Communication and Media PhD / MPhil

Research in Department of Communication and Media is conducted within four research clusters which share common interest in critical, interdisciplinary analysis of a variety of modes of mediated communication across social spaces and fields - Culture, Space and Memory research group, Discourse & Society research group, Media, Politics and Society research cluster and Screen & Film Studies research group.

Why study with us?

One of the reasons I chose to study at the University of Liverpool was because of the range of expertise in the Department of Communication and Media. My own research covers video games, film studies, and cultural theory and there are experts in each here. This has been invaluable to my studies.

Christopher McMahon - Communication and Media PhD student
  • 22

    active research staff (as of 2018) clustered around 4 key research areas.

  • 90%

    of the Department’s research impact was assessed as ‘world leading’ and ‘international excellent’ in the REF (2014).

  • 80%

    of the Department's research environment was assessed as 'internationally excellent' in the REF (2014).


The department prides in its ability to embrace the study of communication and media in an inclusive and comprehensive manner. From political communication to discourse and culture, from heritage industries to media and entertainment, from film and television to social media, the Department of Communication and Media has been providing cutting edge research that links strongly with most key areas of inquiry in this major field of studies.

Research in Department of Communication and Media, University of Liverpool, is conducted within four research clusters which share common interest in critical, interdisciplinary analysis of a variety of modes of mediated communication across social spaces and fields.

The Culture, Space and Memory research group brings together ideas and intellectual orientations on the cultures, practices and spatial dispositions that inform transdisciplinary approaches to media and communication in the digital age.

The Discourse & Society research group looks at how language and discourse – in traditional/social media, politics and the wider public domain – act as vehicles of social change as well as carriers of relationships of power and inequality in contemporary societies.

The Media, Politics and Society research cluster deals with critical analysis of media outputs and journalism from the perspectives that highlight political agendas, assess the impacts on marginalised groups, and foster understandings of human rights.

Finally, the Screen & Film Studies research cluster focuses on film and television studies, with the study of digital screens that cut across various media sectors emerging as a third key area of expertise.

We particularly welcome research proposals that match those of our researchers, including:

  • Media in humanitarian crises; media and human rights; media coverage of migration and free movement across Europe; 
  • Latin American culture and the relationship between politics and aesthetics; contemporary photography;
  • Rhetoric, policy frameworks and methodologies that capture the impact and legacy of large-scale urban interventions and events 
  • Broadcasting history, institutions and their programming; film and television documentary, television current affairs programming
  • Science fiction, fantasy and 'cult' TV and film; PR and promotional cultures with a particular interest in social media; 
  • Gender, political communication and news media and the ways in which they intersect 
  • The moral function of communication; conceptions of home, identity and belonging in communicative capitalism 
  • Critical discourse studies of populist political communication; the intersection of politics and the media as key carriers of public imaginaries of social reality 
  • Experimental, oppositional, marginal and other alternative filmmaking histories and practices; the work of Andy Warhol and other artist-filmmakers 
  • Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric and Discourse Analysis, with emphasis on in the study of argumentation in strategic communication contexts
  • Media discourse (especially approaches from a (socio) linguistic perspective) and the uses of dialogue in TV drama 
  • Media and the city; urban cultural studies; visual culture, space and place; cultural mapping and spatial humanities; popular culture, heritage and cultural memory
  • International and global journalism; young people as media audiences; the Internet’s role in relation to online risks and to enabling democratic deliberations 
  • Political communication during election campaigns, particularly online; social media and their use by voters to communicate politically; 
  • Stardom/celebrity, Hollywood and transnational cinema, screen performance, cult media, and digital media/Virtual Reality 
  • The production of news, documentary and factual content within public service and commercial broadcasting, and within community and citizen journalism.
  • Media discourses and representations in relation to gender and sexuality; the role of media in identity and community 
  • American independent cinema; Hollywood and global entertainment; cinema and youth cultures; the B Film, exploitation and creativity; Hollywood and Greek cinema
  • The social, political and cultural impacts of digital media; digital media and interpersonal interaction; digital inclusion/exclusion; digital research in the social sciences.

Research themes

Our research themes are:

  • Political communication
  • American cinema
  • Political, independent and alternative cinema
  • Gender and media
  • Media and human rights
  • Media and war
  • New media and digital communication
  • Media discourse
  • Global entertainment and media industries
  • Broadcasting and public interest media
  • Media, space and place.


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.

Research groups

⦁ Culture, Space and Memory

⦁ Discourse and Society

⦁ Media, Politics and Society

⦁ Screen and Film Studies

Study options and fees

MPhil / PhD Duration Home/EU Students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,407* (2020) £23,650* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020).
Part time 4-6 years £2,204* (2020) £11,825* (lab based programmes) £9,000* (non Lab based programmes) (2020)

*This fees excludes potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

^Self funded full time international students studying a lab based programme will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

Entry requirements

Applications are welcomed from well qualified graduates who would typically hold a UK first degree or equivalent in the first or 2:1 class, or a 2:2 class degree plus a Masters degree, in a relevant subject.

We welcome applications from within the EU and around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those required to study for this research degree. See our guidance on international qualifications.

You must also have reached a minimum standard of English and be able to provide evidence of this. See our English language requirements for international students.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

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Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

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