BA (Hons)

Media and International Relations

Media student at desk writing
  • UCAS code(s): LP23
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2018
  • Course duration: 3 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

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This course allows you to explore theoretical and practical media approaches in a global context. It’s a great opportunity to engage with the world as a global citizen, while gaining a qualification tailored to the international workplace.

Course overview

If you aspire to work in diplomatic relations or want to focus on a career in international communications then this is a great course for you. The course combines theoretical and practical training in media and communications. You’ll develop an understanding of the changing world in which we live, exploring relations between states, peoples, social movements, and cultural and religious groups.

You'll develop a greater awareness of the complexity and connectedness of the processes that shape our worlds, and the role of international communication.

Study this course full-time or part-time. See How to Apply section for more information.

What you'll study

There is a lot of flexibility in the structure of a Joint Honours degree, allowing you to tailor a package to your developing academic interests.

During your first year, you’ll study four core modules which provide a clear and exciting framework for your development at later stages.

In the second year you’ll study three core modules. You’ll also be able to select a number of optional modules based on your individual interests or spend the second half of the year on international exchange at one of our partner universities.

In the final year, you’ll undertake a dissertation on a topic of your choice and select four optional modules. You must select at least one module from each subject.

  • Year One

    Core modules

    Understanding Media and Culture

    This module explores representation and identity; media production and regulation; the way media forms are consumed; and what it's like to work in the media. Throughout this module, you'll investigate the place of media within culture and society more generally and be introduced to principle theories, concepts and approaches.

    Screen and Sound Media: Culture and Practice

    This module introduces you to a range of key academic texts that examine and theorise screen media (film, television, the computer etc.) and sound media (popular music etc.). You'll also produce a group project based on media culture or media practice.

    Foundations and Challenges to Politics and International Relations

    This module introduces you to key political concepts and ideologies, which have underpinned the development of political and international relations theory. In addition, traditional approaches are contrasted with critical theoretical approaches to the study of international relations and to experiences of resistance and challenge to established orthodoxies and interests in global relations.

    International Relations and Global History

    This module introduces students to the argument that contemporary world politics can be understood in historical context, and that the appropriate idea of history for this purpose will draw on literatures, which discuss long-term trends and transformations. The literature draws on Braudel and work influenced by Braudel, as well as Little and Buzan's attempt to write 5,000 years of global history, drawing attention to mechanisms of change and continuity.

  • Year Two

    Core modules

    Theorizing Media and Culture

    Develop your knowledge of theoretical approaches to understanding the media and culture. This module will help you to understand some of the key theoretical approaches that are used in the study of media, communication and culture. You'll develop a familiarity of important theoretical approaches used in contemporary media and for the use of cultural analysis.

    Researching Politics and International Relations

    This module will enable you to explore contrasting approaches to the study of Politics and International Relations, to develop your skills in formulating a viable research project as preparation for the final-year dissertation and to enable you to manipulate, present and interpret quantitative and qualitative data.

    Humanities at work

    This module will give you a taste of live industry experience. The placement includes report writing around your experience and clear work-based learning objectives.

    Media optional modules

    Client-Led Media Practices

    During this module you'll be able to focus on the development of skills in media production by completing a media project that will be set to a 'real brief'. This is an opportunity for you to enhance your employability options by participating in live projects with a real purpose. This module will encourage you to make connections between theory and practice.

    The City and Popular Culture

    This module will investigate the effect that urbanisation has on popular culture by exploring a selection of case studies such as urban exploitation, street-corner society, suburban life and the night-time economy. You'll focus on using your analysis skills and develop research skills either individually or by working within a small group.

    Analysing Popular Music

    Analysing Popular Music has two major concerns: firstly, to develop a social understanding of transatlantic popular music, and secondly, to develop a cultural-historical perspective on its development over the past hundred years and more. This module introduces you to theoretical approaches to the study of popular music, allowing you to engage in independent critical analysis of popular music and popular musical cultures.

    Home and Cultural Identity

    In the most commonly-used form, 'home' is often considered a space of leisure for some and work for others; a space where we consume and increasingly produce media. This module will encourage you to think about the various versions of home in relation to key terms in Media and Cultural Studies debates such as what is the identity of 'home' and how has 'home' been represented?

