- Entry requirements: 2:1 degree in a relevant discipline
- Full-time: 12 months
- Part-time: 24 months
Return to top
The Media and Politics MA is a fantastic opportunity for you to engage with current debates about the constantly evolving role of media in national and international political life.
The course explores different forms of communication in their social, political, and economic contexts, focusing in particular on the relationship between news media, social media, and politics in contemporary societies. It also uncovers the ways in which journalists and politicians attempt to set the political agenda or influence public opinion and also explores the ways in which the audiences, as public and as citizens, are involved in media as consumers and producers.
The programme focuses on theories and debates surrounding:
This course is designed for graduates with a good Honours degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant field, such as Politics, International Relations, Communication and Media, Sociology, Journalism. This programme is for you if you want to enhance your career prospects in professional areas like government, media, journalism and public relations, or want to go onto further academic study (PhD).
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
International students may be able to study this course on a part-time basis but this is dependent on visa regulations. Please visit the Government website for more information about student visas.
If you're able to study part-time, you'll study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
Studying part-time means you can study alongside work or any other life commitments. You will study the same modules as the full-time master's degree over a longer period, usually 24 months. You can make studying work for you by arranging your personal schedule around lectures and seminars which take place during the day. After you complete all the taught modules, you will complete your final dissertation or project and will celebrate your achievements at graduation the following term.
Semester 1 consists of a 30-credit core module, a 15-credit mandatory research methods module, and one 15-credit optional module.
The module examines a range of interconnected issues concerning the politics/media relationship. It offers a critical overview of the ways in which the media have been studied and discussed in relation to political processes and explores the key aspects of contemporary theory and research in politics and media. Part one is devoted to theories and debates about the politics and media relationship. It examines different ways of making sense of the relationship between the state, the public, and the media and questions surrounding media power and media audiences. Part two focuses on specific cases and controversies in the media-politics relations. It explores the changing relationships, representational forms, power dynamics, and impacts of media performance in selected forms of contemporary ‘conflict’.
This module is designed to prepare students for their dissertation research. It begins by introducing them to the fundamental aspects of research in the field of media and communication studies, looking at how to find and critique existing knowledge in the field, research project design, and ethical considerations.
Students will then be introduced to a number of approaches in the field of political communication research such as media content analysis, frame analysis, survey design, interview techniques, focus group research, as well as the basics of statistical data analysis and data visualisation. By the end of the module, students will be in a position to present and submit their own dissertation proposals.
This module will be of particular interest to students interested in big data and how it is collected and used in modern society; in the politics and policy questions around social media; and in the interactions between media, platforms, and citizens. It will introduce students to the study of online media and platforms, with a particular focus on ‘big’ social trace data. As well as developing their understanding of how Internet-based media systems work, students will learn about the strengths and weaknesses of using big data for social science research, and engage with key online political communication policy questions.
The majority of teaching will be delivered face-to-face on campus. Online delivery will be used to complement the on-campus delivery and where technology affords a better learning experience.
This module requires students to engage with contemporary forms of exploitation often categorised as ‘slavery’, to consider the origins and human experience of such activities, to assess proposals for combating them, and to apply these to an independent research project. Seminars will challenge students to analyse the major themes in legal and political responses to trafficking, forced labour and other forms of human rights abuse analogous to slavery. Students will develop strategies for researching practices and policies relating to contemporary ‘slaveries’ and they will develop an independent study of a particular aspect.
This module looks at the international politics of the Middle East, focusing primarily onidentity and security issues. At a general level, it seeks to provide a comprehensive account of the issues on the security agenda of governments and international organizations at a time of turbulence and change in the Arabworld. It takes the broader view of security as understood within the field of International Relations. Thus, in addition to the study of causes of conflict and co-operation, it is concerned with a wider range of issues that have the potential to bring greater political stability or instability. The nature of regimes and the significance of democratisation efforts for regional stabilityare central concerns of the module. It involves analysis of state structures, the pattern of relations between states, the political economy, new transnational movements, the role of identity and belief systems and the involvement of external powers.Special attention is paid to the Arab-Israeli conflict and other regional conflicts.
This module introduces students to the study strategic communication by discussing its fundamental theories and concepts. Case studies will be presented and discussed which refer to strategic communication practices with a particular focus on crisis communication, issue and reputation management.
