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Centre for Media Studies

MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies

Duration: 1 Year Full Time, 2 or 3 Years Part Time


Minimum Entry Requirements: Minimum good second class honours degree (or equivalent)

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings

Start of programme: September

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

The degree considers critical issues in media and cultural studies in their full global complexity. Most media studies' degrees concentrate on work in English on media production, distribution and reception in North America, Britain and Australia. They ignore the contemporary mass media in Asia, Africa and Latin America, despite the emergence of many of the world's largest film, television, music and print industries. For instance, in Asia terrestrial and satellite television has become politically and culturally crucial from Japan and China to Indonesia, India and through the Middle East. However the preoccupation with the domestic concerns of the British and American media industries disguises the realities of our now living in a multi-centred world, in ways which conventional media and cultural theory fails to study.

The MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies addresses this double lack. It offers frames of analysis critical of this theoretical and geographical closure, designed for studying non-Western media production, distribution, reception and commentary.

The degree aims to introduce students to the key contemporary issues discussed in Asian and African media. It also provides opportunities to engage directly in research on an aspect of these media. The degree has a strong theoretical element, especially in the first term core course, which provides students with new ways of approaching non-Western media that help avoid Eurocentrism and Ethnocentrism more broadly.

The optional courses offer access to a range of approaches to the critical study of Asian and African discourses, ranging from cinema to music, comparative literature, gender and religion to art & archaeology; from the cultures and societies of Asia and Africa to African & Asian diaspora and the study of language. The degree is distinctive in providing a depth of theoretical and cultural background to contemporary media processes absent in most other media and cultural studies' degrees.

Mark Hobart has written a short illustrated overview of the topics the MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies engages with.

Email: mediaandfilm@soas.ac.uk


Each student takes 4 units in total: the Compulsory Course (1 unit), the Dissertation (1 unit), two half units from list 3 and one unit of options of their choice.

In choosing their courses, MA students are advised to pay careful attention to the balance of coursework across the two terms. In particular it is important to ensure that each term you have three taught courses. However much you might wish to take a mixture of courses that requires more coursework in one term than the other, it is most unwise to attempt to take four courses in one term and two in the other. Experience has shown that students simply cannot manage the load during the heavy term with the result that they either do very badly, fail or are unable to complete the courses in question. As a result Directors of Studies for the degrees and the Faculty staff will not approve a selection of courses which results in an imbalanced workload. An imbalance of courses between terms is only possible with the written permission of the convenor of the degree .

1. Compulsory Course
2. Dissertation in Critical Media and Cultural Studies

(supervisor to be allocated according to the dissertation topic)

3. Courses in Media Studies

Students are required to take TWO half unit courses from List 3.

4. Optional Courses:

Students may take a course or courses to the value of one full unit from the following lists:

Courses in Cinemas of Asia and Africa
One option from among the following courses in Comparative Literature and Gender
One option from among the following courses in Music
One Option from courses in Art & Archaeology and Anthropology
One Option from courses in the Study of Religions and Centre for Gender Studies
One option from courses in South Asia
A Language course (subject to availability)

One Language Acquisition course taught at SOAS (list available from the Faculty of Languages and Cultures)

Programme Specification

Teaching & Learning


An MA in Critical Media and Cultural Studies from SOAS gives students expertise in media and communications as well as the ability to identify and analyse critical issues in media and cultural studies in their full global context.  It is a valuable experience that provides students with a body of work and a diverse range of skills that they can use to market themselves with when they graduate.

Students develop a portfolio of transferable skills which employers seek in many professional and creative capacities including communication skills, interpersonal skills,
team work, flexibility and dedication.  

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website.

A Student's Perspective

I have found studying at SOAS an unbelievable experience, especially as the library houses a unique collections of both print and electronic resources.

Zahrah Mamode