MA Media, Culture and Society

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

Studying and working in the media requires an acute consciousness of the way media and culture shape people’s understanding of, and responses to, their world. Central to everything from the daily routines to the grand designs of contemporary society – from the election of a president to the fall of a government – it’s almost impossible to make sense of national or world events without understanding the role media and culture play.

And making sense of it all depends on knowledge of the social, economic, political and legal factors that help in the production, distribution and consumption of media content. This, in turn, relies on an understanding of the arts and humanities and the social sciences, economics, politics and the law, and media and cultural studies.

Our MA will help you investigate and reflect upon how media and society are linked. You’ll explore the practical and professional implications of these links, and you could develop skills to enable you to work in the media.


Our course will allow you to study contemporary media and culture from a variety of perspectives and disciplines. Taught by leading experts in the fields of media and cultural studies, journalism, politics, economics, law and international development, it will ask you to examine the role of media in global citizenship, as well as helping you understand the workings of media law and economics, and the different media systems.

Through your choice of optional modules, from a range that includes practical media options, you will be able to tailor your degree to meet your interests, focusing on the aspects of media and society that you feel are most important and most fascinating. In your Master’s dissertation, you will take the exploration of your interests even further.

Over the course of your MA you will develop a variety of useful, transferable skills, including the ability to provide clear and stimulating presentations, to analyse and defend a point of view, to conduct research, and to present ideas lucidly and logically. We’ll also help you to develop research skills, enabling you to write a high-quality dissertation.

You may also have the opportunity to take part in our annual trip to Brussels. Lasting two to three days, it is a fantastic opportunity to meet journalists and other media specialists living in Brussels, and to develop your media skills.

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 lasts one year, during which time you’ll be required to complete our compulsory, multidisciplinary module, Media and Society. For those without a UK media degree, this foundation module is complemented by the Studying Media module, which, in addition to introducing key study skills and debates in the discipline, offers workshop sessions that provide a supportive environment for critical reflection and intercultural communication.

You will also be able to choose from a wide range of optional modules, through which you can focus on areas that interest you.

We have access to high quality production equipment at a television studio in Norwich, as well a Media Suite on campus, so you may also decide to take the opportunity to take more practical modules on subjects such as news production and public relations.

You’ll complete your Master’s with your dissertation, which will be written in the summer. This is an excellent opportunity to delve deeper into a subject that interests you, as you put your research skills into practice and carry out an in-depth enquiry into a topic of your choice.

Teaching and Learning


The majority of your teaching takes the form of seminars. You will have lectures too, as well as workshops and one-to-one tutorials. You may also be required to prepare presentations and undertake 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.


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 the fields of media, culture and politics, 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, public relations, research and journalism, as well as national and international organisations.

Career destinations

  • Research
  • Journalism
  • Public relations
  • Business
  • Teaching

Course related costs

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

Course Modules 2019/0

Students must study the following modules for 120 credits:

Name Code Credits


How does media shape society? How does society shape media? These are key questions for anyone interested in the role of media today. Our aim is to provide you with a broad, current and inter-disciplinary understanding of the media and their relationship to society, and you will be taught by experts in media law, media studies, political science, and development. You will: - be exposed to many different approaches to the study of media. - learn about different media systems and how they are regulated and funded. - analyse media content and you will debate how best to research media effects. - encounter arguments about the digital divide and about the new global media political economy. - explore how media content is constructed, what factors and influences go to shape content and how content may be controlled and even censored. - look at the media industry, examining how it is currently organised and managed. - examine how media affects people and society. - have the opportunity to reflect upon likely future developments in the relationship between media and society. You will be able to develop your own ideas on these matters through the long essay that you write at the end of the module, supported in this by workshops and tutorials.




For all MA students registered on programmes in PSI 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.




This module is intended to provide you with an introduction to the key study skills in media and cultural studies. It will be particularly useful if you are unfamiliar with the British university system and its expectations. You will apply theoretical and methodological approaches to contemporary media texts and discuss recent scholarship on changes in the global media and cultural landscape.



Students will select 20 credits from the following modules:

Name Code Credits


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. PLEASE NOTE that this module is frequently oversubscribed, so priority will be strictly given to students on PPL Media courses.




Digital technologies are often hyped as revolutionising society. You will be introduced to the ways in which the internet and other digital technologies are (and are not) affecting society from theoretical and empirical perspectives. The module is divided into three blocks: the first introduces the theoretical debates surrounding digital media; the second discusses how our everyday interpersonal relations are affected by digital media; the third addresses the impact of digital technology on media and politics. Topics covered include: the network society; social networking and virtual communities, surveillance, digital journalism and online activism.



Students will select 40 - 60 credits from the following modules:

Those students that have a UK media degree and who have the approval of their Course Director to opt out of compulsory module PPLM7004A, must choose 60 credits from Options Range B. Students who do not have a UK Media degree must choose 40 credits from Options Range B. If Practical Media PPLM7006A has been chosen, it is not possible to enrol on PPLM7005B.

Name Code Credits


'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.




The transatlantic axis that used to run the world can see its power slipping away. Can Asia lead the world? What would world under Pax Sinica look like and can it coexist with Pax Americana? You will examine how dynamic emerging powers - and not only the BRICS - are spurring global change. World history is not linear, there are ups and downs as well as twists and turns. China is re-emerging, the Indian Ocean Rim is again at the centre of world action as old trade routes are being renewed by emerging powers, and the US appears to return policies of isolationism. Former US Secretary of State Kissinger argues that the world is in a perilous condition, verging on international anarchy. The global economy's centre of gravity is shifting from West to East, the Global South increasingly challenges the balance of power of North Atlantic hegemony, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank points to alternative systems of global governance. Will international governance be transformed through stronger regional blocs, new South-South alliances, and the progress of international institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank?




