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Media and Development (MA)

Course Description

The Media and Development MA is an interdisciplinary course that teaches main theories, concepts, case studies and practical media skills around the theme of media and development and its implications for less developed countries. The course will provide you with a unique blend of theory and practice teaching, aimed at deepening your knowledge of the history of communications within the development process of emerging economies. It will critically evaluate the impact of international and regional institutions from a critical political economic perspective. Teaching by academic staff, guest lecturers and other carefully selected staff from development organisations will provide you with an overview of the policies, actions and impact of state and non-state institutions within the area of communication media and development.

A distinctive feature is its emphasis on the practical role of communication media in development. You will participate in media production workshops and take part in our internship programme, offered in partnership with media and development organisations in London. As part of the work experience module, students participate in an extensive NGOs and media seminar series featuring experts and panel discussions. The work placement programme is in line with the University of Westminster’s strategy of nurturing of the critical practitioner.

The course team is led by Dr Winston Mano and includes Professor Daya Thussu, Professor Christian Fuchs, Professor David Gauntlett, Professor Naomi Sakr, Dr Anthony McNicholas, Dr Xin Xin, Dr Anastasia Kavada, Dr Maria Michalis, Dr Roza Tsagarousianou, Dr Tarik Sabry, Paul Majendie, Geoffrey Davies and Michaela O’Brien. Visiting Lecturers include Jackie Davies, founder and Director of the Communication and Development Network (C4D) (http://www.c4d.org), a community of professionals working in communication for development. As a peer network the C4D Network is aimed at communication for development practitioners plus allied development workers, donors, academics and communication experts from the BBC, UN and major development organisations. The joining criterion is an engagement in communication for development - either professionally or through academia. Students on the Media and Development MA have the option to join the C4D network and each can do a fellowship/internship with the network during the course.

Semester one

Core modules
- Dissertation
A taught module and group workshops in the first semester will guide you in conducting a major piece of independent research. This module will be supplemented by individual supervisions beginning from the second semester. The aim is to give you a guided framework within which you can demonstrate your ability to carry out advanced independent study and write it up in the form of a dissertation. The dissertation is a 15,000-word piece of original research on a topic agreed with your supervisor and related to the political, economic, cultural and/or sociological factors which shape the practices and outcomes of mass media, including media texts and the audience reception of them.

- Theories of Communication
The module is intentionally eclectic.You will cover (in a loosely historical way) the arguments, advantages and problems of the main sociological, cultural and psychological theories about the media. It aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the most important ways of approaching the fundamental issues posed by the relationships between the media of communication and social and economic life. It will also enable you to understand the problems posed by different intellectual traditions, and to place those theories in their proper contexts.

- Theories of Development
This module focuses on different theories and approaches to development. It considers key development theories and approaches such as modernization, dependency and Neo- Liberalism and will provide you with an opportunity to critically assess their relevance to specific contexts in developing countries.

Option modules
- Analysis of Communication Policy
- Approaches to Social and Cultural
- Global Media
- Media Production Skills
- Political Economy of Communication
- Reporting Diversity: Migration, Race, Ethnicity
- Study Skills (No Credits)
- Technology and Communication Policy

Semester two

Core modules
- Development and Communication Policy
The aims of this module are to provide you with a theoretical overview of the concept of ‘development’, and the opportunity to consider how it relates to empirical experience in communications in small and developing countries. You will be able to analyse the role of multilateral and bilateral agencies, NGOs, public service broadcasting and to compare the experiences of a range of countries in attempting to retain cultural autonomy, in developing their own communications technologies and policies, in democratisation, and in exporting mass media content. This module also critically discusses Chinese intervention in communication and development in Africa.

- Media Work Experience
Students will be encouraged to take work experience during the course. With the number of charities and NGOs dealing with development in London, we expect students will get a placement with an organisation and we envisage them working in a communications role. Students on the Media and Development MA have the option to join the C4D Network and each can do a fellowship/internship with the network during the course.

Option modules
- Approaches to Media and Communication Research
- Development Media in Practice
- Media Audiences
- Media Business Strategy
- Media, Activism and Censorship
- NGOS and Charity Campaigns
- Policies for Digital Convergence
- Reporting Diversity: Sexuality, Age, Disability
- Reporting Diversity in the Media: Faith and Religion
- Sociology of News

Associated Careers

The Media and Development MA is suitable for you if you would value an opportunity to be able to reflect critically on the role of media in the process of development and learn practical skills. The course will be of interest to you if you have a background in working for governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organisations, and a range of international business organisations, while at the same time providing appropriate preparation for those seeking employment in such fields or, indeed, wanting to prepare for further studies for higher a higher degree, including a PhD.
While the majority of our graduates will return to more senior posts with improved skills, knowledge and qualifications gained from their year with us, we would expect them to apply for jobs at development organisations such as Internews, BBC Media Action, Oxfam, Save the Children, Red Cross, ActionAid, Panos, DfiD, Intermedia, Institute of War and Peace, Christian Aid, WACC, OneWorld and War on Want.


At Westminster, we have always believed that your University experience should be designed to enhance your professional life. Today’s organisations need graduates with both good degrees and employability skills, and we are committed to enhancing your graduate employability by ensuring that career development skills are embedded in all courses.

Opportunities for part-time work, placements and work-related learning activities are widely available, and can provide you with extra cash and help you to demonstrate that you have the skills employers are looking for. In London there is a plentiful supply of part-time work – most students at the University of Westminster work part time (or full time during vacations) to help support their studies.

We continue to widen and strengthen our links with employers, involving them in curriculum design and encouraging their participation in other aspects of career education and guidance. Staff take into account the latest data on labour market trends and employers’ requirements to continually improve the service delivered to students.

Visit the Media and Development (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

You should have, or expect at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent). If English is your second language you should have and IELTS score of at least 6.5, with 6.30 in each element.

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