You will study four core course units (chosen from a total of six options), two elective units, and write a dissertation over the summer. Course units include one of three disciplinary training pathway courses, a course in research design, analysing international politics, and specialist options in international relations.
Students studying for the Postgraduate Diploma do not undertake the dissertation.
Core course units:
Media, Power, and Public Affairs: You will examine the relationship between media, politics and power in contemporary political life. This unit focuses on a number of important foundational themes, including theories of media effects, the construction of political news, election campaigning, government communications and spin, media regulation, the emergence of digital media, the globalisation of media, agenda setting, and propaganda and the role of media in international affairs. The overarching rationale is that we live in an era in which the massive diversity of media, new technologies, and new methodologies demands new forms of analysis. The approach will be comparative and international.
Internet and New Media Politics:
Drawing predominantly, though not exclusively, upon specialist academic journal literatures, this course focuses on a number of important contemporary debates about the role and influence of new technologies on the values, processes and outcomes of: global governance institutions; public bureaucracies; journalism and news production; representative institutions including political parties and legislatures; pressure groups and social movements. It also examines persistent and controversial policy problems generated by digital media, such as privacy and surveillance, the nature of contemporary media systems, and the balance of power between older and newer media logics in social and political life. By the end of the course students will have an understanding of the key issues thrown up by the internet and new media, as well as a critical perspective on what these terms actually mean. The approach will be comparative, drawing on examples from around the world, including the developing world, but the principal focus will be on the politics of the United States and Britain.
Social Media and Politics: This course addresses the various ways in which social media are changing the relationships between politicians, citizens, and the media. The course will start by laying out broad arguments and debates about the democratic implications of social media that are ongoing not just in academic circles but also in public commentary, political circles, and policy networks—do social media expand or narrow civic engagement? Do they lead to cross-cutting relationships or self-reinforcing echo chambers? Do they hinder or promote political participation? Are they useful in campaigns or just the latest fashion? Do they foster effective direct communication between politicians and citizens? Are they best understood as technologies of freedom or as surveillance tools? These debates will be addressed throughout the course by drawing on recent empirical research published in the most highly rated academic journals in the field. The course will thus enable students to understand how social media are used by citizens, politicians, and media professionals to access, distribute, and co-produce contents that are relevant to politics and public affairs and establish opportunities for political and civic engagement.
Media, War and Conflict:
The post-9/11 global security situation and the 2003 Iraq war have prompted a marked increase in interest in questions concerning media, war and conflict. This unit examines the relationships between media, governments, military, and audiences/publics, in light of old, new, and potential future security events.
Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Politics and International Relations:
You will be provided with an introduction to core theories and qualitative approaches in politics and international relations. You will examine a number of explanatory/theoretical frameworks, their basic assumptions, strengths and weaknesses, and concrete research applications. You will consider the various qualitative techniques available for conducting research, the range of decisions qualitative researchers face, and the trade-offs researchers must consider when designing qualitative research.
Dissertation (MSc only): The dissertation gives you the opportunity to study an aspect of Media, Power, and Public Affairs in depth. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor and the length of the piece will be 12,000 words.
Elective course units:
Note: not all course units are available every year, but may include:
- Politics of Democracy
- Elections and Parties
- United States Foreign Policy
- Human Rights: From Theory to Practice
- Theories and Concepts in International Public Policy
- Contemporary Anglo-American Political Theory
- Transnational Security Studies
- Conflict and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East
- The Law of Cyber Warfare
- Comparative Political Executives
- European Union Politics and Policy
- International Public Policy in Practice
- Sovereignty, Rights and Justice
- Theories of Globalisation
- Introduction to Quantitative Research Methods in Politics and International Relations