Media and communication (BJO203)

The course gives an introduction to the role and function of media in society. The course traces the main developments in the social scientific study of media and communications, focusing on the framework conditions of media as institutions and communication as a process. Students will be introduced to the political economic, sociological, democratic and technological aspects of media and communication. The course revolves around the theoretical foundations and empirical realities of media technologies, media industries, media systems and media audiences in a societal and international context.

The course is relevant to UN Sustainable Development goals 16 and 17, particularly regarding effective, independent institutions (16.6), public access to information (16.10), and enabling information and communication technologies (17.8).

Course description for study year 2023-2024. Please note that changes may occur.


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The course introduces students to the central theories of media institutions and infrastructures. The main theoretical pillars of the course are media sociology (the study of power and change) and the political economy of the media (how politics and money influence media). Starting with current issues and aspects of the media and communication landscape, the course continues with an introduction to the main theoretical foundations of media and communication research. These encompass media sociology, the political economy of the media, political communication and media technologies. The course also covers journalism's role in democracy, media industries and social media, media content and media users.

Learning outcome

It is expected that the students after completing the course will have the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:


The student shall:

  • Have basic knowledge of media and communication industries.
  • Have a basic knowledge of political communication and journalism's role in democracy.
  • Have knowledge of media technologies and media structures.
  • Have advanced knowledge of the political economy of the media.
  • Have advanced knowledge of media sociological perspectives.


The student shall:

  • Have the ability to apply insight into media and communications to assess the role of media in society.
  • Have the ability to apply knowledge of media and communications theories to analyze media institutions and processes.
  • Have the ability to critically assess and evaluate the effects of structures on media and communication processes.

General competencies

The student shall:

  • Possess theoretical knowledge of media institutions, industries and technologies.
  • Have an understanding of the impact of communication structures on different media sectors.
  • Have gained critical and analytical skills in evaluating the role of media in society.

Required prerequisite knowledge



Form of assessment Weight Duration Marks Aid
Written exam 1/1 5 Hours Letter grades

Exams can be taken in English or Norwegian.

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator:

Helle Sjøvaag

Course teacher:

Helle Sjøvaag

Head of Department:

Oluf Langhelle

Method of work

The course is lecture-based with seminar groups, with weekly 2-hour lectures and 2-hour seminars. The seminar groups require students to prepare by reading the syllabus and to participate in the discussion.

Open for

The course is open to bachelor students from the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Arts and Education, UiS Business School, including exchange students.

Course assessment

There must be an early dialogue between the course coordinator, the student representative and the students. The purpose is feedback from the students for changes and adjustments in the course for the current semester.In addition, a digital course evaluation must be carried out at least every three years. Its purpose is to gather the students experiences with the course.


The syllabus can be found in Leganto