Institution / Ulster University Coleraine
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Media Studies - Research



Ulster University has pioneered the development of Media Studies in higher education, introducing one of the first media studies degrees in the UK and Ireland in 1978. Media Studies has also been at the forefront of research during the last thirty years and in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), it was ranked as the tenth best Media Studies research department in the UK. In the 2014 REF, the research profile for Media Studies shows that 60% of all work has been judged as being of ‘international excellence’; within this proportion, 21% is judged as having the highest accolade: ‘world leading’. The unit also scored highly in the Impact section of the REF, with 100% of its impact case studies scored at 4*/3*.

The University would welcome applicants interested in researching audio-visual archives; media and post-conflict issues; public space; media production studies; journalism and the public sphere; photographic history; media and information technology; Irish/Northern Irish media, and film, television & popular culture.


The Centre for Media Research (CMR)

In 2003, Media Studies was awarded a £3.1 million grant from SPUR (Support Programme for University Research) to set up the Centre for Media Research and research is now conducted through the CMR. These research activities include historical studies and practice-related research in film, TV and photography; media policy and regulation in Ireland, the UK and internationally; the press in Ireland, Britain and internationally; archives and archiving; digital media and the internet.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).

Further enquiries

Professor Jan Jedrzejewski
Acting Director, Centre for Media Research
Tel: +44 (0)28 7012 4553

For general information about the Centre for Media Research and other research activities.
Carol Kyle
Tel: +44 (0) 28 70124196

Research areas

Research facilities and groups

The Centre’s research has a number of focuses:

Visual History: Film, TV, Photography:

This strand of research explores the history of film, television and photography in neglected areas of Irish and British visual and media culture; it assesses the social and cultural importance of these media and how their histories have impacted upon the present.

Digital Cultures, Creativity and Pedagogy:

This strand considers national and international creative industries and creative work in digital media. There is a special concern with the issues facing the development of creative industries in regional, national, and international settings.

Media Policy:

The Centre aims to provide an informed voice on contemporary matters of public concern, including the maintenance of national and regional cultures in the face of media globalisation, and to contribute to the public policy agenda in Northern Ireland, the UK and beyond. The Centre seeks to enhance public discussion of the media through authoritative, evidence-based research on media regulation, strategies of support for local media production, and the study of different audiences, including questions of media literacy.

Research as Practice

One area in which the CMR has been in the forefront of developments is in research with media practice and a number of PhDs have been completed successfully utilising elements of critical practice in digital media and in photography. There is also a particular interest in the theory and practice of documentary filmmaking.

Print and Broadcast Journalism

Journalism is a particular strength of Media Studies provision at Ulster University and currently we offer one of the country’s top industry- accredited postgraduate courses in print and broadcast journalism. This quality is also reflected in journalism research. A particular strength has been research in the local journalism industries
in Northern Ireland, the coverage of war and conflict generally and new and emerging forms of journalism.

The Centre runs regular seminars and events in these areas and welcomes collaborative ventures with other scholars and media organizations.

Research Facilities

Facilities include a specialist Multi-Media Resource Unit (MMRU), which contains a large and unique collection of Irish film and television materials. There are also sound and television studios, editing facilities, a specialist computer lab and photographic facilities on the Coleraine campus. The Centre for Media Research is housed in a purpose-built suite of offices, close to computer labs, screening rooms and the MMRU. These offer further up-to-date facilities for research in comparative film studies, digital technologies and archiving.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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