Communications and Media, BA

Are you a natural storyteller and networker? Do you want to connect your home towns and communities to the world? Would you like to make your mark in narratives representing Central Asia? Do you want to be an agent of change in the region through evolving media technology and discourses? Are you creative, with a passion for languages? If so, UCA's Communications and Media programme is for you.

UCA's Communications and Media programme offers an integrated approach to journalism, news media, strategic communication, multi-media design, media production, media law, management, and ethics and social responsibility. Intensive language courses ensure graduates have superior fluency in several languages and access to media labs provides the opportunity to build multimedia skills transferable to different media platforms and careers in the communication and the media industry.

The curriculum is developed in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney in Australia.

Exposure to local, regional, and international best practices is made possible through national and international faculty with strong academic research and professional industry background. Partnerships with Central Asia based regional and international media and other organisations at governmental, NGO and community levels provides enriching opportunities for internships that are integral to the learning experience at UCA's communication and media programme.

Meet UCA's Communications & Media Faculty

Core Curriculum

  • Media Literacy
  • This course introduces students to the skills and knowledge needed to be effective storytellers, and be able to develop impactful narratives in a culturally relevant manner. Students will examine key historical, economic, technical and cultural developments to gain an understanding of the evolution of English writing for media. They will then undertake a series of hands-on media writing exercises and projects that will develop their own skills and understanding. Students will learn how to develop in their writing clarity, an eye for criticality, and an awareness of their audience, as well as the importance of a proper structure, and format. These concepts and skills will be matched with relevant applications in the industry. This course will enable students to write for local and national newspapers, magazines and publishing houses, as well as in a range of new formats of digital media by presenting them with opportunities to apply these skills in real world and industry contexts. The skills and knowledge developed in this course will be useful for all the production courses, but especially Media Production (Text) and Specialised Media Labs (Text).

  • The course explores the basic elements of media production. It focuses on screen media practice and processes, as well as practical skills in media-making techniques in new and traditional formats of media production. Students will practice the editorial, technical and presenting skills involved in the production of audio-visual stories. They will also be introduced to the fundamentals of screen media production for screen journalism, non-fiction/fiction filmmaking and digital media.

  • Media Production - Radio
  • This course teaches students two parallel sets of skills. On one hand, it teaches students about the history of journalism in a global and Central Asian context, how it has developed over the centuries, and what news values journalists consider given national and cultural differences across the globe. On the other hand, this course also gives students the chance to put into practice those journalistic skills and produce a number of different types of print and web-based articles. This combination will help students understand how journalism contributes to social cohesion and progress in society. As part of this course, students will contribute to UCA’s student run media including the campus newspaper, website and other projects.

  • Digital and Social Media
  • This course introduces students to the theories and practices of visual communication. Through the discussions of perceptual and critical theories, students read, analyse and interpret a variety of visual texts. These texts will include those of pre-modern craft mediums and extend to film, television, online media and other digital image-based mediums. The ways in which images are constructed to convey sociocultural, political, and commercial positions and preferences are analysed. A goal of the course is the acquisition of visual literacy skills, which can then be transferred into media production work. Visual communication will be explored as a global language, however local nuances will also be examined to provide students with contextualised directives in their practice.

  • This course explores how processes of globalization have shaped global media and communications systems. This will be done though examining the primary theories surrounding globalization and their applicability and relevance to media and communication systems. The course will examine the relevance of globalization theories to media and communications through the lenses of politics, economy, culture and history. It focuses on the ways in which these processes of globalization have affected the media and communications landscape of Asia, and areas of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, India and China. Themes of study include media imperialism, the rise of transnational networks, global media events, global representation and media representation, and media policy and regulation at global, regional and national levels

  • Communication in Central Asia
  • Media Law and Ethics
  • This course explores the notion of audience and the ways in which consumption of media guides and shapes its production. Students are introduced to theories, concepts and ideologies in relation to political, economic and socio-cultural paradigms to analyse the underlying principles of meaning reception and interpretation by audiences. There will be an emphasis on the role of the citizen communicators by examining emerging social discourses and media institutions through which civic agency in the forms of participation and advocacy are structured and find expression.

  • Communication and Media Research

Specialised Courses

  • Specialised Media Labs (Print/Digital, Radio, TV)
  • PR and Strategic Communication
  • Development and Social Change Communication
  • Photography
  • Environmental Communication
  • Science Communication
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Transmedia Storytelling
  • Animation

* Courses are subject to change.

Elective courses are offered to students in line with the national requirements, and students can also choose free elective courses from another major.

You will acquire the following professional skills:

  • Develop digital media production skills, and build a portfolio of work to serve as a calling card when seeking employment, while working in a state of the art UCA Media Studio
  • Demonstrate social media management skills
  • Enhance photo, video and audio media production experience
  • Apply knowledge and practice of internet and media production

Career Pathways

Your minor complements your major area of study, enriching your skill set and knowledge base, making you an all-rounded candidate for any future employer. If you major in Communications and Media and minor in Central Asian studies, you will be armed with the technical communications and media skills you need and a background in Central Asian cultures and history and important policy frameworks.

