for MA Media and Communications

Issues and Theories in Media and Communications

In a world where the average person uses media for more hours than they are asleep, media and communications are increasingly central to politics, to economics, to culture and to everyday life.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the field of media and communications including an emphasis on core concepts, current issues and theoretical traditions. Although some issues may change to reflect the rapidly changing dynamics of media systems, course content will focus on leading theoretical traditions around issues of power, the public sphere (and public cultures), political economy, globalization, representation, identities, feminist approaches, mediation, digital and emerging media.

This course aims to provide the historical context around long-standing concepts in order to examine the application of established traditions to today’s rapidly transforming media landscapes, platforms and practices.

Students are expected to develop a broad knowledge base of the field of media and communications including the development of sophisticated analytic and conceptual skills particular for making sense of complex media systems, dynamic media environments and emerging communication trends.

Research Methods in Media and Communications

This module introduces essential qualitative and quantitative research methods in media and communications along with core research principles including research epistemologies and design principles.

Students are expected develop competence in media and communication research methodologies and to understand how to apply these research practices to current debates and particular questions or approaches to research problems. Based on applied exercises and in-depth exploration of contemporary research projects, students are expected to understand the use of evidence in research, including research validity and reliability.

Students will be expected to explore selective emerging research techniques related to changing media practices (e.g. the use of web analytics in research). This course provides students with the practical and conceptual skills required for the development of original and high quality media and communications research.

Media and Culture

All of culture involves media and communication from the micro to macro level. Language, art, information, theatre, film, news, politics – every dimension of cultural life – involves the mediation and expression of meaning.

This course examines how media and communication are cultural activities, especially those in the arts. In a time when the sphere of art and entertainment is increasingly mediatized, we consider the complex interactions between media culture and politics, ideology and beliefs.

This course examines the impact of mediatized culture on the changing dynamics of public and private communication patterns.

The course will explore the mutual dependencies of culture and the media by discussing the perceived differences between “high art” and “popular entertainment” and the way both are constructed and disseminated through media and communication.

Among the examples of relevant cultural products to be analyzed in detail are globally broadcast cultural events; documentary and blockbuster filmmaking; comic books, graphic novels and other bestsellers as well as soap operas and reality TV.

Global Communications

Based on changing notions of globalization, this course examines the conceptual frameworks for understanding the dense historical interconnections between media and the many levels of a globalized world. Beginning with the emergence of epoch-changing media systems like the printing press and early electronic media (e.g. the telegraph and the telephone), students examine the links between media and social systems, like “the Industrial Age”, modernity, “Networked Society” and post-modernity.

Students are expected to develop advanced understanding of the dynamics of power and media in debates central to global communications, such as global citizenship, cosmopolitanism, ideological hegemony and Westernization. Particular attention is paid to the rise of electronic, digital, social and emerging technologies in the expansion of public spheres, individual communication and apparent shifts in power from private organizations and individuals to citizens and publics.


As the final MA course, students are expected to synthesize and integrate their learning and education through the development of an original 10,000 word research project related to the field of media and communications.

Students are expected to realize the breadth of their academic and intellectual development through a major project. They are expected to develop: their own topic; a unique and relevant literature review reflecting some expertise in the field; their own reliable and valid research design including at least one quantitative and qualitative research methodology; and to accurately analyze their research in a coherent dissertation. The dissertation will be supervised by a minimum of one supervisor and requires independent work, research and critical thinking skills.