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London School of Economics & Political Science
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These pages contain the answers to a number of frequently asked questions about the Graduate Programmes offered at Media@lse. Please read these carefully before contacting us| with a query. Whilst we try to deal with enquiries as quickly as possible, please understand that we receive a lot of emails, and that it may take some time before we respond to your query.  

 

MSc Introductory questions

1 Why study Media and Communications at LSE?

The London School of Economics and Political Science has a worldwide academic reputation for the study of Social Sciences. It has been rated third in the world by the Times Higher Educational Supplement. Building on the School's commitment to connecting theory with empirical research and practical implications, the Department of Media and Communications is a leading centre in the field of media and communications.

 

We offer our graduate students a stimulating array of courses and programmes, taught by established academics who are conducting leading-edge critical research on major issues and core debates in the field (see Staff Research Areas). All of our courses offer diverse, theoretically-oriented and empirically-grounded approaches to contemporary developments, issues and debates in the field of media and communications. Our courses however, do not offer training in either media production, media management or public relations.

 

Our location at the heart of London, one of the world's media capitals, allows the Department to sustain excellent links with media and communications industries and policy-makers. Our students form a stimulating and supportive international community that engages in a range of social and intellectual activities and enjoys London's cosmopolitan character.

 

Overall, the Department of Media and Communications at LSE promises a rewarding studying experience offering the necessary skills for a successful future career.

 

Professor Robin Mansell, says:

 

"Our research and teaching environment offers students an exciting opportunity to critically reflect on topics that are central to understanding the place of media and communications in an increasingly intensely mediated world.  Our programmes encourage students to develop a facility in applying historical and contemporary theory to challenging global issues as well as to those they encounter locally. Students are encouraged to apply a range of research methods and tools, providing a strong foundation for research and practice in a variety of roles and occupations after they complete their degrees."

2 What is the profile of Media and Communications students at the LSE?

In any given year, we have approximately 150 Masters' students and 30 PhD students from around the world. Coming from different intellectual and cultural backgrounds, they form a vibrant and active community. Our students also vary in age and professional experience, many of them coming to study at LSE after several years of professional employment in media and communication related careers.

 

For more information on our Masters' students, their experiences of studying at our department, and their subsequent careers, check our Alumni pages|.

3 What are the job prospects after taking an MSc from the Department of Media and Communications?

On graduation, our students have acquired the critical and analytical skills necessary for a career in the field of media and communications. Our graduates are employed in a wide range of posts in the areas of broadcasting, journalism, advertising, new media industries, political marketing, market research, regulation and policy, media management and research in both public and private sectors.

 

The Careers Service| at the LSE is committed to helping our students to find out more about career opportunities open to them. They have annual forums for advertising, marketing, public relations and media organisations. They also have a Careers in Communications Fair and work with the students to help them build employer contacts and develop their career management skills.

 

For more information, please check our Alumni pages| for comments by recent graduates, or the LSE Alumni Office Graduate Destinations| page.

4 What research are the faculty undertaking at present?

Our academic staff| undertake research at the interface between social and technological change based on interdisciplinary and multi-method approaches. There are five thematic areas the department's research focuses on:  Democracy, Globalisation, Literacies, Ethics and Policy. You can find information on our research projects and publications in LSE Experts|.

5 What links are there with other departments?

The Department of Media and Communications has active research and teaching links to a number of other LSE departments. We co-run the MSc Gender, Media and Culture with the Gender Institute|. This means that the core course teaching is shared between the Department of Media & Communications and the Gender Institute. We offer recommended courses from the Department of Law| and the Information Systems and Innovation Group|. The Department of Government| offers a number of its courses as options to the MSc Politics and Communication students. The above departments, as well as the Department of Social Psychology|  complement our course choices with a range of optional courses.

 

Furthermore, all LSE students can attend LSE's exciting programme of public lectures, seminars and events, information on which is given at LSE Public Lectures and Events|.

Application questions

6 What are the entrance requirements?

Entrance requirements are set out in the LSE Graduate Prospectus|.  You should have at least an upper second class honours degree or its equivalent, preferably but not necessarily in a social science subject. To find the equivalent of your grade, if your degree has not been obtained in the UK, please follow the link Country specific information under Graduate Admissions| or under Admissions Enquiries.|

 

We particularly welcome applications from those with professional experience in the media and communications fields and, in this case, we would accept a degree in other subjects. Exceptionally, we may consider professional experience instead of a first degree.

