module specification

SM4001 - Media Genres (2019/20)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2019/20
Module title Media Genres
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
192 hours Guided independent study
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Genre essay 1 (Weblearn Submission)
Coursework 50%   Genre essay 2 (Weblearn Submission)
Running in 2019/20
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year (Spring and Summer) North Monday Morning
Year North Monday Morning

Module summary

The module focuses on the role of genre in media production and consumption. Each delivery will explore three different genres, provide an introduction to the history of each, an overview of its conventions, a discussion of significant media texts within that genre, and opportunities for students to critically engage with genre texts. The module will address genre issues across a range of media forms, including film, television, radio, advertising, literature, mass publishing, and video games. The specific types of media genres addressed each year will change to reflect the changing media marketplace, and the changing critical tradition of media and cultural studies. Typical indicative genre forms covered by the module may include: science fiction, crime drama, heist movies, romantic comedies, situation comedies, soap operas, specific genres of documentary (such as biographical documentaries or science documentaries), the thriller, film noir and neo-noir, or martial arts movies.

Prior learning requirements


Module aims

• Facilitate the transition into undergraduate media, culture and communications studies by focussing on critical engagement with selective media texts
• Introduce the range, diversity, and marketplace for genre based media texts
• Provide an in-depth introduction to particular genre forms, such as soap opera or science fiction and genre conventions for those specific genre forms.


The module will be divided into three eight week blocks equally spaced across the academic year each of which will focus on a particular media genre. These genres may include science fiction, crime drama, heist movies, romantic comedies, situation comedies, soap operas, specific genres of documentary (such as biographical documentaries or science documentaries), the thriller, film noir and neo-noir, or martial arts movies. The particular genre forms covered by the module will vary each year.

Each block will cover the following in relation to an individual media genre: an introduction to the genre, a brief history of that genre, an overview of particular genre conventions and subgenres, an overview of the critical tradition within the study of that genre, an introduction to key media texts within that genre, a discussion of the ways in which that genre is represented in different media forms, a discussion of genre fandom, and a discussion of cross-genre media texts, or non-genre media that exploits genre conventions. Each block will also provide four to six screenings of significant genre media texts, with seminar based discussion and analysis of those media texts facilitated by the course teaching team.

A number of session interspersed between genre blocks will introduce the module, introduce the idea of genre and genre conventions, and summarise and synthesise the curriculum content.

Learning and teaching

This module will be delivered through a combination of modes of delivery, including formal lectures, seminars, and individual tutorials. The mixed-mode module delivery will used to encourage a supportive environment for individual and peer-group learning.  The module will include a substantial number of screenings with subsequent discussion and analysis of those media texts. Screenings will be a compulsory part of the curriculum.

A blended learning strategy will be employed to enhance the learning experience, facilitate communication between students and tutors and develop collaboration among students. The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) will be used as a platform to support online activities including on-line discussions, evaluation of online resources, and access to electronic reading packs. The VLE will also be used to facilitate formative assessment and related feedback, as well as a tool to integrate useful online learning materials provided by research institutions, academic publications, professional organisations and other relevant sources.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:

1. Critically discuss the role of genre in media production and the range of genres
2. Analyse a range of genre forms, including their history, audiences, and their conventions
3. Analyse the ways in which genre convention are implemented within different media forms

Assessment strategy

This is level 4 module with assessment exercises appropriate to this level. The assessment strategy aims to facilitate engagement with issues of genre in the media through a range of contributory and non-contributory assessment. Contributory assessment will be stages in two parts to reflect the two block division of the module:

  • 2200 word genre essay 1;
  • 2200 word genre essay 2;

Each genre essay will require the students to undertake an independent analysis of genre texts of their own choosing reflecting the genre forms covered on the module in any particular year. Contributory assessment is intended to:

  • Test students' knowledge and critical appraisal of the subject matter;
  • Test their application of this knowledge in the critique of genre texts;
  • Relate this knowledge to a broader understanding of the media studies / social media subject area

Non-contributory assessment will be set by arrangement with the module teaching team and will vary to reflect the genre forms under discussion in each iteration of the module.


The bibliography will be set each year in reflection of the particular genre forms discussed during the module. The following bibliography reflects the common component of framing lectures and seminars:

Silverblatt, A. (2007), Genre Studies in Mass media, London: M. E. Sharpe.
Frow, J. (2004), genre, London: Scarecrow.
Mittell, J. (2004), Genre and television, New York: Routledge
Neale, S. (2002), Genre and Contemporary Hollywood, London: BFI Publishing
Burton, A. & Petley, J. (1998), Genre and British Film Production, Trowbridge: Flick Books.
Dubrow, H. (1982), Genre, London: Methuen.
Ryall, T. (19--), Genre in Film Criticism, London: BFI Publishing.