Can "cultural" differences cause conflict in communication? How are they to be resolved without prioritizing one culture over the other? In this module we study conflict and conflict resolution strategies across different cultural contexts. You will study a wide range of communication domains, e.g. everyday encounters, language at work, language in diplomatic contexts, language and social cohesion, language and racism, language and gender, and language in the globalization process, also with reference to your specific linguistic/cultural backgrounds. Our approach is interdisciplinary; it includes Face and Politeness Theories, Discourse Analysis and Intercultural Communication Studies. The module will help you understand better the conditions for cross-cultural misunderstanding and conflict and strategies of conflict escalation and resolution.




The news media across the world love violence and blood. From bank robberies, serial killers and school violence to earthquakes, riots and war the newsworthiness of stories associated with some form of human suffering, individual or collective acts of destruction, dominate news coverage. This module aimed at MA media and politics students examines the representation of these stories, the potential influence/effect on audiences, and their role in shaping consumer desires, public anxieties and broader perceptions of reality . It draws on existing empirical research in order to enable students to design their own research on media representations, as part of the module and in preparation of their final dissertation.




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 problematise 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.




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.




You'll examine one of the pressing issues of political theory, constitutional law, democracy, and media regulation: why is free speech important and what if any should be its limits? You'll compare and contrasts the conditions of free speech in China, the UK, and the United States. You'll be introduced to some of the classic defences of free speech found in the writings of J.S. Mill and the judicial decisions of Oliver Wendall Holmes. Following on from this you'll examine the question of free speech as it relates to freedom of the press and new media. You'll also explore the question of the limits of free speech, particularly in relation to hate speech. At this point you will have a chance to examine human rights instruments and laws pertaining to the issues, including the ECHR, the Human Rights Act 2008, and the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2008, as well as a range of legal cases from courts across the world. You'll be exposed to a range of deeper ideological debates among liberals, libertarians, multiculturalists, and critical theorists. The approach will be multidisciplinary drawing on politics, philosophy, and law. The format will be a two-hour class each week, comprising research-led teaching, seminar discussions, practical exercises, textual reading, balloon debate, and essay writing and research-skills mini-sessions. The assessment comprises of formative feedback on the presentation of an essay plan and summative assessment of two essays.




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.




Do you wish to pursue a career in international management and relations, multilingual business, or international development? Are you interested in becoming a more effective communicator in other professions such as translation, interpreting, education, and cultural mediation? In this module we will explore the issues fundamental to intercultural communication (IC) in practical contexts. You will examine the different ways of thinking about effective communication in a variety of work/organisation-based environments. During the seminars/lecture series, invited practitioners will introduce you to how IC operates in specific organisations, including government agencies or in multilingual business management. On completion of this module, you will have developed the linguistic skills, cultural competence, and critical thinking required for the production of an extended research project in intercultural communication. You will also have acquired a sense of how cultural assumptions may influence communication with others from different backgrounds, and developed a greater willingness to enter into dialogue with the values prevalent in cultures other than your own.




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.




Working from the assumption that the media are an integral part of modern political life, we will examine the way in which politics is represented in the media and reviews critically the argument about 'bias'. We will also explore the arguments around the ownership and control of media, the increasing use of the media by political parties and the changing relationship between citizens and politics engendered by new communication technologies.




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. PLEASE NOTE that this module is frequently oversubscribed, so priority will be strictly given to students on PPL Media courses.




State authorities have an obligation to protect and facilitate peaceful protest - from temporary encampments and 'occupations' to far-right rallies, from Pride parades to funeral pickets, and from 'Critical Mass' bicycle rides to prayer vigils in public places. This module will examine what kinds of protest are, or ought to be, legally protected, and what kind of regulation might legitimately be permitted. How should the authorities respond to spontaneous or unorganized gatherings, simultaneous demonstrations, counter-protests, or assemblies on private property? The module seeks to provide a thorough grounding in the core standards governing the legal protection of the right to protest.




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.




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 postwar 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.




In the intrusive, multi-faceted world that exists today, with 24/7 media and an ever-expanding internet, the potential for damage to reputation and interference with privacy has never been greater. This module focuses on the various ways in which the law protects rights to reputation and privacy and examines ways in which the law can be used to manage reputations in this complex world. You will focus on the law of defamation, the laws relating to the protection of privacy interests, and the developing interplay between law and technology. While the approach taken by English law will form a significant part of the module's content, comparative study will also be made of the laws of America and other common law jurisdictions as well as the laws of the European Union and some specific European countries.




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 Relevant Humanities or Social Science subject such as Media Studies, Journalism or Broadcasting
  • Degree Classification Bachelors (Hons) degree - 2.1 or equivalent

Entry Requirement

Media experience can be taken into account for those with a non-relevant humanities or social science degree.

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 UEA also run pre-sessional courses which can be taken prior to the start of your course. For further information and to see if you qualify please contact


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.

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).

Living Expenses

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

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

To request further information & to be kept up to date with news & events please use our online enquiry form.

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

Postgraduate Admissions Office
Tel: +44 (0)1603 591515

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.

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    telephone +44 (0)1603 591515