This well established course offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of new media and communications practices.
It focuses on a critical understanding of the rapid changes in media and communications and their social and cultural consequences within an international context. Students have the opportunity to meet professionals working in the broadcast, advertising and marketing industries and we also organise field trips (eg to the BBC TV Centre).
The course combines theoretical and empirical study of the media including issues of media audiences together with the study of developments in information and communication technologies. The department scored highly in the 2008 RAE exercise with a rating that made it the top department of its size in the UK. We have a long tradition of research in Sociology and Communications and all of our staff are research active.
The course will meet the needs of advanced students with backgrounds in media, sociology and other relevant disciplines, as well as professionals in the communications/broadcast industry seeking to gain a more sociologically informed understanding of those industries.
Modules of this postgraduate course are subject to variation and students are advised to check with the College on whether a particular module of interest will be running in their year of entry.
Modules (all core)
Creative IndustriesThis module explores the significance of creative industries and how they operate in various spheres of social life. The module focuses on how the notion of creativity has emerged in the economy and society, its ideological significance, and the positive and negative consequences it has brought for society. Particular topics addressed are the rise of the creative class, the symbolic economy, immaterial labour, gentrification of cities, and advertising and branding.
Making Web CulturesThis module provides students with an informed and practical understanding of the significance of contemporary computer-mediated communications and its everyday uses. It focuses on how the internet is a key site for understanding transformations in new media. A unique aspect of this particular MSc in Media and Communications module enables students to both study and practically make use of the social media being explored. Topics include: the characteristics of online social networks; analysing social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogging culture; use of web technologies for collaboration, e.g. Wikis; surveillance and privacy.
Media Audiences Main topics of study: theoretical approaches to media audiences, gender and genre: cross-national and 'subversive' audiences; domestic technologies; media power and 'minority' readings; media production and audiences; television audiences and contemporary public issues (news and politics, health and illness, sexual violence); media effects/ influence debates; 'active' audience theory.
Qualitative Methods in Social and Cultural Research Main Topics of Study: conceptual and practical issues in qualitative research design; Interview research; research in and on the Internet; media analysis: research in practice; approaches to qualitative data analysis; planning and writing a dissertation.
Global Media Main Topics of Study: The clash of civilisations, the alternative media, national identity and the media, the digital divide.
Popular Culture Main Topics of Study:Celebrity and popular culture, pornography, advertising, the cultural industries, media markets.
Issues and Controversies in Media and Communications Main Topics of Study: Media ethics, media and moral panics, media power, media effects.
A dissertation of approximately 15,000 words is completed over the summer period in consultation with a supervisor. You are encouraged to conduct primary research in an area relevant to the course in preparation for the dissertation.
Examples of recent dissertations undertaken by students on the course include:
How is authority established in virtual communities?
TV Consumption, Identity and Lifestyle: A study of the Chinese Community in Los Angeles
The construction of femininity in Sex and the City
Media bias and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Constructing a female cyberspace? A case study of Chinese women and the web
Ethnography of a newsroom in Ghana
New media and news gathering