This new postgraduate diploma from the world ranking Department of Journalism and Mass Communications aims to equip students with the skills, knowledge and strategic approach to develop and analyse social change campaigns, with a particular focus on the role of communications and the media. Now in its second year, this is the only MA of its kind in the UK.
This innovative course builds on our close links with leading campaigners and communicators in London´s vibrant social change sector. An advisory panel, with representatives from Amnesty UK, Campaign Bootcamp, FairSay, Friends of the Earth, NCVO, RIBA, WaterAid and Scouts among others, will ensure we always reflect the skill sets in demand and deliver an exciting learning experience. A limited number of work placements and internships will be available.
The course is aimed at those with some experience or interest in social change, the media, and communications or campaigns within not for profit organisations. The course will help you improve your practical skills, develop a deep understanding of the theories and frameworks that underpin and shape campaign communications, and enjoy the space to reflect critically on current and past practice. It is designed to help you start, or progress, a career in charity, pressure group or public sector campaign communications. It may also be of interest to those working in corporate social responsibility.
The course team has extensive experience both in developing social change campaigns and in academic research into the connections between media and social change. The course is jointly led by Michaela O’Brien and Dr Anastasia Kavada. It is taught at our campuses in the West End of London, and also at the Harrow campus.
The course offers a number of delivery modes to suit the different needs of students and can be taken as either part-time or full-time.
To be accepted onto the course, students require a good first degree from a recognised university, equivalent to at least an Upper Second (2:1) or minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00. The MA in Media, Campaigning and Social Change is an interdisciplinary course and we welcome applications from students with degrees in a range of subjects, as well as from mature students with relevant work experience and / or experience in campaigning for social change. In exceptional cases, work experience may compensate for a lower first degree.
The course requires a high standard of written and spoken English. If English is your second language, you are asked to certify that you have achieved an IELTS grade of at least 7.0 overall in reading, writing, speaking and listening to English, with no individual score below 6.5, or the TOEFL equivalent.
You will be asked to write a brief 300 word essay on social change and the media to help us assess your application: the essay title will be given to you during the admissions process. When possible, we will also interview applicants in person, by telephone or by Skype before offering you a place.
We will be looking for evidence of your interest in and understanding of communication and campaigning, as well as analytical skills and a commitment to post-graduate study. Experience of campaign issues is an advantage.
Core modules - Semester One
CRITICAL ISSUES IN CAMPAIGNING
In this module, students will consider the factors that influence social change in the context of current campaigns around the world, and the historical development of campaign techniques and practices. They will apply a critical analysis of concepts such as power, theories of change, ethics, innovation, media representation, narrative and framing to practical scenarios and topical campaigns. This module requires students to monitor and critically evaluate practice in the UK and / or internationally.
Core modules - Semester Two
PLANNING CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS
In this module students will learn how to research and plan a campaign for social change based on the theories of social change examined in semester 1. They will produce communication material such as news releases, e-alerts, tweets, infographics and / or videos to support the campaign strategy. Where possible, students work to live briefs. This is a practical, hands-on module taught through a series of workshops, visits to campaign communication teams in London-based campaigning organisations, and guest talks by leading campaigners and social change communicators.
MEDIA, ACTIVISM AND POLITICS
The module critically investigates the relationship between media, activism and politics. It offers a critical assessment of the role of media in political mobilization, social movements, dissent, wars, conflicts, elections, and political and social crises. The module looks at the impact of the internet and new means of transparency and communications on journalism and activism in a range of circumstances from secure democracies through different kinds of political systems. The module is unique in its combination of traditional academic lectures and seminars with attendance of topical events and visits to relevant exhibitions and institutions.
Students choose three optional modules from the following menu. You may choose to focus on practical skills, on new technologies, on diversity or development, or on media audiences and industries.
Semester One (choose two of the following):
Approaches to Social and Cultural Diversity
Media Management and Content Production (PR and the Media)
Political Economy of Communication
Reporting Diversity: Gender, Sexuality, Age, Disability
Social Media: Creativity, Sharing, Visibility
Technology and Communications Policy
Theories of Communication
Semester Two (choose one of the following):
Approaches to Media and Communications Research
Critical Theory of Social Media and the Internet
Development and Communications Policy
Reporting Diversity: Faith and Religion
Reporting Migration, Race and Ethnicity
Sociology of News
Web Production: Westminster News Online
This course is particularly relevant if you want to start, or to progress, a career in communications and campaigning for social change, whether in a charity or non-governmental organisation; in a public sector body; in a political party or election campaigning setting; or even in a corporate social responsibility role. It could also be a stepping-stone towards a PhD and an academic career in this growing field of study.
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