MA Media and Cultural Politics

Key facts

The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) rated 70% of UEA's research in Politics and International Studies as 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent).

"Postgraduate study enables you to understand current affairs and to broaden your knowledge on key debates"

In their words

Oliver Steward, MA International Relations

Politics and society are undergoing rapid and fundamental change. The rise of social media has empowered individuals to voice their opinions and interact with each other in completely new ways. People can instantly rally like-minds behind them, or attack while hiding behind a virtual persona.

Changes can be seen too in the impact of globilisation and global corporations such as Amazon, Facebook and Google. And in the new forms of political engagement and of politicians themselves, both marks of our modern era.

Drawing on political theory, political sociology, media and cultural studies, research methods, linguistics and legal studies, our MA Media and Cultural Politics invites you to study such changes in depth and detail. You will reflect on and explore the emerging social and political order. And you’ll develop research skills that will prove essential to your MA and to a possible future career in the media, the creative industries, or politics and its related fields.

Overview

Our multi-disciplinary MA focuses on an important and developing area within the social sciences, marked by a substantive shift in society, otherwise known as ‘the cultural turn’. The impact of this shift can be detected in the rise of identity politics and new social movements, as well as in the emergence of an alternative, broader conception of politics; a conception that looks beyond traditional political agencies to include the private realm and cultural life in general.

Taught by leading academics and drawing on UEA’s long-established expertise in the field, our course will equip you with the skills and resources to analyse the changing politics of contemporary culture and communication, and to reflect on their impact on the conduct and character of society. You’ll develop a sense of politics that goes beyond the standard, institutionalised forms to include cultural practices and everyday life. You’ll discover the ways in which media, in its various forms, is shaping the exercise of political, social and cultural power. And you’ll acquire advanced knowledge of research methods, which you will then apply to your final dissertation.

As a member of our postgraduate community you will have the opportunity to attend numerous events and talks during your time here. We regularly attract distinguished lecturers, with previous guests including Gary Gibbon, Political Editor for Channel 4 News; Anne McElvoy of The Economist; Owen Jones, author and columnist for The Guardian; Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty; Michael Cockerell, BBC documentary film-maker; and John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons. Find out more about our postgraduate community and experience some of these lectures.

Course Structure

Our MA course is full time and lasts one year. During this period you’ll be required to take our two mandatory modules: Issues in Media and Cultural Politics, and Methods of Social Enquiry. Together, they will cover all the key topics, such as identity, communication, culture and power, as well as teaching you how to evaluate and use qualitative and quantitative academic research techniques.

In addition to these two modules, you can direct the content of the rest of your MA by choosing from our wide range of optional modules. The modules will cover the major issues of international relations, political theory, linguistics, and media, legal and cultural studies. And the type of topics you might expect to find on offer include American foreign policy, Asian and Hollywood cinema, gender and power, the global political economy, the politics of free speech, and feminism and television. You may also be able to take more practical modules on media production or public relations.

Your Master’s dissertation will also form a key element of your degree. Completed over the summer, it’s a great opportunity to put your research skills into practice and carry out an in-depth investigation into a topic of your choosing.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching

At Master’s level the majority of our teaching takes the form of seminars. There will be lectures too, as well as workshops and one-to-one tutorials. You may also be required to undertake presentations and group work, as well as a range of other teaching and learning methods.

Independent study

Developing your ability to conduct independent study is absolutely central to this course. Examples include preparation for seminars and assessments, but will be best exemplified by your Master’s dissertation. You will be allocated an academic supervisor to give advice on all aspects of writing and researching your dissertation. You will also take part in our dedicated Postgraduate Day, when all MA students meet to discuss their research and the progress they are making.

Assessment

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, mostly through your essays, but also through presentations, course tests and – very occasionally – an exam.

After the course

In conjunction with UEA’s Careers Central service, we host dedicated events for any students on our media, culture and politics programmes. At these events you’ll hear from alumni and professionals working in related fields, and benefit from their experience, insight and advice.

Recent graduates from this course have taken up jobs in a wide variety of fields, including business, teaching, research and journalism, as well as working for national and international organisations.

Career destinations

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Business
  • Journalism

Course related costs

Please see Additional Course Fees for details of other course-related costs.

