Course Overview


Here at Bradford College, we love media. We love making media, we love teaching media, we love watching media, and we really love talking about media. If you do, too, this dynamic, exciting, stimulating GCSE Media Studies course might be the place for you. This course will deepen your understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of different media, such as films, TV, the Internet, video games, newspapers, advertising, social networking and critically analyse how they are constructed and the meaning and messages they create.

Career enhancement is at the heart of all we do, particularly within the Creative Industries. Employment in the Creative Economy has grown by 138% since 2008 and 2.1 million people are now employed in the Creative Industries.

Significant growth sectors such as Media, Film, Software and Publishing, Graphic Design, Advertising, Music, Culture and Arts have outstripped the general economy since 2013 by 5.8% and generate around £80 billion per annum (around 5% of the UK economy).

Media Studies provides an exciting range of modules that ask critical questions about the media industry and offers the opportunity to develop a wide range of essential, transferable abilities. You will learn to undertake detailed research, plan, produce and present work, building skills in digital technologies while developing and demonstrating their creativity.

Looking at a variety of media forms from film to print to the internet, you will engage in discussions, debates, case studies, personal research and practical projects building on skills that can be applied to a vast array of professions, including film/TV director, editor, camera operator, researcher, journalist, teacher, historian, animator and many more.

You will develop transferable skills like team-working; verbal communication skills; showing initiative; adapting to different social situations; gathering, processing and analysing data, essay writing and presentation techniques, production skills such as editing, lighting, sound and camera skills.

Course Structure

Learning about the media involves both exploring and making media products and these two activities are fundamentally related in the specification. Learners create a media production for an intended audience, applying and developing their knowledge and understanding of media language and representation in response to a choice of briefs set by WJEC. This selection of forms allows learners to pursue their own media interests and develop their practical skills in this component.

Theoretical Framework

GCSE Media Studies is based on the theoretical framework for exploring and creating media. The framework is based on four inter-related areas:

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

The framework provides a holistic and focused approach to interpreting and analysing the media, which learners will develop progressively as they study the three components.

The framework is set out in detail in components 1 and 2.

Media Forms

Examples of all of the following media forms will be studied:

  • advertising and marketing
  • film
  • magazines
  • music video and online, social and participatory media studied through a single music topic
  • newspapers
  • radio
  • television
  • video games.

This will enable learners to develop knowledge and understanding of a broad range of media forms and products, providing a comprehensive and balanced study of the media that encompasses audio-visual, print-based and online forms, as well as exploring the interrelationships between them.

Media Products

Learners will study a wide range of media products, reflecting different forms, historical periods and audiences. Most of these products are set by WJEC, but learners will also study additional age appropriate products chosen by the teacher. All media products set by WJEC will be age appropriate.

Contexts of Media

In addition to the theoretical framework, learners will develop knowledge and understanding of relevant contexts of media and their influence on media products and processes. The following contexts will be considered to inform the study of the set products:

Historical Context

  • how the product reflects the time in which it was made through its use of media language, genre conventions, representations, themes, values, messages and viewpoints
  • how the product reflects the time in which it was made through aspects of its production, distribution, marketing, regulation, circulation and audience consumption

Social and Cultural Context

  • how the product reflects the society and culture in which it was made through its representations, themes, values, messages and viewpoints
  • how the product is shaped or informed by particular cultural influences, such as genres, styles, technologies and the work of other media producers
  • how the product reflects the society and culture in which it was made through aspects of its production, distribution, marketing, regulation, circulation and audience consumption
  • how audience responses to and interpretations of media products may change over time

Political Context

  • how the product reflects the political contexts in which it was made through its representations, themes, values, messages and viewpoints
  • how the product reflects the political contexts in which it was made through aspects of its ownership and political viewpoint, production, distribution, marketing, regulation, circulation and audience consumption.

Entry Requirements

GCSE English/English Literature at a minimum of Grade D. If you do not have these qualifications you will be considered for the course if you reach the required standard on our initial English assessment.
Note: this course is for 16-18 year olds only.

English and/or Mathematics will be included in your timetable if you have not achieved a GCSE at Grade A*-C in these subjects when you commence your course.

How Will I Learn?

  • Much discussion/debate
  • Lectures
  • Presentations
  • Small group work briefs and tasks
  • Independent research
  • Tutorials in editing or filming/Practical work
  • Objective and critical viewing of texts, for example films and TV.