 

We do not require a GRE or GMAT score for any of our programmes.

 

We require applicants in receipt of a conditional offer to meet those conditions before registration and before the start of the Michaelmas term. 

7 What are the English language requirements?

All applicants whose first language is not English are required to meet the department's English language requirement of IELTS 7.0. Please read the information on LSE English language requirements|. You must meet this language condition before registration (i.e. before the start of term).


 

8 What is the deadline for application?

There is no official deadline. However, Graduate Admissions begin processing applications from October for entry in the following year. As competition for entry to all our programmes is high, we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

 

To see if there are still places on a programme, see Availability of programmes|.

9 What is the application procedure?

All applications should be sent directly to Graduate Admissions|. Sending your papers to the Department of Media and Communications will cause confusion and will delay the consideration of your application.

 

Detailed advice about the application procedure, including information about how to track the progress of your application, can be found at Graduate Admissions|.

10 How many applications are received for each place available?

You can find information about the intake/applications ratio for each of our programmes on the Graduate Prospectus| by following the link of each individual programmes.

11 Will I be expected to attend an interview?

The Department of Media and Communications does not hold formal or informal interviews with applicants for MSc programmes. All applications are carefully considered on the basis of the information given on the application form and supporting documentation. PhD applicants, however, are usually interviewed, in person or by phone.

12 Are professional instead of academic referees acceptable?

All applicants who left full-time education less than five years ago are required to supply two academic references. Those who left full-time education more than five years ago may supply one or two professional references. However, it is most advantageous, even for the latter, if at least one reference is academic.

13 Is it possible to defer my place to the following academic year?

If you find you are not able to take up your place at LSE, you may apply to defer to the following year. You may only defer for one year. You should apply directly to Graduate Admissions|. Deferral is at the discretion of programme selector and may not be granted.

14 Can I get in touch with previous graduates?

You can find information about our previous graduates in our Alumni Pages. However, we cannot provide you with their contact details if these are not already published.

15 Are there opportunities for funding?

The Financial Support Office administers a variety of scholarships and award schemes for incoming students. For more information follow the link Financial Support Office|.

16 Do I have to know my dissertation topic when I apply for a place?

Applicants are not expected to know their dissertation topic at the time of application. Although some students arrive in October with a fair idea of the dissertation they wish to conduct, most do not know their topic in advance, and many change their minds once they begin the courses on offer. Thus, the choice of dissertation topics usually takes place during Michaelmas Term and supervisors are allocated before the Christmas break, in accordance with faculty expertise and student dissertation topic.

17 When can I expect an answer to my application?

It can take up to 8 weeks to process your application. You will receive written notification from Graduate Admissions| once a decision has been made. All applicants can track the status of their application through the following link: Track your application|. Please note that the Department of Media and Communications is unable to correspond with applicants during this time, so please do not contact us directly about your application.  Admissions to the MSc Global Media and Communications can take longer than 8 weeks since the application documents must be seen by both LSE and USC or Fudan University.

Programme-related questions

18 What are the differences among the MSc programmes?

All of our programmes offer a multi-disciplinary and theoretically-oriented approach to media as well as a broad social science foundation in research skills, while allowing students to take a specialist degree according to their interests.

 

All programmes include the compulsory courses, Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications (either as a full or as a half unit) and Methods of Research in Media and Communications. Additionally, each programme offers a distinctive range of optional and compulsory courses to allow for a greater specialisation in either globalisation, new media, politics, development or regulation. For the course lists for each programme check the individual programme pages from the Graduate Prospectus|. They are distinguished as follows:

 

MSc Media, Communication and Development: The main aim of this programme is to offer an advanced interdisciplinary education and training in contemporary theory and research in the field of media and its application in low income country contexts and provides an opportunity to critically examine the intersection of the fields of media and communications and development research.

 

MSc Media and Communications: A broad-based understanding of the development and forms of media systems in relation to political economy and power, production and organisation, processes of mediation and influence, communication content and audience response. This programme offers the greatest flexibility of course choices in and outside the department.

 

MSc Global Media and Communications: Two year Dual Degree with University of Southern California or Fudan University. This programme offers a critical exploration of mediation in the global context, examining processes of globalisation in relation to organisation, production, consumption and representation in media and communications. It is a preparation for high level employment in media and communications related professions anywhere in the world. It offers the opportunity for internships in Los Angeles or Shanghai. 

