Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.
This course includes the sandwich year options of:
*No fees are charged for this year
Why choose this course?
There has never been a greater need for graduates who understand the complexities of the modern world; but who can keep pace with the latest trends and debates and have the creativity and practical skills to manage emerging media technologies.
Relevant to today’s media dominated culture, you’ll learn more about how various media functions and examine the philosophical issues surrounding our attempts to represent the world, as well as the legal and ethical framework in which it operates. You’ll develop practical and theoretical knowledge of how various media techniques are implemented, whilst exploring and challenging the assumptions that frame the way we think, act and see the world around us.
You’ll benefit from being part of a lively and active academic community which includes active researchers of international standing, who bring their own passion for their discipline into the classroom, and dynamic teachers with extensive industry experience.
In Philosophy, our small group teaching helps you to find your feet in the academic environment. There are plenty of opportunities to discuss critical issues with staff and fellow students. In Media, delivery varies according to the characteristics of each module. Many are taught via weekly lectures followed by seminars, which allow for more in-depth investigation, discussion and active learning amongst peers and academic experts. Workshops are standard for the practical modules, where the skills taught are enhanced by the supervision of experts in their field.
In Philosophy, you can join an optional residential weekend each year. Through the ‘Media Matters’ Guest Lecture series, industry professionals are regularly welcomed onto campus to address students and give their insights into media careers. Recent speakers include Teresa Malone of The Guardian, Steven Bourner, Chief Media Officer and Strategic Lead for Higher Education in the Department for Higher Education and former student Tobi Akengbade who is now a showbiz correspondent.
The course nurtures hands -on technical skills, original creativity, agility, critical thinking, effective communication skills, confidence, and entrepreneurial attitudes, enabling our graduates to thrive in a rapidly changing industry. Careers in film, TV, radio, and journalism are obvious career pathways but our graduates also go into employment in Public Relations, advertising, customer relations, publishing, marketing, and theatre.
What’s more, you’ll study at a TEF Gold rated University. That’s the highest rating for teaching and student support.
Applying for this course is easy. Simply add us to your UCAS account by using the institution and course code mentioned in ‘Key information.’ There is no interview for this course. We’re just interested to hear why you want to study this subject at degree level. If you haven’t done either or both of these subjects before, that’s fine. You’ll likely have hobbies or extracurricular experience that show what skills you already have that you can bring to the University.
What's the course about?
You’ll follow a flexible programme of study, which introduces you to the methods and approaches of different disciplines, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting. The courses are stimulating and innovative, allowing you to make rewarding connections between the two disciplines. There is also CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities.
In your first year, you’ll be introduced to a variety of ways in which communication can be achieved and presented to different audiences. You’ll learn to think critically by examining reasoning and persuasion and how that might be inflected by the medium in which it is conveyed, including the use of rhetoric and propaganda. You’ll be introduced to key theorists in media cultures and study social and political philosophy, covering topics such as freedom of speech, as well as examine the nature of knowledge and reality. There is also a philosophy module dedicated to exploring the scope and limits of film and literature in what they can represent about reality. In addition to the insights into theory, core media modules introduce you to practice, such as how to use text, graphics, or software such as Photoshop.
In your second year, your ability to work as an effective and confident researcher is honed across both disciplines. You’ll learn about research methods in the communications industry and you will be able to select areas on which to focus, such as on influential works of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and social and political philosophy. There is also a philosophy of art module, which tackles the question of the relation between artistic representations (in various media) and reality. In addition, there are practical opportunities to learn about publishing and radio.
Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too. You’ll decide in your second year with us, so there is still plenty of time to think about this.
In your final year, the opportunity to delve deeper into specialist areas is offered. In media, specific skills from pitching to business, campaigning for a cause or to advertise a product or service, content creation, web design or magazine production all help hone skills transferable to the world of work. In Philosophy, there is the opportunity to develop your understanding of the nature of communication in the philosophy of language module, or on the nature of the representation of women in the module on feminist philosophy.
'Media Matters' Guest Lecture series
Each year the School of Humanities hosts the Media Matters Guest Lecture Series featuring a range of industry professionals, giving talks on their experience in the industry. These lectures are recorded by our final year students and available on our Media Hub. Some of our previous speakers have included:
- Lewis Wiltshire, Head of Sport, Twitter UK
- Tobi Rachel Akingbade, showbusiness journalist who studied journalism and other media subjects at UH
- Ren Behan, Food blogger and journalist
- Terry Mitchinson, Welwyn Hatfield Times Editor
- Uche Amako, UH journalism alum and sportswriter
Your main campus is de Havilland
You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in our on-campus restaurant on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.
