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International Broadcasting (MA)

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Course overview

TV and radio broadcasting is an expanding industry in many parts of the world, and is a crucial driver for the creative and cultural industries. Broadcasting provides an attractive career option. This innovative course examines the different ways in which broadcasting is organised around the world. You will be taught by leading scholars including:

  • Professor John Ellis,
  • Dr George Guo 
  • Dr James Bennett

a team that combines an international perspective, substantial experience in the TV industry, and innovative theoretical thinking.

Located near London, the course provides students with a privileged insight into the production practices of the UK television industry. You will have guest lecturers from both production and management in the broadcasting industry, and will work closely with the students on other Media Arts masters courses.

  • You will study the organisation and regulation of broadcasting around the world
  • The changing ways in which digital programming can be delivered
  • The ways in which formats and programming are traded globally
  • The crucial skills of scheduling and budgeting
  • and you will be trained on the crucial MovieMagic software.

Each student completes the course by making a television or radio production of their own.

You will be taught by a team experienced in both broadcast production and the theory and history of communication. A particular feature of the course will be an intensive study of a long-running British TV drama series, the consistently popular Saturday evening BBC1 series Casualty which produces at least 30 episodes a year. Casualty will be studied to understand:

  • narrative arcs and character development over the history of the series
  • the production process, planning and execution, including lectures by the producers of the series http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006m8wd

Key facts

Key facts about the course
Qualification Master of Arts
Duration 1 year full-time
Department and Faculty Media Arts, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Partner institution(s) --
Course director John Ellis
+44(0)1784 444110
Contact for more information Angela Godden
|+44(0)1784 414629

Fees / funding

Please visit the Fees and funding| pages for the latest information about tuition fees| and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

How to apply

Applications for entry to all our full-time postgraduate degrees can be made online|.

Further information on making an application, including the documentation that you will need to submit with the application is available in the How to apply section of this site.

If you are interested in applying to Royal Holloway, why not arrange a visit to our campus to see for yourself what academic and student life is like here. More information on arranging visits is available on our Open days| pages.


Entry requirements

Typical offers

Typical offers
First degree

UK Upper Second Class Honours degree (2:1). or equivalent.

Alternative entry requirements

Students with relevant professional or creative experience will also be considered.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 6.5 with 7 in writing for non-native English speaking applicants.


Students from overseas should visit the International| pages for information on the entry requirements from their country and further information on English language requirements. Royal Holloway International offers a Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students and English language pre-sessional courses, allowing students the opportunity to develop their study skills and English language before starting their postgraduate degree.

Additional requirements:

  • You are required to submit with your application form an essay in English of up to 2000 words entitled:

    'An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the broadcasting industry in my country'.

  • We may also conduct a telephone or skype interview after receiving your application. 

Why choose this course?

  • You will develop an international outlook on broadcasting, equipping you to pursue a career in the broadcasting industry, both in the UK or abroad.
  • You will be taught by renowned scholars and experienced practitioners
  • The MA is taught in a department devoted to TV and film production and its study 
  • There is an in-depth focus on the UK and its excellence in broadcast production
  • You will trained and develop advanced skills in the use of our industry-standard equipment, which includes Final Cut Studio 2 editing systems, Sony HVR-V1E cameras, Sennheiser radio microphone kits and a selection of professional quality sound recording and lighting equipment.

Department research and industry highlights

  • Multiplatforming public service broadcasting: The economic and cultural role of UK Digital and Television Independents. An investigation into the ethos of public service broadcasting and how its values are ensured in the age of independent propduction and multiplatform broadcasting. Download the report at:  http://cowboysorindies.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/bennett-strange-kerr-medrado-2012-multiplatforming-psb-industry-report.pdf
  • The EUscreen project is major funded EU project which aims to digitise and provide access to European’s audio-visual heritage. This innovative and ambitious three year project began in October 2009 and the project consortium is made up of 28 partners from 19 European countries and is a best practice network within the eContentplus programme of the European Commission. The Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway’s is responsible for the content selection policy for EUscreen and those involved include John Ellis, Rob Turnock and Sian Barber
  • www.beta.bufvc.ac.uk is an exciting and innovative collaborative project between the British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC) and Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Led by John Ellis the project brings together the nine existing online databases hosted and curated by the BUFVC which provide important film, radio and television material along with accompanying metadata and contextual information for academics, students, teachers and researchers. This project brings together all the material contained in these databases, yet Trent is not simply a master database. Instead it foregrounds creative searching through a common interactive interface using real-time ‘intelligent’ filtering to bringing disparate databases into a single search and discovery environment whilst maintaining the integrity and individual provenance of each.
  • Video Active is a major EU-funded project aiming to create access to digitised television programme content from archives around Europe. It involves collaboration between the Department of Media Arts at Royal Holloway and Utrecht University, and eleven European archives including the BBC, to provide access to content and supporting contextual materials via a specially designed web portal. The team from the Department of Media Arts, who are John Ellis, Cathy Johnson and Rob Turnock, are responsible for developing content selection strategy and policy for the project.
  • Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe is an AHRC-funded international Research Network, led by Daniela Berghahn, which brings together researchers from ten UK and European universities, filmmakers, policy makers and representatives from the cultural sector. The Research Network explores how the films of migrant and diasporic filmmakers have redefined our understanding of European identity as constructed and narrated in European cinema. The project seeks to identify the numerous ways in which multi-cultural and multi-ethnic presences and themes have revitalised contemporary European cinema by introducing an eclectic mix of non-Western traditions and new genres. 

Course content and structure

You will study four core course units during the year.

Core course units:

Structures of Broadcasting
This unit examines the main issues in the organisation of broadcasting, providing an overview of the differing markets for TV programmes and differing commission and production regimes around the world.

You will study the basic models of production and broadcasting organisation (commercial, public service, and state controlled models); network organisation; independent production etc) with specific reference to the UK, USA and China.

You will also study the nature of global flows in programming; the market system that enables them and the major global organisations in broadcasting.

TV Aesthetics
You will examine the main issues in programming. You will study the interrelation between the organisational forms of broadcasting and the programmes that they produce, as well as the issues relating to adaptation from one culture to another.

You will study issues including:

  • The major genres of TV production including drama, comedy, variety, factual/lifestyle, documentary, sport and news
  • Broadcasting and scheduling and flow
  • The everyday presence of broadcasting and its value
  • The structure the TV and radio series
  • TV in the digital age
  • The international trade in TV formats 

Production Study
You will concentrate on a single long-running British TV drama series, BBC1's Casualty. The first term will concentrate on the programme, its construction and its place in TV culture, involving close study of individual episodes and the series as a whole. This will involve 

  • Comparison with series bible and scripts
  • Background research on the production personnel, cast and writers
  • Study of the press reception and current status of the series

The second term concentrates on the production process of the series. This will involve:

  • Visits by production staff
  • Visits to the production
  • Detailed examination of the budgeting and scheduling process
  • Instruction in MovieMagic budget and scheduling software

Production Practice
The final element of the course requires you to produce a short video or radio piece to a standard equivalent to the UK professional standard of such productions.  This will be your own creation. You will be provided with the necessary training and equipment to enable you to carry this out.

You will produce a detailed statement of intent before starting production. This will form the basis of a detailed self-assessment once the production is completed.

On completion of the course graduates will have:

  • a thorough understanding of the world broadcasting market and its organisation
  • a thorough understanding of the main issues in broadcasting culture
  • a deep knowledge of the main genres and forms of broadcast programming
  • a detailed understanding of the nature of British TV series drama and the production processes that are involved in realising a TV drama series
  • an invaluable experience of production to a broadcast standard
  • a critical self-knowledge gained from analysing the process of producing their own work 

View the full course specification for International Broadcasting (MA) in the Programme Specification Repository


Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including:

  • seminar presentations
  • written essays
  • research portfolios
  • project work
  • self-assessment documents

Employability & career opportunities

On graduation, you will have a range of knowledge and a portfolio of written and media work which will be invaluable in finding employment in the broadcasting industry, particularly in those territories where the business is expanding rapidly.

Professor John Ellis on how TV is changing


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