    Creative Documentary

    This module will encourage you to examine the key critical issues of documentary production such as authenticity and ethics. To prepare you for your dissertation in Year Three, you'll create a 5-10 minute documentary as a group (or individually) and be encouraged to creatively and critically engage with the given styles and genres of documentary.

    International Relations optional modules

    Understanding the Cold War

    This module will enable you to gain an understanding of the origins of the Cold War, its key events and features, such as the Korean War; the building of the Berlin Wall; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Vietnam War; and the factors behind the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War.

    Global Political Economy

    This module seeks to explore the development of GPE as an area of study in International Relations and apply its theories and methods to analyse contemporary aspects of the contemporary global system. In order to do this, we look at the historical development of GPE as a critical response to the orthodoxy of traditional IR.

    Change and World Order: International Institutions and Non-State Actors

    This module examines the nature of international order and considers how international institutions have contributed to its maintenance. It is based on the assumption that non-state actors are important actors in international relations. The institutions studied include the United Nations and the Specialised Agencies such as the ILO, WHO and UNESCO, regional organisations such as the European Union and ASEAN, and alliances (eg. NATO).

  • Year Three

    Core module

    Dissertation

    The final year dissertation module enables you to undertake a sustained, single piece of independently researched work on a topic of your choice, under expert supervision.

    Media optional modules

    Lifestyle and Consumer Culture

    Explore key approaches to understanding lifestyle and the culture of consumption. You'll be introduced to many important theoretical approaches to understand lifestyle and consumer culture and you'll use many case studies such as travel and tourism to evaluate these.

    Cultural Policy

    Explore a range of debates within the developing field of policy study which relate to the development of media. You'll examine some of the key institutions within which policies relating to film, television, the visual arts, heritage and other creative industries are determined. You'll explore questions such as what is cultural value and how important are the cultural and creative industries?

    The Body and Popular Culture

    How is the body represented in popular culture? Examine key ideas such as how we might understand the various meanings surrounding the body across a range of media and cultural forms. By studying a selection of case studies, you'll explore the way that the body is addressed and located within popular culture, for example, from music to sport.

    Advanced Media Practice

    During this module you'll undertake an in-depth media production project for and with a local external not for profit, charitable or voluntary organisation. This module will focus on developing your skills in media production and you'll reflect on issues surrounding citizenship and media access.

    Alternative Media Practice

    This module offers an alternative perspective on producing time based media and writing. Instead, you'll produce a portfolio of audio-visual pieces and explore how film, video, sound and photography have been used in noncommercial ways since they were discovered. This module conveys how the media industry and the cutting edge work that is produced continues to change and progress the language of audio visual work within the commercial market.

    International Relations optional modules

    The following modules are currently taught at the Clifton Campus.

    Emerging Powers of Asia 

    This module explores and analyses international relations within Asia, both in terms of individual member states and regional players, for instance ASEAN.  It will also explore the role that external actors have had in facilitating, hindering and modifying the development of specific forms of international relation.

    Russian Politics and Society

    This module follows on to an extent from Understanding the Cold War but focuses on Russia since the collapse of communism. It will enable you to analyse and evaluate the collapse of the USSR and the problems of Russia’s democratisation, especially the power of the presidency, the weakness of parliament and civil society, the manipulation of elections, and the war in Chechnya. We will also examine Russia’s economic transformation, the emergence of the so-called ‘oligarchs’, and the impact of these profound changes on the structure and health of Russian society.

    Currently, you can also choose from the following options which are offered at the City Campus. Please note that optional modules can change due to several factors and we retain the right to withdraw modules at any point.

    Power and Politics in the European Union

    This module aims to identify and critically examine the institutional character of the European Union and to identify and explore the political dynamics of the EU's policy processes. It will explore the principal configurations of national and supranational power in the EU polity and examine critically the debates about democracy, identity and citizenship in the EU.

    International Politics and Geostrategy of Eurasia

    This module aims to investigate the politics and geopolitics of Eurasia in context of both the historical and contemporary world. It seeks give an understanding of the political systems, geopolitics and relations between the countries stretching from the Balkans to Central Asia including Turkey and the Caucasus.

    Hyperpower Politics: The USA

    This module examines the politics and governmental context of the USA, a complex and changing western liberal democracy. It will illuminate and explore the cultural and institutional relationships, which influence the speed and direction of political change.

