Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains 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. 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 270 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 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?

The LSE Department of Media and Communications comprises internationally acclaimed faculty who conduct research at the interface between social and technological change, addressing key issues in the emerging global digital world and seek a critical understanding of its social, economic and political dynamics in order to inform academic, policy and public debates.  The Department’s status at the forefront of research in the field of media and communications was confirmed by the results of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). The Department was ranked top in the UK on grade point average, with an impressive 47 per cent of research output rated ‘world-leading’ (the highest category) and a further 44 per cent rated ‘internationally excellent’ (the second highest category). The Department was also ranked top in the UK for both the quality of its research and the strength of its research impact. Key research insights from the Department are shared with an impressive range of public, private and third sector organisations such as the BBC, BT and European Broadcasting Union, Facebook and Google, the World Economic Forum, Gates Foundation, Hansard Society and the Open Rights Group, UK and EU government departments, as well as UNESCO, UNICEF and Ofcom.  See more about the Department’s research work here.

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 Department of Gender Studies. This means that the core course teaching is shared between the Department of Media & Communications and the Department of Gender Studies. We offer recommended courses from the Department of Law, Department of Sociology, Department of Methodology, Department of Government, Department of Anthropology, Department of International Development and the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. 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 Psychological and Behavioural Science 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.

Programme-related questions

16 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.

MSc Strategic Communications. The main aim of this programme is to offer an advanced theoretical and applied understanding of the ways in which communication by organisations and institutions shapes our understandings of the world and our place within it. The programme provides an opportunity to critically examine the ways in which organisations use all kinds of communication as strategic tools to engage with audiences in a globalised and digitised landscape. The impact of strategic communication on society and culture is a key focus, as is the effect it has on different dimensions of inclusion and exclusion at a local, national and global level.

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

17 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.

18 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.

19 Are your Handbooks available online?

Yes, you can read the MSc Student Handbooks online.

20 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. 

Please visit our Master’s programmes, and check the ‘Preliminary reading’ section on the individual programme page. 

21 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. 

22 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 - June). All classroom teaching takes place in the Michaelmas and Lent terms.

Examinations take place in Janaury and in May/June. Dissertations are supervised intensively during the Summer Term and are written up over the summer vacation in time for submission in mid/late 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.

23 Will I be assigned an Academic Mentor?

At the start of the term all students will be assigned an Academic Mentor who is a member of the staff of the department. Academic Mentors 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor.

24 When will my examinations take place?

Examinations take place in January and in May/June.  The timetable is published to departments and on the LSE website at the end of the Lent term in each 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.

25 What are the links with the University of Southern California, Fudan University and the University of Cape Town, 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 in Los Angeles, Fudan Journalism School in Shanghai or The Centre for Film and Media Studies in Cape Town.  On completion of their studies, students will have obtained both an MSc from LSE and an MA from either the Annenberg School of Communication Fudan University or the University of Cape Town. For more information on the programme and the schools, please check MSc/MA Global Media and Communications.

Course-related questions

26 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, 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 feedback and advice hours during term time 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.

27 How and when do I choose my option courses?

Option courses for the whole year are selected at the beginning of the Michaelmas term. You will receive information about this during Welcome week, don't worry if you are used to finalising your study plan before the beginning of the academic year, you will have two weeks during Michaelmas Term to 'shop around' for your courses. 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 and the LSE Calendar.

28 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.

29 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.

30 What are the methods of assessment? 

Courses in the Department of Media & Communications (MC) are assessed in a variety of ways, including individual presentations, group work, essays and seen or unseen examinations. The LSE Calendar shows the type of assessment for each course, and the course convenor will give detailed information about assessment in class and on the course Moodle site.

Living in London

31 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.

32 Where can I find information about LSE accommodation?

For accommodation enquiries, please see the Accommodation Office.

33 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.

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

The MSc Handbook contains answers to most questions concerning the MSc Media and Communications, MSc in Politics and Communication, MSc Strategic Communications, MSc Global Media and Communications, MSc Media, Communication and Development and MSc Strategic Communications.

For more information about the MSc Gender, Media and Culture, see the Department of Gender Studies.