Frequently Asked Questions - Undergraduate

What kind of ATAR do I need to enter this degree?
The minimum ATAR requirement for entry into the Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) program can be found here.

What does the course comprise of? What units of study will I do?
Information about the individual units and the course structure can be found here.

Are there any pre-requisite High school subjects required?

Is there any other way into the Media and Communications degree if I don't get the ATAR I need?
If your heart is set on the University of Sydney and you aren't considering any of the other excellent degrees and universities in the Sydney Basin and beyond, the only options are:

* Do a year of the Bachelor of Arts and if you gain a distinction average attempt to transfer into the degree via UAC. It is possible to do a year of one of the other degrees managed by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences but you should check that all of the units in that degree can be transferred to the Media and Communications degree should you successfully transfer.

* Flexible entry for school leavers only (see below)

Alternately consider doing a BA in three years and do a postgraduate such as an eighteen month Master by coursework. This would still amount to four years.

Is there a special scheme if I don't get the ATAR I need?
If your ATAR is within five marks of the ATAR cut-off you can apply for one of ten places set aside for School Leavers who can demonstrate that they have significant practical experience in the media or related industries. This is called Flexible Entry. Applications for these places close in early January each year and potential applicants (School Leavers only) should refer to their UAC guide for further details. Information on Flexible Entry

Can I apply to transfer into the degree from Arts (or any other degree)?

Yes, but this must be done through application to the Universities Admissions Centre in September. Students who will have completed less than one year full-time tertiary study at the end of their application year will be ranked on ATAR alone. Students who will have completed at least one year full-time tertiary study at the end of their application year will be ranked either: i) 50 per cent on ATAR & 50 per cent on tertiary record OR ii) 100 per cent on tertiary record, whichever calculation gives them the higher rank.

Can I transfer into the combined Media and Communications/Law degree from the BA (Media and Communications)?
Yes, as long as you meet the required score. Students applying to transfer from another degree will have their ATAR recalculated: 50 per cent of the new ATAR will be based on their original score and 50 per cent on their university grades. This must be done through the University Admissions Centre.

My ATAR was not high enough to get straight into Media and Communications. I want to do a year of Arts and then apply to transfer. Are there any subjects I can do which will help me transfer?
If you wish to transfer you should do subjects in which you believe you will attain your highest marks. Students applying to transfer are assessed solely on the basis of marks which will have a positive impact on their recalculated ATAR. You may wish to focus on the junior units in your BA major that may eventually become your BA (Media and Communications) 'Table A' major.

Is it is possible to do a marketing major if I am enrolled in the BA (media and Communications)
Yes. Marketing can be counted as your second major after you have decided on your first "Table A" major.

Is it is possible to do a marketing major if I am doing a combined degree (B Media and Communication/B Laws)?
Marketing is not an official Table A major so you could not do Marketing as a Major in the combined degree. You may be able to pick up one or two units as electives.

I am a third year Arts student at the University of Sydney and I will be completing my current degree shortly and plan to apply for a place in BA Media and Communications next year. Because I will have completed my BA, am I able to transfer these units of study towards the BA Media and Communications?
Only a maximum of 48 credit points from a completed degree may be credited to the new degree.
Of course, if you don't finish your current degree, you can credit up to a maximum of 96 credit points to the new degree. It is unlikely that students transferring into the degree later than their second year of university study would complete the degree in the standard four years. In other words, it would take longer.

So, as a student with a current enrolment at the University, do I have to apply to do the course through UAC?
Yes. For any new degree, either completed or uncompleted, whether a Sydney Uni student or not, you must apply through UAC. Also, keep in mind that BA (Media & Comm) is highly competitive and it has a high ATAR. You will need to have a Distinction average if you are hoping to transfer into the Media degree.

My re-calculated ATAR was still not high enough to transfer into the BA (Media and Communications). What can I do now?
You could try other universities who may have a lower ATAR. Alternatively, you may opt to finish your Arts degree at Sydney University and apply to do one of our Postgraduate coursework programmes: the Masters, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate in Media Practice. See the Postgraduate page of this website for further details.

Do we have to arrange our own internship places?
In the fourth year of the Media and Communications degree, all students will be placed in an internship in an organisation broadly relevant to their career goals. Some students will choose to arrange their own internship places, others will take up pre-arranged internship places depending on the agreement of hosts and suitability of students. All students are supported in this process by an Internship officer.

The Department also manages a number of international internships and eligible students apply for these on a competitive basis as they become available. See our internship pages for further information.

What kind of jobs can I expect to get if I do the Media and Communications degree?
The field of media and communications is extremely broad, encompassing public and media relations, print, television, radio and online journalism, public policy, market research, and corporate communications. One of the strengths of the Sydney University degree is that it allows you to add an area of expertise to your media and communications major. So, for example, if you were interested in working as a foreign correspondent in East Asia you could major in Japanese or in Asian Studies. If you are interested in digital technology and culture, you should consider the Digital Culture major. The degree is also structured to offer you the broadest possible foundation for future work in the media industries. Rather than requiring students to specialise in one area, for example, radio journalism, the Sydney University degree is designed to give students a flexible and portable portfolio of skills which prepare them to work in a wide variety of jobs. Graduates of our degree can be found in a range of different areas, including government, journalism. broadcasting, media production, client services, research, development, media relations and public relations.

