Modern media society is a complex historical, cultural and social phenomenon. To orientate oneself within it, to communicate successfully and, above all, to be capable of understanding and explaining its conditions, structures and operations requires specific skills in its monitoring, interpreting and operating.
The special profile of the Master of Arts in Comparative Media Research at the University of Lucerne offers a substantially deepened qualification to meet these specific demands.
In everyday life we perceive media to the large part as a social instrument or technological artefact, which addresses the presentation and mediation of information. In these terms we think of publishers, radio stations, internet providers, magazines, newspapers, books, blogs, paintings, photography, film videos, homepages and computer animation.
The study programme is based on a fundamentally far broader understanding of media, which incorporates the treatment of conventional communication and media science phenomena and furthermore acknowledges symbolic forms of communication such as language, power and money as media. In so doing this access extends, enriches and deepens the conventional understanding of media to the theoretical approaches and empirical analytical possibilities of sociology. The course of studies is conceived as a synthesis of knowledge from cultural sociology and social theory introduced into comparative media research which makes up its unique profile. With this background is it sensitised for comparative and interdisciplinary research areas.
What are the advantages of such media understanding? It permits, seemingly incomparable phenomena such as distribution technologies of communication (writing, book printing, radio, painting, photography, TV and internet etc.) production and presentation forms (textual, visual and audio-visual media formats and media categories) and symbolic communication media (language, money, power, art and love) to be compared to one another and interrogate the differences and what they bear in common. The media comparison can be used for investigating the changes in knowledge, memory and societal forms as well as for analysis of the historical stages and cultural conditions of communication technology (diachronic perspective). Likewise it enables research of the relations between media and politics, economy, education, religion, science, sport and law, and the links between identity constructions of individuals or for instance public relations of organisations (synchronous perspective).
From this multiplicity of subjects arise natural interfaces to the study programme organisation and knowledge which, together with comparative media research, forms, in terms of content, the main pillars in the fields of social and communication sciences at the Sociological Seminar at the University of Lucerne. Furthermore in the context of the study programme they convey, in the courses offered, a broad spectrum of sociological theories and methods, which inspire and instruct the student to his/her own independent development of socially relevant questions as well as the planning of exacting research designs.
Skills Objectives and professional fields
The debate surrounding sociological, media and communication science approaches and research themes at an advanced level, as well as the object oriented use of various empirical methods, provide further acquisition of skills for independent problem ascertainment, theory-guided conception and problem-centred analysis of modern communication and their media. Hereby the Masters Degree Course offers its graduates access to a multiplicity of professional fields. Above all the course of study facilitates the entrance to a research based career, but also provides qualifications which can be used in a wide variety of continuously changing and expanding professional fields in the media and culture sectors. Of these number journalism and public relations, media and communication research, media education and media studies, communication and media and culture management as well as positions in the fields of product, public and market analyses.
The study programme is organised in the following manner:
* central focus module communication media
* Module research practice methods
* Elective courses
* Concluding examination block.
The Masters programme consists of four semesters for course completion and altogether 120 credit points in accordance with ECTS.
Central focus module communication media
It comprises 42 credit points, in which the attendance of one lectures and two master seminars including written work is obligatory. A further 18 credit points can be freely chosen from the modules course offers.
Module research practice methods
It combines research orientation and professional practical contexts thus targeting the link between "theory and practice". The module comprises 24 credit points. The foundation of the module is the continuation of education in social science methods, via obligatory attendance of a methodological Masters Seminar.
Building upon this, an internship can be carried out upon which a research work is developed. The student will be supported during the practical work placement and research work by an accompanying seminar. The practical work placement can be carried out at companies, public institutions or non-profit institutions.
The student can also specialise by attending additional methodological courses as an alternative to practical work placements. Here too, empirical research work is stipulated. The spectrum of methodological courses offered is broad and comprises qualitative and quantitative techniques of social research, of which feature innovative methods such as image and film analyses or network analysis.
Elective Courses and Social Credit Points
In this area lectures can be selected from the courses on offer from the Culture and Social Sciences faculty. Main focus module courses are not creditable in the free course achievement.
A further 4 Credit Points are acquire via so-called social skills points, e.g. via voluntary tutorials, reading groups, work in student bodies and research projects.
The studies are completed by a Masters thesis as well as a oral examination. The examination themes are based on the area of subject matter of the communication media module. Six months are available for the Masters thesis. 30 credit points are awarded. The hour-long oral exam comprises four pre-defined themes. It will be awarded 10 credit points. The studies are terminated by this examination.