Contemporary Media Practice BA Honours

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UCAS code: W900 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time

Our 2016 undergraduate courses feature some exciting new changes based on student feedback, which include providing more opportunities for you to broaden your knowledge and skills while here. See full details about the changes to our undergraduate courses.

Start: 17 September 2016
Duration: 3 years
Location: North-West London
Campus: Harrow

All prices quoted are for the academic year 2016/17 only.

Home/EU: £9,000.00
Overseas: £12,250.00

This unique course is built on our long tradition of teaching interdisciplinary media practice, working across moving image, photography and interactive media. Our approach combines the creative exploration of art school traditions with academic and professional excellence. We have extensive industry-level facilities and equipment, and to develop your skills and knowledge we use a variety of assessment methods, including practical projects, presentations, written work, research tasks and portfolios.

The course sets high standards for professional achievement in specific media industry roles, and prepares you for the challenge of a multi-skilled portfolio career. You will also gain the transferable and cognitive skills necessary for lifelong personal and professional development. Graduates have a high employment rate across the media industries, including broadcast television; commercial photography and photojournalism; curating and film programming; film direction, production, editing and visual effects; fine art practice; and new media. Our graduates include Anand Tucker (director/producer), Aaqil Ahmed (commissioning editor, BBC), Ori Gersht (artist, filmmaker and photographer), Rafi Pitts (director), Martha Fiennes (director and artist), Zed Nelson (photographer) and many others.

Course content

This course will enable you to develop your creative media production skills across a range of disciplines, and give you the ability to adapt to the creative opportunities of new media forms and hybrids. It will  enhance your ability to participate in contemporary cultural debates, and develop your awareness of the political, ethical and aesthetic implications of your work.

The course is part of the University of Westminster's School of Media, Arts and Design, based at our state-of-the-art Harrow Campus – a cutting-edge creative hub, and one of the leading media, arts and design educational facilities in Europe.

You will be taught through a mix of lectures, group and individual tutorials, and workshops, supporting the development of your skills across media to a level equivalent to single-discipline courses.

Assessment methods include submitted work and research material, crits, seminar presentations, visual essays and online study tasks.

Subjects of study

The following subjects are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Year 1 (Credit Level 4)

Your first year is concerned with establishing core media production skills, and supporting your transition into higher education with skills in research and analysis of media culture. Alongside technical workshops in all course media (moving image, interactive media and photography) you will develop practical projects around given themes. These projects introduce key skills in conceptual development and encourage your creative abilities. Subjects of study include:

  • Skills in the core media for Contemporary Media Practice: moving image; photography; digital and interactive media; studios and equipment; editing and post-production; professional working with actors, locations and media content.
  • Practical projects; creative working and developing ideas; pitching; group and solo working.
  • Media Explorations: experimental practices, exploring the traditions and futures of the core media.
  • Introduction to Contemporary Media Theory: the core theory essential to an understanding of contemporary media, culture and arts.
  • Media Representations: theories and practices of representation in the arts and media.

Year 2 (Credit Level 5)

The second year opens out the range of possibilities available to you in both practice and theory. We ask you to develop skills and knowledge of specific media in depth, but also to engage with the frontiers of interdisciplinary media practice. This allows you to begin to develop your distinctive interests through a selection of media, themes and production methods. We also require all students to undertake work experience in the second year. Subjects of study include:

  • Media Frontiers: practical work that explores and tests the boundaries of current media, choosing from moving image, photographic and interactive media.
  • Convergent Media: responding to the varieties of convergence in producing and consuming media through a practical project.
  • Live Projects: work experience, commissions, curating and live events.
  • Critical Perspectives on Media: advanced approaches to the analysis of media, leading to a focus on a chosen media tradition.
  • Research and Synthesis: developing your own interests in theory and analysis, leading to defining a subject for your final year dissertation or extended research essay.

With options available that include:

  • Transmedia Practices – exploring related practices and traditions, such as animation, sound design, software art, and motion graphics.
  • Scriptwriting for Media: writing for film, television and emerging formats.
  • Art/Science Collaboration: projects developed with students from disciplines such as Psychology, Biosciences and Computing.
  • Creative Encounters: working with students from other Media, Arts and Design disciplines.

Year 3 (Credit Level 6)

By your third year you are sufficiently experienced and skilled to determine your own themes, and sustain substantial and high-level work over a longer period. Your Final Project and Dissertation are the culmination of your studies; typically our students create short narrative films, documentaries, interactive projects, photographs, installations, and many other hybrid forms. This work is then given a public exhibition/screening. Subjects of study include:

  • Exploration and Pre-Production: you conceive a large scale final year project, and take that through pre-production planning.
  • Major Project: your culminating practical work on the course.
  • Dissertation or Extended Research Essay: where you apply theory and critical approaches to a subject of your choice, with rigour and in depth.
  • Professional Launchpad: professional networking, mentoring, planning a career and preparing to promote yourself.

