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MPhil PhD

School - School of Arts & Media

Start Date(s): September, January, May


MPhil (Full-time 2 years or part-time 4 years)
PhD (Full-time 4 years or part-time 7 years)
MPhil Split-Site (4 years)
PhD Split-Site (7 years)

In Brief:

  • Part-time study option
  • Based at MediaCityUK
  • International students can apply

Subject Overview

Postgraduate Research degrees in Media at the University of Salford are distinctive, industry-calibrated, embrace cutting edge theory and new paradigms of digital media, and are run from our world-class MediaCityUK campus. Research in media stretches across areas of traditional film and television studies, particularly with respect to questions of aesthetics and ideology, to new and social media, particularly in terms of field research, to journalism, especially in terms of continuums of pre-modern local journalism and hyperlocal coverage today.

Salford leads the field in terms of “practice as research” MPhils and PhDs. We are happy to accept proposals where up to 80% of work to be submitted can be a portfolio - that is, a portfolio of agreed practical outcomes along with a file of writing reflecting on that work. Currently we support postgraduates in this area engaged in making documentaries, animations and fiction films and developing computer games in respect to ideas of performance. In these instances, we are keen to integrate into the scope of research responses garnered from film festivals and industry contacts.

Salford achieves outstanding rates of timely completion at postgraduate level in the area of media, and maintains a monitoring process that allows the postgraduate to reflect on his or her own progress as well as engage in verbal presentations of their work.

Media postgraduates predominantly fall within the research grouping of The Communication, Cultural & Media Studies (CCM).

Watch our video

International Student Harvey talks about his PhD in Public Relations & Crisis Management.

Entry Requirements

We require a good first degree and an MA, or equivalent in terms of industry experience.

For International Students we require a score of 6 or higher for IELTS or equivalent qualifications OR a previous degree from a UK university (undergraduate or MA / MSc, etc).

We have four annual start dates: 1 January, 1 April, 1 July, 1 October.

Applicant Profile

We are happy to welcome students from any humanities background, or from sociology, new media and Internet-related backgrounds. You will be forward-looking, keen to contribute to our research culture (although there is no requirement to be based in the area, and Split-Site students need only be in the UK for a fraction of their time), and committed to working with your supervisory team to achieve research excellence. As with all MPhils/ PHDs, the majority of work will be self-directed, but we maintain a minimum of at least 10 annual formal supervision sessions per full-time student.

We are happy to engage in informal discussions with potential applicants, and reserve the right to interview (in person or via Skype) but we do not always need an interview before a place is offered.

International Students - Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You may need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website at with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. If you cannot find it please contact International Conversion team at If you have any queries relating directly to ATAS please contact the ATAS team on

You can apply for your ATAS Certificate via this link:

Current Student Research

Research Topics

Ufuk Onen

Subject: ‘Black, Not Gray! Ankara Rocks’

Ufuk Onen's research project, titled "Black, Not Gray! Ankara Rocks!", focuses on the determinants of the rock scene in Ankara (Turkey) in the '80s and the '90s, and their reflections on today's rock music in Turkey. Ufuk is a composer, audio recording engineer and a filmmaker. He produced and recorded over 50 albums, EPs and singles in Turkey, his native country, worked as a composer, engineer and sound designer in more than 200 Turkish, European and North American projects, including films screened in international films festivals, and recorded and toured with Hazy Hill (1988-2000). Ufuk has written "Audio Recording and Music Technologies" (English title), the first reference book on the subject in the Turkish language. Currently, he teaches sound design, visual communication and video production courses at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. HE is a member of AES, IAsig and IASPM.

GTA Student Profiles

Dan Ward

Subject: ‘Hegemonic Masculinity and Violence in the Contemporary US Crime Drama’

Since beginning my PhD studies on the GTA programme in 2008, I have presented papers at international conferences in film and media, and had work published in edited collections in Germany and the United States. The research student programme at Salford allowed me to continue to develop my teaching skills while providing me with the resources and supportive environment necessary to allow me to advance my doctoral research and expand my professional experience. After completing my time at Salford, I have gone on to lecture in a range of degree programmes at the University of Sunderland, with my postgraduate research playing a key role in informing my teaching.