Since strategic communication is a multidisciplinary area of study, the module will deal with theories and models originating from different academic traditions such as (strategic) management, discourse studies (including semiotics, pragmatics and rhetoric), public relations, corporate communication, marketing and advertising.
This module introduces major data science techniques and their role in communication. The full data lifecycle is considered, with a focus on data collection, processing, analysis and visualisation. The emphasis of the module is to develop technical skills in coding and its application within data science, but the wider context of how data are generated and used in communication and media is also considered. The main assessment is a piece of coursework, where students describe and apply the methods covered in the module. There is also an in-class test. By the end of the module, students will have a level of knowledge in coding appropriate to select and use data science methods to investigate and solve problems in communication
Screen Cultures B introduces students to the diversity of cultural contexts and histories that have shaped the formal, industrial, institutional, and political meanings of cinema. The module examines both dominant/institutional and marginal/alternative screen cultures in relation to the formation of screen industries, histories, movements, and cultural identities.
Screen cultures are both an effect of production and reception. The module explores how screen cultures emerge and function, the formal and stylistic aspects that shape screen cultures, and the overlap between industries and audiences in the production of specific institutional, historical, critical, and audience-defined screen cultures. Screen Cultures A will introduce students to advanced film theory, industry and production studies, and film history alongside advanced formal analysis.
The Screen Cultures B syllabus is organized in two distinct blocks.
Block one: dominant and institutional screen cultures
The first block reflects the institutional or dominant screen cultures that are likely familiar to most audiences. These cultures are often understood through lay terms such as mainstream, popular, Hollywood, or art cinema. Their production and reception are defined by an understanding of screen cultures as an effect of industrial organizations and institutional practices.
Block two: marginal and alternative screen cultures
The second block of Screen Cultures A attends to the alternative and marginal screen cultures that have emerged beyond and outside of those dominant cinemas explored in block one. These screen cultures may be less familiar but have been central to particular audiences, political contexts, and sites of exhibition. Many of the screen cultures in this block seek to challenge the hegemony of those case studies from the first block.
In structuring the module in such a way, Screen Cultures B delivers a comprehensive overview of key debates surrounding screen cultures, especially cinema cultures, while also ensuring that it is inclusive given also its strong focus on diversity and alternative and marginal cultures.
To understand contemporary media and its place in social and cultural life we need to understand past media, not only as historical origins or predecessors of the new, but in order to understand how change is produced, experienced and negotiated. This module will consider processes of ‘remediation’, ‘transmediality’ ‘intermediality’ , as well as the recurrence of past ideas, forms and sensibilities in the present; arguments about planned obsolescence, newness and innovation; critiques of progress and theories of technological and media change; ideas of maintenance, residual and emergent media. The module will introduce you to key theoretical and historiographic approaches, from German media theory and ‘media archaeology,’ to Benjaminian, phenomenological and everyday life approaches. ‘Media’ includes both communication and storage media and as extending beyond the practices and technologies we might normally consider (computer based media, film, television, radio, photography, video games and so on) to include neglected and ‘grey’ media associated with everyday experience (databases, telephony, fax, photocopying, photobooths, etc). The module is both concept and topic-driven with lectures and seminars focussing on key theoretical texts, and testing out concepts on a range of different media examples.
Semester 2 consists of another 30-credit core module and two 15-credit optional modules. This is followed by the 60-credit dissertation will be carried out over the summer/semester 3.
This module explores the relationships between politics, economics, and mainstream media. The traditional, 20th century business models of news media have collapsed, prompting news organisations to make redundancies and to consider new ways of financing their activities. As a result, significant concerns have been raised about their sustainability as well as the wider role that news media (should) play in democratic societies. Furthermore, social media platforms and search engines have become the new gatekeepers, directing attention to news (and the knowledge, understandings, and attitudes shaped by news consumption) based on algorithms and audience members’ self-selection into disparate groups. In this module we will be looking at the ways in which media content across a variety of platforms and channels is being shaped by economic considerations and neoliberal ideology and how this creates tension, and sometimes outright contradiction, with the public and democratic role of mass media (including social media platforms) in open societies.
Argumentation is a communicative activity in which reasons are given to justify an opinion and persuade an audience to accept it. As such, argumentation plays a decisive role in media discourse, corporate and political discourse and all other forms of strategic communication. Good argumentation promotes strategic decision-making processes, help building sustainable and ethical persuasion, enhance public trust in organisations, political institutions and news media.
