Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

  • A-levels: BBB - BBC or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A-levels.
  • BTEC: DDM - DMM or 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of the equivalent of 2 full A-levels. The acceptability of BTECs is dependent on subject studied and optional units taken - email for advice.
  • Combined qualifications on the UCAS tariff: 120 - 112 UCAS tariff points from a minimum of 2 full A levels or equivalent. Tariff point offers may be made if you are taking a qualification, or mixture of qualifications, from the list on our undergraduate application information page.
  • IB: 30 - 29 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555-554.
  • IB Career-related Programme: We consider combinations of IB Diploma Programme courses with BTECs or other qualifications. Advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • QAA-approved Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided, email Undergraduate Admissions.
  • T-levels: We consider T-levels on a case-by-case basis, depending on subject studied. The offer for most courses is Distinction overall. Depending on the course applied for there may be additional requirements, which may include a specific grade in the Core.

Contextual Offers:

We are committed to ensuring that all students with the merit and potential to benefit from an Essex education are supported to do so. For October 2024 entry, if you are a home fee paying student residing in the UK you may be eligible for a Contextual Offer of up to two A-level grades, or equivalent, below our standard conditional offer.
Factors we consider:

  • Applicants from underrepresented groups
  • Applicants progressing from University of Essex Schools Membership schools/colleges
  • Applicants who attend a compulsory admissions interview
  • Applicants who attend an Offer Holder Day at our Colchester or Southend campus

Our contextual offers policy outlines additional circumstances and eligibility criteria.

For further information about what a contextual offer may look like for your specific qualification profile, email

If you haven't got the grades you hoped for, have a non-traditional academic background, are a mature student, or have any questions about eligibility for your course, more information can be found on our undergraduate application information page or get in touch with our Undergraduate Admissions Team.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

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.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email .

Requirements for second and final year entry

Different requirements apply for second and final year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK. Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

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

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 Data Science: In order to be eligible for the qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules: Year Two: SC202 (15 credits) Researching the Real World: Quantitative Approaches to Studying Crime and Society and SC208 (15 credits) Quantitative Research: Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course. Final Year: SC385 (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society and SC830 (30 credits) Quantitative Research Project For details of further recommended modules please web search “Essex Q-Step”.

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 Paul Gilbert

Senior Lecturer in International Development

University of Sussex

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 21 October 2024 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 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC106-4-FY-CO  Media, Culture and Society  Core  30  30 
02  SC111-4-FY-CO  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30  30 
03  SC101-4-SP-CO  Researching Social Life  Compulsory  15  15 
04  SC099-4-AU-CO  Unlocking Your Academic Potential: How to Study at University  Compulsory  15  15 
05  LT147-4-SP-CO  Practical Podcasting  Compulsory  15  15 
06    Option(s) from list  Compulsory with Options  15  15 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC224-5-FY-CO  Digital Society  Compulsory  30  30 
02  LT205-5-SP-CO  Creative Media  Compulsory  15  15 
03    Option(s) from list  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
04    SC201-5-FY or Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05    AR327-5-AU and/or Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
06  SC199-5-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW121-6-FY-CO  Abroad Module 120 Credits  Compulsory  120  120 

Year 3 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC340-6-FY-CO  The Current Issues in Social Science  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC364-6-FY-CO  Mass Media and Modern Life  Compulsory  30  30 
03    SC301-6-FY or option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    SC362-6-SP and/or SC306-6-AU, LT399-6-AU 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 epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of sociological study (b)

A3: A knowledge of the intellectual objectives of cultural analysis

A4: A knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories (b)

A5: A knowledge of selected key concepts and theories in cultural and media studies

A6: An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups and social and cultural institutions (b)

A7: An understanding of social context, culture, social diversity and cultural and social change (b)

A8: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues (b)

A9: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection (b)

A10: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data (b)

A11: Experience of education in Media, Culture and Sociology in the year abroad.

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 module 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 modules SC111, SC201 and SC301 and the compulsory modules 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 modules. 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. They have the opportunity to develop their methodological skills further in a methods option. In the second year theory module, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts, while in the second and third year compulsory modules (SC224 and SC364) there is an attention to key concepts and practice in cultural analysis. In their third year students undertake a capstone module which includes independent research as well as group work. 

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A10 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations. Coursework includes a range of formats including essays, journals, Moodle quizzes, blogs and a portfolio. Written examinations include standard essay type questions. In addition, the assessed work for all third-year students includes a research project.

A11 is assessed during the Year Abroad.

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 modules. Lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example. 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 participation 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. 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 SC099 and SC101. All modules 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 a skills module which consists of academic and employability skills, 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.

The assessment for the core and compulsory modules on this degree assess these practical skills and can be further enhanced and developed through optional modules assessment.

Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework. Study skills advice and training is available from the Study Support Manager in the Study Centre, 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  for SC224 and SC364. C3 is assessed in SC224 and SC364. C4 and C5 are tested in SC101 and C5 in the journal for SC111. C6 is also assessed in SC101 and in the research project (SC340).

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 statistical data

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 module.

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 SC099 and SC101. 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.


If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing

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