University of Erfurt


Curriculum Content and Study Organisation

The MA Global Communication: Politics and Society" consists of one mandatory introductory module in the first semester that covers both theories and methods of global comparative media and communication research. In the second and third semesters, students choose four optional compulsory modules in the fields of a) politics, b) society and c) media and two optional modules in empirical methods. An accompanying multi-semester module introduces communication consultancy, including an internship at home or abroad. The fourth semester will be devoted to the Master’s thesis which will be presented in a colloquium.  

Basics: Introduction to Global Media and Communication Research

In the first semester you will start with the mandatory introductory module EGK – Introduction to Global Media and Communication Research, in which all students of the master program learn the theoretical and methodological basics of global comparative communication research. The module consists of two seminars and will be finalized with a comprehensive module examination, which consists of written and oral requirements. Successful passing of the exam is a precondition for participation in the subsequent optional compulsory modules.

First Seminar: Introduction to Theories of Global Media and Communication Research 

  • international comparison of forms of communication of organized social systems (i.e. political system, business, social movements, network society; industrial and developing societies, law/regulation, social implications of media technology); 
  • international comparison of communication cultures in human „lifeworlds“ (i.e. interpersonal, intercultural or rather interpersonal mediated/non-mediated group and individual communication, traditional and modern communication);
  • international comparison of intermediated spheres of media and public spheres (i.e. media typologies, global/transnational/multi-ethnic public spheres, journalism ethics, new digital public spheres).

Second Seminar: Introduction to Methodologies of Global Media and Communication Research

  • basics of international comparative social empirical research (i.e. "most-similar"/"most-different" comparisons, synchronous/asynchronous comparisons, modernity as multi-sectoral process, modernization and dependency theories);
  • context and theory sensitive handling of methods of enquiry and evaluation in qualitative and quantitative social empirical research;
  • reflection of research practices of "other-awareness", field research/distant remote research, language competence, area competence, tapping of sources, securing data and non-verbal observational research.

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Specialization: Politics, Society, Media

In the second and third semester areas of application of global comparative communication research will be amplified. Courses will be offered in the fields of politics, society and media. Students have to pass one module in each field plus a fourth module of their own choice in which they want to focus on (double assignment of one module). Each module consists of a seminar and a module examination, which will have to be passed in written form.


Module V KP – Communication and Politics in Global Comparison

  • Political communication will be defined as mediated as well as non-mediated (direct) communication within the political system, in organized and non-organized parts of the public sphere and in private interpersonal communication reflecting media and/or political deliberations. 
  • In all societal subsystems micro, meso and macro level influences must be taken into consideration that are largely identical with socio-political, institutional/organizational or individual and social group contexts.   
  • Fields of research and phenomena will be, for example: public sphere theories, system theories, rational choice/decision-making theories, organization theories and the comparison of developments in the fields of communication policy/censorship, political campaigning, i.e. health campaigning, state propaganda and PR, media democracy, media in transformation processes, political media effects, social implications of new media/social media, political attitude research, Politainment, political culture, political culture in historical perspective or visual communication in political context. 
  • In the module various forms of transborder effects will be assessed on the basis of multi continental, multi cultural, multi regional and multi state comparisons.


Module V KKG - Communication, Culture and Society in Global Comparison

  • Social communication will be defined as mediated as well as non-mediated (direct) communication in organized and non-organized parts of the public sphere and in private interpersonal communication reflecting media and/or social processes.
  • In all societal subsystems micro, meso and macro level influences must be taken into consideration, even though awareness will be shifted from organized to non-organized social systems.   
  • While the main aspect of political communication are political and economic systems, social communication in this module deals with communication processes and communication cultures of social movements, non-organized/digital communities and also small groups and individual life worlds. The connection between culture and society is of prime importance. All these questions will be discussed with regards to global comparisons. 
  • Fields of research and phenomena will be, for example: theories of culture and media, sociological communication theories, Development Communication, communicative aspects of Cultural and Postcolonial Studies (i.e. life world receptions and appropriations), centralized/decentralized public spheres, structural changes of privacy and publicness, interpersonal and interactive communication cultures, traditional/modern communication, roads to social empowerment, media socialization of children and adolescents, the communicative construction of racism, multi culturalism and diversity. 
  • In this module various Forms of transborder effects along the lines of the political communication module will be reflected.


