Media Research

Graduate - Media Studies / Research MRes

MRes, Postgraduate Diploma

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Media Research
  • Type Full-time
  • Start date September

Dr Richard Haynes Communications, Media and Culture
University of Stirling
+44 (0) 1786 467971

Our graduate media studies Master's award, Media Research (MRes), has an illustrious background, and with our other degrees has received awards.

1st in Scotland for research in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies (most recent Research Assessment Exercise)

1st in Scotland for Communications and Media (The Independent Complete University Guide, 2011, and The Guardian University Guide, 2011)

The Master’s degree in Media Research, which can also provide the first year of the doctoral course, is designed to give you the necessary skills to carry out advanced interdisciplinary research in the broad field of media studies.

Course objectives

A suite of MRes courses has been developed concurrently by six subject areas: Applied Social Science, Education, Communications, Media and Culture, Management, Nursing, Midwifery and Health and Sports Studies. These courses have a shared core of four modules in generic research skills, plus specialist disciplinary modules and a range of options.

They combine high quality with flexibility and choice for students. Employability is another important focus, with the opportunity for a research placement offered to all MRes students.

This course is designed to provide a basic but extensive training in media research methods. The training provided is multidisciplinary, covering social sciences and humanities approaches. Ideal candidates are those looking for employment in the media for which research training is seen as valuable, as well as those intending to pursue academic careers in the field.

The course:

  • Provides a structured analysis of established practices in film and media studies research
  • Offers a critical overview of the intellectual frameworks that inform media research to enable you to develop your own approach to researching media institutions, texts and audiences
  • Encourages you to explore your personal research interests and support the development of original enquiry through student-centred teaching and assessment

Entrance requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject.  Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to apply.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence of your  proficiency such as a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 (6.0 in all bands).

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

Our range of pre-sessional courses.

Modes of study


Course start date


Delivery and assessment

The course involves lectures, seminars, tutorials, a research project and case study work. Assessment is by means of coursework as specified for each module and includes essays, a literature review, a research report, a seminar presentation and a media text. A dissertation proposal must be submitted by the beginning of the Spring Semester when supervisors are allocated (you will be expected to stay within the areas of current staff interest and expertise). Each dissertation is approximately 12,000 words in length and may take the form of a written publishable academic article or a project report, depending on its focus. 

Research interests
Research interests in Communications, Media and Culture currently include: film theory and analysis; television studies; creative industries and cultural policy; media economics and regulation; digital media and activism; journalism; political communication; sport and the media; public relations; national identity and globalisation; representations of gender and ethnicity; celebrity culture; new media and intellectual property and other aspects of media and popular culture.

Module titles

Academic Year 2015/16

The MRes Media Research consists of two components: a taught course followed by a dissertation. The taught course takes place over an academic year. You will take three modules in the Autumn Semester and three modules in the Spring Semester, making a total of six taught modules across the year.

Semester 1

  • Research Design and Process
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Media Research Methods 1

Semester 2

  • Applied Methods 2
  • Qualitative Data Analysis

One module from the following options:

  • Media Regulation and Policy
  • Media Rights
  • Media Research Placement
  • The Nature of Social Enquiry
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods (tbc)
  • Advanced Qualitative Methods (tbc)

Course Director

Dr Richard Haynes


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

More information

RAE rating

Communications, Media and Culture had 70 percent of its research rated as either ‘World-leading’ or ‘Internationally Excellent’ in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE).

Our students

I find the University of Stirling a stimulating and enriching arena for postgraduate study. Since starting my course in Media Research, I have grown significantly in my aptitude and knowledge of the subject. As a mature student, my transition back into academia has had its challenges but the transition was made to feel relatively seamless, primarily due to the innovative design of the course, and the respect and support of the faculty and staff with whom I have interacted. The support services and staff are principally student focused; I have generally been treated with courtesy, and my inquiries and concerns have being addressed with professional courtesy and efficiently. The only support service that I may suggest require a little more attention is the library facility. While I commend a well-informed and helpful staff, I often find the available physical space and, to some degree, the structural design a bit of a challenge.  The library is too frequently over congested and it is often difficult to find an area or space, with an available computer, that is conducive to quiet research and study.

As regards the Master's in Media Research, I have only high praises. The programme is well organized, balanced and encompasses a range of courses that are designed to prepare me for post graduate research at a more advanced level; and continued academic research throughout my career.  The faculty is predominantly well prepared lecturers, as well as caring, responsive teachers who take the time, whenever solicited, to give individual attention to ensure my understanding of the subject areas.  Overall, my postgraduate experience at the University of Stirling has been very enriching both academically and culturally. 

Monique Toppin, current Media Research student 


The MRes provides students with both theoretical and practical knowledge of social science research methods and an ability to apply these to the study of the media. The degree is primarily targeted at students needing research training prior to registration for a higher research degree, such as a PhD. The course also offers an excellent grounding in social science methods which are transferable to media research for industry, marketing and advertising research, production research and wider aspects of social research consultancy. Former graduates have successfully developed careers as academic researchers and a range of media industry related careers.

Industry connections

The Division of Communications, Media and Culture actively supports and encourages its staff to engage with a wider non-HEI audience for its research evidenced through contributions to policy fora, funded research for government agencies, collaborative work with NGO’s, engagement with the trade associations, unions and institutes of communications, media and culture professionals, active dialogue and contributions to media organisations across the spectrum of broadcasting, the press, film and the Internet, professional contributions to charities and pressure groups in relation to public media issues and policies, and a range of cultural heritage activities at national and international film festivals and exhibitions.


2016/17 Overseas £13,950
2016/17 Home/EU £6,100
2015/16 Overseas £13,500
2015/16 Home/EU £6,000

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.


Contact Communications, Media and Culture for information.

Information on possible sources of funding

The University of Stirling is offering any UK or European Union student with a First Class Honours degree (or equivalent) a £2,000 scholarship to study full-time on any taught Masters course or £1,000 for part-time study. Further information on the scholarships is available here