Communication and Media MPhil/PhD

Major code: CUPR

About us

Communication and Media

The Department of Communication and Media is a leading centre for the study of how ideas are influenced, expressed and shared.

Staff research interests

Dr Katia Balabanova


News media and politics; media roles in humanitarian crises; the communication of conflict.

Mr Peter Goddard


British broadcasting policy and history; news and current affairs television; Media regulation.

Dr Julia Hallam


British cinema; television drama; cities in film; cinema and politics; space, place and cultural identity in film and media texts.

Professor Kay Richardson


Political discourse analysis and the politics of language.

Professor Karen Ross


Political communication; gender and media; audiences.

Dr Yannis Tzioumakis


Hollywood and American independent cinema; the business of 

global entertainment.

Emeritus Professor John Corner


Media history; documentary television and media audiences; the relationship between television and public life in Britain since the 1950s.


We can offer you:-

  • excellent library facilities
  • opportunities for interdisciplinary inputs if you're pursuing a research degree
  • high quality research methods training
  • a regular programme of communication and media seminars open to everyone
  • an annual PGR conference, usually held in May, for research students. This is open to all.

Hayley Trowbridge

The main reason I chose to study at The University of Liverpool was because the Department of Communication and Media had supervisors who would be ideal for my research area and I am really glad I used this as a way of making my decision as to where to study. 

What impelled you to continue to PG study?  (E.g. love of a subject; intellectual stimulation; career prospects or employability).

After my undergraduate degree I decided to focus on developing a career in participatory creative arts in Liverpool, working with organisations such as Soap Box and Toxteth TV to deliver creative arts training in informal settings. A number of my undergraduate friends however, went onto postgraduate study and through talking with them on a regular basis about our shared love of film I began to develop my own ideas for a study, which eventually saw me follow them into postgraduate study.

What compelled you to choose to study for your PG degree at Liverpool ahead of other Universities (particularly other Russell Group institutions)?

The main reason I chose to study at The University of Liverpool was because the Department of Communication and Media had supervisors who would be ideal for my research area and I am really glad I used this as a way of making my decision as to where to study. The second reason is because I think Liverpool is a great city and I feel like I belong to lots of different communities here, and did not really want to move!

What are your career aims following your PG study and how do you anticipate your PG degree will help you achieve them?

Once I have finished my postgraduate study I would like to work part-time as a Lecturer and continue my research through (hopefully) writing journal articles and contributing to edited collections on my fields of research. I also plan to continue working in creative arts and education, and hope to secure a post in Learning and Participation at a suitable organisation such as an arthouse cinema or media-related museum.

What skills have you developed in addition to the knowledge you are learning on your programme?

Undoubtedly my writing and research skills have improved dramatically. I am also developing my skills in linking ideas and concepts together.

How valuable do you consider these skills?  Do you feel they will help you or even give you a competitive edge in your desired career path?

I think these skills are essential for any kind of academic career, particularly if you are aiming to get your work published on a regular basis. I also think that research and writing skills are already improving my work in the creative arts in terms of writing and researching funding applications and also in evaluating creative arts programmes.

Do you consider the PG experience beneficial in other ways?

The postgraduate experience I have had is also beneficial in terms of making connections and networking. Many members of my department, particularly my supervisors (Yannis Tzioumakis and Julia Hallam) and Professor Karen Ross have introduced me to both academic contacts and those working in creative arts and education. This has already begun to impact positively on my academic career and creative arts career.

What was your route to PG study (did you proceed direct from your undergraduate degree or following some time away from University)?

I completed my undergraduate in 2008, and I have worked in creative arts and participation/education since then. In 2010 I felt that I had a strong enough idea for a thesis and started to look for opportunities.

Have you any recommendations or advice concerning the application process you’d like to share with prospective PG students thinking of applying?

What really helped me in the application process was having direct communication and meetings with my two supervisors who helped me to develop my ideas – talking your ideas through with people is definitely more than worthwhile! I was also grateful for the advice and support of other postgraduate students during the application and registration process.

In layman’s terms, and as concisely as possible, could you please given an overview of your area of study and/or research?

In my work I look at how media convergence has impacted on the distribution of American independent cinema. I particularly focus on films released between 2006 and 2010, and link the changes in distribution to broader concepts such as film narrative, consumer experience and engagement, industrial trends and so on.

How would you explain the significance and impact of your subject or research to others?

Whilst media convergence is a hot topic at the moment, popularised by seminal studies such as Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture (2006), there has been minimal written on how media convergence has impacted on the distribution of American independent cinema. Therefore, I hope that my work will go some way to addressing this gap in literature.

Do you feel that you are part of a flourishing research department that makes a difference in your own subject and beyond?  

Most definitely! The research culture in our department is really strong. Only last year in December, the Department hosted a one-day symposium titled ‘New Directions in the study of American independent cinema’. Not only was myself and another PGR student invited to deliver papers at the event, but we were also asked to help with the organising (creating a website, producing the conference pack etc.) - all of which was really valuable experience.

What do you particularly like about your department?

I like the fact that our department is quite small and everyone knows everyone. It is really supportive and everyone in it is more than happy to help you in any way that they can – even if they are really busy!

What do you especially like about your post-graduate experience at Liverpool in general?

I think the way in which the University of Liverpool supports its postgraduate students financially, from contributing to conference fees to order books into the library, is really important, and something that I am grateful for.

How have you found the PG experience differs to the UG experience?  What, if anything, do you prefer about PG study?

In your undergraduate degree you are ‘taught’ in the conventional sense through lectures etc. but in postgraduate study your supervisors ‘guide’ you through your learning, but it is the student themselves who is dictating what that learning will be about and where it will go. I think postgraduate study is a journey, one that is both about knowledge and self-development. To do a postgraduate course then you need to be able to manage your time effectively, think much more for yourself, and have the ability to take the lead on your own learning.

Do you have any advice to offer undergraduates or graduates that are contemplating PG study?

Make sure you actually are passionate about the area in which you choose to study. I think it would be a lot harder to write a thesis if you didn’t actually have an interest in what you are writing about.