Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £825 *
International Fees £1,575 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 1 year

* Price per 20-credit module

Course summary

This innovative Postgraduate Diploma aims to equip students with the skills, knowledge and strategic approach to develop and analyse social change campaigns and activism, with a particular focus on the role of communications and the media. This is the only postgraduate programme of its kind, and has a flexible delivery to suit both full-time and part-time students.

The course builds on our close links with leading campaigners and communicators in London's vibrant social change sector. An advisory panel, with representatives from Amnesty UK,  Friends of the Earth, WaterAid, SumOfUs, Advocacy Hub, Campaign Bootcamp, FairSay and The National Council of Voluntary Organisations among others, will ensure we always reflect the skill sets in demand and deliver an exciting learning experience. A limited number of work placements and internships will be available.

The course is aimed at those with some experience or interest in social change, the media, and communications or campaigns within not for profit organisations. The course will help you improve your practical skills, develop a deep understanding of the theories and frameworks that underpin and shape campaign communications, and enjoy the space to reflect critically on current and past practice. It is designed to help you start, or progress, a career in charity, pressure group or public sector campaign communications. It may also be of interest to those working in corporate social responsibility. Alumni work in a range of senior campaign and communications roles in charities, NGOS, agencies, think tanks and government departments.

The course team has extensive experience both in developing social change campaigns and in academic research into the connections between media, protest and social change. The course is jointly led by Michaela O’Brien and Dr Anastasia Kavada, with additional teaching by practitioners and members of our internationally renowned Communication and Media Research Institute. It is taught at our campuses in the West End of London, and also at the Harrow campus.

The course offers a number of delivery modes to suit the different needs of students and can be taken as either part-time or full-time. In addition to Media, Campaigning and Social Change MA, we offer: 

Course structure

There are three core modules. The first develops practical planning and campaign communications skills, the second considers media and activism theories, and the third combines theory with practice, reflecting on applying concepts like power and ethics within the setting of campaign communications. Each module has assessments – e.g. essays, campaign plans, reflective blogs, debates and presentations - rather than exams. These three core modules make up the Postgraduate Certificate.

Students can take another three modules - chosen from a very wide range of options including practical media and content production skills, diversity issues, development and policy, social media, theories of communication and more - to complete a Postgraduate Diploma.

Students wanting to take the Masters course also complete either a 15,000-word research dissertation, or a professional practice project (which can be work-based).

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

In this module, you will consider the factors that influence social change in the context of current campaigns around the world, and the historical development of campaign techniques and practices. You will apply a critical analysis of concepts such as power, theories of change, ethics, innovation, media representation, narrative and framing to practical scenarios and topical campaigns. This module requires you to monitor and critically evaluate practice in the UK and/or internationally.

The module investigates the relationship between media, activism and politics. It offers a critical assessment of the role of media in political mobilisation, social movements, dissent, memes, satire and art, and political and social crises. The module looks at the impact of the communications on activism in a range of circumstances from secure democracies through different kinds of political systems. The module combines traditional academic lectures and seminars with attendance at topical events and visits to relevant exhibitions and institutions.

In this module you will learn how to research and plan a strategic campaign for social change based on the theories of social change examined in Semester One. You will produce communication material such as news releases, e-alerts, tweets, infographics and/or videos to support your campaign strategy. Where possible, you work to live briefs from campaigning organisations. This is a practical, hands-on module taught through a series of workshops, visits to campaign communication teams in London-based campaigning organisations, masterclasses and guest talks by leading campaigners and social change communicators.

Option modules

Choose two of the following in addition to the core module in Semester 1:

  • Approaches to Social and Cultural Diversity
  • Global Media
  • Media Management and Content Production (PR and the Media)
  • Media Production Skills
  • Political Economy of Communication
  • Reporting Diversity: Gender, Sexuality, Age, Disability
  • Social Media and e-Marketing
  • Social Media: Creativity, Sharing, Visibility
  • Technology and Communications Policy
  • Theories of Communication

Choose one of the following in addition to the core modules in Semester 2:

  • Approaches to Media and Communications Research
  • Critical Theory of Social Media and the Internet
  • Development and Communications Policy
  • Media Audiences
  • Online Journalism
  • Reporting Diversity: Faith and Religion
  • Reporting Migration, Race and Ethnicity
  • Sociology of News

Course Leaders

Michaela-O'Brien


The course offers a number of delivery modes to suit the different needs of students and can be taken as either part-time or full-time.

