Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The Postgraduate Diploma in Political Communications offers teaching that is critical, innovative and diverse. It combines theory with practical, applied elements, and draws on a range of research and contemporary examples.

You will cover political communication, from the national and international to the local and personal - from governments and parties, to NGOs and local activist groups. The programme engages with cultural, alternative and digital, interactive communication as well as traditional mass media.

The Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies has been ranked 2nd in the UK for 'world-leading or internationally excellent' research (Research Excellence Framework, 2021) and 12th in the world (2nd in the UK) in the 2022 QS World Rankings for communication and media studies.

Learn to ask the difficult questions

This dynamic programme, first and foremost, offers critical engagement. It asks difficult questions about politics, economic policy, society and the media. Taking this programme will not just give you an understanding of the forms and impacts of political communications. It will also help you contextualise that knowledge in relation to the structures, institutions and actors that are at the heart of politics and media.

Experience varied teaching

While broadly conceptual in focus, this programme also offers several practical applied options and skills-based components.

You will undertake a research skills module as well as being supervised through a dissertation with a research component.

Some optional modules, such as Campaign Skills, are entirely practice-based and taught by professionals in the field. You can also take advantage of the speaker series running each year with guests from the worlds of politics, journalism, business and campaigning coming to talk.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Jacob Mukherjee.

What you'll study

The Postgraduate Diploma in Political Communications aims to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the interactions between political actors, communication industries and the public in contemporary societies.

Specifically, the programme will equip students with in-depth knowledge of the importance of communication in the political process and of how, in a democratic polity, political institutions and others seek to communicate with the public and vice-versa.

For the main part, this will lead to a concentration on the role of the mass media but other forms of political communication - including the techniques of marketing, polling, face-face interaction and internet campaigning - will also be studied. However, the knowledge and skills acquired in such a study will have far broader applications. Students completing this programme will have at their disposal, a range of tools that will enable them to analyse social and communicative interactions in the public sphere and to make judgements about future modules of action based on this understanding.

The programme will provide students with:

  • Knowledge of the history and development of political communications with a international emphasis;
  • An understanding of the theoretical debates that have informed the study of political communications;
  • An awareness of both dominant and alternative models of interaction between political actors, communicators and the public;
  • An overview and insight into current debates - both academic and professional - within the field

In addition, the programme will also provide students with practical skills and insights that will enable them to:

  • Undertake a range of tasks in relation to the planning and commissioning of political communications work from within various public and private bodies;
  • Commission political communications work from within public and private sector bodies or on behalf of clients;
  • Analyse political communications activity from and academic and journalistic perspectives

Full-time study mode

Compulsory modules

Module title Credits
The Structure of Contemporary Political Communications 30 credits
Critical Perspectives on Political Communications 30 credits

Optional modules

Optional modules equal to the value of 60 credits, chosen from an approved list published annually.

Part-time study mode

Year 1: Compulsory modules

Module title Credits
The Structure of Contemporary Political Communications 30 credits
Critical Perspectives on Political Communications 30 credits

Year 2: Optional modules

Optional modules equal to the value of 60 credits, chosen from an approved list published annually.

Download the programme specification.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Between 2020 and 2022 we needed to make some changes to how programmes were delivered due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information about past programme changes please visit our programme changes information page.

Entry requirements

Applicants will normally have, or expect to gain a first degree of at least upper second class standard (or equivalent).

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2023/2024 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £6490
  • Home - part-time: £3245
  • International - full-time: £12810

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

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