Centre for Global Media and Communications

Research Degrees: Media Studies

Key information

3 years full-time or 6 years part-time
Attendance mode
Full-time or part-time
Russell Square, College Buildings

Home student fees (full-time): £4,860 per year
Home student fees (part-time): £2,430 per year
Overseas student fees (full-time): £22,490 per year
Overseas student fees (part-time): £11,245 per year

Please note that fees go up each year. 
See research fees for further details.

Course overview

The Centre for Global Media and Communication SOAS has an exciting doctoral research programme with a number of students working on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and empirical, concerned with different aspects of communication and practices in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The programme places emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional, political, social and cultural knowledge of global media in all its forms and practices in relation to these regions and their diasporas.

The Centre stresses interdisciplinarity and a non-Western centric focus on research in order to enhance de-colonial approaches to addressing the dynamics between communication, politics and culture as understood by and experienced by the peoples of the regions we study. This is reflected in the research undertaken by our graduates and our current cohort. Given the focus on interdisciplinarity, the centre draws upon expertise across SOAS and encourages students to approach other departments to enhance their experience and knowledge.

The PhD Programme is suited to researchers who wish to engage in detailed study of media in Asia or Africa and to those who wish to combine media and communication studies with other disciplines, ranging from the study of language and culture through the humanities to politics, law and international relations in the social sciences.

We consider research students as central to enhancing our reputation and encourage them to take part in research seminars and give papers at national and international conferences. Some publish in academic journals.

Our research in film and media has been ranked in the top 20 in the UK in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, with more than a third of our research publications assessed as 4* (world-leading). See Centre for Global Media and Communications



The research degree has two paths. The first is the standard research route comprising a thesis of 100,000 words. The second is a research stream with a practical component designed for film and media professionals who wish to combine PhD research with practical production. The research will consist of a thesis of 60,000 words with an hour of film/video production (subject to approval).

Students will be registered as a research student in the Centre for Global Media and Communication located in the School of Law, Gender and Media. Degrees are awarded by the University of London.

Your research will be guided throughout by a research committee of three staff members, consisting of two supervisors and a head of the committee, who is normally the Postgraduate Tutor. Depending on the nature of your research, there are two possible kinds of supervision.

  • You may either have a primary supervisor, who will be the main person responsible for guiding your research, and a second supervisor with a lesser role, who will provide additional expertise.
  • Alternatively, it may prove more appropriate for you to have co-supervision, commonly one supervisor being a media or film specialist, the other being a specialist in the area you are researching or the discipline that you are linking to media or film.

In the first year, you prepare for research by following an MPhil training programme. The aim of the training programme is to give you a thorough grounding in theory, methods, regional, cultural, linguistic and any special disciplinary expertise you may require for your research.

Required courses

  • MPhil Training Seminar – a weekly course of seminars specially for first year research students, the syllabus being determined by the interests and requirements of the students in that particular year
  • CGMC Research Seminar – a twice monthly seminar attended by the entire academic staff and student body of the Centre at which contemporary issues in media research and practice are presented by leading scholars in media and film studies, independent film directors and NGO and media activists.
  • Research Methods Course – a weekly course over one term, designed to provide a solid grounding in methods required for different kinds of research. It includes emphasis on discourse and interpretive analysis.

Other elements will be agreed between you, the Postgraduate Tutor and your supervisor(s). These might include:

  • Global Media and Communication – you will probably be asked to take the first term of our offering in Global Media, depending on what theoretical background you already have. The aim is to provide you with a range of theoretical approaches necessary for your research.

Current courses include

  • Theoretical and Contemporary Issues in Global Media and Communication
  • Theoretical and Contemporary Issues in Media, Communication Technologies and Development

Further optional elements may consist of specialist disciplinary, language or regional culture courses, which you and the Centre staff agree are useful to your research.

Apart from your formal doctoral research, we encourage you to develop a portfolio, which includes downloaded and scanned materials, smaller projects (individual or collaborative), that may well be important for your future career.


In May of the first year, you submit an Upgrade Research Report of 15,000 words, outlining your proposed research questions, empirical background and the theoretical framework that you propose to use. This is assessed by two academics, usually your second supervisor and someone outside the Centre who are specialists on the topic. On successful completion of the Upgrade Report, you are formally upgraded to PhD and proceed to the research phase, which conventionally lasts up to a year. If the assessors consider there to be shortcomings in the Report, you will be asked to revise it to their satisfaction before you can proceed to research. The second year is normally spent engaged in research and the third year is devoted to writing up your research for your PhD thesis.

Your thesis will be examined by two leading experts in the field of Media and Communication, one of which will be internal to the University of London.  The external examiner is always a scholar from outside the University of London.

If you are studying part time, you take any suggested courses in your first year and attend the MPhil training seminar and write your Research Report in the second year. The length of time for field or other research, and writing up, is adjusted accordingly.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Teaching and learning

Academic staff and their research areas

Dr Dina Matar , MSc PhD (London)
Middle East, especially the Arab world; international political communication; Arab cultural politics; Arab cultural studies; memory studies and oral history; Islamist  movements; social movements and media; diasporas; ethnic minorities; transnational movements and communications.

Dr Somnath Batabyal, MA (SOAS), PhD (SOAS)
Southeast Asia with a focus on India; transnational news spheres with a special focus on India; Development discourses in India and its articulation in mainstream and alternate news forums; environmental politics.

Dr Dounia Mahlouly

Dr. Mahlouly lectures and is the course co-convenor for “International Political Communication” and “Global Media and Post-National Communication

Associate members

Professor of International Relations

Senior Lecturer in African Film and Performance Arts

Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema

Ms Narguess Farzad BA(LONDON)
Senior Fellow, Persian Language and Literature

Dr Sian Hawthorne BA(LONDON) PHD(LONDON)
Lecturer in Critical Theory and the Study of Religions

Dr Dana Healy PHD (PRAGUE)
Senior Lecturer in Vietnamese

Professor Michel Hockx DRS PHD(LEIDEN)
Professor of Chinese

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Reader in Anthropology with reference to Japan

Senior Lecturer in Persian and Iranian Studies

Dr Parvathi Raman BA PHD(LONDON)
Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Dr Justin Watkins BA(LEEDS) MA PHD(LONDON)
Senior Lecturer in the Languages and Linguistics of South East Asia

Fees and funding

Fees for 2022/23 entrants per academic year

  Home students Overseas students
Full-time £4,860 £21,630
Part-time £2,430 £10,815

Please note that fees go up each year.

See research fees for further details.


Graduates from the Centre for Global Media and Communications gain expertise in media, communications and film production within a global framework. Graduates develop a portfolio of transferable skills including communication skills, interpersonal skills and team work, which are highly respected by employers.

Recent graduates have been hired by:

  • Africa Mediaworks Ltd.
  • Al Jazeera
  • Associated Press
  • BBC
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • British Film Institute
  • Channel 5
  • Comic Relief
  • Cordoba African Film Festival
  • Discovery Communications
  • Equality Now
  • Hackney Film Festival
  • International Channel Shanghai
  • Internews Europe
  • Merlin
  • Novus
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Royal College of Art
  • The Institute of Ismaili Studies
  • Unilever
  • United Nations
  • Westminster City Council

Find out about our Careers Service.