Media and Cultural Analysis MA

Entry requirements:
2:1 +
1 year
not available
Start date:
October 2018
UK/EU fees:
International fees:



in the UK for Media and Film Studies

Guardian University Guide 2018


Our Media and Cultural Analysis MA programme provides a critical introduction to key areas of media and cultural analysis.

Our Media and Cultural Analysis MA programme is delivered by a diverse interdisciplinary team with a strong profile in, for example, digital culture, media, sociology, anthropology and communication studies. All of our world-leading scholars are research active and use their research to develop and deliver cutting-edge teaching.
Our MA programmes have a diverse mix of national and international students on them. Studying abroad, especially at postgraduate level, can be a challenging experience. We have over ten years of experience in supporting international postgraduate taught students alongside our domestic students and have designed our curriculum to reflect this.
In collaboration with the English Language study Unit we have designed a bespoke package of study skills support that is run through the dissertation module in the first term. It supports you in using and interpreting academic literature, referencing, critical thinking and developing your own writing style.
We run a personal tutor system so that you will have a dedicated member of staff with whom you meet regularly to discuss your progress and academic development.
The Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC) brings together Loughborough University’s world leading researchers in media, communication and culture. The CRCC’s innovative MA programmes are informed by this cutting edge research. Our specific areas of expertise in this area include:
  • Media history – book culture, television, media and war, transmission of media content and the creation of media events
  • Media and communication technologies in shaping our sense of time
  • Culture and creativity
  • Nationalism in conjunction with and in opposition to transnational and cosmopolitan narratives
  • Citizenship, feminism, gender and religion
  • Local, national and transnational identities
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, our research in this area was ranked second in the UK. In 2017, the QS World rankings rated the University among the top 40 universities in the world for Communication and Media Studies.

Who should study this programme?

Our Media and Cultural Analysis MA programme is suitable for students looking to further their understanding of the major traditions, theories and frameworks of inquiry relevant to the analysis of media, communications and associated disciplines.

What makes this programme different?

  • Taught by world-leading researchers
  • Informed by cutting-edge research
  • Bespoke package of study skills support

Entry Requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification in the social sciences or humanities. Applicants with appropriate professional expertise will also be considered.

English Language Requirements

All applicants for admission to Loughborough University must have a qualification in English Language before they can be admitted to any course or programme, whether their first language is English or not.
IELTS: 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in all elements.

What you'll study

Our MA programmes run for a full calendar year across three terms. Terms one and two of which contain a mix of compulsory and optional taught modules and in the third term students will undertake their dissertation project under the supervision of an academic supervisor.


This programme covers a wide range of topics; to give you a taster we have expanded on some of the core modules affiliated with this programme and the specific assessment methods associated with each module.

Compulsory modules

The core modules on the course address three major concerns: the role of the media in everyday social life and in the public domain; how the media construct and communicate meaning; and the ways in which the media are involved in and contribute to the distribution of power in social life. The course is specifically concerned about how these issues play out in an international context. The modules include options which involve theoretical perspectives from a range of social science disciplines, as well as modules which involve doing hands-on media research projects.

Media and Cultural Industries - 15 credits

Semester 1

The aim of the module is to outline the major conceptual and empirical questions raised by work on the political economy of the cultural and media industries and on the sociology and anthropology of cultural and media production, to examine the changes that have taken place in the cultural and media industries under the impact of technological change and marketisation since the 1970s and to explore the questions these changes raise for public policy.Students will be introduced to the major themes and arguments in the political economy of culture and media, the sociology and anthropology of cultural and media production. Changes in the organisation of the cultural and media industries over the last 25 years will be discussed and current debates on public policy in the areas of culture will be explored.

Online Research Methods and Media Analysis - 15 credits

Semester 1

The aims of this module are for students to develop a critical understanding of a range of online methods and textual media analysis research techniques; develop a comprehensive understanding of the difficulties and possibilities of doing research on and using both traditional and digital media; and to apply this understanding in independently designed research. This module introduces the principles of research design in relation to the online research and media analysis. In the first part, it explores how we can use digital media for research purposes and how emerging technologies enhance and pose problems for social research. In the second part, it covers conventional methodological approaches for media analysis, such as frame analysis, critical discourse analysis and content analysis. The module covers quantitative and qualitative approaches and the use of software packages for analysing data.

