Digital Media and Society BA
Watch our recent webinar with Dr Ysabel Gerrard, Programme Leader for the Digital Media and Society BA, where you will learn more about:
- How the course is structured and the topics of study available to you;
- The kinds of work placement options that could be available to you in your third year of study;
- What facilities and support are available to you;
- The admission requirements and the application process.
How do apps, platforms and devices change our social world?
What happens to the information we share on social media?
What does the ‘selfie’ explosion tell us about identity and representation?
These are some of the issues that you will address on the Digital Media and Society BA at the University of Sheffield. The BA is unique in offering you the opportunity to develop a broad understanding of the relationship between digital media and society.
You will also learn how to make digital media products (such as websites and animations) that focus on the needs of the user and to use innovative digital methods to research digital media in society.
You will study the human consequences of digital media developments, the ways in which social factors shape these developments and the various domains in which digital media are developed, used and have an impact.
The Digital Media and Society BA is based within the Department of Sociological Studies, but it brings together modules from other departments in the Faculty of Social Sciences, such as the Information School. It offers you the opportunity to study digital media developments in relation to a range of fields, like education, marketing or journalism.
A degree in Digital Media and Society BA can open up a variety of careers to you. There is a whole industry behind the scenes of the digital media platforms with which we engage on a daily basis. Lots of these job titles are new and not yet familiar to us, but there is plenty of work there.
You could work within digital media organisations, agencies or game companies, working in roles such as UX (User Experience Design), usability studies or user research.
Alternatively, you could use your skills to launch a career in marketing, communications and PR, for example working as a digital media manager or social media account manager for a local or city council, in a museum or theatre, or working for a charitable organisation.
Each year you will take 120 credits, including all core modules. Modules are assessed by a variety of methods, which include coursework, project work and exams.
You can choose a broad mixture of optional modules, but if your interest is in a specific area, you can choose a themed route. If you’re interested in learning more about marketing, live news production, or how our digital culture plays a part in children’s development, themed routes in education, journalism or marketing are available.
We pride ourselves on offering a wide range of topics for you to choose from. Although the options available may change from time to time, our expertise is wide-ranging, so you can be sure there will be modules available to suit your interests.
What our students say
"I chose to study the BA Digital Media and Society course because of its aim to educate the digitally dependent generation about the behind the scenes of digital advancement that most of us are completely unaware of. I saw it as an opportunity to be a part of a technologically innovative culture, which is where our future is heading. I was also interested in the dangers of digital media and how it can impact our society, in an attempt to share and help others around me to avoid those dangers.
"The module I’ve enjoyed the most so far is the core digital media and society module. It opened my mind to the insides of how the online world works. It also has encouraged creative thoughts and questions about how specific online outlets receive information and spread information from and to groups of society, its political impact, and ethics behind it.
"This course teaches less about the digital world, and more about our society. For example, our search histories on search engines give us a general guideline to our society's culture and interests.
"If you're interested in understanding the future of our society, which is very much digital, this course is perfect." - Hana Okasha, current Digital Media and Society BA student
"The Social Media, Data and Society module was one of my favourite modules throughout my three years at Sheffield. The content was engaging, interesting and thought-provoking. The module leader Professor Helen Kennedy and seminar leader Dr Ysabel Gerrard were excellent teachers and provided great support throughout the module and during assessments.
"One particular aspect of the module that I loved was the topic of algorithmic power and metrics, exploring how certain social media sites work, why certain images are displayed first on news feeds and how numbers are increasingly used as a method of valuation online. A really important message we investigated here is the need for people, especially young people using social media sites, to not value themselves based on how many likes they have or in comparison to others.
"As a result of taking the module, I'd say I'm much more aware of what happens to our data when we are online and when we use social media, something which I was naive about before. I'd say I now take more care when using social media platforms, and have changed the way I think about privacy, what it means to be private on social media and how I operate online.
"This module has also been very useful since starting a business that thrives off a large social media presence and has allowed me to gain authentic followers on social media sites by using social media analytics and in-platform tools." - Jessica Tyrell, Sociological Studies graduate
“Being an active user of the Internet and a self proclaimed expert on all things technological, I was left stunned upon learning the extent to which our lives are quantified and observed. I found myself discussing the Social Media, Data and Society module on a general basis more often than any other, because of how relatable it was, and I realised how engaging the discussions were because of this, as almost everyone had an opinion on this issue.
“I would highly recommend this to students and encourage them to take the Social Media, Data and Society module. A brilliant experience overall and I leave a more informed and concerned citizen.” - Dinuk Kiriella, third year student
“Having taken a placement year in a digital marketing recruitment agency, I know how big this market of employment is. The best thing about this area of employment is it’s only going to get bigger. As businesses demand more knowledge, they demand more data, so this area of study will become increasingly beneficial for those looking to enter into that market.” - Jack Harrison, third year student
Entry requirements and applying
As we are one of the top departments in the country our entry requirements reflect the strong competition for places.
