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The Critical Studies pathway of the MA in Digital Media is for students who wish to investigate the significance, impact and interpretation of digital media and technologies. It explores the theory and practice of media in society, its history, its relationship to popular culture and its new possibilities in the digital age.

About this degree

Students will explore contemporary digital media practices in relation to questions of culture, politics and representation. They will critically examine transformations in digital culture and society focusing on, for example, mobile communications and media, digital screens and the body, and digital games and player cultures. 

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits including compulsory and optional modules and write a dissertation (20,000 words) or report (10,000 words).

The degree includes two compulsory modules (30 credits each); two optional modules (30 credits each); a 20,000 word Dissertation (60 credits); or a 10,000 word Report (30 credits), allowing an additional 30 credit module.

Compulsory modules

The two compulsory modules are: Theory and Critical Reflection, addressing theories of the media in society; and Critical Enquiry, providing training in research methodologies including textual analysis and ethnographic practice.

  • Theory and Critical reflection
  • Critical Enquiry

Optional modules

Mobile Media and Place (locative media and digital geographies); Bodies and Digital Media (physical, virtual and technological embodiment); Digital Games, Play and Creativity (digital games, player cultures, basic game design). Or other modules in the MA Digital Media programme, subject to availability.

  • Mobile Media and Place
  • Bodies and Digital Media
  • Digital Games, Play and Creativity

 Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.


All students undertake a research project culminating in a 20,000 word Dissertation (60 credits) or a smaller study leading to a 10,000 word Report (30 credits). Both may be part-practice based, with practical media production replacing half the word-count.

Teaching and learning

Teaching is delivered by face-to-face lectures and seminars, and practical workshops combined with online-learning support. Students are assessed by coursework assignments of up to 5,000 words, plus practical or portfolio work for some modules. Practical workshops will take place in the new Future Media studio at the UCL Knowledge Lab.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.


For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


This programme will equip students with skills, knowledge and experience related to the rapidly-changing worlds of digital media cultures. It will therefore support career development in a variety of media contexts, as well as further postgraduate study.


Graduates of this programme will gain critical insights into the media: into the nature of production, consumption and uses of the media in contemporary society. They will be experienced in the analysis of media texts across a range of media. They will acquire critical insights into the nature of modern digital media, such as mobile media and digital games. They will gain experience of qualitative media research techniques.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The Digital Media MA at the UCL Institute of Education is one of the longest-established Media MAs in the UK. It is based at the UCL Knowledge Lab, a leading interdisciplinary centre whose mission is to understand and develop digital technologies to support and transform education and beyond. Based on research evidence, the Knowledge Lab devises new pedagogies, designs and implements innovative digital media and smart technologies for teaching and learning, and informs policymakers and educational stakeholders.

The programme team belongs to the DARE research centre, a research collaboration with the British Film Institute. With a track record of funded research in the digital media arts, we offer students a chance to learn from direct research experience.

Students will have access to our Future Media studio with computer suites, performance space and sound recording facilities.

Department: Culture, Communication & Media


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £75 for online applications and £100 for paper applications. Further information can be found at:

Who can apply?

This pathway is for students who wish to investigate the significance, impact and interpretation of digital media and technologies. It will be suitable for those in employment in the media industries seeking continuing professional development, as well as for those interested in a subsequent research career in the media. 

Application deadlines

26 July 2019

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

Visit the Digital Media: Critical Studies MA page on the University College London website for more details!