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Political Communication MA


Course Description

Modern democracies are increasingly shaped by the relationships between politicians, mass media and citizens. This interdisciplinary programme applies ideas from a range of approaches to give you an insight into the context and production of political journalism and communication.

Core modules will introduce you to political communication in established and emerging democracies worldwide, exploring the ethics and power dynamics at play. You’ll ask questions around media freedom, the responsibilities of journalists, ‘spin doctors’, the impact of emerging technologies and whether elections really are decided on TV.

You’ll also tailor the programme to suit your personal and career interests, choosing from optional modules on topics such as digital media, PR and the role of the media in democratisation. Supported by our Media Industries Research Centre, leading researchers and experienced practitioners, you’ll be well equipped for a career in this challenging field.

Our School has a range of fantastic facilities to support your studies. The 58-seat Phil Taylor Cinema is equipped with Dolby Digital sound and high-definition projection facilities, as well as projectors for 16mm and 35mm film.

You can also work on your own projects in our 44 editing suites, equipped with Avid Media Composer editing software and Adobe Creative Cloud. The fully equipped TV studio also has a large green screen area, lighting and photo-flash facilities. We also have a track and dolly, sliders, Glidecam and various cranes, and you’ll have access to a new photographic dark room.

We also run a loans service where you can borrow a range of HD digital camcorders and various Canon stills cameras to help with your project work.

Course content

Throughout the year you’ll study two core modules that cover the foundations of the programme, exploring the role of communications in contemporary politics.

You’ll look at different models of contemporary democracy and compare the relations between political actors, the media and citizens. From there you’ll move onto recent innovations sparked by cultural, technological and political change. With this in mind, you’ll then design a political campaign that incorporates some of these developments.

On top of this, you’ll build specialist knowledge through your choice of optional modules. These vary every year, but can include topics such as television narrative, media and globalisation, urban narratives, and media and democratisation. The optional modules allow you to focus on topics that suit your own interests or perhaps reflect your career plans.

Throughout the year, you’ll also be preparing for your dissertation through the Dissertation and Research Methods module. Your dissertation is a major independent research project on a topic of your choice, which you submit at the end of the year.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll complete the MA over two years, instead of one, taking fewer modules each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation and Research Methods 60 credits
  • Innovations in Political Communication 30 credits
  • Politics and the Media 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Technology, Media and Critical Literacy 30 credits
  • Communication and International Affairs 30 credits
  • Public Relations Theory 30 credits
  • Public Relations, Culture and Society 30 credits
  • Feminism, Identity and Media 30 credits
  • Media, Culture and Globalisation 30 credits
  • The Media and Democratisation: Global Perspectives 30 credits
  • Communication and Public Opinion 30 credits
  • Multimedia Journalism 30 credits
  • Communication and Development 30 credits
  • The Cultural History of Promotional Communication 30 credits
  • Identity, Culture and Technology 30 credits
  • Rhetoric and Public Speaking 15 credits
  • Managing Business Across Cultures 15 credits
  • International Organisations: Context, Theory and Practice 15 credits
  • Writing for Professional Purposes 15 credits
  • 'Race', Identity and Culture in the Black Atlantic 30 credits
  • Researching Inequality in the Media 30 credits
  • Reality TV: Truth or Fiction? 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Political Communication MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Political Communication MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

MA modules will use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, group learning and project work, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Independent study is also crucial to this degree, as an opportunity to deepen your knowledge of the subjects introduced in lectures and seminars, and to develop your skills in analysis and research. You should anticipate spending at least 20 hours per week on independent study associated with your modules.

Assessment

Assessments also take different forms so you can develop diverse skills. These are likely to include essays and exams as well as group presentations, projects and reports, as well as campaign analyses and case studies.

Career opportunities

This programme isn’t a practical training course, but it does give you an in-depth understanding of the role and importance of political communication – a sector which is constantly growing.

Our graduates have entered a wide range of related careers in political journalism, government communications, communications analysis and advisory roles for political parties. Others have gone on to work for international organisations and pressure groups.

You’ll also be prepared to continue with further research at PhD level and pursue an academic career.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.


Visit the Political Communication MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a social sciences or humanities subject. Relevant professional experience will also be considered.
Applications based on degrees in other subjects will be considered on an individual basis by the programme leader. If you do not have a background in Politics, please also include a statement in your application explaining why you should be offered a place. English language requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Last Updated

04 August 2017

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