How practical is the course?
Many of the units of study in the BA (Media and Communications) involve production work or non-traditional assignments, such as websites, news pieces, radio pieces, feature stories, campaign related materials. This will mean working in computer labs, and radio/TV studios. This work is often done in groups and can be very intensive. Our approach is not just skills based vocational training, rather we strive for ‘praxis’, a theoretically informed approach to practical problems and issues. Other units will draw on more traditional assignment work such as debates and essays. All forms are designed to enhance autonomous thinking, practical competency, and critical analysis abilities in our students. The majority of lecturers and tutors who teach in each areas are media practitioners with extensive experience in the relevant industries.

I'm only interested in working in TV/print journalism/public relations. Is this the right course for me?
Unlike many other communications degrees the BA (Media) does not require students to specialise in one medium or industry area. This is largely because the convergence of the traditionally separate domains of print, radio and television in the online environment means that all future media practitioners will need to have basic skills in sourcing, producing and editing audio, audio visual and print material. The focus in this degree is on learning generic skills and learning to apply those skills differently depending on the vocational context. It is a degree designed to produce graduates capable of working across any area of the media industries, with an emphasis on journalism and public relations.

How would you describe the students who graduate from your course?
We’ve thought carefully about this and use the following statement in our planning: The Media and Communications graduate is a critical thinker and practitioner, making the most of their arts based degree to unpack media analytical and production problems, communications resourcing and organisational dilemmas, and navigating a mediatised public sphere in which multiple stakeholders compete for meaning in relation to their work. The Media and Communications graduate is a cross-media, technology and medium aware communicator and producer who can negotiate different technical, craft, artistic and interpretive approaches to textual and audio-visual communication. The intention is not to produce industry ready graduates specialised in a particular role or function, nor technical training as an end goal. Our students possess transferable production skills and knowledge for rapidly evolving media production context. Graduates of our degree can be found in a range of different areas, including government, journalism. broadcasting, media production, client services, research, development, media relations and public relations.

What kind of equipment will we be using?
Audio and audiovisual production subjects are taught in Media Labs on Apple Macintosh computers using professional software. Students record material for editing using the latest digital handicams and digital audio recorders.The department has a radio and television studio to support its teaching. It also utilizes a number of computer labs. The Digital Media Unit is part of the MECO department and provides ongoing support for teachers and students and runs a well-equipped loan office for students.

Students are encouraged to experiment with media production and any students who wish to work on an extra-curricular project will be able to borrow equipment and gain access to the lab outside class hours, subject to availability of equipment and our other policies.

Do I have to know a lot about information technology or computers to do the course?
No. All the software and equipment we use is user-friendly and can be mastered with a minimum of effort.

Can I do honours?
Yes. Students with at least a solid credit average throughout their undergraduate degree can elect to do Honours in Media and Communications subject to the nature of the project and available supervision. They can also do Honours in any Arts subject in which they have completed the necessary units of study. More information regarding Honours in Media & Communications can be sourced at the Honours page of the Media & Communications site.

Which Arts subjects should I do to give me a better chance of being employed as a journalist/public relations consultant/public policy adviser?
Students should select Arts subjects which reflect their interests, for example English, Social Policy, Government and International Relations, or Languages.

The media and communications field is extremely diverse and there are many subjects which have vocational application. You should bear in mind, however, that your Arts major does not have to be directly useful in your job to be helpful in securing work. Employers are increasingly looking for employees with a broad education, good general knowledge, high level communication skills and the ability to think critically. These skills are generic skills which you will acquire in studies right across the humanities and social sciences.

Does Sydney Uni have any coursework program for Master of Arts (Media & Communications)?
Yes, we offer coursework programmes at Masters, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate level in Media Practice, Strategic Public Relations, Digital Communication and Culture , Publishing and Health Communication. See the Postgraduate Coursework page of this website for further details.

Do you offer any Postgraduate research degrees like PhDs?
We offer research degrees at PhD, Master of Philosophy, Master of Arts (Research) and the Doctor of Arts (a professional doctorate) level. Look out for details on the area of the Media and Communications department website called Postgraduate Research.

Do you have special processes for Mature Age Students?
We follow the general university process defined by the Mature Age Entry Scheme which sets out different pathways for standard and non-standard admission.

I am an international student. Who do I contact to get more information about applying to do this degree?
All applicants other than Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and citizens of New Zealand are considered to be international applicants. In the vast majority of cases applicants apply for admission through the University's International Office. All of the information international applicants need is available from the International Office's section of the University's website, as well as downloadable application forms.

Further information and contact details are available at the Support for international students webpages

What is the relationship between Digital Cultures and the BA (Media and Communications)?
Digital Cultures is a distinct subject area with its own curriculum offerings in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Digital Cultures can be taken as an undergraduate major in the Bachelor of Arts and at postgraduate level via a MA in Digital Communication and Culture. You can do the BA (Media and Communications) and major in Digital Cultures. This major will give you a great core training in media and communications enhanced by advanced thinking about digital technology and culture in the major. Both the BA (Media and Communications) degree and the Digital Cultures program are hosted by the Department of Media and Communications