Media and Communication MA

Why choose this course?

This course offers a cross-disciplinary insight into the changing landscape of the media industries from mass communication to the new digital age.

The course nurtures and builds on your individual experience as a media user or amateur content creator, but it also enhances your awareness and understanding of how media are shaping the world we live in today, and how humanity will evolve within Artificial Intelligence and environmental concerns.

The course offers a diverse curriculum covering media histories, media now, and future media.

Media studies have been described as "the defining subject of our age". So when you choose this Media and Communications MA, you will be developing your professional portfolio of media and communication projects. You'll explore different aspects of the media industries and professions such as strategic communication, media production, PR, advocacy, marketing and advertising, digital art, creative writing and so many other areas which speak to your individual interests and potential future career paths.

Mode Duration Start date
Full time 1 year September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement September 2020
Part time 2 years September 2020
Location Penrhyn Road

2020/21 entry

If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.

 

Continuing students

Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.

Reasons to choose Kingston University

  • The course content is diverse, topical and current, reflecting recent changes in media and communication
  • You can use our media labs and the student-centred projects to build your professional portfolio of media works including a choice of options between traditional written dissertation and practice-based dissertation
  • You will study alongside an international cohort of students from a huge range of backgrounds, countries, occupations and experience of media. 

What you will study

This course is designed to provide a critical overview and survey of today's media landscape and media environments. The coursework is a mixture of academic research and media practice, allowing you to build a wholesome professional portfolio of media projects.

The classroom teaching is supported by extracurricular activities including journalism lectures, publishing masterclasses, marketing and media industries events, and organised educational visits to media hubs in and around London.

You'll have to take three compulsory modules, including a dissertation, worth 120 credits in total, and then choose from two optional modules worth 30 credits each. In total you'll have to complete 180 credits.

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

Modules

Optional placement year

The compulsory core modules provide you with a comprehensive grounding in the theoretical and empirical approaches to studying media institutions, texts and communication practices.

With a broad choice of option modules, you can specialise in research areas that interest you, and examine various media industries and communication practices within their historical, economic, political and social contexts.

Core modules

Media and Communication Dissertation

60 credits

This module enables students to demonstrate their ability to undertake a sustained piece of independent project in media and communication at an advanced level on a topic of their choice agreed in conjunction with their dissertation supervisor. Dissertations may be based on some primary research into a particular case study, archive or canon in combination with an engagement with secondary material, criticism or literature review. Students can either undertake a standard dissertation (12- 15,000 words) or a practice-based dissertation (plus a maximum of 5,000 word reflection on practice and/ or the creative process). The second part of MD7001 provides the teaching for this module, and covers research skills such as constructing a proposal, editing and composition, reflection on practice, referencing, and on online and electronic research methods.

Media and Globalisation

30 credits

The culture of the West is no longer the sole driver of globalisation. All nations around the world are enjoined to compete on multiple media platforms and cultural arenas where culture and economy are conjoined across globalized communications networks. At the same time, even as national cultures seek to position their ‘brands' in the global ‘marketplace', they are challenged by trans- and post-national corporations, particularly new media companies among the wealthiest in the world.

The rise of popular social and nationalist movements contesting the inequalities represented by these elites take place, similarly, across global media networks. This module explores the current debates around the cultural politics of the new globalization that is continually being transformed by the radical changes being introduced by technological ‘disruptions' that have collapsed familiar spatial and temporal dimensions of the world. Through addressing pertinent theoretical perspectives and case studies from different parts of the world, the module examines the political, social, cultural and moral issues that arise in the context of the new realities and conflicts being produced and facilitated by globalized media and communication.

From Mass Media to New Media: Theories, Approaches, Applications

30 credits

This module provides a broad-based exploration of the conceptual history of electronic and digital media technologies and their effect on society, culture and politics. Contemporary case studies from everyday media are used to evaluate the usability of different theoretical frameworks discussed in the first part of the module. These are organised into three major topics.

1) The transition to managerial governance, cultural politics, consumer cultures and the media industries.

2) The analogue-digital interface in media aesthetics and media art.

3) Emerging trends in theorising new media and digital cultures.