Politics of Representation - 15 credits

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to develop a critical understanding of current debates and advanced research about the politics of representation and to develop the skills relevant to the analysis of the involvement of media and cultural forms in social inclusion and exclusion. An indicative list of topics covered on the module includes discourse, power, knowledge; Stereotyping and the Other; Spaces of identity and belonging; Nationalism, racism and imperialism; Orientalism; Migration and the media.

Media and Modernity - 15 credits

Semester 2

The aim of this module is to develop a critical understanding of contemporary arguments and advanced research on the nature of modernity, the role of media and communications systems in its constitution, and the relations between social change, media and culture. An indicative list of topics covered on the module includes the idea of modernity; multiple modernities; postmodernity and the media; modernity, memory and the media; the public sphere; cosmopolitanism.

Production and Reception Analysis - 15 credits

Semseter 2

The aim of this module is to become familiar with a range of methodologies for the analysis of media and cultural production and reception. An indicative list of topics covered in lectures includes: approaches to social research in media and cultural analysis; standardised questionnaire design; methods of random sampling (simple random sampling, systematic sampling, stratified random sampling, cluster sampling); methods of non-random sampling (quota sampling, theoretical sampling, snowball sampling, typical case sampling, critical case sampling); conducting focus groups; conducting semi-structured informant interviews; analysing quantitative data using SPSS; analysing qualitative data through thematic analysis; developing multi method research strategies.

Key Debates in Media and Cultural Analysis - 10 credits

Semesters 1 and 2

The aim of this module is to introduce students to key popular and political debates and issues relating to the representation of contemporary social issues and social groups. The module will use case-study representations drawn from a number of different media including television, film, print media, and online platforms to explore current debates through discussion and in-class textual and contextual analysis. The module will include learning on topics such as race and ethnicity; class; gender; sexuality; poverty; religion; age; nation. The representation of these issues/groups will be explored across a number of media and genres including documentary film; news and current affairs; Hollywood Film; reality television; advertising; blogs. Contemporary debates about how and why particular groups and issues should be represented will be considered across all of the sessions.

Dissertation - 50 credits

The aim of this module is for the student to develop employability and academic skills relevant to conducting an individual research project and to undertake a piece of research on a communication or cultural topic of their choice, and pursue this research in depth and with rigour. The final project should build on methodological skills developed in earlier projects. The module comprises of different components 1. Study and Employability skills: This is a series of ten lectures running in term one. 2. Media Landscapes: A series of guest lectures from media professionals running in terms 2 and 3 (Feb-June); 3. The Dissertation project conducted in Term 3. Taught sessions will include topics such as referencing, plagiarism, critical thinking, academic writing, research design, finding employment, applying for work, using academic skills in the workplace. Weekly seminar sessions will include regular visits and talks by people working in media industries. The dissertation itself will be based on a topic proposed by the student and subject to the approval of the programme team.

Optional modules

Digital Futures - 15 credits

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to consider contemporary approaches to the economic, social, political and cultural impact of digital technologies. An indicative list of topics covered in lectures includes: models of change: the information society; the 'surveillance society'; cybersociety; Digital communications and the economy; Digital communications and political organisation; Digital communications and social life.

Digital Economies - 15 credits

Semester 1

This module aims to examine the relationship between new social practices and old economic structures; it offers students an introduction to the economic sociology of digital media. The Internet is playing an increasing role in the lives of people around the globe and in the process is transforming many aspects of the ways in which we interact; yet this is a landscape that is contoured in other respects by the structure of the global economic system. The material will be approached by examining the variety of roles that are implicated in the creation, delivery, and consumption of cultural/media products over the Internet, and by examining the symbolic struggles that have occurred over legitimacy in digital culture: for example, we can trace a continuing tension and indeed interaction between the growth of the digital market economy and advocacy of the Internet as a de-commercialised space. While the primary focus will be on contemporary cases, the module will also seek to relate these back to classic issues in economic sociology.