 

MSc Politics and Communication: This programme offers an intensive, year long exploration of the relations between politics, media and communications. It provides an advanced understanding of the theoretical and applied knowledge in the intersecting fields of politics and communication research as well as an ideal preparation for research work and employment in these fields.

 

For the specific core and optional courses available on each programme, check our Study pages|

19 What is the difference between an MSc and its research track?

The Research Track provides students with advanced research training, enhancing their methodological and statistical skills. These programmes are particularly recommended for those who may wish to continue to PhD study or a research-oriented career.

20 Can I study a programme part-time?

All programmes, except the MSc Global Media and Communications|, can be studied part-time. Full-time programmes run for 12 months, part-time programmes for 24 months. Please note, however, that part-time students must attend courses timetabled during the day and that evening classes are not available.

22 Are there any preliminary readings I am expected to do before the beginning of my programme?

Although not required, it may be a good idea to undertake some reading to prepare for the MSc programmes, although none are compulsory. For a list of preliminary readings for each individual programme, you can check Reading Lists page.

23 Why are statistics and methodology courses compulsory for all programmes?

It is the aim of all our programmes to provide students with a robust social science background in research methodologies which includes quantitative as well as qualitative approaches. We consider this to be an essential requirement for overcoming the gap between theory and social research and a prerequisite for the conduct of the students' dissertations. Furthermore, it provides our students with the necessary critical and analytical skills that are highly rated by the media industries and research groups in both public and private sectors. 

24 How is the academic year structured?

The academic year at LSE is made up of three terms, Michaelmas (October - December), Lent (January - March) and Summer (April - July). All teaching takes place in the Michaelmas and Lent terms.

 

At the beginning of the Summer Term, there will be revision classes for some courses, followed by examinations in May/June. Dissertations are supervised intensively during the Summer Term and are written up over the summer vacation in time for submission in the last week of August.

 

Students are required to be in London during term-time, but not during vacations, and many students return home to write up their dissertations. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that hard copies of your dissertation arrive at LSE on or before the submission deadline.

25 Will I be assigned an Academic Adviser?

At the start of the term all students will be assigned an Academic Adviser who is a member of the staff of the department. Academic Advisers take a personal interest in the student's welfare as well as in their academic studies and progress. The onus is on you to make arrangements to see your Academic Adviser and you should aim to do so at least twice each term, or more frequently if you are having particular difficulties. Students should regard their Academic Adviser as the first port of call in relation to both academic and welfare matters.

 

Early in the Lent Term, after submission of the first dissertation plan, each student will be allocated a Dissertation Supervisor. From that point onwards, your Dissertation Supervisor will take over the role of Academic Adviser.

26 When will my examinations take place?

All MSc examinations with the Department of Media and Communications take place in May/June. The timetable is published to departments and on the LSE website at the end of the Lent term in each year. Many students who wish to depart London, or book flights home ask for this timetable much earlier in the year. Please note that the Examinations Office, which timetables each department's exams, is not able to start work on the exam timetable until after students' final course choices are established in January of each year. Timetabling examinations for the whole School is a complex undertaking and you will therefore appreciate that it is impossible to produce final dates any earlier. Students should therefore avoid booking any flights at all during the examination period.

27 What are the links with the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, and Fudan University Shanghai as far as the MSc in Global Media and Communications is concerned?

The MSc Global Media and Communications| is a two-year programme. The first year of studies takes place in London, LSE, whereas for their second year applicants can choose to continue their studies in either The Annenberg School for Communication| or Fudan University|. On completion of their studies, students will have obtained both an MSc from LSE and an MA from either the Annenberg School of Communication or Fudan University. For more information on the programme and the schools, please check MSc/MA Global Media and Communications|.

Course-related questions

28 How are courses taught at LSE?

All our courses are theoretical in nature, informed by the intellectual and empirical insights of the teaching staff and the academic field of media and communications more broadly. 

 

Typically, courses in the Department are taught through the combination of a weekly one hour lectures plus a weekly one-hour seminar. Lectures may be delivered to large groups of students, depending on the numbers of students who select that course, and they generally provide an overview of a topic, a guide to further reading, and an insight into some key debates in the field. Seminars may be taught in smaller groups (up to 18 students) by full time or part-time faculty, and they generally provide an opportunity for a more detailed, student-led discussion of issues or themes relating to the lecture topic. All staff provide weekly office hours for individual meetings with students who wish to follow up any points raised in the lectures or seminars. 

