Course overview

Explore the rapidly changing world of contemporary communications. You'll examine current practices, and the problems they raise in terms of economics, politics, society and culture.

International in its scope and outlook, the course engages with the globalisation of media and communication and the de-Westernisation of media studies.

Media and communications content

We look at a range of theories and perspectives from around the world as well as empirical findings from transnational comparative research.

Particular themes covered include:

  • media and cultural labour
  • agency and power in a digital era
  • the ethics and politics of communication practices

Language learning

An integral part of the course. There are options across European, Asian and Arabic languages, with levels to suit your existing skills.

Our staff

We're a multidisciplinary team and you'll benefit from expertise across a range of specialisations including:

  • media studies
  • digital media
  • critical theory
  • cultural studies
  • cultural industries

Your department

Why choose this course?

Cutting-edge research

We bring together cutting-edge research from a range of disciplines


Study in a Department where exploring and exchanging ideas is actively encouraged

Thriving community

Join a thriving postgraduate teaching and research community

Course content

You'll complete 180 credits worth of modules.

Core modules

  • Dissertation - 60 credits
  • Taught modules - 80 credits
  • Language modules - 20 credits

Optional modules

  • A taught module of your choice - 20 credits

The programme can be taken either full-time over 12 months or part-time over 24 months.



Together with your supervisor you'll select a topic, carry out research and write up a 12 to 15, 000 word dissertation. Your supervisor will have regular one-on-one meetings with you to provide advice and feedback as you go.

You will do the final writing and submission over the summer.

Core taught modules

Issues and Challenges in Contemporary Media

The module examines key issues and contemporary debates in the study of media. It explores the implications of "de-Westernising" understandings of media communication, both in theory and in practice. It problematizes the nation state as the ethical and political horizon of media practices.

There are four areas of enquiry:

• Histories of the Present: Media in an International Context
• Political-Economic Strategies and Communication Power
• Emergence of New Actors in Society and Culture
• Ethics and Politics of Communication in a World without Borders

Key fields of research addressed are:

• Media sociology
• Cultural studies
• The political economy of media

This module is worth 20 credits.

Technology and the Transformations of Communication

Explore the role of technology in:

  • shaping processes of symbolic exchange
  • the material organisation of cultures
  • the growth of communication 'power' and subjective capacities for action

The module draws together research in media and communication theory, history and philosophy of technology, geography and the sociology of communication, material cultures.

You'll consider debates about:

  • the division between technical and cultural understandings of the world
  • links between technology and experience
  • critical appraisals of ideas about network and information society
  • technological determinism
  • digital infrastructures
  • theories of socio-technical organisation

This module is worth 20 credits.

Media and Cultural Industries Practices

The media, cultural and creative industries are broad. There are different sectors with a wide variety of areas of practice. These provide many opportunities for future research and employment.

As well as opportunities this diversity also presents barriers that can be difficult to navigate:

  • lack of established entry routes and clear career paths
  • distinctive and specific labour processes
  • specific, complex, and dynamic sets of issues and challenges such as workforce diversity, inequality, precarity and internship culture, skills and education, digitisation, conglomeration, global integration, and platformification.

You'll investigate and analyse the contemporary media and cultural industries with a detailed investigation of specific sectors and areas of practice. Through these investigations, you'll develop knowledge and skills that enhance your employability and build a framework for future research.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mastering the Arts

This module introduces you to the wide range of interdisciplinary research happening in the Faculty of Arts. We invite you to ‘think outside the box’ in relation to your own research, while learning key research techniques and methods. The module aims to:

  • introduce the ideas, practices, complexities, and opportunities of interdisciplinary research in the arts
  • enable you to practice critical self-reflexivity about the conventions and expectations of your own disciplines in relation to those of others
  • train you in core research skills necessary for graduate-level study
  • develop your confidence in communicating research findings to non-specialist audiences

You will build on your existing research skills gained from your university career to date. Furthermore, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of your own research practice, inspiring you to explore different approaches questions. In addition, you will develop an understanding of professional practice in areas such as:

  • academic publishing
  • knowledge exchange
  • dissertation planning and writing
  • professional communication

This module is worth 20 credits.

Optional taught modules

You will take one from the following list:

Investigating Cultural Industries

Explore the specific characteristics of the cultural industries and the main dynamics which shape the operations of those industries. You will be introduced to key critical perspectives on the cultural industries:

  • the processes of cultural production
  • distinctions between cultural industries and 'creative industries'
  • the concept of 'cultural economy'
  • matters of industry structure and cultural markets
  • the specificities of cultural work and the challenges confronting employment in the cultural industries
  • the role and importance of intellectual property rights in the cultural industries
  • the impacts of digitalisation and globalisation.

 This module is worth 20 credits.

Gender, Sexuality and Media

Examine how issues of gender and sexuality relate to media and popular culture.

