creativity and the capacity for critical self-reflection."
  • "Knowledge of the central role that communications, media and cultural agencies play at local, national, international and global levels of economic, political and social organisation, along with the ability to explore and articulate the implications of this."

Graduates of this postgraduate programme will therefore be equipped with a mix of effective key and transferable skills and competencies aligned with media specific methodologies and practices. Furthermore the ability to critically analyse, apply knowledge in a wider context and present arguments in a coherent and appropriate manner and format are skills attractive to the media industry (and beyond) and also enable students to undertake further study.  Where the more practically focused modules will benefit from an underpinning theoretical knowledge of past forms and contemporary practices, the more academically focused modules will allow the aggregation of practical and professional skills and practices to be examined in aesthetic, cultural, social, historical and political contexts.

The media industry partnerships and liaisons that the department fosters and encourages will allow for a close and positive working relationship to continue with a range of media practitioners. Amongst other media relationships, the University has been a member of the BBC Connect and Create Partnership and continues to maintain close relationships with the BBC and other media organisations in the region, which offers a wealth of opportunities for both students and staff and will ensure that student education is closely aligned with industry requirements and skills gaps.

Graduates from this programme would be equipped for careers within a range of creative industries, whether producing content or requiring knowledge of how the media works. For example, beyond traditional media such as radio and television, students could enter marketing, PR, digital communications, and other cultural industries that require knowledge and understanding of the media industries.

The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.

Not applicable

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