Curriculum and Study Organization

Summary

​​​​​​​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.  

Modules

Model Plan of Study

Basics: Introductory Module

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.

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 of the internship here.

Specialization: "Politics", "Society", and "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 [VKKG] - Communication, Culture and Society in Global Comparison

photo: Kai Hafez
  • 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 [VMMM] - Media Discourses, Media Use and Media Effects in Global Comparison

Photo: Anne Grüne
  • 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.

Methods

Student working on computer
photo: Sabrina Schmidt

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 

and/or

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. 

and/or 

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.

Master's Thesis

General Information

The last semester of you study will be reserved for the preparation of the master thesis. You will elaborate on an academic problem in the field of global comparative communication research.

In a colloquium, you will once present your work and discuss it with the supervisors and your fellow students.

Supervision

You can choose a supervisor by yourself. All professors and authorized examiners who are offering courses in the MA Global Communication: Politics and Society can supervise your master thesis.

We recommend you to contact us in good time if you have an idea for your work. You will then agree on a topic of your choice with your supervisor.

Registration

You will have to formally apply for your master's thesis in the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Philosophy using the official form in the German version (English fill-in assistance available) and an up-to-date immatriculation statement. Remember that signing up requires signatures from everyone involved. The contact person in the dean's office is Ms. Romy Klaer.

After successful registration, you have 5 months for writing your thesis. According to the examination and study regulations, the scope of your work should not exceed 25,000 words. Changes and additions to the title and subtitle require the approval and application by the examination board. Avoid changing the title later!

You can write your work in German or English. In substantiated cases, we also accept group work (max. 2 people).

Registration deadlines:

You can register your work continuously on the 15th of each month. Regular registration deadlines for papers written in the summer semester are March 15th of the year. For theses written in the winter semester, the registration deadline is September 15th of the year.

Submission:

You hand in the work (three book-bound copies) in the dean's office. Do not forget the statutory declaration in your work.

Furter general information and templatesregarding the form, submission and evaluation of the master's thesis can be found on the website of the Dean's Office (an English translation is expected soon).

Fast Track to PhD

What is the Fast Track Doctoral Program?

Particularly qualified students can apply for admission to a “Fast Track” doctoral program as part of their master’s degree. Fast Track means that talented Master's students have the opportunity to signal their interest in pursuing a doctorate early on and to align their studies towards this goal. Important partial achievements such as the master thesis are designed in such a way that they enable a smooth transition to the doctoral phase, which significantly shortens the later doctoral period.

How does the Fast Track program work?

In their fourth semester, the participants admitted to the "Fast Track" program complete a master's thesis in accordance with § 21 Para. 1 M-RPO in the range of approx. 25,000 words. By doing so, on the one hand, candidates show that they can work independently on the topic given according to scientific methods and to present the results appropriately within the allotted time. On the other hand, they also justify acceptance as a doctoral student with a topic based on the master's thesis.

Regarding the requirements for the master thesis, the procedure and the responsibilities, especially the supervision, the rules of §§ 21 and 22 M-RPO apply. The doctoral committee of the Faculty of Philosophy decides whether the master's thesis completed as part of the “Fast Track” program can also be accepted as initial part of the doctorate.

What is the added value of the Fast Track program on the way to a doctorate?

  • Shortening the doctoral phase by at least one semester (due to the preparatory work in the master phase)
  • Simplified admission to the doctoral college (preparation of an exposé is not required) and acceptance as a doctoral student in the Faculty of Arts after completion of the master's degree
  • Early involvement in the ComDigMed doctoral program - the master's thesis can be presented and discussed
  • Follow-up support after the master's thesis and support in the use of the knowledge gained

When should the application for admission be submitted?

The application for admission to the Fast Track program must be submitted to the responsible master program officer by July 15 or January 30 of the respective year (usually in the third semester).

The following must be attached to the application:

  • a complete list of all courses taken in the first two semesters as well as the assignments of the third semester
  • a max. three-page letter of motivation, which explains the reasons for the "Fast Track" application and its embedding in the personal study and life planning
  • a max. five-page sketch of a possible research topic for the master's thesis. The suitability of the topic has to be declared by a university lecturer in written form.

Who decides on the application?

The seminar council first decides on admission. If the vote is admissible, the application will be approved by the Master's Examination Committee at least four weeks before the start of the lecture period.