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Media and Cultural Studies - PhD

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry.

Our Media and Cultural Studies PhD research degree will help you achieve a career in media research or academia. The PhD enables research into a broad range of interests within the fields of media, communication and cultural studies. Your research will be delivered over three years (full time) or four years (part-time or distance learning)....

  • Level Postgraduate Research
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time/Distance Learning
  • Location City Centre
  • Award PhD
  • Start date September 2024, February 2025
  • School Birmingham School of Media
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

This course is:

Open to International Students

Overview

Our Media and Cultural Studies PhD research degree will help you achieve a career in media research or academia.

The PhD enables research into a broad range of interests within the fields of media, communication and cultural studies. Your research will be delivered over three years (full time) or four years (part-time or distance learning).

We support both traditional PhD research presented through an academic thesis and PhD research through practice.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Our Media and Cultural Studies PhD research degree offers individual programmes of research across many areas of interest. Our PhD gives you the opportunity to spend time researching and developing a deep understanding of a unique area of interest whilst contributing world leading insight to the Birmingham Centre of Media and Cultural Research, and the wider School of Media.

On successful completion of your PhD research degree your findings will have either contributed new knowledge or extended existing theory and understanding of an area of interest. You will have proven yourself as a scholar, be an expert in your field and be eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.

Our Media and Cultural Studies PhD is research based and does not include taught modules of study

Why Choose Us?

  • When you join us you will become a member of the thriving research culture at the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR).
  • Your PhD research will be organised as a programme of professional and academic development.
  • You will receive individual support and guidance from our team of supervisors, meeting on a regular basis to review your progress and plan your next steps.
  • You will feel a strong sense of community amongst students and supervisors in the School of Media and wider Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.
  • You will attend regular research seminars, conferences and symposia and you will receive a dedicated workspace that acts as the hub of your PhD research activity.
  • You can strengthen your PhD research and personal/professional development by participating in wider international research communities and conferences, and by helping to teach degree modules to undergraduate students.
  • There are opportunities for studentships through the AHRC funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership and University supported initiatives. The latter are advertised on the website when they are available.

OPEN DAY

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to learn about this course in detail, chat to students and explore our campus.

Next Event: 29 June 2024

Book Now

Research Interests

As a postgraduate researcher on this programme you will become part of the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research (BCMCR) and participate in its thriving research culture. BCMCR was founded in 2009 with a mandate to develop excellent, world-leading research.

BCMCR engages in collaborative work across nine research clusters:

There are now in excess of 30 research-active staff, many developing their academic careers based upon years as professional media workers. You can read about our research in a range of international journals and in books from leading academic publishers.

Current interests

We particularly invite your initial PhD enquiry for Media and Cultural Studies PhD research within the following areas of interests:

  • Amateur/informal cultural production
  • Austerity and the media
  • Comedy 
  • Community media and media activism
  • Creative Higher Education: Exploring developments in creative higher education curriculum and pedagogy, specifically practice-based art, design and media subjects (see Makings Special Issue and work with CEDIA)
  • Creative industries, cultural policy and cultural work
  • Cult cinema 
  • Cultural entrepreneurship
  • Diasporic and transnational media
  • Equality and Diversity: connecting activities from the mid-1980s to contemporary debates in culture and cultural policy.
    Researching the Barbara Webster Collection (ADM Archive) to investigate equality and diversity in Birmingham, comparing and exploring initiatives from the mid-1980s with current concerns. The project includes an exhibition, workshops and oral history work to inform and influence contemporary cultural policy debates.
  • Film and television audiences
  • Gaming cultures
  • Hyperlocal journalism
  • Jazz studies
  • Media and conflict
  • Media and cultural history
  • Media fandom
  • Media heritage and archives 
  • Media practice
  • Popular Indian cinema studies
  • Popular music culture
  • Pornography studies
  • Radio studies
  • Screen melodrama
  • Sexuality, gender, the cultural construction of masculinity
  • Songwriting

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: PhD

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3-4 years
  • TBC
  • Part Time
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC

Award: PhD

Starting: Feb 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3-4 years
  • TBC
  • Part Time
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: PhD

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3-4 years
  • TBC
  • Part Time
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC
  • Distance Learning
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC

Award: PhD

Starting: Feb 2025

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3-4 years
  • TBC
  • Part Time
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC
  • Distance Learning
  • 4-7 years
  • TBC

If you’re unable to use our online application form for any reason, please email Research.Admissions@bcu.ac.uk.The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Entry Requirements

To apply for our Media and Cultural Studies PhD research degree you should have, or expect to be awarded, a Masters degree in a relevant subject area from a British or overseas university.

Exceptional candidates without a Masters degree, but holding a first class Bachelors degree in media studies, may be considered.

We also welcome enquiries from potential PhD researchers without formal academic qualifications but with appropriate levels of professional experience.

Please send us an initial PhD enquiry containing your brief PhD research proposal (max. 500 words), and/or any questions or queries you may have.

We will review your initial enquiry to ensure your research proposal compliments one of our PhD research interests and if so we will ask you to make a full application.

English Language Requirements for International Students

Valid Academic IELTS certificate with overall score of 7.0 with no band below 6.5 or equivalent.

Research proposal guidance

Your research proposal in the full application should address the following areas:

Aims and objectives

Please outline what the purpose of your research is; e.g. "The objective of this research project is to….."

Scope

Explain the scope of the project and the range of activities that you imagine this will involve; e.g. “The following tasks will be undertaken as a part of the proposed research”

Research content

Explain why this research is needed.  Outline previous work in the field (if any exists).  What do you imagine the wider benefits of this research will be? 