Deborah Gabriel

Subject: ‘African Caribbean bloggers in the UK’

Deborah Gabriel is a multi-skilled academic with expertise in journalism, teaching, research, public engagement, community media, PR and public speaking. Before joining the University of Salford she worked as a sessional journalism lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London and as a freelance research assistant at University of the Arts London. Her PhD thesis, on African Caribbean bloggers in the UK is a critical study positioned with the field of alternative media and broader disciplines of media and cultural studies. She is also investigating the use of blogs as a strategy to address issues of representation within the mainstream media. Deborah has used a mixed research methods approach that includes a questionnaire, in-depth interviews, discourse analysis, virtual ethnography and autobiographical ethnography. She delivered a presentation on the preliminary findings of her research project at the Crossroads in Cultural Studies Conference at Sorbonne University in Paris in July 2012 and also gave a presentation on her use of virtual ethnography and autobiographical ethnography at the Research Methods in Media Discourse Conference at De Monfort University in Leicester in November. As a public engagement ambassador for the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, she is keen to bring her research to a wider audience and has created a website on the study and is planning an exhibition on the project for 2013.

Deborah features on the Research Council’s website as a profiled student.

Training and Skills

Salford boasts a strong and diverse media research culture. Fortnightly postgraduate seminars occur together with fortnightly external guest speakers, making for a Graduate Programme that is both international in scope and highly regarded in its field. Audiences are predominantly from the Salford postgraduate community, but we are also happy to welcome postgraduates and research staff from other universities and, through this, have attained an outward looking, as well as highly social, research culture. A postgraduate summer school and two postgraduate conferences (one formal, and one postgraduate-convened and run) occur every year. Our postgraduates are also invited to present their work and research findings to colleagues, and integrated into the running of international conferences (both in terms of organisation as well as panel chairing). Each postgraduate receives an annual grant, made available for conference attendance as well as costs incurred by research. A key skills programme also runs annually, covering everything from academic writing styles to referencing.

The research culture, and wider events, are recorded and announced via an unofficial blog, to be found at:

Assessment Links

As a postgraduate research student at the University of Salford, you are required to meet a number of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These ‘progression points’ are an important aid for both you and your supervisory team and it is essential that you complete them on time.

Learning Agreement:  this is completed by you and your supervisor collaboratively in the first 3 months of your research programme. It encourages both of you to develop a thorough and consistent understanding of your individual and shared roles and responsibilities in your research partnership.

Annual Progress Report:  this report is completed by your supervisor at the end of each year of study, and reports on your achievements in the past year, the likelihood that you will submit on time, confirmation of the Learning Agreement and relevant training undertaken.

Self Evaluation Report: this is completed by you at the end of each year of study. It asks you to comment on your academic progress, supervisory arrangements, research environment, research training, and relevant training undertaken.

Interim Assessment: this is an assessment of your progress by a panel. It takes place towards the end of your first year, and is designed to ensure you have reached a threshold of academic performance, by assessing your general progress. The assessment comprises a written report, presentation and oral examination by a Panel. You must successfully complete it in order to register for your second year.

Internal Evaluation: this will take place towards the end of the second year and successful completion is required in order to continue onto your third year of study. You will be expected to show strong progress in your PhD study reflected in the submission of a substantial piece of work.

Research Profile

Research Excellence

The Communication, Culture and Media Studies(CCM) Research Centre has over 20 members of academic staff, mostly based at MediaCityUK, working across media and cultural studies including: film and television, digital media and cultures, journalism, media practice, theory, policy, cultural studies, theory.

CCM is one of the largest media research groupings in the UK, and ranked 13th in RAE2008 power ranking.

We have operate a collaborative approach, and draws a membership from across a range of disciplines, and frequently work on research projects and co-supervise PhD students with colleagues from other areas, such as music, health, and sociology.

The research centre supervises over 40 PhD students, from the UK and internationally.