While argumentation is naturally oriented at reasonable and ethical persuasion, public influence is often pursued via fallacious and unsound arguments or even non-argumentative tactics of manipulation (e.g. fake news, power, ideology, violence) creating serious threats to democracy, economic stability and prosperity, social justice and citizens’ trust.
This module aims at providing students with conceptual and analytical instruments from argumentation theory and rhetoric which will enhance their ability to critically examine business, public and media discourses and to understand issues of persuasion and trust in strategic communication and media discourse.
This module will provide students with skills to understand, analyse and master the role played by Artificial Intelligence in Communication. It will introduce students to core notions to identify what components of our daily communication practices are affected by AI, how the reshaping of the communication processes happens through different technologies and how we can check their evolutions being aware of their potential risks and opportunities. At the end of the module students will be able to answer questions such as: who are we communicating with when we write online? How are (chat)bots and conversational agents changing our interactions? Why social and new digital media are affecting news consumption habits? The module will be taught following "active learning" methodologies.
In addition to learning about the algorithms that influence the development of online social systems, students will critically address key questions around the political and economic consequences of online platforms. The course emphasises a hands-on approach to studying algorithms in practice, developing students’ programming skills to implement and explore their effects.
Branding is now pervasive in society. Communicating a positive image and building a good reputation to create a strong brand, have become key objectives not only for global private corporations selling products, but also for countries, cities, regions and even neighbourhoods (place branding); public, cultural and religious institutions (corporate branding); and individual celebrities (self-branding). The module examines branding in its multiple instantiations, as a set of socio-cultural communicative practices and processes, which rely on very fundamental socio-cultural dynamics. In the module, we will consider the complex process of brand management from the definition of a brand and branding strategy to the elaboration of brand narratives, taking into account the increasingly digitalised media landscape and the participatory, two-way communication context where organisations and individuals operate. Thorough the module we seek to understand how identity, public opinion, reputation, and branding are negotiated at the intersection between top-down corporate communication and more grassroots or networked forms of expression. The module combines insights from business studies, social psychology, anthropology and cultural studies, introducing students to branding from a critical strategic communication perspective, focusing on power struggles, contradictions and dialogic relations. Besides offering students a good overview of key concepts and tools for strategically managing brand communication, the module includes a critical reflection on key issues and debates relating to the societal and ethical implications of branding practices, especially in relation to the prominence of promotional cultures in today’s democratic societies.
Comparative Peace Processes examines the similarities and differences between peace processes. What common features can be identified in terms of how and why peace processes develop? What aspects of threat removal are most common, such as decommissioning, disarmament and reintegration? What political tools, such as consociation, partition, secession, devolution or integration, might be used? After a short overview, the module addresses these questions via a series of case studies, including Northern Ireland, Lebanon, Israel-Palestine Bosnia and the Basque region.
Not only since the end of the cold war, the organization of violence and security on the international level – a state-centric system, based on armed military and police forces, and revolving around balance of power – has been challenged. Arguably the classical order has been amended or even supplanted, by multiple other forms of organized violent actors. This module is an introduction to the theoretical and empirical security studies literature on violent non-state actors, such as private security companies, warlords, terrorist and international criminal organizations. In detail, this module investigates under what circumstances non-state actors resort to violence, explores the logic of their behaviour, and discusses potential government measures to counter such violence. Moreover, the course will grapple with theoretical question of how IR-theory can inform and facilitate research on non-state actors. Although the module is mainly thematically-driven, the course will also review several current cases studies (e.g. Afghanistan, Iraq, 9/11) to provide students with a better understanding of the shifting patterns of conflict, violence and security in the international system
This module builds on the skills developed in the Introduction to Data Science module to explore more advanced data visualisation techniques. Methods covered include multidimensional plots, geospatial maps, animations and interactivity. The focus of the module will be on using data relevant to communication and media, but consideration will also be given to critiquing and applying visualisation methods more generally. The module is assessed by coursework, where students will demonstrate the skills developed on the module by collecting and visualising data in an area of their choosing. By the end of the module, students will be able to select and apply visualisation techniques suitable for a range of data.
This module will examine digital media from the audience’s perspective. It will consider contemporary debates on the changing audience’s practices and the attention economy. Students will be introduced to the notions of the audience as a user and as a producer of media in the digital age. The module will focus on digital news audiences as well as the audience of entertainment platforms (like Netflix and Spotify). Different audience research methods like tracking data, surveys and focus groups will also be discussed.
