Ma media & cultural studies programme Specification April 2005

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Programme Specification
April 2005


This document describes the University of Lincoln's using the protocols required by the UK National Qualifications Framework as defined in the publication QAA guidelines for preparing programme specifications (June 2000).

MA MEDIA & CULTURAL STUDIES 180M is a CATS point programme of study offered by the Subject of as part of the university’s undergraduate modular scheme.


Block 1: Introducing Cultural Politics 26

Block 2: Issues in Cultural Politics 27

Block 3: Media and Cultural Politics 28

Block 4: Inclusive Boundaries: Meeting Citizenships’ Others 29

Block III Visual Digital Culture in the Postmodern 46

Unit Descriptions…………………………………………………………………………………….15

Staff CVs……………………………………………………………………………………………...49

Simon Cross 49

Ann Gray 54

Sylvia Harvey 61

Richard Keeble 70

Dean Lockwood 76

Neil Maycroft 81

Nigel Morris 87

Thomas Nicholls 93

Guy Redden 97

Jirina Smejkalova 102

Brian Winston 112

Table of figures

Basic programme data

Final award


Programme title

Media and Cultural Studies

UCAS code

TBA (full-time variant)

TBA (part-time variant)

Awarding body

University of Lincoln

Teaching institution

University of Lincoln

Relevant QAA subject benchmarks


Professional/statutory accreditation


Date of validation

April 2005

Programme start date

September 2005

Document publication date

Fri 18 Mar 2005

Revision 1

Revision 2

Revision 3

Programme aims and objectives

  1. Educational aims of the MA Media & Cultural Studies

The MA Media & Cultural Studies aims to provide students with a challenging, coherent programme of postgraduate study which offers a thorough grounding in the theoretical developments and debates which have formed the field of enquiries of media and cultural studies and new theoretical developments which respond to changing media and cultural landscapes. A range of different intellectual, critical and political approaches to the field will be introduced and examined and students will be expected to engage critically through close reading of texts, media and cultural forms. The critical approaches will be linked to a variety of research methods which have been employed in the study of media and culture and students will develop a critical understanding of ontological and epistemological foundations of the different aproaches. They will also undertake empirical research in small groups.

At postgraduate certificate level, attentions is paid to the historical development of the field and students will undertake the core unit, Critical Approaches to Media and Cultural Studies (already validated), along with two optional units.

A postgraduate diploma level, the emphasis will be on the various methodologies employed within the field. Students will undertake the second core unit, Research Practice for Media and Cultural Studies, (already validated) which includes a group research project, along with two further optional units.

At Masters level students will undertake a scholarly dissertation demonstrating a critical engagement with some aspect of media and cultural studies.

The coherence of the programme is achieved through the close connections between the core units and the more specialised optional units. These offer an engagement with some of the latest developments and trajectories in media and cultural studies which reflect the research interests of the interdisciplinary course team. These are: Cultural Politics; National Cultures in Film and Broadcasting; De-westernising Media and Cultural Theory; Television Studies; Consumer Culture; Digital Cultures and Visual Cultures. It is envisaged that optional units offered on other relevant postgraduate programmes will be made available to students on this programme.

The MA in Media & Cultural Studies is distinctive in that it will combine a strong cultural studies approach with media studies and in particular will look to developments in European cultural studies, visual, digital and consumer cultures as well as broadcast media and cinema.

Subject benchmarks

Not applicable.

Internal contexts

The MA Media and Cultural Studies is one of a suite of newly developed taught programmes offered in the Faculty of Media and Humanities to correct the current lack of such activity, balancing the work of the Faculty and facilitating the delivery of its mission to offer nationally and internationally recognised innovative teaching, research and professional programmes. It joins MA Documentary & Factual Programming; MA Media Production; MRes Media and Cultural Studies; MA Historical Studies; MA Journalism in the Faculty’s portfolio. It will be attractive to international and EU students as well as home students and will, along with these programmes, address the needs of the Faculty to provide high quality post-graduate opportunities to its burgeoning undergraduate population.

The Faculty has particular strengths and interests, both scholarly and academic in the study of media and cultural studies, in particular:

  • The history and development of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies ( Dr Ann Gray)

  • Broadcasting regulation and film policy in the UK (Professor Sylvia Harvey)

  • History and documentary and media technologies (Professor Brian Winston)

  • Media, Cultural and Social Theory (Dr Simon Cross, Dr Dean Lockwood, Dr Ann Gray)

  • Media and Ethics (Professor Richard Keeble)

  • Cultural Studies in the ‘New Europe’ (Dr Jirina Smejkalova and Dr Ann Gray)

  • De-Westernising media and cultural theory (Dr Jirina Smejkalova)

  • Consumer Culture (Dr Guy Redden)

  • New Media and Digital Culture (Dr Dean Lockwood)

  • Visual Cultures (Dr Dean Lockwood, Dr Neil Maycroft)

  • National Cinemas (Tom Nicholls and Nigel Morris)

Professor Sylvia Harvey is Principal Associate Director of the AHRB Centre for British Film and Television Studies at the University of Lincoln, Dr Ann Gray is editor of European Journal of Cultural Studies and is Co-director (with Dr Jirina Smejkalova) of the proposed Centre for European Cultural Studies within the Faculty. The Faculty runs a weekly research seminar series with visiting speakers. The School of Journalism also hosts a lecture series from professional journalists.