Course Modules 2020/1

Students must study the following modules for 60 credits:

Name Code Credits

PSI DISSERTATION

For all MA students registered on programmes in Political Social and International Studies except those undertaking a Dissertation by Practice. Students are required to write a dissertation of 10,000 words on a topic approved by the Course Director or other authorised person. The dissertation is to be submitted the first working day of September in the relevant year.

PPLX7010X

60

Students will select 40 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.

PPLI7008B

20

GENDER AND POWER

Providing a conceptual overview of feminist research approaches, you will examine contemporary gender and power relations. You will examine both the formal and informal power structures that shape the experience of gender. Bringing together the fields of media, sociology, politics and cultural studies, the module explores the extent to which feminist theory informs gender-based activism.

PPLM7015B

20

PUBLIC RELATIONS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND THE MEDIA

This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.

PPLX7005B

20

THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF CHINA AND JAPAN IN THE MODERN WORLD

The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-19th century to the present day. You'll cover the attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States. You'll also investigate their contrasting attempts to develop in the post-war period. In addition, you'll assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the 21st century, and explore whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.

PPLI7007B

20

Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Students may take options outside PPL with the approval of their Course Director.

Name Code Credits

AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY

This module will use case studies of Southeast Asia, Central America and the Middle East to explore the reasons for American interventions and to assess their success or failure. It will offer an historical understanding of the assumptions and practices which lie behind contemporary US foreign policy-making. The module will introduce students to the institutions and processes involved in the making of American foreign policy.

PPLI7008B

20

ANALYSING HOLLYWOOD CINEMA

'Hollywood' as an industry, cultural institution and maker of films has dominated the global cinematic imagination for decades. On this module, we investigate the history, production cultures and texts made by the US film industry from its classic period to contemporary filmmaking. This will include analysing Hollywood from a range of perspectives, which may include things like studio filmmaking, independent filmmaking, genre filmmaking and the blockbuster. In doing so we will discover the multiplicity of cinemas at work within the concept of Hollywood.

AMAM7011B

20

CONFLICT, CIVIL WARS AND PEACE

The number of violent intrastate conflicts has outweighed the number of violent interstate conflicts for more than five decades. Yet it was only with the end of the Cold War that academics and policy-makers started paying more attention to the possible causes and consequences of large-scale intrastate violence. Today, questions of effective conflict management, especially of large-scale civil wars, are among the top priorities of international development agencies. The aim of the Conflict, Civil Wars and Peace module is to critically assess the possible causes and consequences of violent intrastate conflicts as well as their implications for the wider development agenda. Key topics to be discussed in the module include causes, dynamics and consequences of different types of violent conflict, strategies and causes of terrorism, the role of gender during and after violent intrastate conflicts, the (contested) relationship(s) between natural resource wealth and civil wars, institutional approaches to conflict management, the rationale and possible effects of third-party intervention in civil wars, and post-conflict reconstruction efforts, including state- and peace-building as well as transitional justice. Throughout the module, you will be expected to assess the strengths and limitations of central concepts and theories from the academic debate by applying them to relevant empirical evidence, such as the role of gender during the Rwandan genocide in 1994 or the performance of Bosnia and Herzegovina's post-civil war power-sharing arrangement.

DEV-7015B

20

CRITICALLY QUEER: SEX, GENDER AND SEXUALITY

How are sex, gender and sexuality brought together to ensure the normative privileging of heterosexuality and the sex/gender binary? What possibilities are there for resistance to these norms? How does such resistance situate us socially, culturally, and politically? With queer theory as its focus and drawing on case studies from different fields - literature, film, drama and performance, politics, history, among others - in this interdisciplinary module, you'll examine sex, gender, and sexuality as effects of historically specific socio-cultural and geo-political power relations. Rather than approaching queer studies as a singular or coherent school of thought, you'll be encouraged to continuously problematize queer studies as a field and a mode of analysis, asking: What does it mean for theory, in particular, to be queer? What is involved in queering theory and being critically queer? What kinds of bodies or desires does queer describe? What are the promises of queer theory, and what are its perils? What is the future of queer? While doing so, you'll explore a variety of topics, such as politics of difference, representation and cultural production, performance and performativity, temporality and spatiality, subjectivity and embodiment. Overall, in this module, you'll problematise and challenge normalisations, hierarchies and relations of domination and explore the powerful processes and languages that attempt to fix sex, gender and sexuality as unchanging and universal.

