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  • Delivery:
    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

This flexible course gives you the chance to study communication and media theory at an advanced level. It will provide you with a highly employable set of skills, together with the ability to engage with theoretical concepts and display critical understanding and analysis.

You can tailor this MA to suit your needs, with the option of a start date in September or January, and three exit points from the course, each leading to a different qualification: Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Master’s degree in Media & Communication.

Significantly, this MA also offers you the option of a 30-week professional placement within the communication or media sector, designed to enhance your employability after graduation. You will be offered a range of options, giving you the opportunity to focus on subjects that are of interest and relevance to you. This MA is underpinned by our practice-led research expertise, which allows you to develop your capability to engage with research and communicate your ideas in a variety of media, including text, video and audio. You will receive an iPad for the duration of your course to aid your learning and study.

Key information

Next start date:

January 2017, September 2017


Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus


12-24 months

Relevant subjects:

Mass communication, media, communication, business studies or social sciences

Entry requirements:

A Bachelors Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent in a relevant discipline such as Communication, Media or Social Science. If English is not your first language you'll need IELTS 6.5 (Academic) or above. For more information check out our full entry requirements.

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, demonstrators, technicians and research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry.

Core units

  • Communication Theory: The study of communication theory, with an emphasis on the role of the media and its relationships with societies and cultures. You'll explore the historical development of mass media and theories for studying mass communication and its processes, with a focus on the professionalisation of communication and its impact on the public sphere. This covers contemporary issues associated with communication theory. You'll develop a critical awareness of the role and influence of communication in contemporary society.
  • Media in Transition: How media institutions are evolving as a response to societal, economic and technological changes. The unit offers contextual knowledge to underpin the remainder of the course, and you'll be expected to develop an advanced understanding of an area in media and communication that interests you and supports your future career goals.
  • Research Methods in Media & Communication: Develop an appreciation of the key principles and practices of research in the field of media and communication. You'll be offered a broad grounding in social science research methods and be prepared to rigorously design, conduct, report and evaluate research. You'll also be introduced to opportunities and challenges of conducting applied research using industry data collection and analysis techniques. The course is built around three complementary strands. These are generic social science research training, subject specific research training and industry specific research commissioning and interpretation.
  • Communicating Ideas: You'll be expected to deliver research outcomes in a variety of ways, including text, video and audio. This unit’s intention is to improve your ability to communicate with a range of audiences and to generate impact from the research which emerges from your educational experience, and the future research projects you might be involved in. You'll develop skills in a new language of academic expression, and your fluency with media technology will help you articulate ideas.
  • Exhibition: An opportunity to share key ideas and thinking within your research project to an audience of students and academics. The skills developed in Communicating Ideas will help you present your ideas using a range of media technology. Your work will also be informed by the underpinning provided in the Research Methods in Media & Communication unit.
  • Master’s Project: Generate an individual piece of research adopting either a humanities or social sciences approach. This is likely to draw from what you learnt during the postgraduate diploma stage of the course. It's possible your Project will embrace practice-led research if your production skills gained from the Communicating Ideas unit are excelling.

Option units

You'll also choose two units from the lists below*:

  • Media, Social Cohesion & Extremisms
  • Exploring Word-of-Mouth Communication
  • Cross-Platform Media: Theory & Practice
  • Media, Power & Conflict
  • Critical Perspectives in Media Communication
  • Applied Creativity
  • Women, Gender & Media
  • Brand & Brand Communication
  • Media & Fictional Violence
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Digital Media Literacies
  • Media History
  • Media & Crisis
  • Media Economics
  • Youth Culture & Media
  • Alternative Media
  • Media Power & Conflict
  • Media, Journalism & the Environment
  • Music, Media & Communication
  • New Media Innovation

*Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for Media and Communication.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

An exciting and valuable part of your studies with us is the opportunity to engage within a two-semester long optional placement during this degree. The placement provides you with the experience of how an organisation operates, as well as an opportunity to enhance your personal development and future employability. This means you can begin to put theory into practice.

We will provide a great deal of help and support to ensure you achieve a rewarding and satisfying placement as we are dedicated to giving you the best possible start in your future career.

Media & Communication students benefit from strong links between BU and leading companies in corporate communications, journalism, animation and media production.

Typical placements include undertaking roles such as communication officers, marketing and communications assistants, editorial assistants and copywriters.

Previous roles our students have undertaken include

  • Online Sales Executive at Viet Guys (Vietnam)

  • Assistant Producer at TalkSport Ltd.

  • Social Media Manager at Guanghua Media UK Ltd.                    

  • Research Assistant at Bournemouth University

Full entry requirements

The normal requirements for embarking upon a postgraduate taught degree are:

  • A good Bachelors Honours degree, 2:1 or above or equivalent in a relevant discipline such as Communication, Media or Social Science.

If you lack the formal academic qualifications needed to enter a postgraduate or post-experience degree, there are several alternative routes to follow - some based on experience. Contact the AskBU Enquiry Service for more information.

International entry requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • ​IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 6.5 in writing and 6.0 in all other components or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.

You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our study postgraduate entry requirements page

Career opportunities

This course will provide you with the advanced level skills of critical understanding and analysis. You'll develop the capability to engage with research and communicate the findings of your research using text, video and audio methods. This course will empower you to enhance the impact of your research outcomes, but will also provide you with skills which will be of value within the context of your future employment.

Career opportunities for graduates of this course can be in a number of industries from news media to marketing to government communication along with education, research and management and business organisations.

As a Media & Communication graduate, you will be prepared to undertake roles such as*:

  • Journalism
  • Advertising
  • Public relations
  • Publishing
  • Management

Further study

If you want to continue your studies after achieving your Master's, you can look into our range of doctoral programmes.

*All information shown has been taken from Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) or BU institutional data unless otherwise stated.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsidised travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU pages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay additional fees equivalent to one ninth of the tuition fee per 20 credit unit.

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

Your career and development

Your career and development

Read about career and development opportunities and discover how gaining industry experience could help you.

International students

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.