This module will offer a cross-national comparative perspective on the state of journalism around the world, journalists’ perceptions of their role in society and the contextual factors that influence journalistic roles and performance. Only 14% of people in the world live in counties with free media so it is important to appreciate that the news media might play different roles based on the nature of the political system, the respective media systems and the relevant cultural and societal differences. The extent to which the news media can act as the fourth estate is to a large extent determined by these contextual factors but also by audiences’ expectations about the role of journalists in their society. A range of case studies will be used throughout the module.
This module takes as its central starting point the idea of media as forms of social and cultural practice. That is, it is concerned with the way media forms and digital (and non-digital) media technologies shape our everyday experiences of the world, whether in terms of our sense of self and identity, the everyday rhythms that structure our lives, the way we move through or apprehend the everyday spaces we variously inhabit, or the sensory, affective and material impacts of media on our embodied sense of being-in-the-world. By placing its focus on media practices and the everyday, the module draws from recent debates in so-called ‘non-media-centric media studies’ and related perspectives from anthropology, cultural studies and cultural geography which examine not so much the meaning invested in the content of media texts as the performative question of what it is we do with media, and what it, correspondingly, does with us. In a contemporary world where the mediatisation of everyday life seemingly extends to every sphere of routine activity (such that at times we hardly recognise its presence at all), the project of scrutinising and critically reflecting on the relationship between media practices and everyday life has never been more urgent.
This module will focus on the immense changes that have occurred in the field of television with a view to understand the nature, role and function of the medium in the 21st century. Focusing on industrial, institutional, representational and textual issues it will engage with questions such as: the changing nature of television studies as a discipline; its changing role from home to mobile entertainment; the impact of VOD and on-demand services; the ways form and consumption of tv are changing; formats and transnational production; reboot, remake and cult television; and issues of representation as part of changes in TV formats, production and consumption.
Screen Industries B examines the industrial logic of particular media industries that produce entertainment reaching audiences through the mediation of screens. The module focuses primarily on the film and television industries with references to the video game industry. Organised around 4 blocks – Key concepts, People, Structures and Power – the module investigates the relationships between technologies, economics, policies, politics and the social and cultural contexts that shape these media industries and their products. Using examples from various geographical contexts and drawing on a variety of theoretical and methodological perspectives, Screen Industries B provides a pathway through which students can understand and appreciate the complex and multi-faceted nature of some of the key contemporary media industries.
The first block will introduce some of the key debates in the field of screen industries, commencing from the way in which digital technology has impacted film and television and the extent which they are now referred to as ‘legacy’ media before focusing on the ways in which they developed industrially. The emphasis will be primarily on cinema as the first medium to be organized on an industrial scale but in looking at the contemporary converged landscape it will be clear that television is also an important medium to understand its organization and operations.
The second block will take media convergence as a given and will investigate the deep structures that underpin media industries today. Starting from the migration of filmmakers to tv, it will explore the emergence of an indie television as it’s being practiced primarily by people who started their careers in film, before moving to immersive media systems and exploring questions around networking and streaming as these pertain to film, television as well as games. It will end with an examination of franchise entertainment, arguably the most obvious of example of converged media.
The third block will look primarily at issues related to people working in the screen industries, looking at three case studies that explore alternative and often competing systems of people-management in media industries: established structures that make up international star systems, the role of unofficial channels of reputation-making and gossip in determining value and control of individuals, and labour management such as issues relating to the unionisation of media sectors.
The module will end with a block on screen industries and power with a focus on contrasting approaches derived from policy management. It will start by examining the impact of regulation, intellectual property and media law on media production and then move onto examining how media and cultural policy work together with an emphasis on improving structural diversity in screen industries, a key issue in recent years.
This module aims to introduce students to historical and contemporary media practices and approaches within visual culture, including museum exhibitions, cultural interpretations, institutional policies and artistic interventions in the city. The module will examine a broad range of modes and methods to investigate the promotion and representation of culture and national heritage, the transformations of these activities over the years, and their analysis within media studies and cultural theory. Students will read and discuss past and present activities of cultural institutions and artistic activists, as well as theorisations of art and anthropology museums, World’s Fair exhibitions, cultural programmes and other visual and cultural media. Students will examine different conceptions of museums, sites of memory, and cultural events as potential arenas of public transformation, de-colonisation, community activity and public fora. The module will more broadly address social and ethical questions; concepts and practices of cultural appropriation and representation; ideas of power relations and self-reflexivity; and definitions and conversations around ‘otherness’ within and beyond contemporary cultural institutions.
