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Graduate Admissions

In view of the COVID-19 public health emergency we may need to make changes to the course details outlined on these pages. Offers holders will be notified of changes. Please see this page for further information.

Course closed:

Sociology (The Sociology of Media and Culture) is no longer accepting new applications.

The programme consists of three components:

1) A core course of eight two-hour sessions on the Sociology of Media and Culture

This course is taught by Dr Ella McPherson, Prof Patrick Baert and other lecturers who may vary from year to year; it covers some of the major theoretical contributions to the study of the media and culture and some key substantive topics. The theoretical contributions covered include the work of Horkheimer and Adorno; Habermas; Bourdieu; Becker; British cultural studies; McLuhan and medium theory; Castells and the theory of the network society.

The substantive topics vary from year to year but are likely to include at least some of the following: the changing structure of the media industries; the nature of the digital revolution and its impact on media and culture; the changing nature of news and journalism in the digital age; the role of new media in the development of social movements and new forms of political mobilisation and protest; the uses of social media and the internet and their impact on everyday life and culture; the nature and role of audiences; the role of ideas, intellectuals and media forms in processes of social and political change.

Topics for the field review essay will be drawn from the topics taught in this course, and students will study their chosen topics in more depth in the Lent term. In addition to the social and cultural theory offered in this course, students will have the opportunity to attend other lectures that are offered by the department. 

2) Research methods

All students will receive training in research methods and take a course on research methods which includes sessions on philosophical issues in the social sciences; research design; data collection and analysis in relation to quantitative and qualitative methods; reflection on research ethics and practice; library and computer skills.  Students will also have the opportunity to take courses and attend lectures on many other aspects of research method and design and will select these courses in discussion with their supervisor. 

3) Dissertation

All students will write a dissertation on a topic of their choice that allows for theoretically informed empirical analysis of some aspect of media or culture in contemporary societies. The choice of dissertation topic is made in consultation with your supervisor, who can advise you on the suitability and feasibility of your proposed research and on research design. A dissertation workshop provides the opportunity to present aspects of your dissertation work and to receive constructive feedback from course teachers and fellow students.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the programme students should have:

  • an advanced understanding of current research on selected topics in the sociology of media and culture;
  • an understanding of the basic principles of social research, the skills necessary to conduct independent research and practical experience in the use of research methods;
  • an ability to apply modern social theory with respect to empirical topics;
  • a deeper understanding of their chosen specialist area, including command of the literature and current research; and
  • the ability to situate their own research within current developments in the field.


Students are encouraged to proceed to the department's PhD programme, provided they reach a high level of achievement in all parts of the course. MPhil students who would like to continue to the PhD would normally need to have a final mark of at least 70 per cent overall and 70 per cent on the dissertation.

Open Days

The University of Cambridge will be hosting its Cambridge Postgraduate Open Day on Friday 1 November 2019. Visit the Postgraduate Open Day page for more details.

Key Information

9 months full-time

Master of Philosophy

Department of Sociology


Course on Department Website

Dates and deadlines:

Applications open
Sept. 2, 2019
Application deadline
April 30, 2020
Course Starts
Oct. 1, 2020

Some courses can close early. See the Deadlines page for guidance on when to apply.

Graduate Funding Competition
Dec. 3, 2019
Gates Cambridge US round only
Oct. 14, 2019

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