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Media Studies A Level at Truro and Penwith College

Course description

Media Studies is now a well-established field of academic study. There is a long history of academic research in this area, dating back to the 1920s. This research draws on other academic disciplines, but has increasingly developed its own distinctive methods, concepts and theories. Indeed, Media education is an essential requirement for active participation in contemporary society: it teaches you to be a critical consumer of mass media and a more informed and engaged citizen.

Media Studies is not about watching films and reading newspapers, it is about actively engaging with media practice and production, social and cultural theory and critical thinking. This course will enhance your enjoyment and appreciation of the media and its role in your daily life by providing you with the ability to deconstruct, analyse, evaluate and create media texts.  You will study the way media - TV, Radio, Film, News, Music, Publishing, Social Media, Advertising, Games - are constructed through technical, visual and audio codes to better understand the powerful and complex messages we receive as an audience.

You will also explore production processes and develop skills in photography and layout and design, using programmes such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, when producing your own print products. In the second year you will develop camerawork and editing skills in the production of audio-visual work including short films and music videos.

Drawing on the best academic traditions from the arts, humanities and social sciences whilst incorporating practical vocational skills, AS/A Level Media Studies offers a challenging and exciting course of study that will enable you to develop skills and knowledge that are crucially important to our contemporary world.

Course content

Year 1 AS Level consists of two units:

MS1: Media Representations and Response - exam (50% of overall AS mark)

MS2: Media Production Processes – coursework (50% of overall AS mark)

Year 2 A2 Level consists of two units

MS3: Media Investigation and Production – coursework (50% of overall A2 mark)

MS4: Media, Text, Industry and Audience – exam (50% of overall A2 mark)

AS Level

You will cover a broad range of media through both theoretical and practical modules. You will produce a front cover and double page spread for your own magazine design based on your own research into existing products. Instruction is given in journalistic skills such as interviewing techniques as well as technical skills in Photoshop and InDesign. Marks are awarded for research skills, technical ability and self-evaluation. The examination module includes textual analysis of an unseen media text which considers representational issues such as gender, age and ethnicity as well as genre and narrative codes and conventions.

A2 Level

In the second year of the course you will develop audio-visual skills and have a choice of making a production from a broad range of options, which could include short films, music videos, trailers and animation. The choice of coursework at this level is very wide and very much depends on your interests. The production comes as a direct result of personal research studies such as genre, narrative or representation. The theoretical study of the media in the second year has a greater critical and analytical degree and focus will be on Film, Television and Music. The emphasis will be on debates surrounding the relationship between text, audience and industry. These studies result in one examination.

Entry requirements

The basic requirement is 5 GCSEs grades A*- C. It would be advantageous to have studied GCSE Media Studies but this is not essential.


You will take one written examination in May of the first year, and June in the second year, each worth 25% of the full A Level mark. You will submit two practical coursework submissions, one at the end of each year, each worth 25% of the full A Level mark. In the first year, the coursework will be print based and in the second year it will be visual-audio.

Future opportunities

Successful completion of the AS and A2 can lead to further study in all areas of the media such as a variety of degree courses at university such as journalism, graphic design, advertising and film. You will not only develop practical skills and a critical awareness of the media but also employability skills such as communication and interpersonal skills, organisation and problem solving skills as well as research and presentation skills.

Further information

The Media department offers the loan of a variety of technical equipment, from cameras to lighting kits and provides editing suites with industry standard programmes such as Adobe Creative Suite. You will, however, need to purchase your own hard drive, SD cards and card reader. Although you are provided with initial printing credit it is your responsibility to top it up over the course of the year.  There are WJEC board specific textbooks available to purchase to support your studies. We also offer enrichment opportunities such as trips to London and New York.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Truro and Penwith College directly.

Last updated date: 15 June 2016

Key information