Media and Cultural Studies MA

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Course starts: 15 October 2018Apply now

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Examine the construction of meanings, experiences, identities and relationships. Explore the nature of the media and cultural power at an advanced level. Focus on areas that you find particularly fascinating while contextualising your interests within the wider field.

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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 course culminates in a dissertation on a topic that you negotiate with tutors.

*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.

Why us?

  • Media and Film Studies at Sunderland are ranked 15th in the UK according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • 'World-leading' research in Cultural and Media Studies, according to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Course structure

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.

Modules on this course include:

  • Engaging with Theory: Key Thinkers, Writings and Concepts (30 credits)
  • Consumption in Everyday Life (30 credits)
  • Research Methods in Film, Media and Cultural Studies (30 credits)
  • Independent Study Topic in Film/Media and Cultural Studies (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (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.

Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

The David Puttnam Media Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,
St Peter's Way,


  • The David Puttnam Media Centre has a 203-seat cinema with full HD projection and a 7.1 surround sound facility.

    We also have a live Sky feed and off-air recording facility, including DVD and Blu-ray recording, plus an extensive footage archive/library.

    The cinema is used for film screenings, critique, lectures, live broadcast screenings and student film nights.

  • We’ve got thousands of relevant books and e-books, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

    Resources which will be particularly useful for Journalism and Media studies include:

    • Lexis, which provides full-text newspaper articles as well as access to legal information
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC), which provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media in higher education and research
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopaedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Library Services - journalism and media
  • We have four journalism suites, each with Apple Mac workstations with industry-standard software including NewsCutter, Burli and ENPS.

    Our MediaHUB, a bustling newsroom and home to a team of BBC Newcastle Journalists, is responsible for our suite of websites and provides a variety of experiences. Made in Tyne & Wear are just downstairs, offering placements to students and jobs to several of our graduates. 

    Learn in our 203 seat cinema with full HD projection and a 7.1 surround sound facility. Access two broadcast-quality production studios complete with green room and changing facilities and equipment such as Steadicam rigs, track and mini crane.

    Go on air in one of five radio studios, including a larger radio drama studio and a transmission suite for Spark FM our award winning student-run community radio station.

    Media facilities


Our David Puttnam Media Centre is home to the Centre for Research in Media and Cultural Studies (CRMCS), which engages in world leading research, as well as hosting international visiting scholars, conferences, external speakers and two international refereed research journals. 

It's is a thriving place to study and experience media. Rub shoulders with BBC Newcastle and Made in Tyne & Wear, who are both based in the building. Volunteer with award winning Spark Sunderland, write for one of our suite of websites or edit Spark Magazine in our mediaHUB. Get hands on in TV and Radio Studios, Journalism and Digital editing suites. Learn from experts in this centre of excellence for training.

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.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £5,600 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £12,000 if you are an international student

The part-time fee for this course is £344 per 10 credits.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


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.


Throughout the course, you will refine your powers of analysis and communication. These skills are highly valued by employers and will boost your employability.

  • My time at Sunderland was an unforgettable experience and definitely helped me in my career.

    Yazhu Kong

Meet our academics