Skills You Will Develop

This specification enables learners to develop a range of skills in both analysing and creating media products.

In analysing the media, learners will:

  • demonstrate skills of enquiry, critical thinking and analysis
  • analyse and compare how media products construct and communicate meaning and generate intended interpretations and responses
  • respond through discursive writing to show knowledge and understanding of media issues
  • use specialist subject-specific terminology appropriately.
  • In creating a media production, learners will:
  • develop practical and decision-making skills
  • apply knowledge and understanding of media language and representation to a media production
  • use media language to express and communicate meaning to an intended audience.
  • written essay skills - academic writing and independent research
  • team work, eg presentations
  • debating - no-one is quiet!
  • new skills in video production (no previous experience required)
  • analysis and evaluation
  • organisational and design skills.
  • technical and production and ICT skills
  • directing, editing and producer skills.


  • The chance to enjoy a fresh contemporary subject, using state of the art facilities, which may lead you to media industry work in the future
  • Trips and cinema or other visits, with industry guest speakers
  • An extremely enjoyable, yet challenging, experience
  • Studying a truly contemporary subject which is relevant to all our’ lives. The media saturates everything we do in the developed world in the 21st Century. Giving you the tools to analyse and critique the media affords you the chance to see the ways in which the media pervades your life.
  • Improving your literacy skills and abilities in other subjects. Your English skills will improve when you are studying the media. Because you are motivated, you are happy to write detailed critiques of the media in a way many are not when analysing Victorian literature or writing essays for other subjects. You will also learn a great deal of new terminology much of which can be used in other subjects, including English, the Humanities, D&T and Science.

As well as having a diverse academic background Media Studies also involves you making your own films and videos, writing your own newspapers, setting up your own websites and creating your own music videos. It is extremely hands-on; you will interact with modern technology in lots of ways, using all the customary IT programmes such as word-processing and presentation software as well as video and sound editing software.

Expect Also To

  • Buy a course book, although not immediately (the cost will be approximately £15)
  • Contribute to filming expenses, for example, sharing the cost of tapes
  • Be required to get good quality internet access at home.
  • Buy an SD card.

How You Will Be Assessed

Summary of Assessment:

Component 1: Exploring the Media Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 40% of qualification

Section A: Exploring Media Language and Representation:

This section assesses media language and representation in relation to two of the following print media forms: magazines, marketing (film posters), newspapers, or print advertisements. There are two questions in this section:

  • one question assessing media language in relation to one set product (reference to relevant contexts may be required)
  • one two-part question assessing representation in relation to one set product and one unseen resource in the same media form.

Part (a) is based on media contexts. Part (b) requires comparison through an extended response.

Section B: Exploring Media Industries and Audiences:

This section assesses two of the following media forms: film, newspapers, radio, video games.

It includes:

  • one stepped question on media industries
  • one stepped question on audiences.

Component 2: Understanding Media Forms and Products Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 30% of qualification.

This component assesses all areas of the theoretical framework and contexts of the media in relation to television and music.

Section A: Television

  • one question on either media language or representation, which will be based on an extract from one of the set television programme episodes to be viewed in the examination.
  • one question on media industries, audiences or media contexts.

Section B: Music

  • one question on either media language or representation
  • one question on media industries, audiences or media contexts.

Component 3: Creating Media Products Non-exam assessment 30% of qualification

An individual media production for an intended audience in response to a choice of briefs set by WJEC, applying knowledge and understanding of media language and representation.

Things You May Need

  • Recommended textbooks
  • Stationery/paper/Pens/folder
  • USB Memory Flash Drive
  • SD card.

Information, Advice and Support

Careers Guidance

Help with choosing the right course and with thinking about where this might take you in the future.
Tel: 01274 433043
Email: [email protected]

Student Finance

Money matters - you may be entitled to financial support whilst you study.
Tel: 01274 433246.
Email: [email protected]

Learning Support

Support for applicants with a learning difficulty, disability, illness or other learning need.
Tel: 01274 438999
Email: [email protected]

For all other queries call 01274 088088

Tuition Fees

If you are aged 19+ and studying a Further Education Course at Bradford College, you may have to pay course fees. Course fees are dependent on the number of hours and which course is being taken. Actual costs can be obtained from our FE Registry team.
Tel: 01274 433172
Email: [email protected].