    The Politics of Everyday Life

    This module aims to develop a knowledge of the concept of politics in everyday life through an examination of competing analytical approaches to the study of politics in everyday life and a critical evaluation of these approaches. You’ll explore examples of politics in everyday life such as nature, consumption and work.

    States, Nationalism and Identity

    This module explores the increasingly complex question of identity in international relations. It asks how individuals and social groups develop a sense of who they are, how they relate to others, how this affects their sense of belonging to the state, nation or other collectivity, and the political significance of this sense of identity.

    Feminist Theory

    Feminist Theory will introduce some of the main branches of feminist thought and core themes in contemporary feminism. It will provide you with first-hand encounters with primary texts, the ability and skills to apply political theory to real life and the ability to understand and compare key a range of feminist theories.

    The International Relations of Middle East and North Africa

    This module explores the political economy of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) against the backdrop of the colonial and post-independence history of the region. You’ll analyse the bases of political and religious identities and the nature of nationalisms in the MENA region in order to develop an understanding of their implications for both state and non-state actors in the region and beyond.

    Political Violence and Terrorism

    This module is an opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and understanding of terrorism and political violence in a global context. It analyses the concept of ‘insecurity’ in a broad sense through exploring both the theoretical approaches to the study of violence, as well as a range of real-world cases to illustrate the increasingly complex use of violence for political objectives.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

This media course is in the UK’s Top 25 for student satisfaction (NSS 2017).

How you’re taught

How will I learn?

Each year you’ll choose a range of core and optional modules from the lists above. The first year is normally divided equally between the two joint honours subjects but at the end of Year One, you’ll have the opportunity to select between an equally weighted joint honours course and a more specialised pathway, depending on your interests.

Teaching principally takes place through a combination of lectures, where tutors introduce the key ideas, and seminars, where smaller groups discuss those ideas.

Contact hours

If you’re struggling with a topic or require additional support or guidance, you can arrange to see your tutors in small groups or one-to-one, to discuss essay plans or to seek some specific academic guidance.

It is the nature of the subjects offered in the School of Arts and Humanities, however, that much of your time will be spent engaged in independent study. We recognise that this marks a change of culture from school or college, and we have in place a system of study support to help you adapt to this.

International exchange

You’ll also have the option to take part in an international exchange at a partner university. These options will enable you to gain impressive international experience, and broaden your perspective and career ambitions.

You’ll experience other cultures, travel the globe and open your eyes to a world of opportunities. Our exchange partnership with a number of international universities enables you to live and study in another country in your second year. Find out more.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn another new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. Learning a new language can enhance your communication skills, enrich your experience when travelling abroad and boost your career prospects. Find out more about the University Language Programme.

Assessment methods

  • Year 1 coursework (53%) and written (47%)
  • Year 2 coursework (100%)
  • Year 3 coursework (100%)

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (25%), independent study (75%)
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (24%), independent study (74%) and placements (2%)
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%)

Careers and employability

Your career development

This is a major part of the curriculum. Key transferable skills are emphasised and there are opportunities to develop links with organisations and potential employers. Joint honours courses develop a wide range of skills. These include written and oral communication skills, critical analysis and a variety of IT skills. But you’ll also become more self-motivated, be able to work independently and in teams, and develop excellent time management skills.

Our recent Media Joint Honours graduates have gone on to work in graduate-level positions in:

  • the BBC;
  • Sky;
  • Brit Asia TV;
  • Channel 5; and
  • IBM.

98% of our international relations joint honours undergraduates are in work or further study within just six months of finishing their degree (DLHE 2016-17).

Entry requirements

  • 104 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent)
  • GCSEs - English and Maths grade C / 4.

If you are unsure whether the qualifications you have, or are currently studying for, meet the minimum entry requirements for this course, please contact us before submitting an application through UCAS.

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

Foundation courses

If you need to do a foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please email our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can.

For the full-time route just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow our step-by-step guide.

If you're applying for the part-time route please apply online using the NTU Applicant Portal.

Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You've got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you've applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

Keeping up-to-date

After you've applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Getting in touch

If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on +44 (0)115 848 2494.

Find out more about our terms and conditions of study for this course.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Please see our fees page for more information.

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

Find out more about our terms and conditions of study for this course.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418