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About the course

Our Masters programme in Media History draws on the expertise of staff in both the Departments of History and Welsh History and Theatre, Film and Television Studies to provide an interdisciplinary exploration of the history of the mass media in the modern world.

In Semester 1 you’ll follow a core module that introduces you to both the history and the historiography of the mass media (the press, film and broadcasting), and its political and social function. This is followed by a range of options in Semester 2 that address in more detail aspects of the mass media and its political, social and cultural role, in Britain and beyond.

Alongside this study, you will benefit from specialist research training tailored to your own particular research interests, with specific reference to research in visual and sound media, and in newspapers and broadcasting archives.

There are also classes to help you research and write your MA dissertation, an original research project (15,000 words) undertaken by you and written over the course of the year under the close supervision of a specialist within the Department.

All our lecturers are active researchers who publish their work, and you will benefit from being taught the latest historical theories and techniques. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

This degree will suit you:

• If you wish to interrogate historical practises at an advanced level;
• If you desire a strengthen your critical and scholarly abilities through engagement with historical sources;
• If you wish develop practical skills and gain hands-on experience in researching Media History;
• If you aim to foster transferable skills and engage in professional and personal development for entering employment.

Course content

Core modules:

Dissertation *
Media History: An Introduction
Research Methods and Professional Skills in History

Optional modules:

Broadcasting Society and Culture in the Twentieth Century
Film and Representation
From Avant Garde to Documentary
Information and Society
Political Culture in Modern Britain, Europe and the Usa
Political Power and the Media in Britain
Politics and Culture of the Cold War in Southeast Asia
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis
Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis (1120)
Sources for Postgraduate Research in the Modern Humanities and Social Sciences
Understanding the Cold War
Working with History

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh

Contact time

Approximately 6 hours a week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.


The course is assessed through a diverse range of assignments, including the 15,000 word MA dissertation.

Careers & Work Placements

Many of our Masters graduates go on to PhD study and academic careers. Others apply their skills in heritage administration, in tourism, museums and archives, or related branches of public administration, the civil service and local government, or go on to careers in related fields such as teaching, journalism or the broadcast media.

Work placements in collaboration with the National Library of Wales, the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments in Wales, or another of the heritage agencies based in and around Aberystwyth, are available for course credit in some schemes (please contact us for further information).


Every element of the Aberystwyth Masters in Media History enhances your employability in both vocational and more generic work situations. Alongside the development of your subject-specific knowledge and experience as a Media Historian, an especially noteworthy strength of this course is the emphasis on personal development. Your strengthened research and critical faculties will make you a strong candidate for any post where ideas and topics need research, analysis, discussion, expansion and classification.

The University’s association with National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales (NSSAW) is a highly significant part of this course, as it will enable you to conduct a hands-on exploration of their superb collections and engage with the practical challenges of research in media archives. Practical expertise, combined with your subject-specific knowledge, will set you above your competitors upon entering the jobs market where experience is at a premium. The study skills, technical knowledge and hands-on experience of historical processes and media studies will give you a tremendous advantage in employment within the discipline.

Beyond Media History-related work contexts, employers in any industry value creativity, research, analysis and discursive skills that you will gain in this course. You will develop highly marketable skills which will, upon graduation, stand you in excellent stead for entry into the general jobs market. The organisational skills you will learn on this course will help you direct and therefore make the most of your individual flair, bringing a balance of skills that prospective employers will find attractive.

Unique Perspective on Media

This course will provide you with a rare understanding of the development of media from its roots to modern expressions. This will equip you with a unique insight on contemporary trends and developments in new media, and you will be able to contextualise modern practices in a way no-one else can. This course offers you the opportunity to develop a unique perspective and therefore an interesting voice on media matters, which will prove to be a significant strength in any future work as a professional media historian, media journalist, subject teacher, author or in role as other kinds of media professional.

Because of the nature of this course’s assessment programme, you will graduate with a wealth of experience in writing and reporting, as well as much experience in critical appraisal by others. The rigorous feedback you receive on your submissions will develop in you a thorough knowledge of the structure, conventions and development of written communications, which will, in turn, make your writing clear, accurate and authoritative.

A host of employers look for accuracy, thoroughness, an eye for detail and the ability to find and prove connections across broad subject matter, and you certainly will have proven yourself, simply by graduating from this prestigious MA course.

Visit the Media History - MA page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!





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