We regularly host major national and international conferences, including MeCCSA 2011, IASPM (UK&I) 2012, AoIR 13 (2012), Rethinking Jazz Cultures (2013) which involve our PhD students in both organisation and presenting their research.

Research has been funded by major grant providers in the UK and internationally, including AHRC, ESRC, Arts Council, NESTA, TSB, HERA, EUPF6, EUFP7.

For further information on the Centre for Communication, Culture and Media Studies.

Staff Profiles

Dr Cristina Archetti - Senior Lecturer in Politics and Media, is interested in supervising in multidisciplinary areas including: 1. Political Communication—the relationship between political leaders and journalists; the visual aspects of political campaigning; spin and media management; the impact of new communication technologies on diplomatic practice. 2. Journalism—international news; journalistic practices in different countries and urban ecologies; foreign correspondence in the 21st century. 3. Security—the role of the media in conflict, particularly in the phenomenon of international terrorism and extremism. Her books include Explaining News (2010), Introduction to Terrorism and the Media (2013) and Constructing Britain’s Story (2014). 

Dr Cristina Archetti's research profile

Prof Peter Buse - Professor of Visual Culture, is especially interested in PhD proposals around questions of culture and technology, particularly as they relate to his two main research areas: modern British drama and the history and theory of photography. He is also interested in film, and in cultural theory. He is reviews editor for the journal New Formations, and his research has been funded by British Academy, Leverhulme Trust, AHRC. Among his collaborative books are Benjamin’s Arcades (2006) and The Cinema of Alex de la Iglesia (2007).

Prof Peter Buse's research profile

Dr Kirsty Fairclough - Lecturer in Media and Performance, is interested in supervising research degrees around the broad areas offeminism, post-feminism and popular culture, celebrity culture,issues of stardom and fame, popular television,particularly reality and lifestyle television, and post-classical Hollywood cinema.Currently supervised research degrees include representations of anorexia in the media.

Dr Kirsty Fairclough's research profile

Dr Michael Goddard – Senior Lecturer in Media Studies, is interested in receiving ideas around European cinema, focusing on the cinema of Eastern Europe and France, the aesthetic and political theories of Gilles Deleuze, Italian radical political thought and media theory, and film, media and cultural theory more generally. He is an editor of the journal Studies in East European Cinema, author of Gombrowicz, Polish Modernism and the Subversion of Form (2010), as well co-editor of books including Reverberations: The Philosophy, Aesthetics and Politics of Noise (2012)and Beyond the Border: Polish Cinema in a Transnational Context (2013).

Dr Michael Goddard's research profile

Dr Benjamin Halligan – Director of Postgraduate Research Studies for the College of Arts and Social Sciences, and available to supervise research students in the following areas: 20th century British theatre, including post-dramatic theatre; post-war popular musics; European and Soviet cinema, particularly British horror film; North American cinema, particularly of the counterculture and New Hollywood; comedy and theatre, film and television; critical theory, particularly Post-Autonomist and globalisation theory; television drama; theology and artistic discourse; broadcast news and reportage, psychoanalysis and artistic discourse. He currently supervises students researching topics such as masculinities and television, music and the city, semiotics and advertising, documentary-making (including “practice as research”), and Northern comedy. He has edited several volumes on film and popular music, and is the author of Michael Reeves (2003). 

Dr Benjamin Halligan's research profile

Dr William Hope - Lecturer in Italian Language and Cinema, is available for supervising projects on film in general and Italian film in particular, as well as Marxism and cinema. He has been co-investigator on an AHRC Research Network on A New Italian Political Cinema. His books include Italian Film Directors in the New Millennium (2010).

Dr William Hope's research profile

Prof Erik Knudsen - Professor of Film Practice, is interested in supervising research projects in media practice, specifically film-making (fiction, documentary), the creative processes of film production, critical and theoretical understandings of media practice, with reference to screen cultures. He is a film-maker, and co-author of Creative Documentary: Theory and Practice (2011). He has introduced screenings of his recent work at film festivals in Bilbao (2009) and Anchorage (2010). He is a Visiting Professor at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televicion, Cuba. Erik is interested in an eclectic range of research students who are interested in carrying out practice-led film and media research. In particular, though not exclusively, research engaging with narrative documentary and fiction moving image practice and dissemination. Erik is interested in students who wish to explore alternative modes of cinematic storytelling and narratives, changing practices resulting from developments in production and dissemination technologies and in the epistemology of fact and fiction within the narrative moving image. He is also interested in supervising work around the culture of independent filmmaking, film distribution and film policy.  

