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Department of Media and Communications
London School of Economics & Political Science
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London WC2A 2AE

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PhD Programmes

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Introduction

Media and communications research is developing rapidly, both theoretically and methodologically, in-keeping with the vast expansion in the penetration, technological diversity and social significance of the media globally. Media and communications research is essentially interdisciplinary, drawing on the theories and methods of a range of social science disciplines as they apply to the media, both old and new.

With 91% of its research output judged to be "world leading" or "internationally excellent" (REF 2014), the Department of Media and Communications provides an excellent research-based education to its doctoral researchers. Its mission is to guarantee the highest quality graduate research training in media and communications and to undertake original social science research in the field, emphasising in particular the relationship between media, technology and social change.

Programmes and Course Structure

MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications

The original PhD offered by the department, focusing on the role of media and communications in contemporary society. 

 

Students are required to attend in both first and second years of study, MC500 the Weekly Research Seminar for Media, Communications and Culture. They will also be required to attend and pass in the first year at least one full unit of advanced research methods training, MC5M2 Advanced Methods of Research in Media & Communications, which includes a choice of qualitative and quantitative research methods courses and workshops. Students on the MPhil/PhD in Media and Communications without the requisite closely related background in media and communications theory will be required, in addition, to attend and pass (by coursework only) MC408/418 Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications I and II.

 

Students are encouraged and expected to attend other graduate seminars and courses relevant to the subject of their research in their first, second and subsequent years. 

MPhil/PhD in New Media, Innovation and Literacy

The PhD for students who wish to focus on the role of new media in relation to innovation and literacy.

 

Students are required to attend in both first and second years of study, MC500 the Weekly Research Seminar for Media, Communications and Culture. They will also be required to attend and pass in the first year at least one full unit of advanced research methods training, MC5M2 Advanced Methods of Research in Media & Communications, which includes a choice of qualitative and quantitative research methods courses and workshops.

Students will be required, in addition, to attend and pass (by coursework only) two of the following:

 

MC402 The Audience in Media and Communications
MC409 Media, Technology and Everyday Life
MC413 New Media, Information and Knowledge Systems
MC418 Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications II
MC424 Media and Communications Governance
MC425 Interpersonal Mediated Communication
MC430 Data in Communication and Society

 

Students are encouraged and expected to attend other graduate seminars and courses relevant to the subject of their research in their first, second and subsequent years.

Evaluation and Progress

Students will be required to submit a full thesis proposal of 10,000 words to their Thesis Committee by 1 June in their first year Part-time students can submit their Proposal by 1 March in their second year. This paper will include a substantive statement of the aims, theories and methods proposed for the thesis, a tentative chapter outline, an indicative bibliography and a timetable for its completion.

Together with the examination or other assessment in MC5M2 Advanced Methods of Research in Media & Communications and in core theoretical taught causes as detailed above, this paper will form part of the evaluation process, and, together with an oral examination based on the Thesis Proposal, will determine whether students are permitted to upgrade from MPhil to PhD and continue into their second year.

All students will be expected to complete their PhD within 3 years or the equivalent for part-time students.

Current PhD Researchers

The Department's Doctoral Programme currently has approximately 35 PhD Researchers offering each of them the opportunity to develop their research skills and ideas in a global centre of excellence in media and communications research.

Doctoral Programme Director

Bart_2012

Dr Bart Cammaerts

Bart is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications and Director of the PhD programmes.

Research Interests:

  • Media, power and social change
  • Communication and resistance
  • Activism and mediation
  • Alternative media and community radio

Publications | LSE Experts

 

Supervision

PhD Students are assigned to a principal supervisor with requisite knowledge in the chosen field and to an appropriate second supervisor. Supervisors are normally members of the Department of Media and Communications faculty. If appropriate, a second or joint supervisor may be recruited from another department.

Each student will be assigned a Thesis Committee consisting of their two supervisors and a senior member of the Department's faculty as Chair. This committee will act as the review panel at the end of the first year of registration and in the decision to upgrade a student from MPhil to PhD. The Thesis Committee also provides feedback on draft chapters submitted at the end of the second year and remains responsible for over-viewing the student's progress in subsequent years

Please see our Academic Staff list to view potential supervisors.

How to apply

Step 1. Check that you meet the entry requirements

Applicants to either of our doctoral programmes should possess (as a minimum):

  • a UK master's degree with a high merit of 68 (out of 100) or a non-UK equivalent in a subject appropriate to the research to be undertaken.
  • a UK master's dissertation with a distinction (70 out or 100) or a non-UK equivalent.
  • a UK undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject with upper second class honours or non-UK equivalent.

 Our information for students by country/region gives details of our minimum entry requirements for qualifications offered in a number of countries.

 

There is no GRE/GMAT requirement for these programmes.