Westminster electivesWestminster Elective modules icon

As part of your course you can take elective modules. Electives are an exciting opportunity to widen your experience at university and to gain skills and knowledge that will help make you more employable. Find out about Westminster electives.

Course team

Professional recognition

This course is accredited by Creative Skillset, the Government-backed industry body.

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Graduates from Contemporary Media Practice have a high employment rate in many aspects of the media industries and professions. This includes: film direction, production and editing; BBC production and education departments; Channel 4 programming; internet design and start-up companies; commercial photography and photojournalism; photographic, video and media artists exhibiting internationally.

In recent years 60% of our alumni are in graduate level jobs within 6 months of completing the course, many of those in the creative industries.

Each year our students win prizes, have their work shown in major festivals and gain employment in the field of their choice. We also have a strong record in preparing graduates for postgraduate study across a range of both practical and theoretical disciplines, as well as postgraduate teacher training.

Graduate employment and opportunities in the media industries have notably shifted over the past few years, and graduates from this course have demonstrated their responsiveness to these changes. We regularly monitor graduate career destinations, using this information to review the course curriculum.

Work experience

We require all students to undertake work experience in the second year. Recently students have been placed with companies and organisations as diverse as:

  • BBC
  • Channel 4
  • Company Pictures
  • Endemol
  • Framestore
  • IPC Media
  • Mentorn Media
  • Miramax
  • Molinare
  • N.O.W.Here
  • Pinewood Studios
  • Rankin Photography
  • Resonance FM
  • Talkback Thames
  • The Light Surgeons
  • The Mill
  • Tiger Aspect
  • Tim Bret-Day Photography
  • Unruly Media
  • Vertigo Films
  • Warp Films
  • Working Title

Students are often offered further work, or on occasion permanent employment after completing successful work experience.

Many students also undertake a very diverse range of work experience at other stages of the course, often at a high professional level. Our students are often invited to participate in productions and events by outside companies, so widening their experience of professional life.

To support your career development we offer mentoring opportunities with established employers and industry professionals. This allows you to gain support and advice appropriate to your career ambitions.

Many students successfully enter competitions and submit work to festivals. In recent years this has included nominations for Exposures Film Festival, screenings at Cannes Film Festival and other international festivals, photographic awards and residencies.

Alumni

Our students go on to occupy prominent positions in the world of business, the creative industries, science and the arts.

  • Aaqil Ahmed - Head of Religious Programming, BBC (previously Commissioning Editor, Channel 4)
  • Darren Bender - Film and TV producer (Exhibit A, Stephen Fry's Shorts)
  • Ruth Breslaw - Production coordinator and casting assistant (Code 46, A Cock & Bull Story)

Visit our alumni pages for more graduate success stories.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Contemporary Media Practice is one of the first and only interdisciplinary media production courses in the country, hosted by the country’s top media Faculty. The long history of the course gives it a great diversity of international recruitment. Our students have many global success stories, from internationally feted film directors to continually exhibited photographers and cutting edge digital media producers.

The environment is both academic and practical, scholarly and creative, and all students study a range of media and critical theory alongside their practical work. But the emphasis is on developing new approaches to the convergence of media and production of content for rapidly changing platforms of distribution and consumption.

We aim to develop the next generation of media producers who have the training to innovate new ideas and practices and to have the transferable skills necessary in today’s fast moving workplace opportunities.

Industry-acclaimed tutors

Our team of leading lecturers, practitioners and professionals boast a distinguished record in academic teaching, professional practice and scholarly research.

Read more about our course team

Visiting professionals

We regularly welcome industry-leading professionals to mentor, tutor and inspire our students.

Cutting-edge facilities

Contemporary Media Practice students have unique access at Harrow to professional level facilities across all of film, video, photography and interactive media. These include:

  • Purpose built studio facilities with two sound stages
  • A set construction workshop
  • Post production facilities, including numerous edit suites and two dubbing theatres
  • Five fully equipped photographic studios
  • Specialist colour and black and white darkrooms
  • High quality digital printing
  • Dedicated mac suite for the course
  • A full range of professional equipment available for student use

Read more about our facilities

Award-winning work

Our students are recognised as leading creative professionals in major festivals and awards, including Cannes Festival, Exposures, and many other international achievements.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Upcoming undergraduate open days

DateTitleLocation
08 October 2016Undergraduate open dayCavendish, Regent Street, Little Titchfield Street, Harrow, Marylebone
09 November 2016Undergraduate open dayCavendish, Regent Street, Little Titchfield Street, Harrow, Marylebone
View subject-specific open days

Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

We are one of Europe's leading centres for higher education for the creative industries.

Find out more about the school

Contemporary Media Practice blog

Media, Arts and Design

Read our Contemporary Media Practice blog.

BA Honours Contemporary Media Practice alumni

Our students go on to occupy prominent positions in the world of business, the creative industries, science and the arts.

Meet the team

Student and staff conversing

Read about our BA Contemporary Media Practice course team.