Michaela O'Brien

Senior Lecturer

Michaela O'Brien has more than 20 years experience developing campaign communications for national and international charities and not-for-profits including Amnesty International, War on Want and Carers UK. She set up the U.K.'s first postgraduate module on not-for-profit communications in 2007. Leading not-for-profit practitioners, and Westminster academics with relevant expertise including Winston Mano and Roza Tsagarousianou, also teach students on the course.

 

See full profile

Anastasia Kavada

Senior Lecturer

Anastasia Kavada's research focuses on the role of digital media in the development of collective action and activism including at Occupy, Avaaz and 38 Degrees. She is deputy director of CAMRI.

See full profile
Anastasia Kavada

The passion and diversity of the students makes this course what it is; together we explore how communications can help deliver progressive social change.

 

Entry Requirements

You should possess an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent). If English is your second language you should have an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with 6.5 in each element.  Experience in the not for profit sector, either paid or volunteer, is an advantage.

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process.

 

 

You should possess an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent). If English is your second language you should have an IELTS score of 7.0 overall, with 6.5 in each element.  Experience in the not for profit sector, either paid or volunteer, is an advantage.

More information

Careers

This course is particularly relevant if you want to start, or to progress, a career in communications and campaigning for social change, whether in a charity or non-governmental organisation; in a public sector body; in a political party or election campaigning setting; or even in a corporate social responsibility role. It could also be a stepping-stone towards a PhD and an academic career in this growing field of study.

Graduates from this course are confident campaign communicators and work in senior roles in charities, government and NGOs. Students from the first two cohorts have gone on to secure jobs in charities such as Campaign Against Living Miserably and the Church Mission Society, at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, in communications and public affairs agencies and in national government departments in the global south running behaviour change campaigns.

Alumni from each cohort are building an international course network through our course-specific Facebook group.

 

Our advisory panel, with representatives from Amnesty UK, Friends of the Earth, FairSay, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations and WaterAid among others, ensures that we always reflect the skill sets in demand and deliver an exciting learning experience.  

Leading campaigners and communicators give guest lectures, run practical training sessions for students, provide live briefs for assessed coursework and host visits to their offices.

A limited number of work placements and internships are available, and students have interned at charities and not-for-profits including WaterAid, the Sheila Makechnie Foundation, Children England and Climate Bonds Initiative.

Student visit to Wateraid

Recent visit to one of WaterAid's offices

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £825 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs 

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £1,575 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Student work

Students on the Media, Campaigning and Social Change programme create strategic campaign plans, produce campaign communications materials, publish a reflective blog, draft codes of conduct, write essays, take part in debates and make presentations in teams on case studies.

In class we discuss the connections between theory and practice. In the photos below, students are exploring the evolution of campaigning globally through creating a history wall and visiting the Museum of London, creating apps for a live NGO brief and taking part in a masterclass on storytelling.

Find out more

Field trips

Exhibition with paintings and balloons

 

We take full advantage of our location in London to visit relevant institutions, including the Houses of Parliament and the Museum of London suffragette archives, as well as exhibitions such as Disobedient Objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum (shown above). Students have access to both the newsroom and software training facilities on Harrow campus and classrooms in our central London campuses.

Course Location

Our Media, Campaigning and Social Change course is part of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, based at our Harrow Campus. Teaching will take part at both our Harrow Campus and in central London, at our Cavendish Campus. You will benefit from the vibrant and specialist facilities at our Harrow Campus, as well as experiencing central London's dynamic commercial music industry.

More information

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