Political Communication MA

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  • Academic title
    Political Communication MA
  • Course description
    Traditionally, research and teaching in political communication has concentrated exclusively on institutional politics. Governments, political parties and elections have dominated the agenda. However, as the shape of politics and communication have changed significantly in recent times such an approach now seems to be far too narrow. Global political and economic trends are influencing national political and communication systems. Political party membership and election turnouts are steadily declining while interest group membership and issue-based campaigning are on the increase. Professional marketing, advertising and public relations approaches, developed in the corporate sector, have become central to the political process. The mass media and new communications technologies increasingly shape approaches to politics. Wider social and cultural trends, from increased immigration to promotional culture, are similarly affecting the political process at all levels.

    The programme at City therefore draws on departmental strengths in media/communication, politics, sociology and cultural studies to provide an interdisciplinary approach to political communication. Staff from the new department of International Politics also contribute to the degree. The course covers several aspects of political communications, including: government and political party communication and media relations; political marketing, public opinion and election campaigning; global institutions and international politics and communications; the activities and communications of corporations, social movements and interest groups; the production, regulation and consumption of both mass and alternative media; different forms of promotional/political culture; social and political theory; and communication issues surrounding human rights, race, citizenship and democratisation. In addition, practical/vocational development is encouraged through research methods and campaign skills modules and through a professional speaker series. The programme benefits from its central London location making it close to several key national and international political and media institutions and organisations.

    The programme should appeal to anyone with an academic, personal or professional interest in media and communications or politics. It should therefore suit those: wanting to go on to do further postgraduate research; policy-makers and communicators employed in government, political institutions and campaigning groups; journalists and others employed in the media and cultural industries/institutions.

    Modules: MA Political Communication

    Students complete six taught modules from a combination of three compulsory core and three elective modules. Students also take part in a dissertation workshop and produce a dissertation over the summer period.

    Core Modules

          Political communication (SGM004)
          Issues in Media and Communication Research (SGM230)
          Approaches to social research (SGM222)
          Sociology Dissertation (SGM111)

    Elective Modules (choose three modules from this list)

          Media information markets (SGM001)
          Media and human rights (SGM224)
          International communications and conflict (SGM008)
          Transnational media and communication (SGM100)
          Representation and reception (SGM011)
          Rights, multiculturalism and citizenship (SGM109)
          Analysing media discourses (SGM202)
          Democratisation, information and communication (SGM009)
          Surveillance studies: theories and concepts (SGM237)
          Surveillance studies: processes and practices (SGM238)
          Feminisms and the media: representation, technology and change (SGM239)
          International organisations in global politics (IPM005)

    NB. Elective modules choices are subject to availability and timetabling constraints.

    Mode of Study

    Students may take the MA programme on a full or part time basis.


    Teaching is delivered in the format of lectures, classes and seminars, taking place in the first and second academic periods (September-April).

    Full-time students will normally attend for two or three days a week, and complete their dissertation in the third academic period.

    Part-time students will normally attend for one or two days each week for two years. In the first year they will take two core modules in the first academic period and two optional modules in the second academic period. In the second year they will take one core module in the second academic period, one optional module in the second academic period and complete their dissertation.


    The dissertation of 15,000 words carries 40% of the total marks towards the MA degree. Full time students should present their dissertations by September of the year following entrance.

    The weighting of the marks is as follows:

    Continuous assessment (coursework) 60%

    Dissertation 40%

Other programs related to communications (corporate, public, business)

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