How does the media shape social and cultural life? How have digital and internet cultures transformed personal and networked interactions? What is the relationship between the media, mass politics, and governance? What is media power, and who wields it? Whatever the questions that interest you, at Essex you can develop the skills to go beyond simply arguing about them, and instead find the evidence needed to answer them.
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
The Department of Sociology also offers expertise in many areas that complement the study of communications and digital culture, including criminology, social history, visual sociology, anthropology, economic sociology, US and European studies and cultural rights.
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university
You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience within an external business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Training social scientists of the future
We offer you the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds quantitative methods in your degree. Successful completion of specified modules entitles you to receive the qualifier ‘(Applied Quantitative Methods)’ at the end of your degree title, for example BA Sociology (Applied Quantitative Methods) and this will appear on your transcript. You can also receive student bursaries to go on work placements, helping you stand out when applying for jobs.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
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.
- 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
- Our teaching is underpinned by research – new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
- You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating.
- You develop the critical and inventive thinking skills necessary for many graduate jobs.
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.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.
- Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
- Weighting is 50% coursework and 50% examinations
- Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you