Category Archives: Studying Film @ University

The Low Down on Media Degrees – and the £9000/year debate.

At Christmas I will be halfway through my TV Production degree, and so far have paid £6518 for 2 years’ tuition fees alone. Next year’s freshers will pay £9000 for one year: a grand total of  £27,000 for the 3 year course. Because, apparently, the university’s Media School is the best in the UK. Therefore, its most subscribed media course is worth the maximum new tuition fee amount.


It makes me angrier than all the Angry Birds put together.

Here’s why:

  • After a year and a half, I have learnt nothing that couldn’t have been taught to me in a week’s film making course, for the cost of a few hundred pounds.
  • I have 6 hours of lectures A WEEK.
  • The first year of your degree does not count towards your end grade – it is a ‘warm up year.’ Or as I would call it, an excuse to charge us an extra year’s tuition.
  • The good tutors are over worked and their timetables too busy to cater for the large number of students, meaning their expertise goes to waste.
  • Ex-industry “experts” are hired in as tutors; being an expert in a particular field does not automatically mean they are good teachers. The camera and editing demonstrators are extremely knowledgeable and helpful, but their lessons are dull and instead of inspiring students, the next great editor is put off their dream career.
  • A fantastic HD studio is available, but the technicians who know how to work it are usually absent, rendering millions of pounds worth of kit unusable.
  • There is a large array of kit for students to hire out, but this kit often turns out to be faulty, damaged and out of date compared to current industry standards.
  • In the second year, students ‘specialise’ in either editing, camera, production management or sound. However, you do not choose until the end of year 2, and in the run up to this receive no technically specific workshops or lectures to inform your choice. If you want to learn about cameras, you must obtain and read the manuals yourself because even though you’re paying to be taught, no one will.
  • The production lectures given throughout each term give guidance on current film projects. Unfortunately, they are patronising and basic, with the rare gem of good advice thrown in.
  • I learnt more in one week at the BBC than I have in a year and half of university. Over half the people I was working with and for had never been to university.

I’m paying £3259 a year for my degree. Am I crazy?

I’ve been told and agree that I am not paying to learn anything at university. I am paying for a piece of paper that says I can write BA Hons Degree on my CV. It’s another thing to help me stand out. If only I could save 3 years of my life and just pay £9000 for that piece of paper and weird square hat.

I won’t ever say university is invaluable: becoming more independent, learning about yourself, and meeting new people are key to growing up. With media degrees, uni is a great chance to develop your own ideas and be creative and daring; once you’re a professional and trying to earn a living, doing your own thing will be a lot harder.

I’ll leave you to judge. But if you’re thinking about applying, remember that university isn’t the only option, and that £27000 is a lot of money. Do plenty of research, and above all, get as much industry experience as you can during the stupidly long holidays.

Rant over 🙂 apart from all of that, it’s going pretty well and I’m planning lots of independent projects to keep me occupied. I just can’t help feeling students are getting ripped off, and I’ve had a lucky escape with my tuition fees not going up.

Love, ‘A’


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