Social Media, Culture and Society MA

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UKPASS code: 051161 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 15 September 2016
Duration: 1 year
Location: North-West London
Campus: Harrow

All prices quoted are for the academic year 2016/17 only. Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £7,250.00
Overseas: £14,000.00

The MA in Social Media, Culture and Society offers a flexible interdisciplinary exploration of key contemporary developments in the networked digital media environment. It will benefit those seeking to develop their understanding of contemporary communication and its societal, political, regulatory, industrial and cultural contexts. 

The MA in Social Media, Culture and Society provides students with the opportunity to focus at postgraduate level on:

  • Studying the ways in which social media and the Internet shape and are shaped by social, economic, political, technological and cultural factors, in order to equip students to become critical research-oriented social media experts.
  • Developing reflective and critical insights into how social media and the internet are used in multiple contexts in society, and into which roles social media can play in various forms of organisations that are situated in these societal contexts. The aim is that students are equipped to become reflective and critical social media practitioners.
  • Gaining in-depth knowledge and understanding of the major debates about the social and cultural roles of social media and the Internet.
  • Acquiring advanced knowledge and understanding of the key categories, theories, approaches and models of social media's and the Internet's roles in and impacts on society and human practices.
  • Obtaining advanced insights into practical activity and practice-based work that relate to how social media and the Internet work and which implications they have for social and cultural practices.

You can also visit the course's Facebook page.

Course content

Modules

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Semester one

Core modules

SOCIAL MEDIA: CREATIVITY, SHARING, VISIBILITY

This module provides students with a theoretical understanding of the development, significance and contemporary uses of social media. It fosters both critical analysis and reflective practice in the networked digital media environment. Students will critically engage with key ideas of creativity, sharing and visibility in social media, and will participate in creative and reflective practice using leading social media tools and platforms.

DISSERTATION MODULE

A taught module and group workshops in the first semester will guide you in conducting a major piece of independent research or create a theoretically inspired social media artefact. This module will be supplemented by individual supervisions beginning from the second semester. The aim is to give you a guided framework within which you can demonstrate your ability to carry out advanced independent study and write it up in the form of a dissertation. The dissertation is a 15,000-word piece of original research on a topic agreed with your supervisor and related to the political, economic, cultural and/or sociological factors which shape the practices and outcomes of social media OR a social media artefact accompanied by a written report of approximately 7,000 words, in which the student critically reflects on their social media project, and grounds it in relevant theory.

Option modules

STUDY SKILLS (NO CREDITS)

If your first language is not English, or you have no experience of the British education system, you will benefit from this module. You will be taken through the process of producing a piece of written work, from note taking to editing, so as to enable you to produce written work in accordance with current British academic standards and practices.

2 elective modules from three topical clusters (any combination of modules is applicable)

(1) Theory and Global Political Economy of Media and Communication;
(2) Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies;
(3) Media, Culture and Everyday Life

Thematic Group 1: Theory and Global Political Economy of Media and Communication;

THEORIES OF COMMUNICATION

The module is intentionally eclectic. You will cover (in a loosely historical way) the arguments, advantages and problems of the main sociological, cultural and psychological theories about the media. It aims to provide a comprehensive introduction to the most important ways of approaching the fundamental issues posed by the relationships between the media of communication and social and economic life. It will also enable you to understand the problems posed by different intellectual traditions, and to place those theories in their proper contexts.

GLOBAL MEDIA

This module examines key developments in the media and communications industries associated with the logic of globalisation. You will explore the complex nature of the globalisation process, focusing on the emergence of both supra-national and sub-national developments and explore the relationship between new contexts of production and questions of collective culture and identity.

POLITICAL ECONOMY OF COMMUNICATION

This module will introduce you to the political economy approach to analysing the structure and performance of communication industries in capitalist economies. It identifies distinctive economic features of media and relates these to trends in the organisation of specific media industries, taking account of ways in which the economics of media have been affected by the spread of digital technologies.

Thematic Group 2: Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies;

TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

This module will introduce you to a range of broadcasting and telecommunications technologies, enabling you to assess the economic and political issues surrounding each technology. Topics covered include capital investment in networks, how and why technologies change, strategic interests and communications, and substitutable technologies and the creation of markets.