External contexts

The MA Media & Cultural Studies is positioned within an educational area of significant continued growth. The numbers of students studying full-time on media and related bachelor-level courses indicate a still increasing pool of potential applicants for higher-level study. In addition, interest could be expressed by students on courses such as sociology, English, anthropology and history. The relatively newly assembled course team bring a range of knowledge and experience which will contribute to a distinctive programme, especially in relation to European Cultural Studies, Broadcasting policy and a range of media forms, including documentary, new media and visual cultures. Through the Centre for European Cultural Studies opportunities for staff collaboration on Masters programmes will be developed and the potential for attracting students from the wider Europe explored

Programme outcomes

The Framework of Higher Education Qualifications has informed the production of the programme outcomes. According to the FHEQ:

3.1 Descriptor for a qualification at Masters (M) level: Masters degree

Masters degrees are awarded to students who have demonstrated:

i) a systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study, or area of professional practice;

ii) a comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship;

iii) originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;

iv ) conceptual understanding that enables the student:

  • to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline; and

  • to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

Typically, holders of the qualification will be able to:

a ) deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;

b) demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;

c) continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level;

and will have:

d.) the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring:

  • the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility;

  • decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; and

  • the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

The programme-level learning outcomes are identified below and address, in a variety of ways, the content of the FHEQ Masters level descriptors.. Refer to Appendix 1 for details of how outcomes are deployed across the study programme.

Knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of the MA Media & Cultural Studies a student will be able to:

A1 Demonstrate an understanding of the range of theories within the social sciences and humanities that have shaped, and continue to shape, the fields of enquiry of media and cultural studies.

A2 Demonstrate an understanding of the interrelation between individuals and societies and between history, biography and social change, and the significance of culture and media for these.

A3 Demonstrate an understanding of power relations inherent in the processes of cultural mediation.

A4 Demonstrate knowledge of the range of research methods and approaches utilised in analysing media and culture.

A5 Evaluate critically debates within the fields of Media and Cultural Studies, some informed by research at the forefront of the subject.

Subject specific skills and attributes

On successful completion of the MA Media & Cultural Studies a student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate critically and synthesise a range of theoretical and critical perspectives in media and cultural studies

  2. Think critically and creatively in analysing a range of texts, e.g. media, visual, policy documents

  3. Critically assess appropriate methodologies for research into media and cultural studies

  4. Advance cogent and substantiated arguments in relation to critical debates

  5. Consider critically the ethical and political ramifications of media and cultural research

  6. Design and implement a research project with members of a group

  7. Present work in an appropriate register and employing relevant scholarly apparatus

Transferable skills and attributes

On successful completion of MA Media & Cultural Studies a student will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse and synthesise a range of material in written work

  2. Be self-reflective and give and receive constructive criticism

  3. Communicate effectively and apropriately in oral and written contexts

  4. Develop and apply a range of appropriate Information and Computing Technology skills

  5. Work independently in pursuit of objectives under their own direction and motivation

  6. Demonstrate continuing development of self-awareness and self-management through effective time management, sensitivity to diversity and the ability to continue learning

  7. Work with others in completion of a research project.

  8. Recognise ethical situations and to confront ethical issues with due respect

  9. Plan, research and undertake a scholarly dissertation

Teaching, learning and assessment strategies

  1. Teaching and learning strategy

The teaching and learning strategy adopted within the MA Media & Cultural Studies derives from the University’s plan of thorough subject specific education while at the same time ensuring the development of a range of transferable skills. Teaching and learning on the programme will be undertaken through lectures, seminars, presentations and personal tutorials. There will also be a number of visiting scholars and practitioners participating in the units. Students will develop their skills to work as individuals and as members of a group to produce solo and group presentations, essays, projects and a dissertation. Students will be expected to attend the weekly Faculty Research Seminars.

Teaching methods will be used which show a concern for the specific learning needs of the students, the contexts from which they come and the different ways in which they learn.

The MA Media and Cultural Studies will be led by a programme co-ordinator who will be responsible for the overall organisation, development, monitoring and asessment/examination of the programme. Each unit will be reviewed and evaluated at the end of delivery. Elected student representatives from the MA co-hort will be on the Postgraduate Staff Student Committee which wil meet at least twice a year to review progress. The Faculty has a Postgraduate Convenor and is committed to developing and building a lively postgraduate community.

Assessment strategy

The bulk of the assessment will be through essays designed to assess achieved learning outcomes. In addition, there will assessed presentations and a group research project.

