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
  • 100%

    of our environment is conducive to generating research that is 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' - Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 4th

    in the sector for 'outstanding' (4*) research impact in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)

  • 100%

    of our research is classified as 'outstanding' (4*) or 'very considerable' (3*) in the latest Research Excellence Framework (2021)


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.

Further resources


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 £4,712
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £27,800 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £27,800 (Band A)^ or £21,850 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £21,850 (Band B)
Part time 4-6 years £2,356
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences £13,900 (Band A)^
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering* £13,900 (Band A)^ or £10,925 (Band B)
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences £10,925 (Band B)

The fees stated in the table above exclude potential research support fees also known as ‘bench fees’. You will be notified of any fee which may apply in your offer letter.

* Please note that if you are undertaking a PhD within the Faculty of Science and Engineering the fee you pay, Band A or Band B, will reflect the nature of your research project. Some research projects incur a higher fee than others e.g. if you are required to undertake laboratory work. You will be informed of the fee for your programme in your offer letter.

^ Self-funded, full-time international students studying a PhD programme classified as Band A will receive a £2,000 reduction in their fees for the first year only.

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. 

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, Integrated 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

Formal applications are made online and are open all year round. Before you submit a formal application we strongly recommend you complete this form for an initial evaluation of your proposed project and its compatibility with the research interests of our staff.

If you require further information, you can contact the Departmental Director of Postgraduate Research Dr Alyssa Grossman. Email:

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