Optional modules

Freedom, Censorship and Subversion

30 credits

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.

Cinematic Animals: Monsters, Beasts, and Humans on Film

30 credits

This module examines the way in which the genres of Horror and Cartoon Comedy splice animals and humans together to create frightening or comical visions of both. There is a long history in cinema of humanising the animal ('anthropomorphism') and animalising the human ('theriomorphism'), through hybrids of animal and human beings (werewolves, man-beasts from Greek myth), or animal and human behaviour, as when feeding (vampires, zombies) or in political behaviour (invading alien monsters). We will analyse the narrational methods, cinematic technologies, ethics, and politics of these films by looking at contemporary examples including Twilight, Daybreakers, Red Dragon, The Island of Dr Moreau, Splice, X-Men, Up!, Antz, Happy Feet, District 9 and Alien.

Creating Magazines: Content and Context

30 credits

This module aims to provide you with the practical skills necessary to work as successful journalists, underpinned by an understanding of the constraints and tensions inherent in magazine offices, and online operations developing in a changing industry. You will examine the structure of this fast-expanding sector, with a particular emphasis on the role played by freelance journalists and production staff in generating content.

You will have the opportunity to acquire the core skills for producing online and print publications which will include the use of social media/analytics/branding/research and interview techniques. You will be equipped with multimedia reporting, production and design skills in demand in the journalism industry and will be confident about telling stories through video and audio as well as the written word.

The module offers valuable opportunities for you to work together to produce and run your own group website, and magazine, developing your teamwork skills and experiencing the reality of different job roles in a multimedia operation. This classroom experience will provide a valuable introduction to the two-week work placement all students will be required to undertake as part of the module.

Special Study: Multi-Platform Political Communication

30 credits

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.

Special Study: Art/Media Management and Production

30 credits

This special study examines art / media management and production in relation to opportunities and challenges posed in the current digital landscape.

You will be able to familiarise yourselves with rights management issues, defining and understanding rights in the context of your own topical areas of interest; professional practice; and/or, production work. Looking at such rights as copyright, brand rights, image rights, privacy, freedom of expression and information, censorship, and regulation - you will explore how these work in practice. You will also develop knowledge and understanding of the use of agreements and of licensing, and relate these to art / media production and, professional practice.

You will have a wide range of case studies to focus on: film, music, fashion, advertising, PR, publishing, and art; global media production and cultures of appropriation. There will be an opportunity to study theoretical aspects of ‘digital disruption', the impact and use of free / open media and, how making media is affected by share culture, remix/mashups. Production work with archives and issues raised by archival rights are an important focus and you will learn how to navigate these. To understand what happens to art and media work once produced, you will look also at distribution, the rights affecting distribution, and the impact on these of eg.download culture, cultural appropriation, globalisation; transborder flow, media convergence and spreadability.

You may EITHER write an extended essay OR engage in production or practice-based projects. The focus topics are wide and based on student choice (such as, in the past, free expression and identity; cyber-bulling and social media; documenting conflict; PR and reputation work; culture jamming; brand management; style and advertising; music production). The output options are also wide ranging (from critical essays; to video essay; blogs; podcasts / vlog websites; music and video mashups; short video documentary). There is a substantial opportunity to transfer employability skills and knowledge acquired in the module to a range of professional contexts.

Television Production

30 credits

This is a practical module designed to enable you to experience and work in a professionally-focused industry environment, and develop television production skills such as multi-camera operation, sound, mixing and teleprompting.

You will learn how to work and operate a professional broadcast studio as well as developing TV production skills. In addition, you will build on and reinforce employability skills such as problem-solving, time management and dependability sought by employers looking to fill graduate positions. You will be encouraged to reflect on your professional practice and critically evaluate your teaching and learning contributions.

This module builds practical and theoretical knowledge and skills towards the creation of a final year production piece. You can make either TV drama or TV documentary but must use the production studio for at least part of their production. This caveat will contribute to the wide range of skills that the industry demands of graduates.

 

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject specific professional skills in their chosen subject.

