Media Studies A-Level

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Qualification Level: A Level

Qualification Duration: 2 years

Exam Board: WJEC/Eduqas


The media play a central role in contemporary culture, society and politics. They shape our perceptions of the world through the representations, ideas and points of view they offer. The media have real relevance and importance in our lives today, providing us with ways to communicate, with forms of cultural expression and the ability to participate in key aspects of society. The economic importance of the media is also unquestionable. The media industries employ large numbers of people worldwide and generate significant global profit. The globalised nature of the contemporary media, ongoing technological developments and more opportunities to interact with the media suggest their centrality in contemporary life can only increase.

The AS & A level in Media Studies offers learners the opportunity to develop an in depth understanding of key issues, using a comprehensive theoretical framework and a variety of advanced theoretical approaches and theories to support critical exploration and reflection, analysis and debate. The study of a wide range of rich and stimulating media products is central to the course, offering opportunities for detailed analysis of how the media communicate meanings in a variety of forms.

The course also recognises the fundamental relationship between theoretical understanding and practical work, providing learners with exciting opportunities to develop media production skills in different forms, apply their knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework to media forms and products, and become creators of meaning themselves.

Subject Content:

Students will follow the A level AQA specification linear programme. The A Level consists of two papers.

The following content will be covered over two years:

Component 1: Media Products, Industries and Audiences

  • Analysing Media Language and Representation
    • Advertising and Marketing
    • Music vide
    • Newspapers
  • Understanding Media Industries and Audiences
    • Film
    • Newspapers
    • Radi
    • Vide games

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes, 35% of qualification

Component 2: Media Forms and Products in Depth

  • Television in the Global Age
  • Magazines: Mainstream and Alternative Media
  • Media in the Online Age

Written examination: 2 hours 30 minutes, 35% of qualification

Component 3: Cross-Media Production

  • An individual cross-media production based on two forms in response to a choice of briefs

Non exam assessment: 30% of qualification


Assessment Objectives:

AO1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the theoretical framework of media
  • contexts of media and their influence on media products and processes.

AO2 Apply knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework of media to:

  • analyse media products, including in relation to their contexts and through the use of academic theories
  • evaluate academic theories
  • make judgements and draw conclusions.

AO3 Create media products for an intended audience, by applying knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework of media to communicate meaning.


Career and further study:

The A Level in Media Studies provides a suitable foundation for the study of Media Studies or a related area on a range of higher education degree courses, for the next level of vocational qualifications, or for employment in an ever increasing range of creative industries, such as film, television, radio, publishing, advertising, marketing, and online.

In addition, the specification provides a coherent, engaging and culturally valuable course of study for learners who do not progress to further study in this subject. Students will emerge from the course with: enhanced knowledge and understanding of the role the media in their lives and their relationship to it; analytical and critical thinking skills applicable in a multitude of academic and career paths; creative media skills and experiences offering wider forms of expression; greater appreciation of the breadth, depth and fast-changing nature of Media industries, leading to a curiosity about future trends and their impacts on modern life; enriched cultural experience, competence, and media literacy, and a growing lucidity in their own identities, values and relationships and agency as both media users and producers, within ever-evolving media-saturated society.