HUM-7009B

20

FEMINISMS AND TELEVISION FROM WONDER WOMAN TO HANNAH HORVATH

You will learn about the relationship between feminisms and the cultural history of (primarily) US and UK television from second wave feminism to the present. Your module charts the dialogue between feminism and television in Anglophone contexts from the 1970s through to the 2010s, focussing on flashpoint moments for feminism (e.g. the women's liberation movement; millennial postfeminism; the global financial crisis) and touchstone texts (e.g. The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Prime Suspect, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City, Girls, Scandal) that have resonated particularly strongly with female audiences (e.g. soap operas; lifestyle TV; women centred dramas), struck a chord with feminist concerns (e.g. work/life balance, sexual freedoms, empowerment, the politics of relationships/singlehood/friendship), and generated foundational criticism by feminist television scholars. It will be structured chronologically, and topics may include feminism and female audiences; action heroines on television; the figure of the female detective; women's work; intersectional identities (queerness, post-racial discourse, masculinities) and recessionary culture.

AMAM7009B

20

GENDER AND POWER

Providing a conceptual overview of feminist research approaches, you will examine contemporary gender and power relations. You will examine both the formal and informal power structures that shape the experience of gender. Bringing together the fields of media, sociology, politics and cultural studies, the module explores the extent to which feminist theory informs gender-based activism.

PPLM7015B

20

LANGUAGE ISSUES IN A GLOBAL MULTILINGUAL CONTEXT

Every day millions of people across the globe consume information on the internet or on television, mediated from languages that they do not know. How does this happen? What is at stake? Linguistically, socio-culturally? These are the kinds of question that we address with Language Issues in a Global Multilingual Context. We focus on language-related issues associated with the globalisation of communication and the media. You will consider a range of materials - texts and their translation(s), multilingual sources of information (e.g. global news, consumer information), products of audio-visual translation (e.g. subtitling, dubbing), IT mediated or processed texts - to explore issues involved in the transposition and dissemination of (spoken and written) text into other media and other languages across different spheres of activity (e.g. media, politics, culture). The subject matter relates to different domains of enquiry (including mediation/translation studies, linguistics, communication studies, cultural studies, for example) and the aim is to sensitize you to language-related issues in a global context from a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Within the interdisciplinary context of the module, you will develop to a high level your awareness and understanding of language and communication issues in a global world, and become familiar with different critical approaches to these issues. You will gain the ability to evaluate these approaches critically and evaluate their relevance and usefulness to your own needs and circumstances. You will acquire skills of independent research, with a focus on appropriate methodology, data collection, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, and refine your oral and written presentation skills of your findings. Sound receptive knowledge of at least one language other than the mother tongue required.

PPLC7001B

20

MEDIA AUDIENCES

How do audiences engage with media texts? What approaches can we employ to understand the relationship between media and audiences? These questions are central to this module. Throughout the module you will explore a range of research traditions which seek to explain the ways audiences consume media. As well as gaining a firm grounding in different approaches in media audience research, you will engage in your own original research practice and be encouraged to reflect on its usefulness. We begin by critically exploring the main recent traditions for thinking about and researching media audiences, including approaches from mass communications, cultural studies, reception studies and the growing field of fan studies. Alongside this, you will be encouraged to reflect on the significance of the contexts which shape how audiences encounter, engage with, and respond to different kinds of media and cultural products (such as film, television, music, news, books, video games and live performances). To help grasp some of the key issues at hand, you will also read and evaluate original audience and reception research and be encouraged to assess what distinguishes good or strong from poor or weak research. As you study you'll put your new knowledge into practice by designing and conducting some audience research of your own, while gaining experience in communicating your ideas in seminars, as well as through written work and presentations.

AMAM7006B

20

PRACTICAL VIDEO AND TV NEWS PRODUCTION

This module offers you an introduction to video news production as practised in Broadcast TV and, increasingly, online media. The module enables you to contextualise academic study and criticism of news gathering and presentation processes as well as gain first-hand experience of producing video news items using modern technology. You are introduced to the skills of television news - story selection, report construction, news interviewing, shooting and post production. You will master the skills of writing to picture for news. The module is first and foremost practical - the skills taught will enable you, working in small teams, to produce your own short TV news reports, which will be compiled into a TV format news programme. Production takes place on location and in the studio. You will be required to work outside the taught periods on production and post-production activities. Journalism is a rapidly changing profession, and lecture topics are frequently updated to reflect technical, practice, regulatory and other developments.