You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and can use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

A second class degree or above in a Humanities subject (Film, Media Studies, Languages, History, English, etc) or in the History of Art, Fine Art or other studio-based subjects which include an art historical or contextual studies component, or another area appropriate to the degree.
Consideration is also given to non-standard entrants with relevant work experience that demonstrates the necessary skills and intellectual achievement required to undertake the course.

Additional requirements

Interviews

We normally invite applicants for an interview with the course director or another senior member of the teaching team. International students based overseas can arrange for an interview by email or telephone.

What our students say

I chose Kingston University for its reputation and location. Most importantly, the MA Media and Communication course structure was tailored to my needs as a communications professional.

I liked the lecturers the most because they were knowledgeable about the subjects. They have created space in every module for students to engage in debates and discussions, making the lectures cosy and informative while fostering friendships amongst students.

Kingston University embraces differences in nationalities, races, gender, abilities and academic backgrounds. This makes the university feel like a home away from home, especially for international students like myself because of all the different, amazing people you can befriend and work with academically.

Emile Ndayambaje

Teaching and assessment

Essays, reports, position papers, presentations, research projects, practice-based projects, and dissertation (either written or practice-based).

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 11% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 161hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,312hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 161 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1312 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises practical (eg presentations, audio/ video production) and coursework (eg essays, position papers, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 100%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 20 to 30 students and lecture sizes are normally suitable for interactive teaching. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £8,900
  • MA part time £4,895

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £16,200
  • MA part time £8,910

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.


Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Who teaches this course?

On this course, you will meet a diverse cohort of international students with professional experience in the media industries, and benefit from a multicultural study environment, thanks to the wide range of postgraduate courses on offer. The Faculty's combination of academics and practitioners makes it a unique environment in which to further your studies and your career.

The Faculty provides a vibrant and forward-thinking environment for study with:

  • courses designed in collaboration with industry professionals - keeping you up to date with the latest developments;
  • established connections with the London arts and media scene - with a range of guest speakers, professors and lecturers visiting the University; and
  • committed and enthusiastic staff - many of whom are expert practitioners as well as leading academics and researchers.

Postgraduate students may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader.

Facilities

There is a wide range of facilities at our Penrhyn Road campus, where this course is based. You will have access to a modern environment with the latest equipment, including our specialist film and media labs, equipped with iMacs running software including Final Cut Studio Pro and the Adobe Creative Suite.

Students also have access to a film studio facility with backgrounds and green wall, as well as a fully equipped audio recording facility running Logic Pro and Pro Tools.

Other media facilities, including professional standard Moving Image and Photography suites, are available at Knight's Park campus, where many of our art, design, architecture and creative courses are taught.

General facilities

The library offers:

  • subject libraries, plus a free inter-library loan scheme to other libraries in the Greater London area;
  • online database subscriptions; and
  • a wide selection of resource materials.

Resources in London

Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of film-related resources, media hubs, and exhibition centres.  

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Links with business and industry

There are always interesting activities taking place at Kingston and exciting opportunities to take advantage of, from guest lectures to special screenings. We have previously welcomed feature writers for the Guardian, Time Magazine, and investigative journalists who covered global politics

Media colleagues organise and host international conferences on a wide range of subjects including the E-Poetry Conference, Black Metal conference, Hegel and world history conference, and "BTS: A Global Interdisciplinary conference" (2020).

Regular lunchtime lectures take place with exciting guest speakers like James Ball, a special correspondent at BuzzFeed UK. He played a key role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the NSA leaks by Edward Snowden.

James Jones, renowned investigative and undercover producer and filmmaker for the BBC, who films in North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Ukraine and Russia, has also guest lectured.

Research areas

Many of the staff in the media department are research active. Their portfolio of academic works, digital art exhibitions and practical projects covers a wide range of disciplinary areas such as video production, digital art, electronic literature (see Maria Mencia #WomenTechLit: Computing Literature), continental philosophy (see Hager Weslati: Hegel, Logic and Speculation), globalisation theories and the music industry (Scott Wilson: Scott Walker)  

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.

In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.

Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Modules

We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Length of course

We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.

In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.

Entry requirements for international students

We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.

While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.

In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.

In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for Year 1

Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.

Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.

Timetable

Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.

Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.

As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.

The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.

Funding

There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.

Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.

In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.

Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.

Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Qualification

No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.

Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.