Why are Media Studies degrees disregarded?

TopCat
Banned for one week
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat 12 Jan, 2008 22.05

In recent years, the term 'media studies' has become somewhat of a dirty word, with people comparing such a study to a 'Mickey Mouse' degree and other such derogatory terms. Yet, I feel that such degrees are certainly on par with most Humanities degrees, such as English, History, etc., so I am struggling to understand why Media Studies in particular gets such a bad reputation. It couldn't be the supposed lack of jobs/career choices at the end of it, as I am sure most other Humanities degrees suffer the same difficulties.

I would be interested to know of people's opinions on this as I quite nearly enrolled on such a degree, only to rethink at the last minute due to the poor reputation that they have.
Alexia
Posts: 2970
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Are you asking for you, or for your lord and master cityprick?
TopCat
Banned for one week
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat 12 Jan, 2008 22.05

Alexia wrote:Are you asking for you, or for your lord and master cityprick?
Myself?
Inspector Sands
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed 25 Aug, 2004 00.37
Location: London

The suggestion from one lecturer on my course was that it's because the more people that are media literate and analyse media content, the less they can use the media to influence the masses. The ruling elite benefit need am unquestioning public.

Though that's a bit conspiratorial for me and of course all degrees require their students to have the same sort of critical thinking.

They're not taken seriously in the industry because they mostly aren't going to prepare you for working in the industry - degrees aren't vocational. That doesn't mean they're not a valid field of study, there's a lot less useful degrees - History of Art is more respectable, but what use is that in the outside world?

I did a mostly theoretical course, but learnt more about actual real TV through work experience and summer jobs in the industry. I'd say that out of my year about 3/4 are working in some field of the media, but I doubt any of us actually use anything we learnt at uni
User avatar
WillPS
Posts: 2069
Joined: Tue 22 Apr, 2008 18.32
Location: Carlton
Contact:

Inspector Sands wrote:I did a mostly theoretical course, but learnt more about actual real TV through work experience and summer jobs in the industry. I'd say that out of my year about 3/4 are working in some field of the media, but I doubt any of us actually use anything we learnt at uni
That's true of even the most vocational degrees though. I studied Web Information Systems & Services at uni, and really only the stuff about database best practices and SOAP is of any use to me day-to-day (I'm an ecom guy now).
Image
all new Phil
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sun 13 Feb, 2005 00.04
Location: Next door to Hell

Is it not just because it's such a vast topic? What exactly does it lead to, career-wise?

If you wanted a career in journalism, you'd study journalism. For things like sound and lighting, you'd study the appropriate technical course. Media Studies is a bit of a "jack of all trades, master of none" subject.
Thought this was a nice forum, clearly not.
scottishtv
Posts: 635
Joined: Thu 01 Apr, 2004 15.36
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

If you wanted a career in journalism, wouldn't you study something a bit more traditional like English, Politics, History, Philosophy, Economics, Literature, Languages or any other arts and humanities subject?

Rightly or wrongly, I think doing a journalism course is more likely to get you into a local paper or maybe an internship somewhere, rather than a graduate job somewhere big straight away.
Inspector Sands
Posts: 363
Joined: Wed 25 Aug, 2004 00.37
Location: London

Journalism is a bit different as it is a professional qualification. A degree in 'Journalism' is often just a study of the subject and you'd be unlikely to be able to go and work in a newsroom. Whereas there are vocational courses that will give you practical experience and the necessary qualifications to walk into a job the next day.
User avatar
rdobbie
Posts: 264
Joined: Thu 08 Jul, 2004 18.12

If it's any consolation I've got a first in law and it's also worth Jack Shit. I mistakenly thought that if I worked my bollocks off to get a good grade, it would open doors, but unless you've got rich, generous, well-connected parents you can forget it. I've since gone back to my old career of freelance graphic design, supplemented with a bit of matched betting and wheeler dealing.

The whole experience has left me feeling bitter about universities. They're ruthless money-grabbing machines who encourage students to get into appalling amounts of debt by filling their heads with false hope.
cwathen
Posts: 1144
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

"Media Studies" is something I would put in the same basket as things like Business Studies and Sociology - it's not that such degrees aren't academically rigorous or without purpose, it's more that they cover a huge field and don't directly qualify the graduate to do anything and as a result graduates from them will often be written off by potential employers as people who fell into uni without really knowing why they went or what they wanted to do and therefore people not worth investing in now. That might sometimes be unfair, but lets be honest that's often exactly how it is.

Conversely, people who do know what they want to do often do no research (nor are they encouraged to) about the job market and how likely it actually is that they'll be able to get a job in their chosen field.

I do wish that there was a little bit more education about higher education - young people who do A Levels are still being sold the same pipe dream I was 15 years ago that a degree will guarantee that you'll walk right into a highly paid job despite having zero practical experience and that there is no shortage of jobs for graduates.

I wish the focus would be more on considering whether or not you actually need a degree for what you want to do - if indeed you even know what you want to do at the age of 17/18 (I certainly didn't). And if you don't then there's nothing wrong with just getting a job after A levels and uni will still be there if you want to go later, with all the funding options (sometimes more) that an 18 year old has still available should you find out that you need a degree to pursue your career. You'll also be way more employable if you can show an employer genuine passion and experience in a field leading to you getting your degree rather than just picking it out of a book whilst you were at school/college.

As it is, if you're pushed into trundling off to uni at the tender age of 18 without really knowing why and you fuck it up by either failing or coming out with a worthless degree then you'll have used your 1 shot at full funding and unless you're very rich you'll never be able to go back and try again later.

I don't mind mentioning at this point that ultimately after quite a long uni career I didn't even graduate but only have a CertHE. Uni was a great experience but ultimately it was something which did nothing to advance my career and saddled me with a huge debt which I'm still paying off now.

Despite my lack of a degree once I worked out what I wanted to do I found out it didn't matter one bit, and I'm now in a career with decent enough prospects and earning pretty good money - I'm actually doing far better as a 'failure' than many graduates are.
Dr Lobster*
Posts: 2013
Joined: Sat 30 Aug, 2003 20.14

i think that's right, cwathen.

i also think that a lot of people at 6th form colleges who give careers advice to students are of course products of academia, some might say they have almost been completely institutionalised in that regard - they've never been out of education so for them, it's the only thing they know... just doing more and more courses.

the other problem is that 6th form colleges and universities have been forced to cater for everyone (ultimately to sustain their own existence due to changes in funding), so back in the good old days where you actually had to be truly intellectually gifted to even get into 6th form (thickies went to tehcnical college), let alone university, academic institutions are ultimately fighting for bums on seats and many have been forced to offer courses that if the truth be told, no way merit a degree level qualification to people who are, for want of a better term, as thick as pig shit.

i cannot imaging what on earth they think to teach at a degree level business course,i did it as an option in my gcse many moons ago and it was beyond dull. painfully dull.

i know somebody at work who is very proud that her daughter is doing a masters degree in business... i can't imagine what use it is.... from what i was told they pretty much touch on everything... accountancy, management, human resources... as cwathen says, it's bound to be jack of all trades master of none experience.
Please Respond