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Media and Communication MA

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2017
Part time 2 years September 2017

Choose Kingston's Media and Communication MA

This course offers a sophisticated insight into the role and function of media in contemporary society. It focuses on the centrality of modern media forms and practices in our daily communication, and examines the ways in which they facilitate and constrain the way we communicate with each other.

Key features

  • The choice of option modules allows you to tailor the course to your personal interests, and the dissertation gives you the chance to study an area of interest in greater depth and gain valuable research skills.
  • Teaching is research-led by internationally renowned academics and therefore reflects the most recent ideas and innovations in the field.
  • You will have the chance to attend many research seminars and talks presented by a range of guest speakers, professors and professionals visiting the University.

What will you study?

The course offers a variety of core and option modules, with the compulsory core modules providing a comprehensive grounding in the theoretical and empirical approaches to studying media institutions, texts and communication practices. The option modules allow you to specialise in research areas that interest you within this broad field, and enable you to examine various media industries and communication practices within their historical, economic, political and social contexts.

You will explore, among other things, how the question of power - whether political, economic or cultural - is inextricable from the analysis of media, and will focus on the ways in which new media technologies have dramatically altered the dissemination and reception of knowledge. You will also look at the inherent role that mediated communication plays in globalisation - one of the defining characteristics of the contemporary world.


Assessment takes a variety of formats, such as seminar presentation, exams, essays and a dissertation.

Course structure

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list.

Core modules

  • This module is designed to introduce the major theoretical and analytical approaches, which attempt to explain and examine the media and communication industries and their effect on society, culture and politics. In doing so, it explores the historical trajectory of media studies.

    The module starts with a critical and reflective engagement with key concepts and issues that have been used in these different approaches to understand the effects of media and communication, such as the masses, the public sphere or ideology. This is followed by an examination of more recent debates in the field, which have focused on the transformation of media and communication technologies, such as digitization and convergence of different media platforms, as well as the changing social and political context (i.e. globalization, relative decline of the nation-states and their control over media systems).

    The more recent debates in the field have also prompted a change in media studies. The result has been an increasingly interdisciplinary field of research about the role of media and communication today. A main objective of this module is to assess the content of that “change” and, through this, to reflect critically upon the emerging discussions and debates in media studies that respond to this change.

    Contemporary case studies from everyday media will provide you with the opportunity to debate and assess the usability of these concepts.

  • Globalization has been one of the most popular buzzwords of our times, attempting to explain why and how the contemporary world seems to be changing at such speed and how we, as individuals are caught in this whirlwind of change. Media and cinema, more than any other industries, have been seen as inherent and constitutive parts of globalization, both contributing to and shaped by different processes of globalization. Taught jointly by staff from postgraduate programs of media and communication and film, this module explores the debates around media and cinema’s inherent and constitutive roles in globalization. It particularly attempts to examine the political, social, cultural and moral issues that arise around the global circulation of media and film texts, images and formats.

  • This module is designed to enable students to demonstrate their ability to undertake a sustained piece of independent research in media and communication at an advanced level (12-15,000 words). This will usually take the form of some primary research into a particular case study, archive or canon in combination with an engagement with secondary material, criticism or literature review. Students are also required to attend research skills workshops that will be focussed on humanities or social science research methods as appropriate. As such, they may be streamed along methodological lines, but all workshops will cover constructing a proposal, editing and composition, referencing and on online and electronic research methods; students will also make an oral presentation of their dissertation proposal.


Optional modules

  • This module examines the hybrid and diverse nature of British cinema from the early 1960s to the present day. The central focus of this course will be the relationship between British cinema and national identity. Students will not only investigate the ways in which British cinema reflects national consciousness, but examine the ways in which it has shaped and contributed towards it. In so doing, students will explore the multiple ways in which British cinema has both reflected and produced sociohistorical, cultural and political change. This module will focus on a diverse range of key British film genres (related to British national identity), auteurs and movements, examining the socio-historical, cultural and cinematic not only their relationship with society, but the industrial and economic factors that have determined their production and reception.

  • This one semester module is an elective primarily offered to students taking an MA in Media & Communication or an MA in Film but it is also relevant to those taking postgraduate degrees in politics, political communication, human rights and conflict. It deals with some of the most hotly debated issues in different societies about how to balance core freedoms (expression, press and protest) with the state protecting what and who may be potentially harmed by certain forms of expression through censorship.  Even then these remain open debates as new forms of subversion and resistance emerge with new technologies or through the use of the body to express protest. The module explores these at two levels. The first outlines different approaches to and principles governing censorship depending on whether expression is through images; words, ideas and beliefs; information; and action. These are then explored in more depth in sessions that draw on staff specialisms here, for instance, in film, news, information-privacy, protest movements, etc.

  • This module invites students to reflect on changing constructions of gender and sexuality in contemporary cinema. Theoretical approaches to gender and sexuality in film will be explored, with particular reference to notions of spectatorship and the body. Students will have the opportunity to analyse the construction of gender and sexuality in a range of contemporary films, taking account of the role played by their particular historical and cultural contexts.

  • This module takes up psychoanalysis as a type of media theory, starting from Jacques Lacan’s contention that the unconscious is an effect of language operating ‘mechanically’ as a medium of ‘the world of the symbolic [that is also] the world of the machine’ (Kittler). In the context of psychoanalysis’s historically contested relationship with science, the module focuses particularly on the age of the internet where we are more than speaking beings: we are multiply symbolized and symbolizing beings, counting beings whose being is determined by statistics; we are networked beings in which a range of virtual identities are determined in various profiles enabled and delimited by different codes and algorithms. The module therefore addresses specifically the role of new media in the emergence of new symptoms and discontents contemporary with the rise of digital culture.

  • This special study module is an introduction to political communication from the lens of hybrid media environments. It enables students to examine the new research agenda and the emerging practices in this field of study beyond the limits of the media effects approach applied to traditional or mass media. The topics covered on the module are partly linked with the research interests and projects of teaching staff and will enable students to benefit from research-informed teaching in their final year of study. Students will undertake extensive exploration of the new challenges facing political communication in multi-platform contexts, drawing on pertinent theoretical debates and current media stories. Students will deliver an assessed presentation, and produce an extended and focused practice-based or essay-based project on a particular topic negotiated with the module leader.

  • This module will explore the relationship between filmic and televisual horror through a global, transmedia and transnational perspective. While the beginning of cinematic horror can be traced back to the cinematic adaptation of stage plays of literary classics including Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, contemporary horroris as much televisual as it is filmic with television series based upon films and vice-versa as the recent success of Bates Motel, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Hannibal on the small screen and the X-Files films on the large screen demonstrate. In addition, cult Japanese films including Ring and Ju-On were preceded and anteceded by television series, while One Missed Call (Nakata: 2002) gave rise to a short-run series in 2005. Furthermore, the success of K-horror on the global stage revitalised the television series Hometown Legends/Korean Ghost stories in 2009 which is based upon traditional myths and folk tales. Finally, the Master of Horror television series which ran for two seasons (2005-2007), had episodes by Dario Argento (Jenifer & Pelts), Miike (Imprint) and Nsuruta (Dream Cruise). As such, this module is concerned with modern horror as both a global and local product and a televisual as well as cinematic genre.


You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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