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Media, Campaigning and Social Change (MA)

Course Description

This new Masters degree from the world ranking Department of Journalism and Mass Communications aims to equip students with the skills, knowledge and strategic approach to develop and analyse social change campaigns, with a particular focus on the role of communications and the media. Now in its second year, this is the only MA of its kind in the UK.

This innovative course builds on our close links with leading campaigners and communicators in London's vibrant social change sector. An advisory panel, with representatives from Amnesty UK, Campaign Bootcamp, FairSay, Friends of the Earth, NCVO, RIBA, WaterAid and Scouts among others, will ensure we always reflect the skill sets in demand and deliver an exciting learning experience. A limited number of work placements and internships will be available.

The course is aimed at those with some experience or interest in social change, the media, and communications or campaigns within not for profit organisations. The course will help you improve your practical skills, develop a deep understanding of the theories and frameworks that underpin and shape campaign communications, and enjoy the space to reflect critically on current and past practice. It is designed to help you start, or progress, a career in charity, pressure group or public sector campaign communications. It may also be of interest to those working in corporate social responsibility.

The course team has extensive experience both in developing social change campaigns and in academic research into the connections between media and social change. The course is jointly led by Michaela O’Brien and Dr. Anastasia Kavada with additional teaching by practitioners and members of CAMRI.

The course offers a number of delivery modes to suit the different needs of students and can be taken as either part-time or full-time.

There are three core modules. The first develops practical planning and campaign communications skills; the second considers media and activism theories; and the third combines theory with practice, reflecting on applying concepts like power and ethics within the setting of campaign communications. Each module has assessments – e.g. essays, campaign plans, reflective blogs, debates and presentations - rather than exams.

These three core modules make up the Postgraduate Certificate.

Students can take another three modules - chosen from a very wide range of options including practical media and content production skills; diversity issues; development and policy; social media; theories of communication and more - to complete a Postgraduate Diploma.

Students wanting to take the Masters course also complete either a 15,000-word research dissertation, or a professional practice project (which can be work-based).

Core modules - Semester One

In this module, students will consider the factors that influence social change in the context of current campaigns around the world, and the historical development of campaign techniques and practices. They will apply a critical analysis of concepts such as power, theories of change, ethics, innovation, media representation, narrative and framing to practical scenarios and topical campaigns. This module requires students to monitor and critically evaluate practice in the UK and / or internationally

Core modules - Semester Two

The module critically investigates the relationship between media, activism and politics. It offers a critical assessment of the role of media in political mobilization, social movements, dissent, wars, conflicts, elections, and political and social crises. The module looks at the impact of the internet and new means of transparency and communications on journalism and activism in a range of circumstances from secure democracies through different kinds of political systems. The module is unique in its combination of traditional academic lectures and seminars with attendance of topical events and visits to relevant exhibitions and institutions.

In this module students will learn how to research and plan a campaign for social change based on the theories of social change examined in semester 1. They will produce communication material such as news releases, e-alerts, tweets, infographics and / or videos to support the campaign strategy. Where possible, students work to live briefs. This is a practical, hands-on module taught through a series of workshops, visits to campaign communication teams in London-based campaigning organisations, and guest talks by leading campaigners and social change communicators.

Optional modules

Students choose three optional modules from the following menu. You may choose to focus on practical skills, on new technologies, on diversity or development, or on media audiences and industries.

Semester One (choose two of the following):

 Approaches to Social and Cultural Diversity
 Global Media
 Media Management and Content Production (PR and the Media)
 Media Production
 Political Economy of Communication
 Reporting Diversity: Gender, Sexuality, Age, Disability
 Social Media: Creativity, Sharing, Visibility
 Technology and Communications Policy
 Theories of Communication

Semester Two (choose one of the following):

 Approaches to Media and Communications Research
 Critical Theory of Social Media and the Internet
 Development and Communications Policy
 Media Audiences
 Online Journalism
 Reporting Diversity: Faith and Religion
 Reporting Migration, Race and Ethnicity
 Sociology of News
 Web Production: Westminster News Online

Associated careers

This course is particularly relevant if you want to start, or to progress, a career in communications and campaigning for social change, whether in a charity or non-governmental organisation; in a public sector body; in a political party or election campaigning setting; or even in a corporate social responsibility role. It could also be a stepping-stone towards a PhD and an academic career in this growing field of study.


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, Campaigning and Social Change (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

Student Profiles

Entry Requirements

You should possess an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent). If English is your second Language you should have an IELTS score of 7.0.

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