PPLM7005B

20

PUBLIC RELATIONS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND THE MEDIA

This module enables students to develop an advanced understanding of the theory and practice of public affairs, interest intermediation, and the strategies used by interest, advocacy groups and others to influence the political process. As well as covering the main debates in the academic literature, it draws directly on the experience of practitioners and offers unique insights into this under-studied area of politics.

PPLX7005B

20

THE FOREIGN RELATIONS OF CHINA AND JAPAN IN THE MODERN WORLD

The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-19th century to the present day. You'll cover the attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States. You'll also investigate their contrasting attempts to develop in the post-war period. In addition, you'll assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the 21st century, and explore whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.

PPLI7007B

20

Disclaimer

Whilst the University will make every effort to offer the modules listed, changes may sometimes be made arising from the annual monitoring, review and update of modules and regular (five-yearly) review of course programmes. Where this activity leads to significant (but not minor) changes to programmes and their constituent modules, there will normally be prior consultation of students and others. It is also possible that the University may not be able to offer a module for reasons outside of its control, such as the illness of a member of staff or sabbatical leave. In some cases optional modules can have limited places available and so you may be asked to make additional module choices in the event you do not gain a place on your first choice. Where this is the case, the University will endeavour to inform students.

Further Reading

Entry Requirements

  • Degree Subject Humanities or Social Science subject, excluding Business, Management and Economics
  • Degree Classification UK BA (Hons) 2.1 or equivalent

Students for whom English is a Foreign language

We welcome applications from students whose first language is not English. To ensure such students benefit from postgraduate study, we require evidence of proficiency in English. Our usual entry requirements are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 (minimum 5.5 in all components)
  • PTE (Pearson): 58 (minimum 42 in all components)

Test dates should be within two years of the course start date.

Other tests, including Cambridge English exams and the Trinity Integrated Skills in English are also accepted by the university. The full list of accepted tests can be found here: Accepted English Language Tests

INTO University of East Anglia

If you do not meet the academic requirements for this course, you may be able to study one of the International Graduate Diploma programmes offered by our partner INTO UEA. These programmes guarantee progression to selected masters degrees if students achieve the appropriate grade. For more details please click here:

International Graduate Diploma in Political, Social and International Studies

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Pre-sessional courses online from June to September 2020. Further details can be found on the INTO UEA Online Pre-Sessional English webpage.

 

Intakes

This course's annual intake is in September of each year.

Alternative Qualifications

If you have alternative qualifications that have not been mentioned above then please contact university directly for further information.

Assessment

All applications for postgraduate study are processed through the Faculty Admissions Office and forwarded to the relevant School of Study for consideration. If you are currently completing your first degree or have not yet taken a required English language test, any offer of a place will be conditional upon you achieving this before you arrive.

Fees and Funding

Tuition fees

Tuition fees for the academic year 2020/21 are:

  • UK/EU Students: £7,850
  • International Students: £16,400

If you choose to study part-time, the fee per annum will be half the annual fee for that year, or a pro-rata fee for the module credit you are taking (only available for UK/EU students).

We estimate living expenses at £1,015 per month.

Scholarships and Awards

The Faculty of Arts and Humanities has a number of Scholarships and Awards on offer. For further information relevant to Political, Social and International Studies, visit the Scholarships and Funding page for postgraduate students.

How to Apply

Please note that this course is no longer accepting applications for September 2020 entry. We are welcoming applications for September 2021 entry. 

Applications for Postgraduate Taught programmes at the University of East Anglia should be made directly to the University.

To apply please use our online application form.

Further Information

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances prior to applying please do contact us:

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515
Email: admissions@uea.ac.uk

International candidates are also encouraged to access the International Students section of our website.

    Next Steps

    We can’t wait to hear from you. Just pop any questions about this course into the form below and our enquiries team will answer as soon as they can.

    Admissions enquiries:
    admissions@uea.ac.uk or
    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515