Programmes

MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society)

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Media and Communications
  • Application code P3U4
  • Starting 2018

The MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society) is a social science programme which offers a critical, year-long exploration of the significance of data and information within contemporary societies and communications. 

At a time when intensive data-gathering about online activity is central to both business models and to governments’ strategies for understanding their citizens, the programme’s theoretical perspective on datafication is highly relevant, allowing students to understand, evaluate and respond to the social and political contexts of data production and analytics. You will also consider the cultural aspects of the role of data within everyday life.

The programme provides students with the resources to understand the wider implications of a social shift towards data. In comparison to data science programmes, this programme will also teach students skills in understanding how data processes can be constructed, managed and renewed to fulfil social and civic ends, identifying the ethical questions raised by data’s growing role in communication and social processes and what approaches might resolve them, and understanding the significance of data-collection processes and data governance.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society)
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 1,218 (includes MSc Media and Communications, MSc Media and Communications (Research) and MSc Media and Communications (Media and Communication Governance)
Intake 2016 125 (includes MSc Media and Communications, MSc Media and Communications (Research) and MSc Media and Communications (Media and Communication Governance)
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open 
Tuition fee UK/EU: £20,904
Overseas: £20,904
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 26 April 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in a social science subject. We particularly welcome applications from people with professional experience in the media, communications, data or information technology field
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections.

Programme structure and courses

You take one course on media and communications theories and concepts, a course in research methods and a data course, and will choose courses from a range of options within the Department and across other relevant departments, such as Sociology, Government, Law and Management. In addition, you will submit a dissertation of 12,000 words.

(* denotes half unit) 

Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications I (Key concepts and interdisciplinary approaches)*
Addresses key theoretical and conceptual issues in the study of media and communications, within a broadly interdisciplinary social science perspective.

Data in Communication and Society*
Introduces core theoretical perspectives on data, and outlines research approaches that address the influence of data within communication and society. 

Methods of Research in Media and Communications (including Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis)*
Aims to provide you with general training in research methods and techniques including research design and the collection, analysis and interpretation of data.

Dissertation:
An independent research project of 12,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. 

Courses to the value of one and a half units from a range of options. 

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. This includes sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar  within the Teaching section of each course guide

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Formal classroom teaching is usually completed by the end of the Lent term. Coursework is usually submitted in January and May, and examinations are generally held in May and June. The remaining months are set aside for you to complete the dissertations supported by staff supervision.

Part-time students

Part-time students will normally take and be examined in courses to the value of two units in each year of study. In the first year, these two units, selected in discussion with your academic adviser, will usually include the compulsory theoretical course(s) and one or more option course(s). The methods course(s) and the dissertation are then usually taken in the second year, together with the remaining option course(s). You may be permitted to vary the courses to be taken in each year with the approval of your academic adviser. 

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. You will be summatively assessed by written examinations (seen and unseen), research assignments, essays and the dissertation, which must be submitted in August. 

You will be assigned an academic adviser within the Department who will be available to discuss your personal and academic concerns. 

Academic support

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Preliminary reading

J Cheney-Lippold We Are Data: Algorithms and The Making of Our Digital Selves (NYU Press, 2017)

J Cohen Configuring the Networked Self: law, code, and the play of everyday practice (Yale University Press, 2012) 

P Dourish The Stuff of Bits: an essay on the materialities of information (1st edition, MIT Press, 2017)

L Gitelman, Ed “Raw Data” is an Oxymoron (MIT Press, 2013)

B Goldstein and L Dyson Beyond Transparency: open data and the future of civic information (Code for America, 2013)

R Kitchin The Data Revolution: big data, open data, data infrastructures and their consequences (Sage, 2014)

S Mattern Code and Clay, Data and Dirt (University Of Minnesota Press, 2017)

V Mayer-Shoenberger and K Cukier Big Data: a revolution that will transform how we live, work and think (John Murray, 2013)

V Mosco To the Cloud: big data in a turbulent world (Paradigm Publishers, 2014)

C O’Neil Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy (Penguin, 2017)

F Pasquale The Black Box Society: the secret algorithms that control money and information (Reprint edition, Harvard University Press, 2016)

B Schneier Data and Goliath: the hidden battles to collect your data and control your world (Norton, 2016)

Z Tufekci Twitter and Tear Gas: the power and fragility of networked protest (Yale University Press, 2017)

S Vaidhyanathan The Googlization of everything (and why we should worry) (University of California Press, 2011)

J van Dijck The culture of connectivity, a critical history of social media (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Also look at the Big Data and Society journal, open source journal available at: http://bds.sagepub.com/.

Careers

Destinations of alumni from the MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society) have included: project manager for the Asset Data Question Project, Product Manager, Policy Assistant at Research Institutes, Content Strategist, Analysts, Planning Executives.

This programme will give you an understanding of how data shapes social life specifically through communication processes. This is useful for future careers in media and communication fields that are increasingly bound up with information systems and data development, such as: advertising and marketing, data analytics, legal and political consulting, information management, and editorial.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society)

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in social science, or degree in a social science subject. We particularly welcome applications from people with professional experience in the media, communications, data or information technology fields.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

See international entry requirements

Personal statement requirements

If you are applying for this programme, please note the following specific requirements for your personal statement.

Write a short personal statement (up to 600 words) about why you want to do the programme. This might cover, for example, what suits you to the programme: your experiences and skills in relation to the analysis of data and society; what attracts you to this particular programme and where you see yourself in ten years after the programme.

In addition, please write a response (up to 400 words*) to one of the following questions. You might do so by relying on relevant authors and concepts from previous courses or independent study, as well as on professional experiences.

  • What is the most pressing social, political or ethical issue related to data and society? Why should we study it?

  • How useful is the concept of "big data"? What are its limitations?

  • How does the increase of size and variety of data change how we study society?

  • If you could invent a data-based product or service that would change the world, what would it look like? What would be its best feature and what would be its biggest risk?

*The total length of your personal statement, including the answers to the above questions, should therefore be between 800-1,000 words.

 

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society)

UK/EU students: £20,904
Overseas students: £20,904

Fee status

For this programme, the tuition fee is the same for all students regardless of their fee status. 

However any financial support you are eligible for will depend on whether you are classified as a Home (UK/EU) or Overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

Please refer to the Fees Office website for further information.

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 

Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas.

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities 

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