Satisfactory completion of the assessment requirements will lead to Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma or Masters qualification. The formal internal subject board of the MA Media and Cultural Studies will meet at the end of each phase, and membership will consist of the MA programme co-ordinator and unit co-ordinators. The formal examination board will meet after submission and assessment of dissertations and will consist of the MA co-ordinator and unit co-ordinators.

Result statuses will consist of the following:

  • Distinction – a student shall be awarded a Masters degree with distinction if the dissertation mark is 70% or above, and has satisfied the requirements for the award of a distinction at diploma level.

  • Pass – Students’ work is judged by the Board of Examiners to have met the assessment criteria for the award. Pass mark: 50%

  • Reassessment – Students’ work is judged by the Board of Examiners not to have met the assessment criteria for the award. Students will be required to resubmit their work to their two markers, and will be provided with a clear outline of the amendments they are required to make, and a time-frame for making them that confirms to the regulations of the University. In the case of disagreement amongst the markers, this will be resolved by the Chair of the Board of Examiners, acting with reference to other members of the Board. Pass mark: 50%

  • Fail after reassessment – In this case, the student will be provided with an account as to why they have not met the requirements of the phase. Exceptionally the Board of Examiners may recommend a second reassessment for a unit failed on reassessment.

Assignments will be marked against the unit(s) learning outcomes/assessment criteria. The group research project will be awarded a group mark for the overall project and an individual mark for the student report. The external examiner will be sent at least a 15-20% sample of the Certificate and Diploma work submitted. All dissertations will be seen by the external examiner. Progression to Master’s level requires the student to have been awarded 120 credit points. Progression from Certificate to Diploma level will normally require the student to have been awarded 60 points. Appendix II gives a top-level indication of the scheduling and distribution of assessment modes within the programme. Details of unit assessment strategy are included with each unit specification.

Programme structure

All MA Media and Cultural Studies students undertake the two core units: Critical Approaches to Media and Cultural Studies and Research Practice in Media and Cultural Studies. At Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels, the core units are delivered alongside optional units, all of which have been designed to complement the core units. Students take two optional units at both Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels.

Table Programme structure


Unit Code
Unit Title

Critical Approaches to Media & Cultural Studies (36)

Option 1 (12)

Option 2 (12)


Research Practice in Media and Cultural Studies (36)

Option 3 (12)

Option 4 (12)


Dissertation (60)

Table Programme structure illustrates the unit composition of MA Media and Cultural Studies.

The structure of this Masters degree programme allows intermediat Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma awards to be achieved by the successful completion of respectively 60 credits and 120 credits. It is envisaged, however, that the vast majority of students undertaking Media and Cultural Studies will be intent on achieving the Masters award, submitting a dissertation by end September.

The part-time route would entail one core plus two options in Year 1, one core plus two options in Year 2 and completion of dissertation by end December.

For details of each of unit contributing to the programme, please consult the individual unit specifications.

Regulatory framework

The MA Media & Cultural Studies is operated under the policy and regulatory frameworks of the University of Lincoln.

The following sub-sections note the applicable University policy documents and draw attention to any exceptions, peculiarities or conditions that relate particularly to this programme. Many of the policy documents are convenient abstracts of University Regulations, published annually by the university.


Directorate, University Regulations (University of Lincoln).


Current University of Lincoln, Progression, Awards and Award Classifications - Degree Programmes (University of Lincoln).


Progression, Awards and Award Classifications - Degree Programmes (University of Lincoln).


Current University of Lincoln, Guide to Business/Industrial Placements (University of Lincoln)

Study abroad

There are no formal arrangements that facilitate foreign study for students of .

Student support and guidance

Current University of Lincoln, Academic Advice and Guidance Network - Student Handbook (University of Lincoln).

Off-campus delivery

Quality Unit, Off-campus Programme Management Manual - UK (University of Lincoln.

is not delivered by any UK franchise partners or associate colleges.

Appendix I

Appendix II


  1. Unit title Critical Approaches to Media & Cultural Studies

2 PDS code (if already assigned)

3 Credit rating 36

4 Level M

.5 Subject Media and Cultural Studies

6 Pre-requisite(s)

7 Co-requisite(s)

8 Barred combinations

  1. Department responsible for delivering the unit

Media Production

  1. Unit co-ordinator/Tutor responsible for the unit

Ann Gray

  1. Unit synopsis

This unit will offer an overview of key theories and debates which characterise the development of the field of media and cultural studies in order to encourage a critical understanding of the perspectives brought to the media from different intellectual positions.

12 Outline syllabus

The unit is organised around key concepts which have shaped the fields of media and cultural studies. Through close reading of groundbreaking texts, historical and contemporary, it will identify key issues and debates which characterise the different approaches to media forms, institutions, technologies and users:

Culture & Ideology: mass media and social power; politics and aesthetics;

Cultural Studies and the Social: interpretive, participation and resistance;

Audience; everyday life; pleasure and identity

Political Economy: production and distribution of media products; questions of

Policy, public service, citizenship and democracy

Representation: meaning, identity and difference; politics of representation

Late/Post modernity & ‘new media’: technology, image, globalisation;

Technological determinism and social constructivism.

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