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MA Media, Culture and Society

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  • Objectives
    To provide students with an advanced understanding of key historical and contemporary debates concerning culture and the formation of 'cultural studies' as a distinctive, interdisciplinary field of analysis To enable students to critically evaluate competing theories of culture To enable students to integrate theoretical concepts relating to culture and media forms and practices with empirical data and analysis To enable students to critically evaluate differing methods of cultural and media analysis To equip students with the requisite skills to carry out a piece of independent critical research into a culture and/or media related phenomenon To provide students with the opportunity to advance their knowledge and skills through independent, self-directed learning To enable students to enhance their intellectual capabilities, sociological, and generic skills in preparation for further academic and/or the professional world of work Postgraduate Diplomas are identical to those for MA Schemes with the exception of the Learning Outcomes of the Dissertation. Diploma Students do not write a dissertation.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Qualifications A good undergraduate degree in sociology or a related discipline that has already been awarded, or in the case of students in the final year of their degree, that is anticipated. For British students a good first degree means an upper second class honours degree. More mature students need only satisfy the University that their background is suitable for a higher degree by virtue of other forms of training and experience and in exceptional cases this could include someone without a first degree.For non-native speakers of English either a TOEFL score of 580 or a IELTS score of 6.5 is required. We also offer a Graduate Certificate in Sociology to prepare students for post-graduate study.
  • Academic Title
    MA Media, Culture and Society
  • Course description

    Course Description
    The MA in Media, Culture and Society examines the new centrality of media and cultural forms within contemporary social life. It combines sociology and cultural studies in its approach to media, social, symbolic and cultural change.

    Modules and Options

    The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.

    Stage 1

        COLONIALISM, CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION
        CONSUMER CULTURE
        CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN SOCIOLOGY
        CONVERSATION ANALYSIS AND THE DYNAMICS OF REAL-TIME SOCIAL INTERACTION
        Core: CULTURAL STUDIES: THEORY AND HISTORY
        Core: MA DISSERTATION
        Core: MEDIA THEORY
        Core: THE USE OF CULTURE: KNOWLEDGE, POWER AND DIFFERENCE
        CURRENT CONTROVERSIES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL RESEARCH
        DYNAMICS OF HOME AND WORK IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
        FORMATIVE DEBATES IN CRIMINOLOGY
        GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: GENDER, SEXUALITIES AND CHANGE
        GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE
        GENDER DIVISIONS AND FEMINIST THEORY
        GENDER, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
        GLOBALIZATION, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND ETHNICITY
        INTERVIEWING AND QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
        NIETZSCHE
        QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS FROM UNIVARIATE TO MULTIVARIATE METHODS
        SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
        SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
        SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN
        SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE AGE OF GLOBALISATION
        SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 1
        SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 2: SELECTED SPECIAL TOPICS
        TEXTS, DOCUMENTS AND ETHNOGRAPHY
        THE CONTEMPORARY NATION STATE
        THE DYNAMICS OF GLOBALISATION

    Teaching and Assessment Methods

    A: Knowledge and Understanding
        Learning Outcomes
        A1 : Advanced knowledge of key debates at the forefront of cultural analysis, including the formation of 'cultural studies' as a distinctive, interdisciplinary field of analysis
        A2 : Advanced knowledge of competing theories on the nature of culture within sociology and cultural studies
        A3 : An advanced understanding of the relationship between theoretical concepts and empirical research
        A4 : An ability to critically evaluate differing methods of cultural and media analysis
        A5 : An advanced comprehension of the ethical and political dimensions of cultural and media analysis
        A6 : An understanding of differing epistemological foundations of approaches within cultural and media analysis, and the need for reflexivity
        A7 : An advanced appreciation of the centrality of research questions and hypotheses in structuring the analysis of social and/or cultural phenomena
        A8 : In depth knowledge of a chosen field through an independent and original piece of research

        Teaching Methods
        The scheme is designed to provide an understanding of key historical and contemporary theories concerning culture, media and society, delivered across the three core courses. All students on the programme also have to carry out independent work for a research project for their MA dissertation, for which they receive individual supervision. The three substantive core courses (SC553, SC653 and SC509) are designed to provide students with the knowledge and understanding outlined in A1 to A7. The compulsory dissertation is designed to synthesize all these abilities and specifically tests that required of A8.

        SC553, SC653 and SC509 use a two hour lectures/seminar classes to present ideas, data and arguments in a clear and structured manner, mapping the field of scholarship in the area of cultural and media analysis known as cultural studies. This field of analysis has its own distinctive history and approach but, since one of its strengths is its interdisciplinarity, students will be introduced to theories and thinkers whose ideas span across cultural studies and sociology, as well as related disciplines, such as media studies. Classes provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses. In addition, student learning takes place through the work they do preparing for their presentation and essay/s. The scheme aims to develop students knowledge and awareness of the concepts and theories that inform historical and contemporary scholarship within the field of cultural analysis. The issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further in seminar discussion and through the designation of key readings each week, which students are required to read prior to class.

