Advanced Certificate in Media Studies

An extensive and broad-based training in practice and theory for media industry. This course provides a foundation for working with electronic or print media - images, writing, and more.

Course Code: VPH016
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Give Yourself a Strong Foundation in Media Studies

This broad-based course of study is designed to appeal to people who are seeking employment in the media sector but have not yet decided on their specialism.

It covers a range of areas and allows some flexibility so you can choose modules that suit your specific goals and learning needs.

Want to work in the print or electronic media industries?

This course is designed as a basis for a career in either electronic or print media / publishing.

The course aims to provide the necessary skills to work in a publishing organisation.

Research has shown that graduates with broad based knowledge such as this have enhanced career prospects.

This course sets you on a path that could take you in any direction you hope to go in the world of media, locally, nationally or internationally.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Media Studies.
 Editing I (Editing and Proofreading) BWR106
 Html (Writing a Website) VIT102
 Photographic Practice BPH101
 Publishing I (Self Publishing Children's Books) BWR107
 Advanced Freelance Writing BWR201
 Photographic Technology BPH201
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 20 modules.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Children's Writing BWR104
 E Commerce BIT100
 Flash CS BIT102
 Freelance Writing BWR102
 Introduction To Photography BPH100
 Photographing People BPH102
 Visual Basic.Net BIT101
 Workshop I BGN103
 Advertising and Promotions BBS202
 Journalism Practice I BWR203
 Photographic Lighting BPH204
 Photoshop CS - Beginner To Medium Level VIT202
 Publishing II BWR202
 Editing II BWR302
 Editing Practice BWR305
 Photojournalism Practice I BPH302
 Publishing III BWR303
 Technical Writing (Advanced) BWR301

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Media Studies is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


  • Skills gained in this course will make you more employable - not just in the media.
  • You will have improved writing, editing, photography and digital image manipulation skills.
  • You can branch out on your own as a freelance writer, publish your own blog and photography or apply for work with various media outlets.

What You Will Do

  • Publish work in our student e-zine
    • Get out and about and take photos
    • Make contacts in the industy
    • Learn about electronic and print media
    • Gain computer skills

What are the courses like?

Here are some course note samples from Photographic Practice and Advanced Freelance Writing:



A hypothetical photograph taken at F16 with the main subject at 3 metres from the camera, the effective depth of field could be 1.8m in front of the subject and 12m behind the subject. Anything within this range would be in focus.

If the same subject was photographed with the F stop on 2.8, the depth of field would be greatly reduced, with only about 0.7m in front of the subject to 2.5m behind the subject being in focus.

This phenomenon has both advantages and disadvantages.

• If we raise shutter speed and open aperture to get better camera stability, we loose depth of field.
• Focussing must be much more accurate on the main subject with a reduced depth of field. Focusing in dim light can be a problem. You may need to use a tape measure to check focus if it is difficult to see.

• We can choose to either retain the background or make it a blur if
it detracts from the picture.


Conventional and digital photography are in many ways very similar, but in just as many ways, quite different. Both have their advantages, so in the foreseeable future, there will remain applications for each.
Conventional photography using chemically photo-sensitive film is a well known and highly developed quantity – very close to a perfected technology.
We know how to use it, how to get the best out of it, and how its life span can be optimised because it has been around for so long, used so much and had so much effort and expense spent on its development.

Digital photography is, on the other hand, a relatively new and radically different technique which records images in the form of digital (ie. 2 digit or binary) codes. In simple terms digital codes are similar to Morse code. One number or digit is indicated by a pulse of electricity, a second digit is indicated by no electrical pulse. By combining these pulses and lack of pulses into codes, we can, for example, create representations for letters of the alphabet; allowing us to write language or text on a computer. When we combine these electrical "pulses" and "no pulses" (or ‘ones’ and ‘zeros’) in more complex combinations, we can create more complex representations. These can include the colour, and degree of darkness or brightness in a single spot on a picture. When huge quantities of such dots are combined together, into a grid or array, we can then create a digital picture. (This is basically how digital photography works!) Each dot is referred to as a pixel (PICTURE ELEMENT) and is represented by ‘bits’ of data – thus the digital image array is often referred to as a ‘bitmap’.

As time passes, digital photography is becoming better and better and its imagery now rivals that of traditional silver halide based photography. However, due to its nature, it is unclear at this point whether it will ever make traditional photography totally redundant, particularly in situations where extreme resolution or detail is required. Current levels of technology suggest digital will eventually become the technology we rely on for creating still images. However, in the shorter term silver image systems will actually be cheaper to use in many applications.

Digital Depth of Field

Digital cameras typically don’t have as wide a range of aperture settings as standard film based cameras, therefore you can not alter depth of field to the same degree as you can with an SLR film camera. However, it is still possible to produce a distinct shift in depth of field.


Lesson 1


Review basic writing skills and discuss theme development.


