Media studies challenges and empowers students to analyse and interpret the world around them. Our students live lives that are saturated with media content, products and messages and they need to be informed and able to think critically about the media and its role in everyday life. The media is often controlled by powerful corporate interests. These individuals and institutions shape how we view the world. Students need to recognise the things that influence the media.


A level media studies

Awarding body AQA
Course content

A level media studies engages students in the detailed study of media products in relation to the four areas of the theoretical framework:

  • media language, representation and industries audiences.

Students are required to study media products from all of the following media forms:

  • audio-visual (TV, film, radio, advertising, video games and music video)
  • online (social and participatory media, video games, music video, newspapers, magazines, advertising and marketing)
  • print (newspapers, magazines, advertising and marketing).

Year 12

Students explore the key concepts and apply their understanding to a range of close study products that include:

  • television (Capital and Deutschland 83)
  • magazines (GQ AND The Gentlewoman)
  • music videos (Ghost Town and Old Town Road)
  • advertising and marketing (Score and Sephora)
  • video games (Horizon Forbidden West, Metroid and Sims Freeplay).

Year 13

Students will develop their understanding of media theories and apply complex theories to a range of close study products that include:

  • radio (War of the Worlds and Newsbeat)
  • newspapers (The Daily Mail and The Guardian)
  • film industries (Blinded by the Light). 
  • online (The Voice and Zendaya)


Two written examinations at the end of Year 13. Questions will focus on issues and debates in the media and the analysis of media products. Students will be expected to refer to the close study products and will also be expected to demonstrate understanding of the contexts in which the products were created.

A non-examined assessment will also be completed where students will independently create a media product in response to a brief set by AQA. This product can be video, print or digital.

Studying media gave me a great understanding of how products are created in the media industry. I really enjoyed learning about pre-production processes and then being able to use that knowledge to create my own products such as a digital magazine and a music video.

Why study media?

Media studies is of particular value to those hoping to pursue careers in the media industry including working in film and TV production, journalism, advertising and marketing, public relations.