Media and Cultural Studies* MA - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course is for people who want to explore the nature of the media and cultural power at an advanced level. There is a high level of engagement with theories of contemporary society, including cultural theory, modern television and popular culture.

Given the importance of theory, an important attraction of this Masters is Sunderland’s research specialisms. These include media power, sexualities, identities, and how technology changes the way we experience the world, as well as performance and distribution.

The MA is taught at the David Puttnam Media Centre on our Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s by staff from Sunderland’s Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies (CRMCS), which promotes a lively and inclusive research environment. As part of the course, you will have the opportunity to attend CRMCS’s regular research seminar series, which hosts both visiting and internal speakers discussing their latest research. You will also have the opportunity to benefit from the centre’s annual programme of national and international conferences, symposia and other research events.

You will focus on areas that you find particularly fascinating while contextualising your interests within the wider field of film, media and cultural studies. The course culminates in a dissertation on a topic that you negotiate with tutors.

Throughout the course, you will refine your powers of analysis and communication. These skills are highly valued by employers and will boost your employability. On average, postgraduates tend to find jobs more easily than people whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. They also achieve higher total earnings in the long-run.

If you would like a more practice-based course, please see MA Media Production.

*Please note: we're currently recruiting for the dissertation stage only of this course (60 Credits). If you are interested in a full (180 Credits) course, please see MA Film and Cultural Studies.

Course content

Modules on this course include:

Media and Cultural Studies 1 (60 Credits) 

  • Engaging with Theory: Key Thinkers, Texts and Contexts (30 Credits)
  • Research Methods in Film, Media and Cultural Studies (30 Credits)

Media and Cultural Studies 2 (60 Credits) 

  • Consumption and Everyday Life (30 Credits) 
  • Special Topic: Film, Media and/or Cultural Studies (30 Credits)

Media and Cultural Studies 3 (60 Credits) 

You will complete a supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. As the culmination of the course, it will build on all the skills and knowledge that you have gained up to this point.

Teaching and assessment

All modules are team taught, drawing on the wide range of research specialisms of our staff.

Co-taught with MA Film and Cultural Studies, this MA enables you to contextualise your own work within the wider field of film, media and cultural studies, as well as pursue your own specific interest in a particular area of the media. This approach is excellent preparation if you are thinking of continuing on to PhD level. You will also be able to specialise and pursue your own specific interests film via choice of assignment questions on the taught modules and via negotiation of topics in the Special Topic and Dissertation modules.

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods which include lectures, seminars, workshops and group work. Via CRMCS’s research seminar programme, these are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. From stage 2 you will be expected to engage in a greater degree in self-directed study in preparation for the stage 3 dissertation. You will also have high levels of contact with tutors who give regular feedback and support.

Assessment methods include essays, projects, presentations, and a dissertation. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Facilities & location

Teaching rooms

We have well-equipped lecture and seminar rooms, with overhead projection and full internet access.


There is a 203-seat cinema with full HD projection, 7.1 surround sound facility and the capability to play 3D feature films. We have a live Sky feed and off-air recording facility, including DVD and Blu-ray recording, plus extensive footage archive/library.

University Library Services

We’ve got a wide range of books, journals and e-books on relevant topics, with many more available through the inter-library loan service. The library buildings provide a variety of study spaces, IT facilities and experienced library staff during core hours, with online services and support available at any time off-campus. In addition, both the St Peter’s and Murray libraries offer 24/7 access during main teaching weeks.

Although not used in the delivery of this MA, the following facilities are also available at the David Puttnam Media Centre:

TV studios

We have two TV studios complete with green rooms and control rooms. Equipment includes four Steadicam rigs plus dolly, track and mini crane. We also have over 40 full HD tapeless field camera systems, comprising Sony EX1 and EX3 models, with associated location kits, lighting, field monitors and audio mixers.

Digital editing

There are 70 workstations with state-of-the-art HD Edit systems, including Final Cut Pro, Avid and Media Composer. There is also a digital audio postproduction area with four voiceover booths.

Radio studios 

We have five radio studios including a transmission suite for Spark FM, our student-run community radio station. It broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with a target audience of 15-24-year-olds.


The David Puttnam Media Centre

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's,
St Peter's Way, Sunderland, SR6 0DD

Entry requirements

We usually require applicants to hold a good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a related discipline.

We will also consider applications from those who hold a 2:2 honours degree.

If English is not your first language, you should have an IELTS (or equivalent) score of at least 7.0.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Postgraduate loans

From 2016/17, tuition fee loans will be available to UK/EU postgraduate students for the first time. Find out more about the eligibility criteria.


The annual fee for this course is:

  • £4,750 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £11,500 if you are an International student

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Employment & careers

Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course you will be equipped for a range of roles in the media and cultural industries.

A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

Student jobs, volunteering and paid projects (earn while you learn)

Our Careers & Employability Service (CES) advertises a variety of opportunities to earn money while you study. It also advertises volunteer positions that enable you to help other people while learning about your strengths and what you can offer to future employers.


Support for your learning

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Personal Tutor at agreed times throughout your course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Further support is provided by our technicians who help you make the most of the University’s equipment and software.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers & Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

Apply for this course

To apply for this course use the relevant link below.

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 16th February 2017
  • Time: 2:00pm-7:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Gateway, City Campus, University of Sunderland

Contact Sunderland

For more information, contact the Programme Leader:

Professor Shaun Moores
Tel: 0191 515 3876

Read more about some of the staff that would teach you on the MA Media and Cultural Studies course:

For more general information, contact:

Tel: 0191 515 3000

Social media: To see what events we run and to ask a question about this course, contact the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media on Facebook and Twitter.

The details

Course Name Media and Cultural Studies*
Classification MA
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Postgraduate
Duration 1 year
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 16 October 2017
UK/EU Fee £4750
Intl Fee £11500

Entry requirements

Good honours degree (2:1 or above) in a cognate discipline

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