Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: ABB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 32 points or three Higher Level certificates with 655
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma:15 Level 3 credits at Distinction and 30 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

For courses with Counselling skills, please note that a satisfactory enhanced DBS check will be required prior to starting any placement(s) for this course. This will be organised by the University. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).

  • Applied Quantitative Methods: In order to be eligible for the AQM qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules: Year One: SC101 – (30 credits) Researching Social Life I Year Two: SC202 - (15 credits) Analysing Social Life SC208 – (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course Final Year: SC385 – (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society SC830 – (30 credits) Quantitative Research Project Recommended modules for the pathway: The following modules are recommended options but are not considered essential in passing the pathway: Year Two: GV205 (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion (requires GV207) GV207 (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis SC213 (30 credits) Social Psychology: Self and Interaction SC207 (30 credits) Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks Final Year: Please note that the following two modules do not run every year. SC308 (15 credits) Race, Ethnicity and Migration SC338 (15 credits) Religion in Modern and Post Modern Societies

Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Aneira Edmunds

Senior Lecturer

School of Law, Politics & Sociology

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 23 October 2023 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC101-4-FY-CO  Researching Social Life I  Core  30  30 
02  SC106-4-FY-CO  Media, Culture and Society  Core  30  30 
03  SC111-4-FY-CO  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  SC199-4-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC201-5-FY-CO  Power and Agency in a Global World  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC202-5-AU-CO  Analysing Social Life  Compulsory  15  15 
03  SC224-5-FY-CO  Digital Society  Compulsory  30  30 
04    SC203-5-SP or SC208-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
05    CS220-5-FY or Sociology, Media or outside option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
06  SC199-5-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW600-6-FY-CO  Abroad Modules 60 Credits  Compulsory  60  60 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC301-6-FY-CO  Rethinking Modernity  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC364-6-FY-CO  Mass Media and Modern Life  Compulsory  30  30 
03    Capstone option from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
04    SC362-6-SP and/or Sociology, Media or outside option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  SC199-6-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (B).
  • To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (B).
  • To provide students with knowledge of selected theoretical traditions in media and cultural studies.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the main sociological methods (B).
  • To provide students with an understanding of cultural study.
  • To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis.
  • To develop students' capacity for independent learning.
  • To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further study and research.

Reference to the QAA Benchmarks for Sociology are indicated by the letter B.

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1: A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of sociology

A2: A knowledge of the intellectual objectives of cultural analysis

A3: A knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories (b)

A4: A knowledge of selected key concepts and theories in cultural and media studies

A5: An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups and social and cultural institutions (b)

A6: An understanding of social context, culture, social diversity and cultural and social change (b)

A7: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues (b)

A8: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection (b)

A9: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data (b)

A10: A knowledge of the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of sociological study (b)

Learning methods

The Department uses lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.

Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion.

In each course the issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare.

The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent core and compulsory courses.

In particular there is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding of sociological and cultural analysis through the progressive structuring of the material in the core courses SC111, SC201 and SC301 and the compulsory courses SC224 and SC364.

Their sociological knowledge and understanding is further enhanced by the work that they do for their options.

Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses.

In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

In the first year students have to produce a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a topic of their choice for SC111 and have a required examination question on key concepts.

SC111 also specifically introduces students to examples of ongoing research in the Department.

Students also do methodological assignments for SC101 including a statistical test and a piece of observational work.

They have the opportunity to develop their methodological skills further in a methods option.

In the second year theory course, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts, while in the second and third year compulsory courses (SC224and SC364) there is an attention to key concepts and practice in cultural analysis.

In their third year all students on the degree have to produce an essay on epistemological issues for SC301, and must also carry out independent work for a research project on SC831, for which they receive some individual supervision

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A10 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.
Coursework includes assessed essays, a sociological journal, the glossary, a statistics test and an observational study.

Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201 involves a compulsory question interpreting a passage of text from a sociological classic.

In addition, the assessed work for all third-year students includes a research project.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work

B2: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess cultural studies

B3: An ability to compare competing theories and explanations (b)

B4: An ability to develop a reasoned argument

B5: An ability to formulate sociological questions

B6: An ability to formulate questions arising out of cultural analysis

B7: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (b)

Learning methods

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example, and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological research.

Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of original sociological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.

Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.

SC224 uses a workshop format as way of developing students' skills in media and cultural analysis by introducing them to concrete cultural forms.

The preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills.

Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

Their work for both the first-year journal and the third-year research project is also vital to the Department's learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 to B6 are judged and evaluated in the assessed work that students do across the core and compulsory courses of this degree scheme.

BI is also specifically assessed through a compulsory question for SC201 requiring the interpretation of a passage of a classic text.

Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B7) though many do (including SC224), but these skills are particularly assessed in some of the assignments for SC101.

All courses require students to marshal material in order to expound an argument.

C: Practical skills

C1: An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches.

C2: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings

C3: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate cultural and media studies

C4: An ability to apply introductory statistical techniques to sociological data

C5: An ability to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material

C6: An ability to conduct and present a small scale piece of research

C7: Completion of work experience/volunteering and ability to reflect on in in the context of career decision making

C8: Competence in key elements of the job selection process

Learning methods

In the first year assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text and producing a sociological journal.

In addition students do an employability module which consists of a work placement or volunteering, reflections on which inform career decision making.

Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations.

In SC101, students carry out an observational study and SC111 requires students to produce a journal which demonstrates reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material.

The work for SC 201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts and in SC203 students frame a research proposal and select the appropriate research methods.

In addition the third year project for SC831 is particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.

Some of these skills are further developed through the work students do for their optional courses.

Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.

Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.

Assessment methods

Skill C1 is specifically assessed in a first year assignment, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.

Skill C2 is assessed in the assessed coursework and written examinations for SC201 and SC301.

C3 is assessed in SC224 and SC364.

C4 is tested in a statistics test for SC101 and C5 in the observational work for SC101 and in the journal for SC111.

C6 is also assessed in SC101 and in the research project (SC831).

D: Key skills

D1: An ability to present ideas and evidence to others in a clear and concise manner

D2: An ability to collect and present materials using information technology

D3: An ability to read, interpret and draw inferences from statistics and an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D4: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions


Learning methods

Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies, for example, requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific assignments requiring numerical skills, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation.

Students have the opportunity to discuss essay plans with staff and are given clear deadlines for their work which they must meet.

They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their work.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.

Assessment methods

Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework and examinations.

IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches, but there is a particular focus on them in first year assessments such as the sociological journal.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC101, which include a statistics tests.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


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