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The basics
Study abroad : Subject Guides

Studying Social Studies and Media abroad

What does Social Studies and Media cover exactly? And why is the field more important now than ever? Read our full guide now...

Studying Social Studies and Media abroad

What is Social Studies and Media?

The U.S. American National Council for the Social Studies defines ‘Social Studies’ as the ‘integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence’. Simply, Social Studies looks at the study of society and our relationships with those around us.

One of the biggest influencers on how we behave is the media, which continues to penetrate our lives more and more. This includes television, film, music, video games, newspapers, magazines and the internet. The role these are playing in shaping our society, for both the better and arguably the worst, is something we should discuss in order to properly arm individuals with the tools so they can analyse their effects.


Why study Social Studies and Media?

Social Studies and Media is possibly the most contemporary field you can study as it morphs and transforms constantly according to how society and the media changes too. Therefore if you want to feel like you’re studying an area which is on the cutting edge and utterly modern, this is the field for you!

Society is always changing: the attitudes we believe; the people we interact with; the anxieties we are concerned with etc. While it might sound cliché, the best way of understanding who we are – and where we’re heading – is to locate ourselves in a particular time and context, which involves looking back to where we’ve come from.

The media continues to be an area which fascinates us. Cameras and lights; headlines and sound bites; the power of celebrity... all of these are incredibly exciting to us from the quotidian of our daily lives. The careers which we associate with the media, like press relations, advertising and journalism look flashy, creative and even exclusive (and have been presented to us as such by the media, ironically); therefore any course which can lead to a role in one of these industries has become instantly popular.

However we’re not simply in awe of the media; we are becoming more aware of its presence and influence. However, the media continues to evolve in the techniques it employs so it’s important that we know how to critique what we consume rather than immediately accept it.

Furthermore this field places an emphasis on key skills such as writing, presenting and critical analysis, all of which are sought out across multiple sectors.


Who would be good at studying Social Studies and Media?

Media isn’t simply a field for those who watch a lot of TV! It goes further to ask about what media texts say about us as creators and consumers. Those who are constantly asking questions about society and the media – as opposed to simply accepting everything they consume – will find the field compelling and finally discussing the questions which they’ve been asking for so long.

As we’ve noted, many pursue the Media field to enter jobs which involve a number of highly attractive attributes such as creativity, innovation, influence and glamour. However this also means that the job climate is very, very competitive. As well as a strong academic record, those who wish to pursue a career in a Media-related field should be ready to take initiative and be proactive in grabbing every opportunity to gain practical experience – it’s true that it’s not necessarily what you know, but who you know! It’s this experience and these connections which will help you secure that all-important first graduate role and even subsequent jobs from there.

Those who are interested in how we behave as a society will find that they completely immerse themselves in the Social Studies field, gaining a whole new understanding of who we are as a people. Serious issues like race and gender lie at the heart of Social Studies. Therefore those who aren’t afraid to shy away from difficult, sometimes controversial debates on these matters will find likeminded individuals with whom they can open a discourse.


What is the criteria for studying a Social Studies and Media course?

Social Studies and Media cover a variety of subjects so the criteria to study a particular subject will depend on what you choose to study.  Strong English writing and reading skills will benefit you regardless, but you may be required to have specific high school qualifications (e.g. for Photography courses, a qualification in Photography or Art).

You should always check the entry requirements for a course with the university themselves.


What specific courses can I study?


What can you do with a Social Studies and Media qualification?

This really depends on the specific subject you study. Based on the courses listed above, you can pursue one of the following careers:

  • Anthropologist
  • Producer
  • Director
  • Script writer
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Photographer
  • Press officer
  • Politicians
  • Civil servant

However you should keep in mind that courses in the Social Studies and Media field can help you hone key skills such as working in a team in addition to skills specific to that area.

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