Standard entry requirements
Mature student entry route
Applications from mature candidates are encouraged and we try to tailor our admissions procedures to meet the individual circumstances of each applicant. Due to the nature of our discipline approximately on third of all students admitted to the Department are over 21. We ensure we always keep a quota of places available for mature students.
Access to HE course requirements
International Foundation Year
How to Apply
UCAS Code: L391
To apply to study an undergraduate degree course with us, you must apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) between 1 September and 15 January.
You can find out more about making your application through the UCAS website. If you are still at school or college in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can obtain an application form and the UCAS Handbook from your teacher or principal.
You can also get in touch with the UCAS team through its social media networks:
More information about the University of Sheffield’s applications process can be found on the Admissions pages.
Successful applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of our Open Days, where you will have the opportunity to visit the Department, hear more about your chosen course, meet our staff and talk to current students.
Fees and funding
For the latest information on tuition fees for undergraduate study please visit the University’s undergraduate finance webpages, where you will find lots of information about the financial support available to you through the University and guidance on how to apply for government funding if you are a UK applicant.
You can also look up fees for full-time undergraduate courses here.
Studying for your degree at the University of Sheffield offers you a world-class high-quality qualification and excellent value for money. One of the great advantages of studying at the University of Sheffield is that your money will go further in our city.
You can find information on tuition fees for both UK/EU and overseas students here.
Home or overseas tuition fee status?
In common with other UK universities, the University of Sheffield charges different fees dependent on whether students are classed as Home or Overseas for tuition fee purposes. The decision to class a student as a Home or an Overseas student is determined by government legislation as set out in the Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations 2007. The regulations governing the fee status of students can be found on the government legislation website.
Tuition fee refund policy
If you are considering, or have decided to take leave of absence, withdraw entirely or transfer to another University, you will need to know how this will affect your tuition fees. Read the Tuition Fee Refund Policy for essential information on tuition fee refunds here.
Funding your study
Find out more about financial support, the University of Sheffield Bursary Scheme, money management and additional support here.
Other potential costs
We provide all undergraduate students with an annual allowance on their UCard which is designed to help offset some of the costs for materials and printing. It is up to the individual student to manage this allowance and budget accordingly.
There are no compulsory text books required for the undergraduate courses in Sociological Studies.
We provide a recommended reading list which is intended to give a general background to your undergraduate course. It is not expected that you will read every book over the course of the year, but you are encouraged to read as widely as possible to inform your coursework, project work and exams. Individual modules will provide more specific reading lists, which include readings that can be accessed electronically via the University's library.
You are encouraged to use the University's Library, which has an extensive collection of recommended books to support your studies.
If for any reason, you fail or are unable to complete an assessed piece of work which is a requirement to pass your course, you may be required to pay a reassessment fee. information about these fees can be found on the University's exam webpages.
Meet the teaching team
The teaching staff you will encounter on the BA Hons Digital Media and Society come from the range of departments which contribute to the programme. Here are some of them, including the programme leader and staff responsible for core and popular optional modules.
Ysabel Gerrard, Programme Leader
Ysabel is interested in how people’s identities (gender, age, race, social class, and sexuality) play a role in how they use social media. Her other research interests include: social media content moderation; feminised media practices, feminist media theory, and digital research methods. She has also previously worked with researchers at Microsoft Research New England, USA.
Navdeep researches in the area of social media marketing and branding, and also works closely with digital marketing agencies, writing both academic and white papers in the field. She teaches digital marketing to undergraduates and her module explores contemporary issues in the digital environment. She was the first academic in the Management School to offer videography training to students, encouraging its use in her module assessment.
Jo is interested in the social shaping of digital information and data. Jo’s research interests include the factors that influence the production and use of data, and that enable and restrict the movement of data between different people and organisations.
Julia researches how people use technology to produce texts as part of their everyday-life, She considers how this affects the way we live our lives, see ourselves and communicate with each other. She explores how this might affect how we conceptualise literacy and how academic literacy teaching could embrace `Digital Literacies´.
Peter teaches themes of digital literacy and usability, and has a research background in how people browse and search the web. His interests focus around learning styles, learning analytics and technology enhanced learning. Peter was awarded the faculty award for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching 2017 for his role in the development of online teaching programmes.
Helen has been studying and making digital media since the 1990s. Her interests include: social media, data mining, data visualisation, data in everyday life, and digital media work. Her book Post, Mine, Repeat: social media data mining becomes ordinary was runner up in a recent international book competition for internet researchers.
Warren is interested in new digital methods like social media data mining and ethical controversies in social media research.. He is currently investigating the implications of social media for climate change.
Paul was named one the most influential UK Higher Education professionals using social media in 2015. His research focuses on the use of social media by citizens to create and share acts of sousveillance (inverse surveillance), and how digital media can help promote better community relations in divided societies such as Northern Ireland.
Stefania has been studying the use of digital media in activism and protest for the past 13 years. She has mapped and discussed the work of Cuban bloggers, analysed the use of Twitter in Italian anti-austerity protests and is now exploring ‘health social networking’ or how people use social media to campaign for health issues.
The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption