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Journalism and Communication


Application options include:

Full-time Part-time
On campus

Course Overview

Our MPhil/PhD programme in Journalism and Communication invites you to submit a proposal for research on the journalistic and communicative dimensions of agenda-setting, cities, conflict, ethics, media ownership, mis- and disinformation, professional ideologies, race and related topics.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation. The MPhil thesis is not more than 60,000 words; the PhD thesis is not more than 100,000 words. This programme also welcomes practice-based PhD theses, the requirements for which vary according to the nature of the research and should be discussed with the admissions tutors. Both the MPhil and the PhD are assessed by a viva voce examination.

We offer an exceptionally stimulating environment, where your journalism and communication research will flourish in a wider interdisciplinary context. We have critically engaged research clusters working on cultural policy, creative labour, curatorial practice, digital aesthetics, digital politics, essay film, film exhibition, journalism and democracy, media reform, mediated spaces and television studies.

Our aim is to offer a programme of seminars, lectures, conferences, workshops and reading groups that not only help you build your research skills, but generate a sense of intellectual community, based on dialogue and mutual support. You will also be offered training sessions at all levels of the College, including at the Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS).

At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two (full time). You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.

Key information

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  • This MPhil/PhD in Journalism and Communication is offered as part of a range of competitively awarded PhD studentships funded by support from UK Research and Innovation, charities, government and external partners.
  • The award-winning Birkbeck Cinema is central to our research culture. The 70-seat cinema is equipped with 35mm and state-of-the-art DCP projection. Our Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) runs a busy, intellectually stimulating programme of events, including conferences, screenings and film-related events of all kinds, including at our cinema.
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in and attend the Essay Film Festival, jointly run by BIMI and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), with free admission to events hosted at Birkbeck. You will also be able to take advantage of practical film-making opportunities offered through the Derek Jarman Lab.
  • The Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology integrates a wide range of digital culture research at Birkbeck, while making available equipment and systems to students, interns and academics. In addition, the Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) provides a unique space for reflective critical inquiry on media and culture, where researchers from different disciplines can gather and participate in a sustained intellectual conversation in a truly interdisciplinary context.
  • As well as the Birkbeck Library, you will have access to the nearby Senate House Library, various libraries of the University of London colleges, the British Library, as well as other specialist collections and institutions in central London, including the British Film Institute library.
  • Birkbeck was ranked as one of the top four universities in the UK for its Art and Design research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Birkbeck’s research excellence overall was confirmed in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework with 83% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    A good degree in journalism, media, communication, cultural studies, or other related areas in the social sciences, humanities or political science. Depending on your background and research experience, a BA might be sufficient. Generally we recommend that you apply with a good MA degree.

    You will also need to submit a specific indication of research interests with your application, and a 2000-word proposal.

    English language requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

    If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa and funding requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant visa and funding requirements by country.

    Please note students receiving US Federal Aid are only able to apply for in-person, on-campus programmes which will have no elements of online study.

  • Fees Fees


    Journalism and Communication MPhil/PhD: 7 years part-time or 4 years full-time, on campus, starting in academic year 2024-25

    Academic year 2024–25, starting October 2024, January 2025, April 2025

    Part-time home students: £2,539 per year
    Full-time home students: £4,786 per year
    Part-time international students: £7,525 per year
    Full-time international students: £14,885 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their course. Tuition fees for students continuing on their course in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    If you’ve studied at Birkbeck before and successfully completed an award with us, take advantage of our Lifelong Learning Guarantee to gain a discount on the tuition fee of this course.

    Fees and finance

    PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of over £26,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

    Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

    We offer a range of studentships and funding options to support your research.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Our research culture Our research culture

    Our research culture

    Our research encompasses journalism, film and television, artistic practice and arts management, and digital media, culture and design. Our work is critically engaged, challenging conventional assumptions about the functions and influence of media and culture, scrutinising institutions, organisations and work practices in the creative industries, and rethinking what media can mean and do.

    We place particular emphasis on practice-based research, in which ideas and issues are investigated through activities such as creative film-making and digital design. The research of our academic staff is thoroughly interdisciplinary, and incorporates both historical research and contemporary explorations of our rapidly changing media landscapes.

    In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework for Art and Design research Birkbeck was ranked 4th nationally with world-leading achievements for environment (90%), impact (67%) and outputs (65%).

    We work with a wide range of partners, including the V&A, the Institute of Contemporary ArtsUniversity of PittsburghBFIScience and Media MuseumLux CinemaTate BritainMedia Reform CoalitionAction on Armed Violence and Electra, and the facilities available to staff and students include the Vasari Research Centre, the Birkbeck Cinema, the Peltz Gallery and the Derek Jarman Lab.

    Teaching opportunities

    As part of our commitment to professional development, you have the opportunity to gain experience in teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. There is also a 10-week lecture series, Teaching in the Arts, which is designed to prepare students for teaching humanities in higher education.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    Follow these steps to apply to an MPhil/PhD research degree at Birkbeck:

    1. Check that you meet the entry requirements, including English language requirements, as described on this page.

    2. Find a potential supervisor for your MPhil/PhD research. You can look at the Find a Supervisor area on this page for an overview, or search our Experts’ Database or browse our staff pages for more in-depth information. You may also find it helpful to view the research projects of our current students.

    3. Contact the academic member of staff - or the department they teach in - for an informal discussion about your research interests and to establish if they are willing and able to supervise your research. (Please note: finding a potential supervisor does not guarantee admission to the research degree, as this decision is made using your whole application.) Find out more about the supervisory relationship and how your supervisor will support your research.

    4. Draft a research proposal of up to 2000 words (excluding references). This needs to demonstrate your knowledge of the field, the specific research questions you wish to pursue, and how your ideas will lead to the creation of new knowledge and understanding. Find out more about writing a research proposal.

    5. Apply directly to Birkbeck, using the online application link on this page. If your research proposal meets our entry criteria, and we have an appropriate academic to supervise you, we will invite you for an interview, in person or by telephone. All research students are initially registered on an MPhil and then upgrade to a PhD after making sufficient progress.

    Find out more about the application process, writing a research proposal and the timeframe.

    Application deadlines and interviews

    You can apply throughout the year for commencement in October or the following January.

    If you wish to apply for funding, you will need to apply by certain deadlines. Consult the websites of relevant bodies for details.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section.

  • Finding a supervisor Finding a supervisor

    Finding a supervisor

    A critical factor when applying for postgraduate study in journalism and communication is the correlation between the applicant’s intellectual and research interests and those of one or more potential supervisors.

    Find out more about the research interests of our academic staff and their areas of research.