Prof Erik Knudsen's research profile

Professor Paul Sermon

Paul works as a practicing media artist and has experience of supervising research degrees across wide range of media arts subject areas ranging from interactive media, video art and telepresence research to telematics, telecommunication arts and networked culture. Paul has produced a number of interactive media artworks since the early nineties and has a particular interest in supervising practice based research in this area. You can find out more about Paul Sermon's practice based research projects on his artists website

Professor Paul Sermon's research profile

Dr Chris Lee - Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, is interested in supervising research students across popular music, comedy, film, popular culture, Northern cultures.

Prof Ben Light - Professor of Digital Media, is interested in supervising students in the broad area of digital culture although he has specific interests in the appropriation of the Internet, digital gaming, gender and sexuality. His research has been funded by bodies including NHS, AHRC, TSB. His books include the co-edited Online Gaming In Context (2011) and Social Networking Practices and Everyday Lives (2013), and he is an editor of Journal of Information Technology.

Prof Ben Light's research profile

Dr Yuwei Lin - Lecturer in Future Media, is interested in supervising PhDs in these areas: science and technology studies, Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS), virtual communications and virtual communities, digital culture (especially in relation to hacker culture and user-participatory culture), gender and ICTs, cultural and socio-technical dynamics in community-based innovation systems, innovative research methods and new kinds of data.

Dr Yuwei Lin's research profile

Prof George McKay - Professor of Cultural Studies, is interested in supervising across media studies, cultural studies, popular music (jazz, punk), disability, protest and social movements, subculture and postsubculture, festival, gardening, cultural politics, alternative cultures and lifestyles, transatlantic cultures and 'Americanisation'. Prof McKay currently supervises 12 PhD students. Recent PhD completions include Northern Soul music and identity; Electronic dance music culture; Anti-psychiatry in British rock music; Digital music industries; hip-hop and racial politics. He has held many research grants, produced more than 10 books, and was until 2010 founding co-editor of the journal Social Movement Studies. He is a currently an AHRC Leadership Fellow for the Connected Communities Programme.

Prof George McKay's research profile

Dr Phoebe Moore-Carter - Lecturer in International Relations, is interested in supervising PhDs in international political economy, the sociology of work, East Asian development, radical media, and digital media. She is the author of The International Political Economy of Work and Employability (2010) and Globalisation and Labour Struggle in Asia (2007), and co-edited Globalization and the ‘New’ Semi-Peripheries (2009).

Dr Phoebe Moore-Carter's research profile

Dr Carole O'Reilly - Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies, is happy to provide supervision in the following areas: journalism history; sociology of journalism; media history; media sociology; feminism and the media; history of leisure and recreation in the city; cultural history; urban history and cities and the media. Currently supervised projects include a study of blogging and electronic media in Saudi Arabia. Her book The Greening of the City: Urban Parks and Public Culture 1840-1940 is due for publication by Routledge in 2015.

Dr Carole O'Reilly's research profile

Prof Gareth Palmer - Professor of Media, is interested in supervising in television, and specifically lifestyle television and documentary, as well as lifestyle in all media and advertising, particularly new approaches. He is editor of Journal of Media Practice and Screenworks. His books are Discipline and Liberty (2003), and (ed.) Exposing Lifestyle Television (2008). 

Prof Gareth Palmer's research profile

Prof Seamus Simpson - Professor of Media Policy, Seamus is interested in supervising research degrees in all areas of Media Policy, especially: EU and global policies for mass communication media; EU and global telecommunications policy and regulation; Internet governance at national, European and global levels; national, European and global institutional contexts for media policy and regulation; media convergence and next generation network policies. He has supervised/is currently supervising research degrees in areas as varied as information processing in the EU; young people, the Internet and identity; UK and Finnish broadcasting policy; the Internet and tourism; ethnic minority radio in the UK; and open data initiatives and movements’. His co-authored books include The New Electronic Marketplace (2007), Globalization, Convergence and European Telecommunications Regulation (2005), and the forthcoming EU in Global Electronic Communications (Routledge). 

