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MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society)

About the MSc programme

This programme offers an intensive, 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 critical perspective on the “move towards data” 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 data’s role within everyday life.

The MSc Media and Communications (Data and Society) provides students with the resources to understand the wider implications of a social shift towards data (as highlighted in recent debates about the data-gathering of the NSA and social media platforms). The 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.

The programme aims to develop:

  • a broad understanding of the development and forms of media systems in relation to political economy, regulation and power, production and organisation, processes of mediation and influence, communication content and audience response
  • a broad understanding of data, information and knowledge as aspects of contemporary society, including theoretical and analytic perspectives
  • an up-to-date engagement with diverse theoretical, conceptual and empirical developments in research on media and communications, including in relation to the implications of data, both historically and in the present, for social, political and economic organisation
  • a mix of core and optional courses, culminating in an independent research project in media and communications, that provides an ideal preparation for research or employment in media and communications and data-related fields.
  • the flexibility to tailor the programme to pursue particular topics of interest by selecting from a wide range of courses taught by leading experts in the Department of Media and Communications and other departments at LSE, with a focus on data, communications and society

We attract students from a diverse range of backgrounds, often including professional experience working in media and communications and data-related fields. Indeed, the opportunity for cross-cultural meetings and the exchange of ideas among the student body is a valuable feature of studying at LSE.

London is also the home of the largest concentration of new media startup companies in Europe, and the proximity to ‘Silicon Roundabout’ provides further opportunities to study the new data-intensive media industries and cultures closely. Students will have the opportunity to make use of the Department’s networks, including the Media Policy Project and think-tank Polis, which may lead to informal internship opportunities. 

You should have at least an upper second-class honours degree or its equivalent in a social science subject. We particularly welcome applications from people with professional experience in the media, communications, data or information technology field.

Applicants with a conditional offer must meet the conditions of their offer before registration and before the start of the Michaelmas term.

If English is not your first language or if the language of instruction for your first degree is not English, we ask you to provide evidence of your command of English as part of the admissions process. In addition, we strongly recommend that you consider additional language instruction before you register in order to be confident that you can participate fully in the programme. Experience has shown that students who are fully proficient in English are best placed to make the most of all that LSE has to offer, both academically and socially. The LSE Language Centre offers courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to support you before the start of the programme, as well as during your studies.

Programme details

The programme consists of four units, including compulsory and optional courses, and a dissertation. Taught courses typically involve a combination of lectures and seminars. The Methods of Research course is taught as a series of lectures and practical classes, including methods training that reflects today’s huge expansion of data sources. You will be assessed by written examinations, research assignments, essays and the dissertation, which must be submitted in August.

The programme runs for one year. 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 January, May and June. The remaining months are set aside for students to complete the dissertations. Please note that we do not provide a practical training in journalism, production, campaigning or media management.

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 the student's academic adviser, will usually include the compulsory theoretical course(s) and one or more optional course(s). The methods course(s) and the dissertation are then usually taken in the second year, together with the remaining optional course(s). Students may be permitted to vary the courses to be taken in each year with the approval of their academic adviser.

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose 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 for MSc Media and Communications (Data and society) 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

Graduate destinations

This programme will provide students with 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.


Application codes: P3U4 (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Intake/Applications in 2014: New programme for 2015 entry

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 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 (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: £19,344

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support). 

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions. However the number of places on this programme is limited and admissions will close when the programme is full. Check current availability