What will I study?
Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6. These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study. Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.
'I certainly developed professionalism and employability through studying Philosophy, primarily through the methods of rational and logical problem solving. I acquired a skill that is useful in whatever field one works in. However, it is enterprise that I most notably improved on while at Herts. I had never really considered starting a businesses or working for myself, but while studying Philosophy (particularly my Masters by Research and my undergraduate dissertation) I realised I was learning self-management and combining this with my new proficiency at problem solving sent me down a new path. Since leaving Herts I have set up multiple small business which are growing healthily. This individuality has really helped me find out what I want to do in life.'
Kailan - Week at a glance
Weekly schedule blog post
At the beginning of my week, I make a to-do list of all the things that I need to do on top of my studies. After that, I begin with an hour each day at the state-of-the-art gym and swimming pool on the de Havilland campus where my classes are. I then get showered; have breakfast, pack my bag, and walk to my classes. I’m a visual learner, so I focus on just listening to the lecturer, and engaging with the content as much as possible; especially if I am in a seminar. I re-watch the lectures and seminars on Canvas (our online learning portal), as I learn best from visual/audio resources.
I love that at the University, you get the choice to study in a way that suits you. There is absolutely no pressure in sticking to certain means, and you can (to a reasonable degree), build a studying pattern that suits you. I usually have between eight and 13 hours of classes a week (depending on the semester), and I study Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy.
For me, the lectures and seminars are my best resource; and the information and concepts usually make complete sense to me. I struggle to read for long periods of time, so thanks to the academic English resources available for students; I was able to learn ways to read in a way that suits my style of learning. This allowed me to look into the recommended reading, and explore the extra resources given to me; while not overloading myself with information that Is ultimately unimportant (relatively speaking).
In my course (which is a joint honours), coursework makes up around 40-50% of the classification in the first year. Exams obviously make up the rest. What I was surprised to find out upon enrolling, is that once you get into a rhythm with coursework, and make template documents (which include things like an empty bibliography and a title), they are relatively straight forward. I feel that the overwhelming feeling that comes from coursework and exams, comes when you don’t feel like you have access to the resources that teach you how to write assignments efficiently - the University makes these resources available to you; you just have to reach out for them. If you have a professional and academically beautiful document; you will be more inclined to write in a similarly professional way.
Fundamentally, though, assignments and exams are super easy and fun, as long as you’re prepared (in my case having a template document, and understanding how to reference was the key), as-well-as interested in the topic that you’re studying. If you love the topic and know how to build an essay; you’ll blast through your assignments!
Going back to my typical week… There are lots to do on both campuses; especially in the first semester; with freshers fairs and endless other things going on too. Wednesday’s and Friday’s I usually go out to the Forum (the club on campus) with my flatmates. As long as you study hard, and understand the content in your own way; you will be able to afford to go out as much as you want!
The bottom line is: Work hard and play hard; prepare in advance for your assignments, and that way they’ll be super easy, and study a subject that you are passionate about!
Kailan - Things you should know
Things you need to know before studying PiR at UH
Before you choose the study at the University of Hertfordshire, you need to ask yourself a few questions. What do you want out of University? If the answer is more than a degree, then Herts is the place for you. If you want to make international friends and expand your network, Herts is the place for you. If you want to have access to State of the art resources and world-class staff, then the University of Hertfordshire is for you.
So you’ve checked all of the boxes, and you’re considering Herts. That’s great! You’re planning to study Politics and International Relations; that’s great! What should you know before making your decision? Let me tell you…
- The staff are amazing and go a million steps past what is required of them to help your experience and understanding of the content. HOWEVER, they can only do that if you reach out and discuss your issue or query with them. They’re extremely attentive, but the UH staff are not trained in telepathy, unfortunately (maybe in another decade or so).
- You can, and should, make a study plan that suits you. The school (in my personal opinion), trains you to study in a very specific and rigid way. If that works for you; then great; proceed as you are. If you struggle to learn from the ‘traditional means’, and hate the idea of reading every word in a 15-page article in order to find one piece of information to support your argument; don’t. The staff and the department can recognise that different students learn differently. That is why there are resources made available to you to find a system that allows University to be straight forward for you. Tip: Check out the Academic English hub on campus, and discuss this with them.
- You have the option to study a language, as-well-as study abroad for free! Studying a language as an elective (an extra module) is free; and you have the choice from multiple languages, at multiples levels; even if you’ve never spoken a word before.
- If you wish to study abroad; there are lots of resources available to you; you can find a placement abroad within Politics and IR, and the staff will help you learn how to apply; do well in interviews, and the study abroad office can give you more specific advice on planning your trip etc.