Step 2. Submit an informal enquiry to your potential supervisor

Faculty at the Department will informally consider draft applications and provide feedback and guidance. In order to receive feedback, prospective applicants must use the expression of interest web form and submit the following:

  • research proposal (up to 2500 words) (See Research Proposal Guidelines)
  • personal statement (up to 1500 words)
  • curriculum vitae/résumé
  • overall grades / marks on previous / current study
  • preferred potential supervisor (see Academic Staff list).

Unfortunately Faculty will be unable to reply to emails from applicants before this step has been taken.

 Step 3. Submit a formal application to LSE

Formal applications are handled by Graduate Admissions. The criteria for selection include:

  • the degree of precision, motivation for and insight of the research proposal (see below), as well as its implications (theoretical, empirical and practical)
  • the candidate's past educational background (both its subject matter and standard)
  • the degree of support expressed in the references provided
  • the appropriateness of the proposed research topic for supervision by members of the School
  • the availability of a member of staff with appropriate expertise to supervise the proposed research

The department also requires the submission of a research proposal of no more than 2500-words summarising and justifying your proposed research, to be attached to your formal application. See Research Proposal Guidelines for instructions of how to structure this.

Step 4. Attend an interview with your potential supervisor

Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in person, by phone or via Skype by their potential supervisor and another member of departmental faculty. Following the interview, you will receive a final decision within six weeks. If you completed a Master's degree at the Department of Media and Communications, this step may not be necessary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 What are the minimum entry requirements?

There are three academic entry requirements:

  • a UK master's degree with a high merit of 68 (out of 100) or a non-UK equivalent in a subject appropriate to the research to be undertaken.
  • a UK master's dissertation with a distinction (70 out or 100) or a non-UK equivalent.
  • a UK undergraduate degree in an appropriate subject with upper second class honours or non-UK equivalent.

Our information for students by country/region gives details of our minimum entry requirements for qualifications offered in a number of countries.

 

There is no GRE/GMAT requirement for these programmes.

2. What are the English language requirements?

If your first language is not English and if your previous degree has not been taught entirely in English, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language ability.

Please see the 'Research Programmes' section of the English language requirements webpage for details.

3. Is there a deadline for applications?

There are two deadlines that candidates should be aware of:

  • Funding deadline: 11 January 2016
  • Application deadline: 15 February 2016

In order to benefit from faculty feedback to a draft application, prospective applicants must have submitted an expression of interest online by 23.59 (GMT) on 31 January 2016.

 

Faculty give close attention to all PhD researchers and therefore supervise only up to 8 at any time. Late applicants may find that the appropriate supervisor has no places available for entry in the coming academic year.

4. Must my application be accompanied by a research proposal?

Applications will only be considered if accompanied by a research proposal of no more than 2,500 words.

 

Please see the Research Proposal Guidelines for instructions of how to structure this.

 

Students are not, of course, tied to their initial research proposal and indeed many will change the emphasis of their research during the first year of study. However, we ask to see a proposal from all applicants in order to determine whether any of our Faculty members would be a suitable supervisor and as evidence that the applicant has a good understanding of what is involved in MPhil/PhD research.

5. Whom should I contact about financial support?

Please see the Financial Support Office for all information about funding your studies.

6. Who can I contact if my question is not answered here?

A wealth of information on every aspect of the LSE application process and requirements is available at Graduate Admissions.

 

More detailed information is also available in the MPhil/PhD Handbook.

 

For any further information, please contact us at Media.PhD@lse.ac.uk

Visiting PhD Researchers

Visiting Research Student status at LSE allows research students at other universities to spend up to one academic session at the School at the discretion of the department concerned. A supervisor is assigned to every Visiting Research Student.

Visiting Research Students in the Department of Media and Communications need to be research and doctoral students registered at another university and wishing to undertake some aspect of their research in the UK. Certain seminars and classes can be attended subject to the advice and approval of the supervisor and teachers concerned. All courses take place in the first two terms – taught course attendance is entirely optional. A full transcript of studies can be produced at the end of the period of study.

How to apply

The application procedure is to apply for the MPhil/PhD (as detailed in the Graduate Prospectus) but to use the application code for visiting status - P4E1  - Visiting Research Student in Media and Communications.

You should provide, as part of your application, a written proposal of no more than 2000 words, which gives details of your proposed research question(s), the relevant literature and previous research in the field, research methods used and theoretical/conceptual framework to be adopted. In addition to this, it is required that prospective Visiting Research Students outline the progress made in their PhD project and the reasons for the proposed visit to the Department of Media and Communications. This will enable us to make an informed decision about the proposal and it is equally important to establish if there are appropriate supervisors for your planned research (you will normally be allocated two supervisors). Faculty cannot be expected to provide feedback on proposals and students should submit a proposal that fully covers the elements required. However, it is advisable that prospective Visiting Research Students seek agreement from potential supervisors prior to submitting their official application.

The department also require proof of Visiting Research Students' ability to work at the required level in English, as well as two academic references, one of which must be from your current principal PhD supervisor.

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