  • Journalism
  • Media Production (TV, Radio, Print)
  • Public Relations Events Management
  • Advertising
  • Digital and Social Media
  • Academics and Research
  • Institutional Communications
  • Film and Media Creation

Key Educational Goals of Communications and Media Programme

G1. The programme aims to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive media and communications education that is sensitive to both regional and international media contexts.
Through its hybrid model of media and communications education, the UCA program provides aspiring media professionals with a rigorous and comprehensive education, which bridges the best of international practice with a deep understanding of regional needs. The program provides a solid foundation encompassing conceptual, technical and practical skills in research, media analysis, production and management. It also teaches students to critically assess and analyse the creation, distribution, and reception of legacy and new media forms in the evolving socio-political milieu of Central Asia. Students have the opportunity to develop a deep multifaceted understanding of media and communications; they are encouraged to develop their own personal views and convictions. Students that emerge from the program will find themselves prepared for a variety of roles within the media and communications sector. They will possess an education of an international calibre and will be well versed in the ethics and professional standards required to practice responsibly, with thinking and reflection skills that will allow them to emerge as leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs within the industry.

G2. The program will provide graduates with the theoretical and practical skills that enable them to gain meaningful employment upon graduation.
Responding to prevailing industry needs in the region, this program seeks to build a strong bridge between theory and practice and produces competent and marketable media professionals. In addition to a strong foundation in the theoretical study of the cultural, economic, political, and social issues surrounding media in Central Asia, students are provided with substantial hands-on training in practical skills and production methods. This encompasses the development of strong writing capacity, language skills, research and analytical methods, media management skills as well as substantial training in media production. As a result, graduates will possess the capacity to leverage various communication modes and media platforms (print, television, radio, etc.), and to create and distribute original productions within a rapidly changing and increasingly digitized media landscape. Experiential learning placements also allow students to become familiar with a professional media environment, build professional networks and become accustomed to the practical challenges of work in the sector. Ultimately, this combined training produces skilled and marketable media professionals whose competencies and capacities are well aligned with the needs of the regional media sector.

G3. The program seeks to provide an education that addresses the complexity of the Central Asian media landscape and prepares media professionals to effectively address the issues of diversity and development.
The program specifically endeavours to produce graduates who can meet the regional need for media professionals who are well versed in the social, political, and economic realities of the Central Asian milieu. UCA graduates will be cognizant of the prevailing social and development discourses of the region, and will be prepared to undertake sensitive, self-reflective, and relevant media production. In this way, UCA graduates will be well-situated to make positive contributions to a broad social development dialogue; to engage effectively with national and regional diversity (social, cultural or linguistic) through an application of pluralistic values; and to operate with an awareness of local needs, and a specialized understanding of the culture and history of Central Asian populations.

Expected learning outcomes
General Communication and Media Capabilities (Graduate attributes)

LO 1.1.
Contribute to the improvement of media landscape in Central Asia and play a major role in the broader political, economic, and social development of the region

LO 1.2.
Contribute to the development of a culture of increasing journalistic freedom and media independence

LO 1.3.
Contribute to fostering and supporting robust public discourse about regional social development and the issues of diversity and pluralism

LO 1.4.
Analyse the context and complexities of the Central Asian Media landscape through areas of best practice to effectively address the issues of diversity and development

LO 1.5.
Deeply understand ethnic, political, cultural, social character of Central Asian society

Content specific Communication Media capabilities (Graduate attributes)

LO 2.1.
Obtain an in-depth understanding of global and regional trends in communications and media practices

LO 2.2.
Build strong foundation skills in writing and critical thinking in journalism as well as in law and ethics

LO 2.3.
Develop strong practical skills in mobile and computer technology to produce high quality visual, audio and textual material

LO 2.4.
Acquire examination and research skills in how a media audience can be identified and understood, and how media content can be developed to effectively target and reach this audience

LO 2.5.
Develop practice-based skills in journalism and media production in a contextually appropriate manner

LO 2.6.
Obtain a critical understanding of the business of communications and media in the sectors of media management, public relations, advertising, corporate communications

LO 2.7.
Students completing a UCA undergraduate degree in Communications and Media should be competitive for entry into international graduate studies programmes

Programme Assessment

The assessment methods for the Communications and Media programme vary depending on the kind and level of the course, including theory/research, craft, studio and lab courses.

  • Theory/Research courses
    Submissions primarily include essays and reports. There are three levels of assessment based on the descriptive, expository and critical nature of the assessment tasks. For descriptive tasks, students are required to demonstrate good knowledge of historical facts and notions; for expository tasks, a keen understanding and delineation of the problem at hand, and for critical tasks a contribution, however limited, to the common understanding of the problem or subject matter at hand.
  • Craft courses
    Submissions are based on the acquisition and demonstration of basic practical skills, and are assessed against the practiced craft skills, including how to work with materials and tools at the most basic level. These materials and tools are different from one craft to another. This includes stylistic devices and genres in writing; visual grammar, image reading and making in visual communication, and sound characters and basics of melody in audio sound specimens.
  • Studio courses
    Submissions are based on the consolidation of theory and practice, protypes, simulations and pilot projects that are assessed based on creativity and relevance to the context and industry.
  • Lab courses
    Submissions are based on the consolidation of research and practice. Students are required to seek experimental models that offer ideas that challenge the common ways of designing. The outcomes are assessed based on feasibility, viability and desirability, both in actual reality and hypothetical scenarios.
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