Media Studies Postgraduate Course

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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Moore’s Law and the technological shifts brought in under its mantle has obliterated our traditional interpretation of what ‘media’ actually means. A few generations ago, the only media available to consume was via print. Then came photography, followed by radio, film, TV and most recently the computer. It’s hard to fathom, especially for the average millennial, but in our living memory, there are people whose households only got their first radio when they were children. In fact, a morse code transmission from the revolutionaries in the Dublin General Post Office during the Easter Rising is commonly considered to be the first broadcast in Ireland; our first official radio station didn’t exist until years later.

Shifting Trends in Media

2008 saw the mass distribution of a powerful pocket computer. Simple, easy to use, and with the processing ability that would have required a robust 18-inch tower a few short years before, the iPhone revolutionised the way we consumed and created media. It was a camera, recorder, iPod and most importantly, had access to the internet. This, hand in hand with the evolution of social media – from the clunky geopages and Myspace to the murky depths it inhabits today – is what democratised media in a sense. Now everyone in with access to the internet can be a broadcaster of sorts.

Meanwhile, in the past, film was a notoriously restricted endeavour. Not only was the equipment prohibitively expensive, but processing reels of film was equally costly and the edit process gruelling, if nothing else. The improvements made to the design of the digital camera, the storage of files, and affordable prosumer editing programmes mean this is no longer solely the endeavour of organisations with deep pockets.

These are only a few examples of changing trends in the past few years; we haven’t gotten to the language of video gaming, its cultural control and industrial importance. We haven’t mentioned the impact streaming and pirating has had on musical artists, or the influence on online platforms has on traditional TV broadcasters. Long story short, those who were considered the ‘gatekeepers’ of taste and media no longer have the power they once did.

Media Studies Postgraduate Courses

The term Media Studies is as broad and encompassing and the word ‘media’ itself. There are a number of schools tied into the academic study and research of the forms. Some course modules might tackle the historical background of one facet of media and how this related to economic or social trends in an era. For example, a class might pose the thesis of how was the postmodernism movement represented in film? What was the impressionists’ influence on literature? Another angle when it comes to Media Studies might be the critical analysis of various texts; for instance, using semiotics to identify trends with regards gender in advertising. There are also a lot of opportunities to study various hypotheses at PhD level around the country; this is a great option if a career in academia is something you’d be interested in.

The other side of the academic coin is studying and understanding the mechanics and technologies behind media. On courses like these, you might find yourself learning code, mastering a digital camera, gaining skills in graphic design, learning the basics of sound production. While there is often a research module on practical programmes, a lot of your assignments and grades will be project-based. There’s a lot more of a team-focused element too which is, in turn, reflective of the various fields within the industry. A major benefit of courses like these is that you graduate with a completed portfolio of work.

Career Opportunities

Again, with the media industry in flux, there’s no one path when it comes to getting a certain role. Graduating with a postgraduate qualification in Media Studies, you could end up in a 9-5 administration role, in advertising, in academia, writing, freelance, film or radio. When it comes to finding employment in the media industry, things can get quite competitive so a strong postgrad and portfolio will put you ahead of most other graduates. Depending on your chosen area, another viable option following on from a degree is to specialise with a training scheme. You could go into a practical role as a trainee, in say, the world of sound recording or film. Alternatively, Springboard provides a host of subsidised options where you can upskill in areas where there is presently a skills deficit.

No matter what your chosen path, media is a rewarding an interesting career. It’s all about interpreting and communicating with your culture, telling stories and making sense of the world. If this is an area you’re interested in, check out our comprehensive list now.


Gemma Creagh

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