Prof Seamus Simpson's research profile

Dr Andy Willis - Reader in Film Studies, is interested in supervisng in the following areas: European popular cinema—especially Spanish horror film and television; Hong Kong cinema since 1997; transglobal film genres—in particular martial arts cinema; British television drama and politics. He has been co-investigator on an AHRC Research Network on Chinese film, and has edited numerous volumes on film studies. He has curated several film seasons at the Cornerhouse arthouse cinema, Manchester, including Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (Spanish horror, 2007) and Visible Secrets (Hong Kong women directors, 2009). He is series editor for the MUP series Spanish and Latin American Filmmakers.

Dr Andy Willis' research profile


Career Prospects

Career prospects include traditional academic and humanities-related positions (curatorial, film programming and festivals) as well as within media and online industries.

Alumni Profile

Jack Harbord (Salford, 2012). The Minstrelising Discourse of 21st Century Rap Music (MPhil target award). Jack has a teaching post in creative musicianship at Leeds College of Music.

Shara Rambarran (Salford, 2011). Popular Music, Digital Technology and IPR. Shara is currently Visiting Fellow, teaching popular music, culture and theory, at Queen’s University Canada’s UK campus, the Bader International Study Centre, Sussex. She is Editor of Journal of the Art of Record Production.

Nicola Smith (Salford, 2010). Performing Fandom on the British Northern Soul Scene: Competition, Identity and the Post-subcultural Self. Nicola is currently a Lecturer in Sociology and Popular Culture at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Nicola Spelman (Salford, 2009). All the Madmen: Anti-Psychiatry, Popular Music and the Myths of Madness. Nicola is a Lecturer in Popular Music at the University of Salford. A book drawing on her doctoral thesis, Popular Music and the Myths of Madness, has recently been published by Ashgate.

Beate Peter (Salford, 2009). Jung on the Dancefloor: The Phenomenology of Clubbing. Beate is now a Lecturer in the Institute for Performance Research at Manchester Metropolitan University.


The School of Arts & Media is uniquely placed to develop research-focused and research-led study opportunities within the context and environment of MediaCityUK, which offers significant scope for postgraduate growth at the interface of industry, media, flexible learning, and high quality research. MediaCityUK also provides the School of Arts & Media with a context, profile, and ‘footprint’ to generate significant collaborations with major academic and industrial research partners.

Our facilities in MediaCityUK include:

Digital Performance Lab

This experimental performance space combines the technology of a TV Studio, the excitement of live theatre and visual immersive cinema – all in a double height space.
Its technical infrastructure is that of a black box theatre, hard-wired over a grid at floor and ceiling levels, controlled from a fully equipped flexible control room with verbal connection via a digital intercom system.

  • One of the largest HD Screens in Europe
  • A capacity of 150-theatre style
  • The extensive fibre optic and digital network infrastructure within the DPL will allow for multiple high speed HD video and audio connections throughout the space with access to multicast enabled video conferencing technology

It can be used for computer gaming, animation, dance and accommodate specialist teaching, live performances and creative technology installations. It is particularly suited to research-led practice in creative media and new forms of digitally enhanced performance.

Adjacent is the ‘Green’ Room with full changing and shower facilities – all of which adds to a true working live environment and fully contained studio facility.

The Egg

The Egg consists of the open public place a dedicated theatre and provides the ability to engage with the interactive media technologies within the area.

  • Christie Micro-tile wall: Set up as a wall of 120 separate digital screens able display extremely high resolution video as 1 large image or 120 separate images across the screen. Unique to the system is the ability to configure the screen to create various different shapes and compositions. The wall can be fully immersive by utilising the three Microsoft Kinect sensors attached to the wall, enabling interactive video and software through movement. 
  • Ten interactive touch tables featuring the latest touch screen technology.