 

Note that courses often include opportunities to consider how theory and empirical research may be applied in particular settings, but we do not offer a sustained practical training of the kind one might expect from, for example, a business or journalism School.

29 How and when do I choose my option courses?

Option courses for the whole year are selected at the beginning of the Michaelmas term in consultation with your Academic Adviser, who has to approve your choice. You will receive information about this at induction. If you find, in January, that you would prefer to take another option, it is possible to amend your registration to reflect this. Admission to some courses is restricted, see course capping| for further information.  In addition, each year, some courses are suspended, often because the lecturer is on sabbatical leave. 

 

To view the recommended options for particular courses, see the MSc Student Handbook| the LSE Calendar|.

30 What are 'outside options'?

'Outside options' are optional courses taken from departments other than Media and Communications. They can be either full or half unit course and allow students to pursue their own interests and give a further specialisation to their degree. Note, however, that methods of assessment may vary for outside options, since they are subjected to the rules of the respective department. To view the whole range of optional courses you can have access to, visit the MSc Student Handbook| or the LSE Calendar|.

31 What is the difference between a half unit and a full unit course?

A half unit course typically runs for just one term - either the Michaelmas (first term) or Lent term (second term) and typically comprises 20 hours of teaching (lecture/seminar) over ten weeks. A full unit course, on the other hand, usually runs for both the Michaelmas and Lent term and typically comprises 40 hours of teaching (lecture/seminar) over twenty weeks.  The LSE Calendar| shows the number of teaching hours for each course.

32 What are the methods of assessment?

The majority of courses are assessed by either a coursework essay submitted by the student during either the Lent or Summer Term (depending on the course), or an unseen examination in the Summer Term. Note, however, that there are some exceptions to this general rule, notably MC4M1/2 (Advanced) Methods of Research which is assessed by both coursework and exam.  The LSE Calendar| shows the type of assessment for each course.

Living in London

33 What are the costs of studying in London?

The Financial Support Office| provides an estimate of the Cost of studying at LSE|  for prospective students. You can also find more information about student life in London at UKstudentlife.com|.

35 Are there any internships available for students?

Although the Department does not provide services to students who are in search for internships, the latter are not hard to find through the Careers Service| of the School, which provides useful employment guidance to all students. Some opportunities for internships can also be found within the department through Polis|. Students of the MSc Global Media and Communications are also offered opportunities for internships during their second year of studies at the Annenberg School of Communication.

36 Whom should I contact if my questions are not answered here?

For more information on studying at LSE, you can Email a Student|.

 

The MSc Handbook contains answers to most questions concerning the MSc Media and Communications, MSc in Politics and Communication, MSc Global Media and Communications, MSc Media, Communication and Development, and, where appropriate, the 'research track' versions of these programmes.

 

For more information about the MSc Gender, Media and Culture, see the Gender Institute|.

MPhil/PhD

1 What is the minimum entrance requirement?

A very good pass (minimum 65% or equivalent) in a masters degree in a social science subject is preferred. Outstanding candidates with a very good pass in a masters degree in another subject, together with substantial relevant professional experience, may also be considered.

2 Is there a deadline for applications?

Those seeking ESRC and most other types of funding must submit their applications no later than 15 March in any year.

 

All applications should normally be submitted by 1 May in any year.

 

Applications may still be considered after 1 May. However, our faculty members give close attention to all their research students and therefore supervise only up to 8 research students at any time. Late applicants may find that the appropriate supervisor has no places available for entry in the coming October.

3 Must my application be accompanied by a research proposal?

Applications will only be considered if accompanied by a 2000-3000 word research proposal.

 

Applicants are encouraged to make informal contact prior to sending their formal application. You are welcome to contact media@lse.ac.uk, or the most appropriate member of our Media@lse faculty| , with a copy to media@lse.ac.uk| , attaching your cv and a preliminary research proposal, to discuss your application. Please do not, however, contact numerous members of the department simultaneously.

4 What should the research proposal include?

The research proposal should include an introduction to the topic as you see it now, an indication of the research question(s), some idea of the theoretical perspectives that interest you at this stage, and some suggestions about what research methodology or methods you might consider applying.

 

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@lse.ac.uk|
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