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Media and Communications

Departmental website lse.ac.uk/media@lse

Number of graduate students (full-time equivalent)
: 228
Research: 22

Number of faculty (full-time equivalent): 19

REF: 91 per cent of the Department's research was rated world-leading or internationally excellent

Location: St Clement's

About the Department

The Department of Media and Communications offers interdisciplinary, intensive graduate teaching. We undertake research at the interface between social and technological change, seeking a critical and contextual understanding of the dynamics of the emerging digital world. Our expertise is developed and communicated through dialogue with academic, industrial and governmental audiences.

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), the Department was ranked first in the UK on grade point average. The Department was also ranked top in the UK for both the quality of its research and the strength of its non-academic research impact. 

The aim of the Department is to bring together teaching and research in media and communications from across the social sciences, with a strong focus on media, communication and technological change and their implications for social, economic and political life, as well as for media and communications policy.

The Department benefits from LSE's geographical location at the heart of one of the world's media capitals, and has excellent links with media and communication industries and policy makers in the UK.

All the MSc programmes in the Department of Media and Communications offer the following benefits:

  • an intensive, high-quality graduate education in media and communications
  • a broad social science foundation in qualitative, quantitative, empirical and critical skills
  • a diverse, multidisciplinary and theoretically oriented approach to contemporary developments, issues and debates in the field
  • a range of specialist courses within media and communications and related fields, including an independent empirical research project
  • an intellectually stimulating, well-resourced learning environment, with strong links to media and communications industries and policy-makers
  • the opportunity for lively cross-cultural exchange of ideas among a dynamic group of fellow students in the Department and School
  • study with internationally recognised active researchers with expertise in media and communications and politics and democracy, regulation and policy, technological change, audiences, globalisation, culture and more

As a rule, most half unit courses in the Department are taught as a weekly lecture (one hour) and a weekly seminar (one hour), ie two hours for each half unit course. Check the course guides in the Calendar for further details and for information on courses outside the Department.

The core courses in the Department are taught as follows:

  • Theories and Concepts in Media and Communications - Michaelmas term, weekly lecture (one hour) and weekly seminar (one and a half hours).
  • (Advanced) Methods of Research - Michaelmas term, weekly lecture (one hour), weekly quantitative analysis lecture (two hours), weekly quantitative class (one hour). Lent term, a number of workshops (three hours each).
  • Dissertation - Lent term, symposium (two hours), two group supervisions (two hours). Summer term, symposium (two hours), group supervision (two hours). Ad hoc individual supervision throughout Lent term and Summer term.

Our PhD programme and our MSc Media and Communications (Research) programme are recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) 1+3 and +3 schemes and by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Home and EU offer holders may be eligible for nomination for ESRC or AHRC funding.

Demand for programmes is high and we have to be selective when offering places. We recommend that you apply early.

Opportunities for research

We welcome applications from well-qualified students for admission as an MPhil/PhD student to our two doctoral programmes: PhD in Media and Communications and PhD in New Media, Innovation and Literacy. Candidates should have a high merit (68 per cent overall and a distinction on the dissertation) in an appropriate master's degree from a British university, or equivalent qualification. You will need to have a clear sense of your research topic so that we can match your interests with supervisors. We encourage you to discuss your application in advance of formal submission. Formal applications must include two academic reference letters, a piece of already assessed written work (for instance, an MSc essay) and be accompanied by a 2,000-2,500 word research proposal and a personal statement. The admission process further includes an interview (in person, by phone or Skype) with potential supervisors and/or the PhD Programme Director.

On admission, students are allocated a principal supervisor, a second supervisor, and a thesis committee chair. They initially register for the MPhil and follow a taught programme which involves coursework that is formally assessed. This normally includes core taught theoretical courses in the Department, the Research Seminar in Media, Communications and Culture, and broad training in research methods together with specialist courses selected in discussion with their supervisors. Towards the end of their first year, they are to submit a 10,000 word research proposal. 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. Evaluation of this paper, together with an oral examination based on the thesis proposal and the submission of satisfactory coursework, will contribute to assessing whether students are permitted to upgrade from MPhil to PhD and continue into their second year.

Your application

If you are applying for this programme, you should note the Department's specific recommendation for the length of your research proposal, which is 2,000-2,500 words.

Taught programmes


MPhil/PhD Media and Communications
MPhil/PhD New Media, Innovation and Literacy
Visiting Research Students

Application code: P4ZM (MPhil/PhD Media and Communications), P3ZN (MPhil/PhD New Media Innovation and Literacy), P4E1 (Visiting Research Students) (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: MPhil/PhD 3-4 years (minimum 2), VRS up to 9 months (renewable)

Entry requirement: Merit in a taught master's degree in social science or humanities

English requirement: Research

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: See Tuition fees

Financial support: LSE scholarships and studentships (see Financial support). LSE is an ESRC Doctoral Training Centre. Both MPhil/PhD programmes in the Department are part of the Social Science group of accredited programmes for ESRC funding (see Economic and Social Research Council)

Application deadline:  15 February 2016, but please note that the selection process for LSE PhD and Research Council Studentships will take place earlier. The funding deadline is 11 January 2016. Selection for funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents