This is the unique Masters-level programme offered that specifically addresses Critical Media and Cultural Studies of the non-Western world. The degree introduces students to the key contemporary issues discussed in Asian and African media and provides them with the opportunity to engage directly in research on an aspect of these media. It has a strong theoretical element, equipping students with the intellectual tools to consider the production, distribution and reception of non-Western media in new ways and to challenge the English-language, Eurocentric approach of most media studies scholarship.
While media studies degrees usually concentrate on media production, distribution and reception in North America and Western Europe, this programme considers critical issues in media and cultural studies in their full global complexity, with a focus on the cultures and societies of Asia and Africa and their diasporas. The degree is distinctive in the depth of theoretical and cultural background to contemporary media processes that it provides. Optional courses offer a range of approaches to the critical study of Asian and African discourses, from cinema to music, comparative literature to language, gender, religion, art and archaeology.
The programme is designed for students with an interest in critical theory; media professionals seeking alternative ways of understanding the media and culture industries; and those in NGOs and government organizations interested in challenging the hegemony of media corporations. It is well suited to students wishing to proceed to MPhil/PhD research in media or cultural studies, visual cultural studies, urban studies, sociology and anthropology.
Each student takes 4 units in total: the Compulsory Course (1 unit), the Dissertation (1 unit), two half units from list 3 and one unit of options of their choice.
In choosing their courses, MA students are advised to pay careful attention to the balance of coursework across the two terms. In particular it is important to ensure that each term you have three taught courses. However much you might wish to take a mixture of courses that requires more coursework in one term than the other, it is most unwise to attempt to take four courses in one term and two in the other. Experience has shown that students simply cannot manage the load during the heavy term with the result that they either do very badly, fail or are unable to complete the courses in question. As a result Directors of Studies for the degrees and the Faculty staff will not approve a selection of courses which results in an imbalanced workload. An imbalance of courses between terms is only possible with the written permission of the convenor of the degree .
An MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies from SOAS gives students expertise in media and communications as well as the ability to identify and analyse critical issues in media and cultural studies in their full global context. It is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.
Students develop a portfolio of transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including communication skills, interpersonal skills, team work, flexibility and dedication.