Module V MMM - Media Discourses, Media Use and Media Effects in Global Comparison

  • The module contains aspects of classical media research/media communication in global comparative perspective.
  • While in other modules the social and political implications of mediatization are reflected, media changes themselves are at focus in this module.
  • At the core is the examination of all forms of mediatized communication, from classical mass media to new forms of digital/social media. Issues of the module are: media integration and media change (historical changes in analog and digital media worlds, digitalization), media discourses and media content research, media production, media organization, media effects and usage. On the basis of state of the art empirical research, knowledge about classical mid-range theories (agenda setting, spiral of silence, cultivation, opinion leadership etc.) and structuralist as well as post-structuralist approaches to media (system theory, Symbolic Interaction etc.) will be deepened.
  • Various media genres in the spheres of entertainment, knowledge and information (Edutainment, Politainment etc.) as well as cultural comparative media history, media ethics and media self-control play an important role.
  • Similarities and differences of the modernization of media and media changes in different countries, regions and cultural spheres will be reflected and overriding paradigms like “globalization”, “modernization” and “mediatization” are discussed.

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Also in the second and third semester you engross you knowledge of methods. Since basic knowledge in enquiry and evaluation procedures is taken for granted, this module concentrates on the practical realization of research. You must choose two of the three available methodological modules.

Modul M Qual – Qualitative Methods of Empirical Communication Research 


Modul M Quan – Quantitative Methods of Empirical Communication Research

  • Knoweldge of concrete application of individual procedures will be deepened in seminars.
  • Project and group work will be at the core.
  • The modules each consist of one seminar plus a module exam. 


Module M An – Applied Methods of Global Comparative Communication Research 

  • Depending on the availability the module can be passed as a seminar or as a self study unit; it will be finalized with a module exam.
  • Research designs for global comparative issues will be developed.

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Communication Research and Knowledge Transfer

In the mandatory module KuW – Communication Research and Knowledge Transfer: Academic Consulting for Politics and Society you will learn during the first semester lecture, which is organized as a lecture series and will be finalized with a written test, you learn basics of a profound communication science based consultancy of policy, business, society and the public. Subsequently you will apply your knowledge during an internship in an internationally active institution or enterprise.

Lecture: Communication Research and Knowledge Transfer: Academic Consulting for Politics and Society

  • Introduction of central developments in the blossoming vocational field of communication consultancy in politics and society exemplified through the areas of specialization of the professors, among them policy consulting, health consulting, education consulting, journalism consulting, international cultural consulting
  • Reflection of fields of consulting: internal communication (i.e. business communication, media competence), external communication (i.e. PR, campaigns, public diplomacy) in all societal sub-systems and their institutions and organizations
  • theory and hypothesis based approach

Internship: Academic Consultation for Politics and Society

You receive detailed information on the process oft he internship here.

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Master Thesis

Literaturrecherche online

The last semester of you study will be reserved for the preparation of the master thesis. You elaborate an academic problem in the field of comparative communication research. You will present and discuss your ideas in a colloquium that is conducted by your supervisor.  

Information on Master Thesis

1. Supervision

You can choose your own supervisor. All professors and authorized examiners, who are offering courses in the MA Global Communication: Politics and Society, can supervise your master thesis. We advise you get into timely contact and arrange terms with your desired supervisor.  

2. Registration

You must formally apply for the Master's thesis at the Dean’s office, Philosophical Faculty, with blank form and an up-to-date immatriculation statement. An assignment in the E.L.V.I.S. is not necessary. Contact person at the Dean’s office is currently Mrs. Romy Röpke. Please, remind that for the registration the signatures of all persons involved are needed. After successful registration the title of your master thesis will be officially issued by the examinations board.

Times of Application: 

    • For theses written in summer semesters: 15 March 
    • For theses written in winter semesters: 15 September

3. Scope and Time Frame of the Master Thesis

You have 5 months time for the creation of your thesis. Normally the scope of your work should not exceed 25.000 words.

4. Formal Tips 

Changes and additions of the title and subtitle need to be confirmed by the examinations board. Therefore, please try to avoid changes of the title. Three book bound copies of thesis must be delivered at the Dean’s office. You can write your thesis in German or English.

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