PHD Media and Communications

Study Mode Full-time
Year of Entry 2024/25
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Media and Communications

Investigate an approved research topic during a period of supervised study and make an original contribution to knowledge in Media, Communication or Film Studies.

Everything you need to know...

  • Pound sign

    What is the fee?

    Home: £4,786 per year
    International/EU: £17,205 per year

  • Time

    How long will I study?

    4 Years

  • Location

    Where will I study?

    City Campus

  • Date

    When do I start?

    October 2024
    February 2025
    May 2025

Course summary

  • Undertake doctoral research into a specific topic of your choice relating to Media, Communication or Film Studies, on a programme with outstanding student satisfaction ratings.
  • Develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become an independent and effective researcher.
  • Benefit from specialist media research, production, and screening facilities.
  • Study within the excellent research environment of the Centre for Culture, Media and Society, delivering critical insight and real-world impact.


Develop and implement a programme of research with experienced supervisors specialising in cultural heritage, industries and institutions, film and TV, digital culture and technologies, identities, anti-racism, and applications of VR.

How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive.

79% of our research in Communication, Cultural and Media Studies was assessed as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. Sheffield Hallam is also ranked in the top 12 of UK universities for the research environment supporting these disciplines.

You’ll work with a supervisory team with expertise in your research area who help you to define and plan your research programme, agree associated training requirements, and provide direction while supporting you to develop as an independent researcher.  You’ll join a dynamic community of postgraduate researchers and have opportunities to share your work at SHU and beyond.

You learn through

  • independent study
  • project supervision
  • active research
  • researcher development training events
  • level 7 research methods modules (as necessary)
  • presenting your research at conferences and seminars
  • participation in lively debate and discussion with your peers
  • writing and defending a doctoral thesis


You receive training on professional standards in research practice, including ethics and project management, and how to enhance your personal effectiveness as a researcher.  You’ll explore how to publish your research and establish an academic profile.  You’ll present at the Culture & Creativity Research Institute (CCRI) interdisciplinary conferences on the themes of research METHOD and research IMPACT, which provide a platform for focussed discussion on research process and practice and questions of application, audience, and impact.

Your learning is supported by access to

  • a dedicated Postgraduate Research Tutor for Media, Communication and Film Studies and PGR administration team
  • a library research support team and 24-hour access to library facilities
  • SHU Academic Skills Centre with sessions specifically for doctoral researchers
  • the University English Scheme for international students
  • a programme of support for doctoral student wellbeing

Course leaders and tutors

Dr Kerry McSeveny
Dr Kerry McSeveny
Senior Lecturer, Postgraduate Research Tutor - Media, Communication & Film

Kerry is a Research Fellow in the Communication and Computing Research Centre. Her research uses a range of qualitative approaches and encompasses a wide variety of … Read more

Applied learning

Networking Opportunities
Throughout your course you’ll have opportunities to interact with academics and specialists in your field.  Funds are available for you to present your work in professional academic settings at international and national conferences and we will encourage you to submit papers and seek opportunities to publish and engage different audiences with your research.   All our doctoral students make a vital contribution to the intellectual life of the University from the earliest stages of their research.

The Centre for Media, Culture and Society hosts a stimulating seminar series featuring established academics and practitioners in the field and national conferences such as Fear 2000.

CCRI is a partner in the AHRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Heritage.

SHU doctoral students are also supported to enter the national ‘3-minute thesis’ competition.

Live projects
Doctoral projects in this area explore and offer real world critical insights on cultural, social and media practices and institutions and contemporary issues.   Some are developed in collaboration with external partners e.g., Sheffield’s Doc Fest, the Stanley Kubrick archive, the Sheffield Hospitals Trust, the National Trust.

Future careers

A PhD is an essential qualification for academic careers in

  • research
  • lecturing in further or higher education


You develop a range of transferable skills which are applicable to roles in areas such as

  • cultural and creative industries
  • media
  • heritage sector
  • publishing
  • third sector
  • local government
  • education

Where will I study?

You study at City Campus through a structured mix of lectures, seminars and practical sessions as well as access to digital and online resources to support your learning.

City Campus

City Campus is located in the heart of Sheffield, within minutes of the train and bus stations.

City Campus map | City Campus tour 

City Campus map

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Adsetts library

Adsetts Library is located on our City Campus. It's open 24 hours a day, every day.

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Learn more about your department

Media, Arts and Communications Facilities Tour

Take a look around the media, arts and communication facilities at Sheffield Hallam University with lecturer Saskia Wilson.

Department page

Equipment and facilities

The community of doctoral researchers in the Culture and Creativity Research Institute has access to a dedicated office space to work in, which we also use to host our community writing sessions.

The university has a range of specialist research, media and film facilities including production equipment, recording studios, edit suites, VR studio and screening facilities at 'The Void' film lecture theatre, which boasts cinema-standard 4K digital projection and two 40-year-old Westrex 7000 35mm projectors. Two libraries provide 24-hour access, and a dedicated library research support team offer expert advice and training on all aspects of information and publishing.

We’ve invested over £100m in new facilities across our campuses to help you study how and when you want. This means 24-hour libraries and study spaces designed by our students.

Entry requirements

All students

Applicants will need to provide evidence of:

  • A relevant undergraduate degree qualification (2.1 or above)
  • A relevant masters level qualification (Merit or above) with strong performance (60%+) in research related modules and dissertation. Note that studentship applicants must have all degree results in hand before applying

To apply, candidates must submit a fully complete online application including:

  • A 1,500-word research proposal
  • Degree certificates
  • Module transcripts
  • Details of two referees who can comment on your academic ability and readiness for PhD study
  • Sponsorship letter (if applicable)

All suitable candidates are invited to an interview and asked to give a short presentation about their proposed research. You will be asked questions about the project proposal and your interest in PhD level study. You are encouraged to find out more about our areas of research interest and expertise before applying. Potential supervisors can be identified through the research centre website linked above or by contacting the Postgraduate Research Tutor for advice.

International Students (additional information)

If you are an International student (including non-UK European) see International Entry Requirements for guidance on entry requirements for your country.

All international applicants are required to show evidence (current within the last two years) of English language ability before embarking on a PhD. For this course, it must be at a minimum level of IELTS 7.0 with 7.0 in all skill components (or equivalent). For more information about the different English language qualifications we accept see English Language Qualifications. We also accept successful completion (within the last two years) of a UK degree course taught in English.

If evidence of English Language ability is not supplied at application, an offer of PhD study would be conditional on provision of such evidence.

Students who are based overseas may be able to study for a PhD by Distance Learning, subject to establishing a satisfactory distance learning agreement, as part of the application process.

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK postgraduate research students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £4,786 per year.

If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU postgraduate research students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £17,205 per year. There will be a final writing up fee of £500.

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Doctoral student loans

Up to £25,700 available to help you while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.

Doctoral student loans

Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Media, PR and journalism courses (PDF, 333KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.


How do I apply?

You apply for this course via our online application form.

You can also use the application form above to apply for future years of entry.

Not ready to apply just yet?

Why not come to our next open day? Open days are the perfect place to talk to staff and students, visit our campuses and get all the information you need. Alternatively, feel free to ask us a question.

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Why choose us?

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We are Gold rated in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) for the outstanding quality of our teaching and student outcomes

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We guarantee to find you an affordable place to live that’s close to campus and comes with all bills included

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95% of our UK graduates are in work or further study 15 months after graduating (2020/21 Graduate Outcomes Survey)

Where next?

Find out more about Sheffield Hallam's postgraduate opportunities and community.

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Information for international students including entry requirements by country and funding.

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