Using the intersectional fields of feminism, queer theory, and media and cultural studies we'll ask some crucial questions such as:

  • How are gender and sexuality represented in media and popular culture?
  • How do media and cultural industries structure gender and sexual inequalities?
  • How are identities and practices of media audiences and users gendered and sexualised?
  • How can gender and sexual norms be challenged in creative and radical ways?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Public Cultures: Protest, Participation and Power

Explore the relationship between public space, politics and technology using overlapping and interdisciplinary fields, including:

  • cultural studies
  • cultural geography
  • digital studies
  • urban sociology
  • cultural politics

You will engage in debates about the changing nature and uses of public space, with an emphasis on urban environments and digital space.

A range of protest movements will also provide case-study material and offer a central focus for your theoretical and practical explorations of the role of new technologies in:

  • controlling space
  • resisting control
  • enabling new forms of civic participation.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Language modules

Choose one from nine different European, Asian and Arabic languages, with levels to suit your existing skills. You'll study the same language throughout your course, taking a 10 credit module in both the autumn and spring terms.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Thursday 04 April 2024.

Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.


  • Taught modules - these are spread across the Autumn and Spring semesters
  • Dissertation - the final writing and submission is during the summer
  • Language modules - one module in each semester

Part-time (24 month programme)

We know part-time students usually have many other commitments and we are happy to discuss the best scheduling of modules with you.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • eLearning

Teaching and learning will be both in-person and online.

In-person teaching will be mainly:

  • lectures - provide an overview of an issue, using audio and visual materials. All lectures are recorded and available to watch again. This allows you to concentrate on the content being delivered without having to note every detail
  • seminars - small group teaching where you will work individually and in small groups on specific tasks and discuss particular issues as a class
  • tutorials - usually individual sessions to look at particular issues and your current work
  • workshops - a mixture of lecture and seminar based learning, with group tasks responding directly to lecture, video and other material presented in class

Online teaching will be in Moodle, the university's 24/7 virtual learning environment. It holds materials such as additional reading, lecture recordings, seminar tasks, online quizzes to assess learning and discussion forums.

How you will be assessed

  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Examinations
  • Presentation

Most communications and media modules are assessed through essays and presentations. Your dissertation will be an extended piece of work tailored to a specific topic of your choice.

You must pass each module with a minimum pass grade of 50%.

The language modules are assessed through set exams.

Contact time and study hours

The nature of an advanced course is that you take greater responsibility for your learning than at undergraduate level. As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as reading set academic texts, preparation for seminar tasks, and writing assessments.

Contact time and study hours

Communications and media modules

The nature of an advanced course is that you take greater responsibility for your learning than at undergraduate level. As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as reading set academic texts, preparation for seminar tasks, and writing assessments.

A 20 credit module typically involves weekly work of:

  • two to three hours of workshops (which may include lectures or group work)
  • approximately 10 hours of self-study time.

Your lecturers will usually be permanent academic staff from the Department of Cultural, Media and Visual Studies.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type but workshops and seminars are typically between 10 and 20 students. Lectures may be larger, but not usually more than 50 students.

Language classes

A typical 10 credit language module involves about three hours of timetabled classes a week. You'll be expected to do about another three hours of self-study and practice.

Our staff are experienced and qualified language teachers.

Class sizes vary according to level and language but average about 15 students.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2024 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject such as media and/or communication, or another arts, humanities or social science subject with significant elements of media theory, media sociology, political economy, and/or digital communication.


Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply


Qualification MA
Home / UK £9,250
International £22,600

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid beyond your standard tuition fees.

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.


School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies Masters scholarships

Aimed at UK and international students intending to progress on to PhD research. The scholarships cover:

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding


We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Career progression

66.7% of postgraduates from The School of Cultural Media and Visual Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology.

Hollywood Internships programme

This course is perfect for a career in the creative industries. At Nottingham, you can gain valuable experience through internships, placements, and work opportunities. No more so though than with our prestigious Hollywood Internships programme, unique to Nottingham. Previous internships have involved:

  • First-reading of incoming film and television scripts
  • Collecting audience data and preparing evaluation reports
  • Filming interviews with Hollywood veterans for the archive
  • Training, masterclasses, professional lectures and panels
  • Working front of house at special screenings and industry events

Indicative partner organisations include A24, CAA, Disney, Warner, Paramount, Sony, Lionsgate, UTA, and WME.

The partners, number and nature of the internships change each year, advertised in the Autumn term. These are highly competitive positions, and places are not guaranteed. Terms and conditions apply.

The internships are supported through the generosity of Peter Rice, Nottingham graduate and former Chair of Disney General Entertainment Content.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" Global crises like climate change and pandemics demand effective media and communication, yet people around the world are distrustful of ‘mainstream’ media – whether in ‘legacy’ print and broadcast forms or online – but also of social or ‘we’ media as a source of ‘fake news’. It is increasingly difficult to know what is ‘true’, what predictions are reliable, or who is a credible source of expert opinion. This course gives you the opportunity to discuss countries’ different ideas on freedom of information, ethics, and social responsibility, and the potential for transnational communication to make a difference in the world. "
Dr Jen Birks, Assistant Professor in Culture Film and Media

Related courses

This content was last updated on Thursday 04 April 2024. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.