POLITICAL ANALYSIS OF COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

As international regimes and national regulation become increasingly important in the creation and delivery of communications, it becomes necessary to understand how the two levels interact. This module will introduce you to those theories of policy making and international relations which provide tools for the analysis of communications policies, and their dynamic interaction at the national and international level.

Semester two

Core modules

CRITICAL THEORY OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND THE INTERNET

This module provides an overview of the critical and theoretical analysis of how the Internet and social media (Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, WikiLeaks, file sharing, blogs etc) shape and impact on society, the economy and politics and how power structures in society shape the Internet and social media.

Option modules

2 elective modules from three topical clusters (any combination of modules is applicable)

(1) Theory and Global Political Economy of Media and Communication;
(2) Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies;
(3) Media, Culture and Everyday Life

Thematic Group 2: Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies

MEDIA, ACTIVISM AND CENSORSHIP

The module critically investigates the relationship between media, activism and censorship. It offers a critical assessment of the role of media in political mobilization, social movements, dissent, wars, conflicts, elections and political and social crises. The module considers the impact of different forms of censorship and regulation on social, political and cultural expression in the media.

DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS POLICY

The aims of this module are to provide you with a theoretical overview of the concept of 'development', and the opportunity to consider how it relates to empirical experience in communications in small and developing countries. You will be able to compare the experiences of a range of countries in attempting to retain cultural autonomy, in developing their own communications technologies and policies, in democratisation, and in exporting mass media content.

Thematic Group 3: Media, Culture and Everyday Life

MEDIA AUDIENCES

This module begins with an overview of media audiences, and goes on to analyse audiences and media institutions, passive/active audiences, media influence and effects, and ethnography and media audiences. The second part of the module is devoted to discussions of media and identity, fans, diasporas and new media audiences.

UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING DIVERSITY IN THE MEDIA

This module looks at the various ways in which our understanding of diversity and difference has impacted on the way in which media models, institutions and professionals engage with social and cultural diversity. It focuses on different national media policy frameworks and media cultures, it examines the meaning of the melting pot, cultural mosaic and salad bowl metaphors and their operationalisation by the media and looks at various media institutions and their responses to social diversity. This module is offered as an option in the dissertation route.

SOCIOLOGY OF NEWS

A critical study of the news media in the context of current society; this module examines different aspects of how news is created, disseminated and consumed.

Associated careers

Students obtain skills to work as social media experts, either as social media and Internet researchers or as social media professionals in various types of organisations.

Related courses

Length of course

One-year, full-time or two to five years, part-time day

Location

Harrow

Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.

Work experience

Students are encouraged to seek work experience in the industry and opportunities are regularly communicated by members of staff. This has often led to full-time employment once graduating from the course.In addition, the course takes advantage of the vibrancy of the media environment in London. For instance, students are encouraged to benefit from events taking place in London, eg at Frontline Club.

Equally, there are a number of activities within the Department that give plenty of opportunities to students for networking which increases their employability. An example here is the University's Communication And Media Research Institute (CAMRI) seminars every fortnight where leading researchers present their work. This extracurricular activity promotes networking among MA students and gives them an opportunity to meet PhD students, other research staff and visiting speakers.

Further networking opportunities are offered by the regular workshops and conferences which the various research centres within CAMRI organize and which our students can attend for free. These workshops and conferences bring together academic researchers, industry representatives as well as regulators and policy makers.

Graduate employment

Graduates who have studied media and communication at the University of Westminster have found jobs in middle and upper management in media industries, as well as the broader private (e.g. consulting and advertising firms) and public sector (eg government ministries, regulatory authorities), international organisations and NGOs. Some graduates also continue to do PhD research. Success in their Masters degree has allowed many who have been in media jobs before joining the course to move into more senior roles within their companies or organisations and to transfer to new sectors of the media.

Employability

Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.

Accommodation

After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

DateTitleLocation
16 November 2016Postgraduate Information EveningHarrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
View subject-specific information evenings

Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

We are one of Europe's leading centres for higher education for the creative industries.

Find out more about the school

Postgraduate student funding

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Find out about new student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate master’s study.

REF2014

Research Excellence Framework 2014 logo

52% and 45% of the work submitted to the Research Excellence Framework REF2014 by CAMRI and CREAM was assessed as world leading, respectively; both were ranked in the top 5 in the UK.