The dissertation is a self-contained piece of individual and original research, offering the student the chance to study in depth a topic that interests them guided by a member of the Department’s academic staff as their supervisor. Teaching and learning takes place through one-to-one tutorials. The key aims of the module are: to enable the student to construct an extended and original research project on an appropriate topic which is clear and realistic in scope and seeks to make a distinct contribution to the student’s chosen field; to develop independent research skills; and to develop professional standards for the presentation of research material. It will usually be related to a topic covered in the student’s Masters programme and can be tailored so that the research is relevant to a future career. Research for the dissertation will usually be standard academic qualitative or quantitative research, but depending on your programme (and with permission of your programme leader,) you may also be able to produce a more practical investigation in collaboration with an organisation, involving a consultancy project or a placement experience, or engage with more experimental methodologies. Meetings with supervisors are organized by the student and fortnightly meetings are recommended, although the number of meetings will vary, depending on your individual requirements and dissertation topic.
Teaching on the MA Media and Politics (MPEM) is delivered through weekly workshops held in person on the Liverpool main campus. These usually last for two to three hours per module and week. Class sizes for Master’s programmes in the Department of Communication and Media tend to be small, but numbers can vary from module to module and from year to year. A typical class in the MA Media and Politics usually includes between seven and 15 students.
The programme is centred on two 30-credit core modules, taught in semester one and semester two, respectively. Also mandatory is a 15-credit module on Research Methods in semester one. Students will select three optional 15-credit modules. We recommend choosing one optional module for semester one and two optional modules for semester two. Students can choose from all postgraduate-level modules offered by the Department of Communication and Media as well as a selection of modules run by the Department of Politics.
You will be assessed mostly by coursework. This will take a number of different forms, including essays, academic posters, group reports, a research proposal, and a master’s dissertation. In addition, students will be assessed by presentations in certain modules. Other assessment formats, such as written or oral exams, may also apply depending on the optional modules selected by the student.
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
You will benefit from the expertise and community found within the Department of Communication and Media which is based at 19 Abercromby Square.
From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:
The MA Media and Politics will provide you with rigorous academic training in the broad interdisciplinary field of political communication studies with a particular focus on the complex relationships between politics, news media, and social media in national and international political life. The professional skills that you will develop will prepare you for a wide range of potential employment areas.
Given the strong focus on the application of critical reviewing skills, presentation skills, data analysis, theory and data-driven problem solving, teamwork, as well as research design and implementation, the MA is particularly well matched for you if you’re looking to pursue career in social scientific research, professional political communication, news journalism, as well as advocacy and consultancy work.
If you wish to continue your academic studies you will find a supportive and nurturing research environment that prepares you well for doctoral-level research activities. Career pathways that follow this route include employment in higher education (teaching and/or research), or teaching at secondary and further education levels.
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
|UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)|
|Full-time place, per year||£10,800|
|Part-time place, per year||£5,400|
|Full-time place, per year||£22,400|
|Part-time place, per year||£11,200|
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.
If you're a UK national, or have settled status in the UK, you may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Loan worth up to £12,167 to help with course fees and living costs. Learn more about paying for your studies..
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
|Postgraduate entry requirements||
This course is designed for graduates with a 2:1 bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant field, such as Politics, International Relations, Communication and Media, Sociology, Journalism.
If you hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, but don’t meet our entry requirements, you could be eligible for a Pre-Master’s course. This is offered on campus at the University of Liverpool International College, in partnership with Kaplan International Pathways. It’s a specialist preparation course for postgraduate study, and when you pass the Pre-Master’s at the required level with good attendance, you’re guaranteed entry to a University of Liverpool master’s degree.
You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language. International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.
|English language qualification||Requirements|
View our IELTS academic requirements key.
Standard Level (Grade 5)
|TOEFL iBT||88 or above with minimum scores in components as follows: Listening 19, Writing 21, Reading 19, Speaking 20.|
|INDIA Standard XII||National Curriculum (CBSE/ISC) - 75% and above in English. Accepted State Boards - 80% and above in English.|
|Hong Kong use of English AS level||C|
Have a question about this course or studying with us? Our dedicated enquiries team can help.
If you have any questions about the course content please get in touch with the programme director.
Last updated 1 November 2023 / / Programme terms and conditions