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HSE University Launches New Master’s Programme in Critical Media Studies

Programme Academic Supervisor and HSE Assistant Professor Panos Kompatsiaris

Programme Academic Supervisor and HSE Assistant Professor Panos Kompatsiaris
© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

HSE University’s new Master’s Programme ‘Critical Media Studies’, offered by the Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design, is now accepting applications for fall 2020. Programme Academic Supervisor and HSE Assistant Professor Panos Kompatsiaris explains what kinds of courses and research opportunities await the programme’s first cohort, and what makes the programme unique.

Why Critical Media Studies?

The Master’s Programme in ‘Critical Media Studies’ is an English-taught programme designed for students who wish to gain a critically informed understanding of contemporary media practices, methodologies, institutions, as well as their wider economies. Courses will focus on the ways in which media institutions are organized, how they produce content, and how this content shapes our views and our lives.

‘This programme is very much focused on the contemporary media moment,’ says Panos Kompatsiaris, Academic Supervisor of the programme.

It will certainly engage with broader historical perspectives and traditions, but the primary focus will be on contemporary institutions and media practices

In the programme, students will explore a wide range of media forms, from television and radio broadcasting to online social media, while implementing a wide range of theoretical frameworks, from political economy to cultural studies and more. ‘Students will gain expertise in contemporary media production and the industry itself, while also mastering the theoretical tools for analysing media representations of different social groups (class, race, gender, etc.) in Russia, the post-Soviet space, as well as the wider global context,’ says Professor Kompatsiaris.

Independent Research and Participatory Learning

In addition to engaging with critical media discourse from a variety of angles, students will develop innovative research projects of their own design under the guidance of leading international experts in the field. ‘Our programme offers students a holistic learning approach,’ says Professor Kompatsiaris.

'We encourage our students to design their own projects and initiatives, to be involved in the learning process, and to develop their own critically informed way of thinking in order to apply this knowledge to concrete situations. There is always a relationship between theory and practice, and that is precisely what we will be focusing on.'

Strategic Location and Unique Opportunities

Over the course of this two-year programme, students will have the opportunity to network with professionals from all over the world, take seminars with invited speakers from leading international universities, and study abroad at one of HSE’s many partner universities.

Professor Kompatsiaris also notes that HSE’s Master’s Programme ‘Critical Media Studies’ is the only programme of its kind in Russia that is taught solely in English. ‘The programme’s location in Moscow gives students the unique opportunity to engage critically with media discourse in a city that is, on the one hand, the cultural centre of the post-Soviet space and, on the other hand, a diverse and rapidly changing global capital,’ he says. ‘Students gain a deep understanding of the media landscape from both a global perspective and a Russian perspective.’

Comprehensive Curriculum

The programme curriculum includes 3 required core courses and about 20 elective courses. The three core courses provide students a comprehensive overview of the critical media studies landscape. They include ‘The Political Economy of Media’, which explores political economic institutions and the ways in which industries are organized, how policies are brought forward, and how the media sector works; ‘Critical Discourse Analysis’, which focuses on the phenomena of representation, meaning, and culture in the context of media; and ‘Media Practices’, which considers not only the role of audiences and the ways in which audiences make sense of specific media content, but also the ways in which people use media and the role media plays in our everyday lives—from personal self-presentation on social media to corporate brand building.

In addition to its core curriculum, Professor Kompatsiaris adds, the programme will offer 3-4 short-term seminars a year (each lasting a couple weeks or a couple of months) designed and taught by guest lecturers from leading universities abroad.

Programme Academic Supervisor and HSE Assistant Professor Panos Kompatsiaris
Photo by Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

International Faculty

Alongside Professor Panos Kompatsiaris, the programme’s core faculty members include Professor Iliya Kiriya, Head of the School of Media; Assistant Professor Yiannis Mylonas; and Assistant Professor Olga Baysha. The core faculty members will be involved in teaching and designing courses on the economies, discourses, and practices of media, in addition to coordinating with invited lecturers.

Career Prospects

Programme graduates will be well suited for careers in media or cultural institutions, academia, and the government sector. ‘The understanding our students will gain of how media and media representations work will help them take positions related to content making, consulting, and directing in media and cultural organizations—from television or newspapers to museums,’ says Panos Kompatsiaris.

Due to the programme’s emphasis on research, graduates will be strong candidates for competitive PhD programmes, both in Russia and abroad

Requirements

The ‘Critical Media Studies’ Programme invites applications from students who hold a bachelor’s degree in media and communication studies, journalism, design, cultural studies, critical theory, anthropology, art theory and other adjacent disciplines from an internationally accredited university.

Applicants must submit a portfolio with a proposed research plan, relevant publications, and a CV. Non-native English speakers must provide certification of their English language proficiency (e.g., IELTS certificate, etc.).

Admissions to HSE’s Master’s programmes are now open. International students can apply online. To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre at: inter@hse.ru,  or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.