On our four-year BA Communications and Digital Culture (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas during your foundation year (known as Year Zero) to prepare you for a further three years of undergraduate study at Essex.
You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.
At Essex we investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others.
You experience a lively, informal environment with many possibilities to pursue a variety of topics including:
- The impact of computer games on crime
- Mass media and modern life
- The art, film and personal testimony of war
- Practical research methods, including designing interview schedules and surveys and handling cultural data
Our BA Communications and Digital Culture is run by the Department of Sociology, which was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014).
Our expert staff
Our staff all have strong subject backgrounds, and are highly skilled in their areas both as academics and practitioners.
Our staff have worked at local, national and international level with bodies like news organisations, advertising agencies, local councils, the Home Office, Amnesty International and the United Nations. They are high-profile researchers with interests across the field of media, culture and society.
Professor Sean Nixon is an expert on media history, consumer cultures and advertising. Dr Michael Bailey leads on cultural policy studies, critical theory and heritage and has been closely involved with national debates on the Leveson Inquiry into UK press regulation. Dr James Allen-Robertson specialises in digital cultures, disruptive technologies and gaming.
By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:
- We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
- Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
- Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends
Our Department of Sociology also offers excellent on-campus facilities:
- A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
- Links on Campus with the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies and its new BA in Multimedia Journalism supported by former BBC staff
Careers linked to communications and digital culture are varied. Our courses provide an excellent training for work within the cultural industries, communications, PR, marketing, publishing and social research.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:
- The Institute of Public Finance
- Media Analysts
- Guardian Professional
- Synergy Healthcare Research
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
- Our teaching is underpinned by research – new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
- Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
- Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
- Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention
- Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects