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Media and Communications MSc

Subject area: Communication and Media Studies Subject area: Sociology Open Evening Apply full-time
Mode of study

1-year full-time

PG Code


Start date


Media and Communications MSc


Please note the application deadline for this course is Friday 25th August 2017. Any applications after this date will be considered on an individual basis, subject to course vacancies.

We host online webinars to give you the chance to find out more about our courses and what studying at Brunel is like. View the latest webinar here.

Postgraduate Loans: From 1 August 2016, students who live in England will be able to apply for a Postgraduate Loan in academic year 2016/17 of up to £10,000. Find out more

About the course

This well-established postgraduate course is taught as an intensive year-long programme and offers students an interdisciplinary approach to the study of new media and communications practices.

It aims to explore:

  • How does the media shape culture and society?
  • What role does the media play in people's lives?
  • Is the media creating a global culture?
  • Are audiences now producers?
  • Do social networking sites influence personal communication?
  • Are young people disconnected from traditional politics?

The Media and Communications course focuses on the rapid changes in global 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 (e.g. to the BBC TV Centre).

The Master’s 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.
  • The course is also perfectly suited for professionals in the communications/broadcast industry seeking to gain a more sociologically informed understanding of those industries.


Admissions and Course Enquiries
Web: Admissions Enquiries Information
Tel (before application): +44 (0)1895 265599 (Course Enquiries)
Tel (after application): +44 (0)1895 265265 (Admissions Office)
Contact Admissions or Course Enquiries Online

Course directors: Dr Meredith Jones and Dr Simon Weaver

Course Content

The MSc consists of both compulsory and optional modules, a typical selection can be found below. Modules can vary from year to year, but these offer a good idea of what we teach.

Compulsory modules

Dissertation in Media and Communications

You complete a dissertation of approximately 15,000 words 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.

Issues and Controversies in Media and Communications

Main topics of study: media ethics, media and moral panics, media power, media effects.

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.

Making Web Cultures

Making Web Cultures explores the development of internet communications, including social media and networks, the impact of online sharing and collaboration, and the challenges of surveillance and privacy.

The Creative Industries

This 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.

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.

Principles of Media Research

Main topics include introducing and designing focus group studies; using critical discourse analysis; conducting research interviews; media content analysis and research ethics and safety.

Media, Body and Society

Main topics include early theories of the mediated body; modernity and the body: postmodernity, deconstruction and media bodies; superheroes, steroids and ‘masculine’ media; beauty, eating and ‘feminine’ media; laughter, ridicule and the body; ‘race’, ethnicity and sport; ‘deformity’, medicine and media; embodying mental illness; representing disability; zombies, consciousness and social death

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel and what you will learn on the course.

Typical Dissertations

Examples of recent student dissertations 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'.

Special Features

  • This postgraduate course is taught by leading academics in Sociology and Communications. Throughout our research we aim to tackle core theoretical questions and also engage with the international community and relevant groups of practitioners in industry, government and the wider public.
  • Where possible we invite professionals who are working in the media and broadcast industry (advertising and marketing; television documentary and different PR organisations) to come and talk to our MSc students and offer careers advice. We have also organised a field trip to BBC Television Centre in West London. Students are invited to our academic research seminar programme and to attend our social events.
  • We offer additional bespoke workshops and lectures to enhance students' employability skills, including ‘pitching yourself to employers’.
  • All students can benefit from our programme of workshops and informal ‘drop in’ sessions on information literacy to enhance academic writing skills.

Facts and Figures

Recent research projects within the department at Brunel include: mass media coverage of young people and politics; free speech and the public sphere; file-sharing and live streaming; health and science communication; public involvement in health policy; multiculturalism and institutional racism; the anti-globalisation movement, the media and 'new wars'.

Teaching and Assessment


Taught modules of the MSc Media and Communications are delivered via traditional lecture/seminar format along with other workshops and set activities. Students may be required to keep diaries of media consumption, contribute to online blogs and engage in critical analysis of visual media.


Assessment is by a mixture of essays, report writing, blog entries and online group work. Students also complete a 15,000 word dissertation.



Students of this Master's course typically go on to further advanced academic research or to pursue careers within the media industries (e.g. Press and Communications Officer; Head of Information). Past students have worked in developing countries for NGO’s or as technology consultants.

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students: £8,500 full-time

International students: £15,750 full-time

Additional course related costs

Read about funding opportunities available to postgraduate students

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Entry Criteria 2017/18

A UK first or second class Honours degree or equivalent internationally recognised qualification in a Media/Communications-related subject preferably in the field of Sociology
Applicants with other qualifications or equivalent professional qualifications and that have considerable relevant work experience will be considered on an individual basis.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 58 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 65% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.