Media Studies A Level at PETROC
This is a popular A level because it can lead to some exciting careers in industries as diverse as publishing and video game creation. The course combines practical skills with a theoretical understanding of media in society and methods for analysing media texts, audiences and media institutions.
The section has two media labs and a television/photography studio allowing for the production of film trailers, music videos, fashion magazines, websites, TV documentaries, advertising and radio programmes. Each lab is fitted out with Mac computers and run professional software packages including Adobe Photoshop and Indesign for print productions and Apple Final Cut Express for audio-visual productions. All classrooms have blackout screening facilities with surround sound and students can watch DVDs out of class time in the labs.
The college library has a wide range of media text books, videos and DVDs that can be viewed and borrowed. Petroc subscribes to Broadcast, Empire and Media Magazine and also provides a daily wide selection of national, regional and local newspapers. Film, media staff and technicians are available to offer support and are highly qualified and have many years of direct commercial experience in the media industries.
In your first year, you'll focus on analysing and responding to different audio, audio-visual and print-based media (including film, TV, games, adverts, trailers, magazines, newspapers). You'll discover how media texts create meaning for an audience, and you'll undertake a production project.
In your second year, you'll look at the relationship between media texts, their audiences, and the industries which produce and distribute them. Current media theories such as gender theory and audience theory also form part of your second-year study. You will pursue a research investigation in to an area of the media of your choice and create a piece of media inspired by this investigation.
To be accepted onto a two-year A Level programme, all entrants must hold at least a grade 5 in GCSE Maths and a grade 5 in GCSE English Language, as well as at least 3 other GCSEs at grade C or above. Certain subjects require a minimum of GCSE grade B; these are detailed in this prospectus and on the Petroc website.
Continuation onto Year 2 of the A2 programme will be dependent on achieving at least a grade D at AS in the subjects being continued to A2.
Written exams are taken in May/June and coursework is completed throughout the year.
Because this qualification has a strong emphasis on analytical and creative processes, it prepares students well for a whole range of pathways. The skills you gain in learning to critically deconstruct messages within all kinds of media are widely transferable.
There are a wide range of media studies related university courses at both undergraduate and post graduate level. Some industries also have in-house training opportunities such as game design.
Q. I'm not very good with computers. Can I still do the course?
A. We have a technician who is an expert in the use of all of the hardware and software. You will learn quickly due to the frequency of use.
Q. How can I prepare for the course?
A. The best way you can help yourself is to get into the daily habit of reading at least one national broadsheet. The Guardian on Mondays is particularly useful as its G2 section is dedicated to the media industries and can be used to assist your understanding of various parts of the course. Another useful source is the culture subsection of The Sunday Times. TV itself has numerous regular programmes looking at particular aspects of the media, for example BBC1's Film 2013. There are frequent arts based programmes and documentaries that explore the work of musicians, filmmakers and others active in the media. Many of these are shown on BBC4. Finally, Hollywood and its products form a major area of study in the subject, so you could try to become familiar with the wide range of movies produced both recently and stretching back to the 1930s.
Q. What books and texts should I buy and read?
A. Second year students are expected to read a range of media study textbooks available from the Library. Histories are useful and anything on the Hollywood or British Film Industries or the development of British broadcasting would be worth looking at as background. The college library has a large selection of books that can be borrowed and for more specialist needs there is a computer link to Plymouth University through which books can be borrowed on a free inter-library loan system. Two books that are recommended for both AS and A2 years are Exploring the Media (2nd Edition) by Connell, B (ed.) and The Media Student's Book (5th Edition) by Branston and Stafford.
Q. How do I know if this course is right for me?
A. Are you interested how the world around you is shaped by the forces of the media?
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact PETROC directly.