Methodology

Explain what methods you will use to conduct your research and why? Explain the reasons for your choice of methodology and why it is appropriate. Try and think of potential problems that you may encounter.

Resources required

Are there specific facilities that you will need to conduct your research (e.g. hardware or software)? If so are these already in place?  How do you propose to fund your research?

References

Provide a full bibliography of any sources utilised in the research proposal.

Additional costs

As each PhD is an individual research project, it is impossible to specify what additional costs may be incurred. Whilst we are able to offer limited financial support towards the direct costs of research (e.g. the purchase of books or digital reproductions of primary sources; attendance at conferences and workshops, etc.) you may need to supplement this. Any potential costs should be identified in your application.

Course in Depth

A day in the life of a PhD student

If you're considering doing a PhD there's probably a lot of questions going through your mind: how am I going to pay for it? Should I quit my job? Will I cope with the workload? But most importantly, what is it really like? Karen Patel, a full time PhD student, shares her experiences of juggling life, a part time job and her studies in the video above.

The PhD Journey

Our PhD gives you the opportunity to spend time researching and developing a deep understanding of a unique area of interest whilst contributing world leading insight to the academic specialisms at Birmingham School of Media.

You will present your research developments regularly to supervisors and have opportunities to present to the research community at various events across the Faculty.

Full time students are expected to complete within three to four years, whilst part time students may take four to seven years.  In your first year (two years for part time students) you will spend time reviewing the field and refining your individual PhD research proposal and projected plan. You will be supported in this by your supervisory team and through attendance at the PGCert in Research Practice, which runs for the first semester of your studies.  At the end of your first year (second year for part time students) you will complete a Progression Assessment Panel.  Your second year (years three and four for PT students) is likely to be spent undertaking in-depth research in your chosen area, with the third year (years five and six for part time students) involving writing up your results and presenting them in a suitable format (whether that be through composition, performance, or entirely written). 

On successful completion of your PhD research degree your findings will have either contributed new knowledge or extended existing theory and understanding of an area of interest.

You will have proven yourself as a scholar, be an expert in your field and be eligible to use the title ‘Doctor’.

Supervisors and Support

As a PhD research student you will be guided through your programme of study by a team of supervisors.

Your supervisors will help you create your individual PhD research plan which, in your first few months, may include study for a research methods qualification: PG Cert Research Practice.

Your supervisory team will include a Director of Studies whose role it is to ensure that you are meeting targets and following the correct processes and systems for conducting PhD research.

You will also be supported by a second supervisor (and sometimes a third) who will provide guidance based on their knowledge of your specific PhD research interest.

You will meet with your supervisors on a regular basis to review your progress, receive advice and plan the next stages of your PhD research.

You will present your research developments regularly to supervisors and other members of your PhD research community at Birmingham School of Media.

Modes of Study

Whether you study part time or full time, you can undertake your PhD through one of three structured approaches to learning.

With attendance

As a PhD research student studying with attendance, you will undertake much of your research on campus using the facilities at Birmingham School of Media.

If you are studying full time, in your first term of study you will complete the PGCert in Research Practice, working alongside your supervisory team to produce an assessed research proposal, and a professional development plan. 

You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 36-43 months.

If you are studying part time, you will complete the PGCert in Research Practice, working alongside your supervisory team to produce an assessed research proposal, and a professional development plan. You will be encouraged to use the campus facilities when you can and may often work from home. You will be expected to complete your research and submit your work for examination within 48-72 months.

Extracurricular Activities

Sarah Raine talks about some of the activities she has been involved in while a student studying at BCU:

You can read some of our postgraduate student work in the Riffs Journal.

Current postgraduate research students 

Employability

The value of a PhD to employability

The Doctor of Philosophy or PhD is recognised worldwide and is often an essential requirement for those wishing to follow an academic or research career in industry or commerce. Our Media and Cultural Studies PhD research degree has been designed to help you achieve a career in Media and Cultural Studies research or academia.

After the PhD

PhD graduates often continue their research through post-doctoral fellowships and academic posts. Others choose to become consultants or return to working in the media industry. 

Past graduates

Previous graduates of our PhD programme now work in academia, work in the media industry or are researchers. Several of our graduates work in the School of Media as lecturers, postdocs, or researchers. One such graduate is Dr. Yemisi Akinbobola, who talks about her experiences in the video below.

International

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Past International Graduates

Former Nigerian researcher Ezinne Igwe, investigated the state of the contemporary Nigerian film industry describes her experience as a PhD student:

Facilities & Staff

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.

With an investment of over £400 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

State-of-the-art facilities

You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.

Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and a BOLT JR+ high-speed camera robot.

Research Supervisors

We will appoint you a team of supervisors from our academic staff, selected for their expertise in your specific area of PhD research:

Full list of research staff and supervisors

Thank you for your interest in doing a PhD. We encourage you to review our full list of research staff so you can identify the right potential supervisors for your proposed research.

We would be happy to answer any questions you might have so please contact our Research Degrees Coordinator, Yemisi Akinbobola, on Yemisi.Akinbobola@bcu.ac.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

Our staff

Dr Yemisi Akinbobola

Senior Lecturer

Yemisi holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University. She is a senior lecturer and Research Degrees Coordinator for the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. Her research interests are in African Feminism(s) and media in Africa, particularly the intersections of Women's Rights and Media, and Media...

More about Yemisi