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Communication Studies - Communications - Research

Research in the School of Communications

Staff at the School of Communications are engaged in a broad range of research areas, including contemporary journalism practice, media history, political communication, cultural studies, art and multimedia practice, film and television analysis, gender and sexuality studies, political economy of the media, social media studies, ICTs in education, games studies and audience research. For more information on our research groups and staff expertise and interests, please click on Research Areas and Interests below.

The School of Communications offers two routes for those interested in pursuing postgraduate research, both at MPhil and PhD level. All graduate research applications are processed online through the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC) at the following web site Before applying, we recommend that you read all of the information on the Postgraduate Research page

Entry requirements

To register for a Postgraduate research programme, a candidate must normally have obtained a primary degree classification equivalent to Lower Second Class Honours or above, from an approved University or an approved equivalent degree-awarding body, or have an approved equivalent professional qualification in an area cognate to the proposed research topic. See

PhD: In order to gain direct access to the PhD register, candidates must hold a Master's by Research degree.

PhD-track: Candidates with a taught masters degree or an honours primary degree grade I or II.1 may gain direct access to the PhD-track. Students registered on the PhD-track will normally progress to the PhD register in Year 2 of their studies following successful completion of an oral examination and submission of a PGR3 PhD-track/PhD Confirmation Procedure report.

Master's by Research: To gain access to the Master's by Research register at DCU, candidates must normally hold an honours II.2 primary degree.


DCA13 PhD - Communication Studies (Part-Time)
DCA14 PhD - Communication Studies (Full-Time)
DCA15 MA - Communication Studies (Part-Time)
DCA16 MA - Communication Studies (Full-Time)
DCA18 PhD-track - Communications (Full-Time)
DCA30 MPhil Communications Studies (Full-Time)
DCA31 MPhil Communications Studies (Part-Time)

Research areas

Media and Democracy

This research group focuses on the media as part of the ‘public sphere’, exploring the media’s role in providing information to citizens, its effect in shaping agendas and framing issues, and its status both as a forum and participant in debate. Broad research questions include:

•What role should media play in free societies, in particular at times of economic and political crisis?

•What is the relationship between media decisions and the influence of state, political and commercial entities?

•How can traditional media with fragmenting audiences reinvent themselves as pillars of democracy?

•What will be the role of new media (and ‘social media’) in encouraging participative citizens, engaging wider audiences and transforming politics?

•Women Media and Democracy the importance of gender balance

As part of DCU’s commitment to the 3U Partnership, this group will affiliate and work closely with the National Centre for Media, Power and the Public, which is currently a collaboration between DCU School of Communications and the Centre for Media Studies at NUIM.

Media and Social Change

This research group focuses on the relationship between media and society beyond the scope of politics and power, drawing on long-established DCU expertise in audience research and the representational politics of popular culture. Change is addressed here both in terms of social concerns about media influence (cyberbullying, pro-anorexia websites, new media literacy, sexualisation and commercialisation of children, the representation of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, ageing in advertising, 'pornification' [sexualisation?] of popular culture) as well as in new media's potential to transform how we learn and communicate (ICTs and digital games in education, online campaigns to combat racism, homophobia, depression and suicide, etc. and developments in health communication, e.g. effectiveness of online treatment programmes for eating disorders).

Broad research questions for the Centre for Media and Social Change include:

•How are new communication technologies such as Skype, Facebook and Twitter transforming family and close social relationships?

•How are new forms of information search, storage and processing such as Google and Wikipedia transforming the acquisition of knowledge and understanding?

•How is the evolving interaction of old and new media transforming global creative and entertainment industries?

Media History and Contemporary Journalism

Practice-Based Research & Professional Practice

This interdisciplinary research group uses photography, digital video and fine art to address a broad range of research themes and questions.

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