Marketing Politics - 15 credits

Semester 1

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the marketing of politics by exploring and analysing election campaigns from a contemporary as well as an historical perspective. A major focus is on appreciating and understanding the increasingly important role of advertising, public relations and market research techniques, approaches and personnel in attempts to win and maintain voter support for candidates vying for public office. This will be done through close analysis of developments in countries with some of the most high profile elections, notably the United States and United Kingdom. The US hosts a large and globally influential industry of campaign consultants and their impact both at home and abroad will be reviewed and scrutinized. Here particular consideration will be devoted to the ethical and democratic consequences of the growing use of this kind of 'packaged politics'. The module will include learning on the following topics: theoretical and empirical approaches to political marketing; the selling of the US president in historical perspective; the evolution of British election campaigns; ethical and democratic consequences of 'marketization' of democracy.

Global Communications - 15 credits

Semester 2

The aim of the module is for the student to become familiar with the different theoretical perspectives underpinning the study of the media in the international environment; analyse and summarise existing arguments and critically evaluate evidence provided in course material on global communications; acquire knowledge of key concepts, issues and debates within the literature. An indicative list of topics covered in lectures includes: the media, democratization and political culture; global news and news agencies; global politics of human rights; transnational communities and media consumption; the media and transnational social and revolutionary movements; conflict and communication; the global media and the challenge to the nation state; the struggle for a New World Information and Communication Order.

Media and Cultural Work - 15 credits

Semester 2

The aim of this module is to acquire an understanding of the major conceptual and empirical questions raised by research of media and cultural work; the changes that have taken place in media and media cultural work under the impact of technological change, marketisation and internationalisation since the 1970s; the extent and nature of inequalities and discrimination in media and cultural work. An indicative list of topics covered in lectures includes the growth in employment in media and cultural industries; the changing character of that employment; the internationalisation of media and cultural labour; the extent and nature of inequalities and discrimination in media and cultural work (for example, on the grounds of gender and ethnicity).

Digital Cultures - 15 credits

Semester 2

This module fosters students' ability to critically analyse current research and advanced scholarship about digital cultures. It familiarises students with major debates, theories and latest studies on issues, such as young people and digital media, social networking, identities, communities and relationships and online consumption. An indicative list of topics covered in lectures includes the internet and identity, online communities, mobile media, social networking, digital media and romantic/sexual relations, digital media and consumption.

Cultural Memory and Heritage Industries - 15 credits

Semester 2

The aim of this module is to introduce students to the politics of cultural memory and cultural heritage in the modern period. The module examines debates around the temporal structures of modernity and the manner in which the past is used as a rhetorical and commercial resource in the cultural industries. The module will critically evaluate the rise of the heritage industries from national and global perspectives. The module will include learning on the following topics: theoretical and empirical approaches to mediated/cultural memory, key debates in memory studies, the structure of the heritage industries from a national and global perspective, the communicative practices of heritage industries (film, television, new media, museums), the impact of digital technologies on cultural memory and heritage industries, the politics of commemoration.

How you'll be assessed

Modules are assessed by a combination of examinations, coursework and group work.

How you'll study

Independent study
Group work

Your personal and professional development

The Department of Social Sciences is committed to helping you develop the skills and attributes you need to progress successfully in your chosen career.

Future career prospects

Our students go on to work in media, marketing and PR divisions of major public and private institutions. They also go on to work in mainstream media careers such as journalism and broadcasting.
Many of our students have also gone on to do PhDs in the UK and abroad.

Graduate destinations

Recent graduate destinations include:
  • Elsevier Ltd, Publishing Assistant
  • Ping An Group – China, Overseas Real Estate Marketing Manager
  • Reed Exhibitions, Project Executive
  • Campion School, Teacher
  • Shenzhen Petrochemical Exchange – China, Marketing Commissioner.

Your personal development

On successful completion of the programme, you should be able to:
  • critically evaluate a range of academic and industry sources
  • communicate effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • deploy qualitative and quantitative research techniques
  • plan, organise and manage, with appropriate supervision, a significant self-directed project
  • work flexibly, creatively and independently, displayhing a high degree of self-direction and initiative
  • deploy their independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Fees and funding


Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. University fees and charges can be paid in advance and there are several methods of payment, including online payments and payment by instalment. Special arrangements are made for payments by part-time students.

Our students and academics