- University is a place for ideas; if you have an idea that you think is against the norm; the staff will ALWAYS welcome it. There are no stupid questions; if you’re thinking it, others probably will be too, and it will open up the discussion anyway!
- Take advantage of any research opportunities presented to you by the department; they are announcing them because they really believe that it is a lucrative opportunity for students; don’t assume that it’s not for you - explore ALL opportunities.
Fundamentally though, have fun; University is not all about the degree; in many ways, the network that you build and the life that you develop during your time at UH is much more important than having a first on your transcript. The beauty of the system is that you can have both, as long as you reach out first!
Kailan - Why I love PIR
What I love most about my course
I love the department. The staff go a million steps past just teaching you the assigned content. They support your ideas and interests; your professional growth, and are constantly checking to ensure that each and every student understands in a thorough, academically holistic way; the concerned content. Each and every staff member in the department is a mentor and extremely patient and attentive to a student’s pace.
You can approach professors about anything; from personal issues affecting your workflow (and asking for them to help you one to one to understand the content during their office hours) to asking them for advice concerning your professional aspirations (such as internships). I have contacted members of staff for references to internships and scholarship applications; of which they’re more than happy to help out with.
The way that the department frames your University journey during induction is important; it started with one of the subjects heads explaining to us that this is beginning of our professional lives; and that in our course, we are not students who are hierarchically lectured to by teachers; we are colleagues, who are exploring the academic discipline that we mutually take interest in.
Starting the course by showing students that this is a professional journey, and NOT a commodity, really sets the tone for the course. I feel is allows students to feel more comfortable with reaching out for help; because asking for help is a logistical thing, rather than something to be embarrassed about.
When I say that the staff go the extra mile; I am not kidding. It’s not just the outstanding attentiveness and resources put into your experience that they finetune, they also are mentors. I have asked for career advice concerning internships, and was offered mock interviews, and given advice on typical questions given in interviews within the Political field; of which the interviewer asked!
When I got accepted into a scholarship to delegate at the General Assembly, the staff members helped me out with resources on how to succeed in this venture. The staff members have offered me contacts for research and professional opportunities.
If you have any questions, or any interest, or anything you wish to clarify about anything at all; all you have to do is ask. IF you don’t ask, you don’t get. IF you do ask, you are met with mentorship and invaluable advice that will inevitably solve your issue, or help you to excel.
Study at Herts!
Meet Kate Stephenson who has excelled in the publishing industry since graduating. She currently works as the Education Editor at National Geographic Kids magazine.
|Current job role||Education Editor|
|Year of graduation||2013|
|Course of study||BA (Hons) English Language and Communication with Journalism and Media Cultures|
Kate always knew that she wanted to work in the media and her unique degree gave her the flexibility to understand the logistics behind magazines as well as develop her writing and communication skills. The variety of topics and modules covered in her course enabled her to understand a lot about her dream career and enable her to develop valuable skills for working in the industry.
While studying, Kate took every opportunity offered to her. Her lecturers gave her opportunities to network with their colleagues for the industry enabling Kate to secure work experience and explore different career opportunities upon graduation.
She also worked as part of the Students’ Union student media, called Triden Media, writing regularly for their newspaper and magazine. Kate says, ‘Take advantage of every opportunity while it’s on offer and dive in as much as possible.’
In the future, Kate hopes to further develop and grow the project she is working on at National Geographic and their educational content. One of her recent projects was launching their Primary School resource service by writing the curriculum.
Meet Jenny Vu who gained valuable transferable skills for her future career. She is currently a Teaching Assistant at a secondary school.
|Current job role||Teaching Assistant|
|Year of graduation||2018|
|Course of study||BA(Hons) History and Philosophy with Study Abroad Year|
University life and experience
Throughout her degree, Jenny learnt a considerable amount of transferable skills and world knowledge to enable to her succeed in her career as a Teaching Assistant. She says that the most useful skills she learnt are how to analyse and correct grammar which have proved invaluable when teaching her students.
Jenny initially chose the University of Hertfordshire as it ‘was close to home but still relatively far enough to move out and learn to live independently.’ She explains how her independence grew as she used her degree to explore the World by taking the opportunity to study abroad for a year. She says, ‘My standout memory from my time at the University was studying abroad for a year. It was probably the best year of my life.’
Jenny’s study abroad year sparked her passion for travel and in the future, she plans to teach in Asia. However, she says, if she does return to the UK, she would like to teach and promote higher education to young students to inspire future generations and showcase their potential.
Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.