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Centre for Media and Film Studies

Doctoral Research

Media Studies at SOAS has an expanding programme of doctoral research with some thirty research students currently enrolled. Our research students work on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and empirical, with about half coming from Africa, the Middle East and Asia, and half from Europe and North America.

The Centre puts emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional, linguistic and cultural knowledge of media and film forms and practices.

The PhD in Media Studies is a research degree, involving original research on some aspect of contemporary theoretical and global issues in media and film. Our approach to media and film studies involves a developed critique of Eurocentrism. Our speciality is the analysis of the film and media industries, their contents and their audiences in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and their diasporas, an approach equally well-suited to research on Latin American, East European and mainstream ‘Western' media.

In 2007 we opened a PhD stream designed to integrate and interrogate the relationships between theory and practice. The submitted work comprises 60,000 words of written work and up to one hour of audio-visual materials.

A research degree in media and film normally takes three years, or up to a maximum of four years should extensive periods of fieldwork be required. Part-time registration is also possible.

The Centre stresses interdisciplinarity and draws upon expertise right across the School. So the PhD Programme is equally suited to researchers who wish to engage in detailed study of media and film in Asia or Africa and to those who wish to combine media and film studies with other disciplines, ranging from the study of language and culture through the humanities to the social sciences.

We consider research students to be one of our main research strengths and advise them to develop a portfolio of projects, whether individual or collaborative, which will be relevant to their future careers. In their final year, we also encourage them to organize symposia and film festivals based on their fields of special expertise and aimed at a broader audience. For example, the student-led Sacredmediacow collective organised a conference on media in India and produced an edited book, Indian Mass Media and the Politics of Change, which was published by Routledge. Other students have become involved with the organization of the Small Media events every autumn.  Many students also give papers at national and international conferences and some publish in academic journals.

For details about requirements and structure of the programme, or to see profiles of current research students please follow the links in the menu.