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MA Political Communication

Course Description

The MA in Political Communication aims to provide a thorough understanding of the causes and consequences of the mediatisation of politics. It combines theoretical insights from political science, communications studies, psychology and political economy with applied knowledge from political journalism and public relations. The programme takes a comparative perspective by exploring the role of political communication in western and non-western, established and emerging democracies.

Some (and only some) of the questions this programme addresses through the set of its core and optional modules include:

•What is the democratic role of the media, and how well are they performing their role?
•Are the media free to be irresponsible?
•Are elections really decided on television, or what other factors are driving voting behaviour?
•How much power do ‘spin doctors’ have on the way in which political parties and governments operate?
•How does political persuasion work?
•How do political messages affect citizens?
•attitudes, knowledge and values?
•How can we use communication theories to design effective communication campaigns?
•Is e-democracy an effective way of citizen empowerment?

Core modules
Semester 1: Politics and the Media
This module explores the theoretical foundations of political communication in contemporary democracies. The course takes a comparative perspective in order to understand the implications of different institutional contexts for the interaction between political actors, the media and the citizens. We will begin with the early manifestations of democracy in Ancient Greece and then move on to different models of contemporary democracy and their normative assumptions. The module aims to provide thorough understanding of the core institutions and organisations that shape modern politics and how communications, be it mediated through traditional mass media or the Internet, affect the processes and outcomes of political decision making. The module is assessed by two three thousand word essays.

Semester 2: Political Campaigns and Political Public Relations
This module explores the nature and effectiveness of systematic communications techniques in contemporary mediated politics. The first part of the module focuses on the tactics of political press officers in influencing media coverage and the use of what is often known as ‘spin’. The second part of the module examines the principles of rational campaign design and the deployment of political marketing techniques to influence the outcome of election campaigns. The module analyses communication strategies employed by governments, political parties, pressure groups and NGOs and their implications for the future of democracy. The module is assessed by a three thousand word essay and a campaign portfolio.

Optional modules
Students can choose from a range of optional modules (subject to availability), including:

•New Media and Citizenship
•The Politics and Economics of Communications Policy
•Public Diplomacy, Propaganda and Psychological Operations
•Democratisation and the Media in Asia
•Communication and Public Opinion
•The Media, International Crises and Crisis Management
•Political Journalism

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

Entry Requirements

The normal entry requirement is a Bachelor’s degree equivalent to a UK first or upper second honours degree.Candidates whose first language is not English must provide evidence that their English language is sufficient to meet the demands of their study. In particular, we require one of the following qualifications:1. An IELTS Band Score 6.5 (7.0 preferred) with not less than 6.0 in any skill area or 2. Internet Based TOEFL 92 overall, 21 listening, 21 reading, 23 speaking, 22 writing

Course Fees

Full-time international students 2013-14: £13,100. Full-time home/EU students 2013-14: £5,100

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