Freelance writing is a highly competitive field. Successful freelance writers not only have good writing skills, they have a ‘nose’ for a good story, a mastery of their chosen area of writing, the ability to write quickly and succinctly, good interpersonal skills and a wide range of useful contacts.

While all these career-building skills are important, they obviously take time to develop. As a starting point, it is important to have a thorough grounding in the basics of grammar and the English language. If you do not know how to write in the correct syntax, or understand how to use appropriate punctuation, your writing will appear amateurish and laboured. The following sections review these important basic writing skills.

Sentences and Phrases

Sentences and phrases are the basic building blocks for writers. As you will be aware, the sentence is an independent grammatical unit which expresses a complete thought, action or idea.

See the following basic sentences. Each is considered to be a complete and grammatically correct unit:

She went to the doctor’s surgery last Monday.
Every sentence is a building block.
My father fought in World War Two.

Grammatically correct sentences have a minimum basic structure of subject plus verb (plus object, depending on the nature of the verb used). For example: Elephants (subject) have (verb) trunks (object). The basic sentence is called an independent clause.

A sentence is formed by combining phrases. A phrase is not considered to be a sentence because it does not express a complete thought or action, and it lacks the basic subject, verb and object structure. See the following examples:

dogs and cats
running fast down the hill
irrespective of what you believe

Different types of phrases are combined to form a sentence. For example the following sentence has four types of phrases:

The children play sport on the oval every Friday afternoon, unless it is raining.

• Noun phrase (noun + verb + object): The children play sport
• Prepositional phrase (preposition + noun): on the oval
• Adverbial phrase (adverb or preposition + noun): every Friday afternoon
• Adjectival phrase (adjective + noun): unless it is raining

For most people, a basic sentence is not difficult to write – just follow the basic structure and you will have a grammatically correct sentence. The problem is that most writing is made up of a string of sentences, some of which are more complex in their structure than others.

As a writer, your goal is to produce a seamless flow of grammatically correct sentences. Each sentence must logically lead to the next, it must have a clearly understood meaning and it must engage the reader. If the reader has to puzzle over a word or reread a sentence to make sense of it, you have failed in your job to be an effective writer.

Writing Effective Sentences

The more complex a sentence, the more difficult it is to understand. This is especially true for readers unfamiliar with the topic. Some novice writers, especially those trained in academic writing; try to impress readers with long and complicated sentences.

If you find yourself falling into this trap, double check your sentences to see if there is a more direct way to write the same thing. Imagine how someone would actually say the sentence in conversation. For example, while a typical report might state “It was known by his supervisor that the equipment was faulty”, few people would say that it like that. Most would simply say “His supervisor knew the equipment was faulty” and so that is how the sentence should be written.

As you write, ask yourself the following questions:

• Is this sentence too long or too short? How can the length of the sentence be changed to improve it?
• What is the dominant thought or idea in this sentence and does the sentence convey that thought in the most appropriate way?
• Is the sentence written in an appropriate style and level of complexity for the intended readers? For most types of writing, it is better to pitch it at a lower level rather than a higher level.
• If there is more than one thought in the sentence? If so, are the thoughts arranged in an appropriate or logical order? A common mistake is to put the central or dominant thought at the end of a sentence. That can make it difficult for the reader to relate the prior thoughts or concepts to each other.
• Are the words chosen the shortest and simplest possible, without compromising the meaning of the sentence?
• Are there any ambiguities that need to be removed?
• Does the sentence begin with the same word as the previous or next sentence? This should be avoided where possible.
• Are words used in the sentence already repeated too many times in other sentences in the same passage?
• Does the sentence duplicate or conflict with anything written elsewhere in the passage?

For most styles of writing, use short (one line) or medium (two lines) sentences. You should also try to limit the word count to twenty to twenty-five words in each sentence.


Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Christine Todd

University lecturer, businesswoman, photographer, consultant and sustainability expert; with over 40 years industry experience
B.A., M.Plan.Prac., M.A.(Social).
An expert in planning, with years of practical experience in permaculture.

Dr Karen Cripps

PhD, MSc, BA Hons
More than a decade of experience in tourism and business; a former university lecturer with an outstanding reputation as an expert in sustainability.

Rosemary Davies

Businesswoman, Journalist, Editor, Broadcaster, Teacher, Consultant for over 30 years.


Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Alexander O'Brien

Alex was born and raised in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland. Having been trained in Architecture, Permaculture, Mechanical Engineering, Ceramics, Furniture Design/Construction, Sustainable building and Art,Craft and Design, his knowledge base is broad. Much of his professional work has been designing and making nature inspired spaces, creative reuse of materials, permaculture and natural ecology regeneration.

That being said, in his own words, " real passion is teaching. I adore sharing my knowledge and experience. Seeing students progress, and learning, that is my soul food."'

Gaynor Hartley

Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Tiss.Cult., MAIH

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