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 UK students International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,500* (2021) £24,250* ^ (lab based programmes)
£18,450* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)
Part time 4-6 years £2,250* (2021) £12,125* (lab based programmes)
£9,225* (non Lab based programmes) (2021)

* This 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.

If an EU student starts their studies in 2020-21, before 1 August 2021, they will have a fee classification of EU and pay UK fee rates for the duration of this registration. The exception being ROI students, who will continue to be charged fees at the UK fee rate, post 1 August 2021.

Entry requirements

The department offers postgraduate degrees, both taught and by thesis and has specific policies towards international students and those wishing to study part time. The department fully embraces the University’s Equal Opportunities strategy and works closely with the Student Welfare and Disability Team, the International Office and the English Language Support Unit, to provide appropriate facilities for students with additional needs including English language support and adaptive and assistive technologies. Students considering registering for a PhD are asked to produce a 1,000 word research proposal which should be sent to Dr Franco Zappettini, the departmental Director of Postgraduate Research -

This is then circulated to potential supervisors to determine if the project is viable and if there are staff with relevant subject expertise who could supervise the work. If the project fulfils both these requirements, applicants are then asked to apply online, ensuring that all required documentation is attached. Candidates wishing to be considered for registration onto one of our higher degrees should possess a good Honours degree (2:1 or equivalent).

English language requirements

IELTS Academic requirement - SELT and non-SELT Overall 7.0 no band below 6.5
TOEFL iBT requirement Minimum 100 overall with L 21 R 21 W 21 and S 23
C1 Advanced CAE requirement Overall 185 with no less than 176 in any paper
PTE Academic requirement69 with minimum scores of 61 in each component
Trinity College London, Intergrated Skills in English (ISE II)ISE II with an overall pass with merit in components
Cambridge IGCSE as a First LanguageGrade C
Cambridge IGCSE as a Second LanguageGrade B
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Proficiency)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 3 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components
Cambridge English Level 2 Certificate in ESOL International (Advanced)Overall 185 with 176 in components

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  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

Apply online

Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal

Related studentships: self-funded and funded PhD projects

Related Doctoral Training Partnerships

Doctoral Training Partnerships support future researchers with funding and a rewarding learning environment where you can collaborate with leading researchers.

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We offer a range of scholarships to help you meet the costs of studying a research degree.

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