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A Level Media Studies

Course Title: Media Studies

Course Type: A Level (Linear)

Exam Board: OCR

Course Contact: Neill Ford (

 A Level Media Studies will enable students to:

  • demonstrate skills of enquiry, critical thinking, decision-making and analysis
  • demonstrate a critical approach to media issues
  • demonstrate appreciation and critical understanding of the media and their role both historically and currently in society, culture, politics and the economy
  • develop an understanding of the dynamic and changing relationships between media forms, products, media industries and audiences
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the global nature of the media
  • apply theoretical knowledge and specialist subject specific terminology to analyse and compare media products and the contexts in which they are produced and consumed in order to make informed arguments, reach substantial judgements and draw conclusions about media issues
  • engage in critical debate about academic theories used in media studies
  • appreciate how theoretical understanding supports practice and practice supports theoretical understanding
  • demonstrate sophisticated practical skills by providing opportunities for creative media production.

 Learners will explore how media products are used by institutions to construct different representations and how media audiences interpret these products. Learners will use aspects of the theoretical framework to analyse and evaluate their own cross-media productions.

Learners will explore and analyse the ideas and arguments from debates about the media. These debates will be drawn from:

  • a historical perspective
  • the digital age
  • global media.

Learners will practically explore the creation of three linked media products in a cross-media production.

Content of A Level in Media Studies (H409)

Learners will develop their understanding through the consistent application of the four elements of the theoretical framework:

  1. Media language: how the media through their forms, codes, conventions and techniques communicate meanings
  2. Media representations: how the media portray events, issues, individuals and social groups
  3. Media industries: how the media industries' processes of production, distribution and circulation affect media forms and platforms
  4. Media audiences: how media forms target, reach and address audiences, how audiences interpret and respond to them and how members of audiences become producers

Areas you will study

Throughout this course, learners will study nine different media forms. These are:

  1. television
  2. film
  3. radio
  4. newspapers
  5. magazines
  6. advertising and marketing
  7. online, social and participatory media
  8. video games
  9. music videos

Three of these media forms (television, newspapers and online, social and participatory media) will be studied in depth, using all four elements of the theoretical framework across the specification.

How will you be assessed?

Media products (01):  60 marks / 1 hour and 45 minutes written paper / 30% of total

Media in a digital age (02): 80 marks / 2 hours written paper / 40% of total

Making media (03/04) 60 marks / non-exam assessment / 30% of total

Where can the subject take me?

Media Studies as a subject allows students to engage with contemporary media, mixing theoretical and practical work, and offering areas of study and experiences that are relevant to all employers in the creative industries and beyond.

In terms of higher education, A Level Media Studies will facilitate entry on to university courses in a variety of subjects beyond Media itself – particularly those that involve an element of creativity.  Former Media Studies students at the college have gone on to study a diverse range of degrees, from Journalism, Film and TV production, web design, advertising and marketing, and digital/graphic design.

Many other students have found their Media Studies experiences invaluable when pursuing courses where there is an expectation of a high level of awareness and understanding of the role of the mass media in society, for example law, computing, and politics.