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Surveillance Studies MA

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  • Academic Title
    Surveillance Studies MA
  • Course description
    Surveillance Studies is a rapidly expanding study field which investigates the wide-ranging role of surveillance in social, cultural, economic and governmental processes. This distinctive interdisciplinary programme is tailored to provide students with the knowledge and analytical skills to develop an in-depth understanding of substantive debates, methodological approaches and surveillance policies and practices in a variety of cultural and strategic domains. The MA builds on the research strengths of the Department of Sociology and is taught by leading experts in Criminology, Communications and Media Studies, Human Rights and International Political Science. It is ideally suited for students who wish to engage with cutting edge theoretical developments, critical research issues and key policy trends.

    The Department of Sociology is particularly strong in the range of specialist options it can offer students doing this course; from those seeking employment or advancement within relevant professional fields to those planning further postgraduate studies. Students taking this degree will have a variety of career aspirations e.g. as a vehicle for entry or advancement in a particular area with professional responsibilities for surveillance practices and/or policies (e.g. criminal justice, data protection, information technology, commerce, government); or as a step towards a career in academic research.  Professionals already employed in a particular surveillance area may be interested in gaining wider understanding and knowledge.  

    Modules: MA Surveillance Studies

    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 (compulsory)

          Surveillance studies: theory and concepts (SGM237)
          Surveillance studies: processes and practices (SGM238)
          Approaches to social research (SGM222)
          Sociology Dissertation (SGM111)

    Students also choose three modules from a wide range of options (20 credits each) including:

          Media and communication theories (SGM003)
          Political communication (SGM004)
          Democratisation, information and communication (SGM009)
          The sociology of human rights (SGM106)
          Globalising cities (SGM107)
          Rights, multiculturalism and citizenship (SGM109)
          Refugee rights and refugee settlement (SGM117)
          Media and human rights (SGM224)
          Issues in media and communications research (SGM230)
          Contemporary criminology (SGM231)
          Crime and justice (SGM232)
          Media, crime and culture (SGM235)
          Feminisms and the media: representation, technology and change (SGM239)

    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%

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