Skip to main content

Find out about the research we do in Journalism

Learn more

Journalism PhD

Start date




Mode of study

3 years full-time

6 years part-time



International £21,260

UK £4,786

MPhil option available
Back to top

Research profile

The Journalism group members are at the forefront of research into subjects as diverse as journalism and the implications for it of emergent digital and social technologies; migration and refugees; social justice and political communication; environmental and health communication. We also have specialist expertise in media and journalism in China and Hong Kong.  Our staff comprise some of the biggest names in the business, who will enable you to be an effective journalist in any international setting.

Our main themes of research include

  • Bodies, Space and Political Resistance - Dr Anita Howarth (see also Dr Monica Degen, Dr Sara De Benedictus, Dr Meredith Jones, Dr Sharon Lockyer in Sociology and Communications on Bodies, Space and Culture) 
  • Communication, protest and social change - Dr Anita Howarth (see also Dr Lesley Henderson and Dr Sanjay Sharma in Sociology and Communications) 
  • Chinese media and journalism - Dr Jingrong Tong
  • Digital cultures - Dr Christian Stiegler (see also Dr John Roberts, Dr Sanjay Sharma, Dr Peter Wilkin, Dr Meredith Jones, Dr Monica Degen in Sociology and Communications for Digital Cultures, Networks and Social Media)
  • Social media, politics and society (social media analysis) - Dr Jingrong Tong (see also Dr John Roberts; Dr Sanjay Sharma; Dr Peter Wilkin; Dr Meredith Jones; Dr Monica Degen in Sociology and Communications)
  • Digital data analysis - Dr Jingrong Tong
  • Emergent Digital Media Technologies (including Immersive Storytelling, Virtual and Augmented Reality b- Dr Christian Stiegler (see also Dr Paul Moody in Sociology and Communications)
  • Environmental, health, science and risk communication  - Dr Jingrong Tong; Dr Anita Howarth (see also Dr Lesley Henderson, Dr Sanjay Sharma in Sociology and Communications)
  • Hunger, poverty and social justice - Dr Anita Howarth (see also Dr Peter Wilkin, Dr Sara d Benedictis, Dr John Roberts and Prof Nicola Ansell in Sociology and Communications on the precariat)
  • Journalism/journalists in comparative, historical and digital contexts - Dr Jingrong Tong, Dr Anita Howarth
  • Migration, Refugees and Sanctuary - Dr Anita Howarth; (see also Professor Sarita Malik, Dr Sanjay Sharma, Dr Simon Weaver, Dr Meredith Jones and Dr Paul Moody in Sociology and Communications on race, racism and othering)
  • Political Communication - Dr Anita Howarth; Dr Jingrong Tong
  • Political Economy of media industries/journalism - Dr Christian Stiegler (see also Dr Peter Wilkin, Dr John Roberts and Dr Paul Moody in Sociology and Communications on Approaches to Political Economy)
  • Popular culture and mass media - Dr Christian Stiegler (see also Dr Paul Moody in Sociology and Communications and Dr Leon Hunt in Film & TV on film and media history)

You can explore our campus and facilities for yourself by taking our virtual tour.

Back to top

Find a supervisor

Our researchers create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip versatile doctoral researchers with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team.

You are welcome to approach your potential supervisor directly to discuss your research interests. Search for expert supervisors for your chosen field of research.

PhD topics

While we welcome applications from student with a clear direction for their research, we are providing you with some ideas for your chosen field of research:

    Back to top

    Research journey

    While we welcome a wide range of topics in the areas of journalism, political communication and media here is an example list of potential research topics that we would like to supervise:

    • Chinese media, journalism and society
    • Data Journalism
    • Digital cultures
    • Environmental, health and science journalism
    • Food communication and social conflict
    • Immersive media/Virtual and Augmented Reality
    • Media and the creative industries
    • Sanctuary, refugees and asylum
    • Political communication
    • Political economy of journalism
    • Poverty, hunger and social justice
    • Refugees and migration
    • Social media, politics and society (social media analysis)

    This course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in January. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in October. Or this course can be studied 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time, starting in April.

    Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure.

    Back to top

    Research support

    Research support

    Excellent research support and training

    The Graduate School provides a range of personal, professional and career development opportunities. This includes workshops, online training, coaching and events, to enable you to enhance your professional profile, refine your skills, and plan your next career steps as part of the Researcher Development Programme. The researcher development programme (RDP) offers workshops and seminars in a range of areas including progression, research management, research dissemination, and careers and personal development. You will also be offered a number of online, self-study courses on BBL, including Research Integrity, Research Skills Toolkit, Research Methods in Literature Review and Principles of Research Methods.

    Library services

    Brunel's Library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 ebooks, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs. As well as the physical resources available in the Library, we also provide access to a wealth of electronic resources. These include databases, journals and e-books. Access to these resources has been bought by the Library through subscription and is limited to current staff and students.

    Dedicated research support staff provide guidance and training on open access, research data management, copyright and other research integrity issues.

    Find out more: Brunel Library

    Back to top

    Careers and your future

    You will receive tailored careers support during your PhD and for up to three years after you complete your research at Brunel. We encourage you to actively engage in career planning and managing your personal development right from the start of your research, even (or perhaps especially) if you don't yet have a career path in mind. Our careers provision includes online information and advice, one-to-one consultations and a range of events and workshops. The Professional Development Centre runs a varied programme of careers events throughout the academic year. These include industry insight sessions, recruitment fairs, employer pop-ups and skills workshops.

    In addition, where available, you may be able to undertake some paid work as we recognise that teaching and learning support duties represent an important professional and career development opportunity.

    Find out more.

    Back to top

    UK entry requirements

    The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (1st or 2:1). 

    An interview will be required as part of the admissions process and will be conducted by at least two academic staff members remotely via MS Teams, Zoom, or face to face.

    Applicants will be required to submit a personal statement and a research statement.
    Please contact your proposed supervisor, where possible, to receive feedback and guidance on your research statement before submitting it. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.   

    Back to top

    EU and International entry requirements

    If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

    English language requirements

    • IELTS: 7.5 (min 7.0 in all areas)
    • Pearson: 73 (64 in all subscores)
    • BrunELT: 73% (68% in all areas)
    • TOEFL: 108 (min 20) 

    You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

    Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason. We offer our own BrunELT English test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options through our Brunel Language Centre.

    Please check our Admissions pages for more information on other factors we use to assess applicants. This information is for guidance only and each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Entry requirements are subject to review, and may change.

    Back to top

    Fees and funding

    2024/5 entry


    £21,260 full-time

    £10,630 part-time


    £4,786 full-time

    £2,393 part-time

    Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.

    Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.

    Brunel offers a number of funding options to research students that help cover the cost of their tuition fees, contribute to living expenses or both. Recently the UK Government made available the Doctoral Student Loans of up to £25,000 for UK and EU students and there is some funding available through the Research Councils. Many of our international students benefit from funding provided by their governments or employers. Brunel alumni enjoy tuition fee discounts of 15%.

    Scholarships and bursaries