        SC553, SC653 and SC509 are designed to develop students advanced understanding of epistemological traditions and an advanced appreciation of how research questions structure enquiry within cultural and media analysis, and provide them with the capabilities to develop their own research project through the dissertation. The dissertation provides students with the opportunity to develop all seven competencies through the production of a piece of independent research.

        Assessment Methods
        Outcomes A1 to A6 are assessed through coursework. Coursework includes oral presentations, assignments, and essays. In addition, the assessed work for all MA students includes a dissertation, which specifically assesses outcome A8.

    B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        B1 : An advanced ability to search, summarise, and critically review literature on culture
        B2 : An ability to identify, analyse and compare the strengths and weaknesses of competing theories and concepts in the field of cultural analysis
        B3 : An ability to construct an original, analytical argument
        B4 : An ability to interpret and synthesise evidence from a range of sources
        B5 : An ability to design and conduct a feasible small-scale research project

        Teaching Methods
        Students develop the above intellectual skills primarily through their assessed work for courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example. Preparation for classes, class presentations and assignments in SC553, SC653 and SC509 involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of texts in the field and the understanding and analysis of theoretical material. Class tutors provide feedback on all student work through comment and discussion. In addition, tutors are also available to see students outside the classroom during office hours, appointments, and increasingly more often by email. The preparation of essays and other assignments develops students abilities in the listed intellectual and skills independently. Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development. The dissertation enables students to master a particular sociological question, as well as developing their understanding and skills in how to conduct an independent research project.

        Additionally, MA students, along with PhD students and staff, are encouraged to attend the two day Annual Graduate Conference, which is held in February off-campus. Addressing a different topical theme each year, it provides a stimulating forum for intellectual debate and discussion.

        Assessment Methods
        Outcomes B1, B2 and B3 are evaluated by essays in the substantive courses. All five outcomes are assessed in the MA dissertation. Demonstration of advanced intellectual skills is a key criterion in awarding distinctions for essays and dissertations.

    C: Practical Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        C1 : An advanced ability to identify and retrieve relevant sociological literature on culture and cultural theory using library and online searches
        C2 : A practical ability to summarise and critically evaluate sociological arguments and methods concerning culture
        C3 : An ability to define a specific research question and write an advanced sociological research proposal
        C4 : An ability to choose and apply an appropriate method of research to a particular research topic
        C5 : A capacity for self-direction in the management, planning, co-ordination and presentation of an independent, small scale sociological research project, with particular reference to culture and media, making judgements about the best use of time and data

        Teaching Methods
        Throughout the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and presentations. Specifically, outcomes C1 and C2 are developed in SC553 through preparation for the presentation and essays. The remaining outcomes are developed in SC653 and SC509 in the dissertation. The dissertation also provides the opportunity for students to synthesize all five practical skills within the remit of one final, independent piece of research. Throughout their preparation of coursework, students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations

        Students who have a particular interest in extending or deepening their practical sociological skills may do so by choosing from a range of further methods courses (such as SC504, SC523, SC520, SC620) when deciding on their optional courses.

        Assessment Methods
        Skills C1 and C2 are specifically assessed in SC553, SC653 and SC509 assignments, but also form part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework. While all the courses assess an understanding of C3 through C5, the full range of these skills is assessed in the marking of the MA dissertation.

    D: Key Skills
        Learning Outcomes
        D1 : An advanced ability in presenting ideas and evidence to others orally, in a clear and concise manner and an advanced ability to present ideas and evidence to others in writing, in a clear and concise manner
        D2 : An ability to collect and present materials using information technology
        D4 : A good self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
        D6 : An essential understanding of how to plan, set appropriate time schedules and assess the feasibility of projects; a keen awareness of the need to reflect on their own work and to respond constructively to the comments of others

        Teaching Methods
        Key skills are taught and learned throughout the scheme through a range of strategies, such as requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific writing assignments and essays, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation. Students learn to manage their own research projects through the support and advice of supervisors. They are given feedback on all their coursework and on their dissertation research and are encouraged to reflect on their own work and improve on it. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.

        Assessment Methods
        Key skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework. Oral communication skills (D1) are specifically assessed on SC553, and IT skills are assessed in SC509. Written skills (D2), problem solving (D4), planning, time management and feasibility (D5) and constructive response (D6) by most coursework and the dissertation. The MA dissertation is an overall assessment of communication, research management, and problem solving skills.

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