MA Digital Media, Culture and Society / Course details

Please note that this course is subject to approval.

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

The MA in Digital Media, Culture, and Society offers advanced interdisciplinary study in the critique and use of digital media and technology with a particular focus on their cultural and societal implications.

The emergence of digital artifacts is a defining challenge of the twenty-first century, with transformative effects on our cultural production, our social bonds, our economies, and our political systems. Digital media make possible new modes of intellectual pursuit, artistic expression, and civic engagement which students will study through critical analysis and active engagement. At the same time, technology enables novel forms of surveillance and inequality: from the erosion of privacy to algorithmic bias, this course empowers students to recognize digitally mediated threats to civil society. Students will also learn how digital technology transforms the way in which we interrogate and curate the cultural record: students will have the opportunity to learn a range of digital skills, such as data analytics and visualisation.

The course brings together a diverse student body from different backgrounds in a research-led, seminar-based, interactive curriculum that prepares them for leadership roles as critical thinkers and practitioners in the technology sector and the cultural and creative industries.

Throughout the course you will learn to critically engage with the cultural and societal impacts of digital media and technology; evaluate digitally-mediated forms of intellectual pursuit, artistic expression and civic engagement; and conduct independent research on and with digital technology and media.

Special features

State-of-the art Facilities

Our teaching takes place in the Digital Humanities Lab, a dedicated, state-of-the art teaching and research space with large screens, flexible seating, and high-performance laptops. Our research-led teaching combines theoretically informed study and critique of digital media and technology with training in creative digital skills that are transferable in a wide range of roles, such as data analysis and visualisation.

Work Placement

Students may benefit from at least 20 days industry experience on a relevant project or programme, subject to availability, hosted on site and remotely by a relevant business or organisation, supported by the host supervisor and an academic supervisor. There is potential for students to develop their own industry placement, subject to the approval of the course unit convenor and programme director. Find out more on the work placements page .

Centre for Digital Humanities

You will be taught by an interdisciplinary team based at the Centre for Digital Humanities , which brings together staff, students, and external partners promoting cutting-edge research at the intersection of the humanities and technology. MA students will be encouraged to contribute to the Centre's research community by attending invited talks and methods training.

Culture and Technology in Manchester

Manchester is increasingly becoming one of the UK's most important cultural and technological hotspots. Now positioned as the engine room for the Northern Powerhouse, the city is benefiting from massive investment in its technological and cultural infrastructure such as MediaCityUK, the award-winning Whitworth, the Sharp Project and HOME.

Additional course information

The course is part of the Centre for Digital Humanities which brings together staff, students, and external partners working at the intersection of the humanities and technology. Its research has particular strengths in the spatial humanities, digital media studies, science and technology studies, digital visual culture, distant reading, data visualization, and heritage digitization.

As part of a wider university expansion in digital research and data science, Digital Humanities is leading a number of cutting-edge projects. Digital Humanities maintains close collaborations with key partners across the university, including the School of Computer Science, The John Rylands Library, the University of Manchester Library, Research IT, and the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. Together with its PhD students, Digital Humanities coordinates a vibrant research community, with seminar series, workshops, and project development and methods training.

The Centre's state-of-the art Digital Humanities Lab hosts a range of interdisciplinary courses. The School launched an undergraduate Minor in Digital Humanities in September 2019 and made major investments to prepare the launch of the MA and BA programmes in Digital Media, Culture, and Society. A combined focus on technical skills and criticism enables our students to bridge the gap between creative and technical work and places them in a uniquely powerful position in the digital economy.

Teaching and learning

Students on this course will be taught in a variety of formats, including:

  • in-person lectures and seminars
  • blended teaching
  • student group and project work
  • discussions on conceptual and critical questions; individual office hours; as well as hands-on tutorials with state-of-the-art digital technology in our new state-of-the-art labs.
  • independent research by students
  • individual office hours

Coursework and assessment

Students will encounter a wide range of assessment formats including: academic essays, creative reflections, Storymaps, visualisations, and practical portfolios.

Students will have the opportunity to submit digitally-enhanced or practice-based dissertations. They will also have the option to undertake an industry placement, co-supervised by their host organisation and with an academic tutor.

Course unit details

This MA course consists of core and optional course units and a dissertation, made up of 180 credits.

Core modules

  • Introduction to Digital Media (30 credits)
  • Digital Methods (30 credits)
  • Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional modules

  • Data, Culture and Society (15 credits)
  • The Digital Self: Living in Networked Times (15 credits)
  • Social Media and Platforms (15 credits)
  • Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Society (15 credits)
  • Spatial History: Mapping the Past (15 credits)
  • Producing Digital Projects (15 credits)
  • Digital Heritage (15 credits)
  • Placement (15 credits)

Optional units build on the knowledge and understanding you have gained in the core units, and enable you to develop expertise in a range of domains. Please note that optional units can vary from year to year.

Full-time students take 60 credits of optional course units. Part-time students take 30 credits of optional course units each year.


You will undertake a 15,000-word dissertation during the summer, with individual supervision by staff members. Your choice of course units and dissertation topic will enable you to specialise in areas such as social media, data studies, artificial intelligence, digital humanities, and others, depending on your preferred career paths and/or research interests.


The University of Manchester has world-class facilities.

Students will benefit from their own dedicated teaching space: the Digital Humanities Lab, a state-of-the art teaching and research space with large screens, flexible seating, and high-performance laptops.

As a student of the Graduate School, you will have access to excellent training within a dedicated postgraduate space where you can meet with each other, access resources, organise events and participate in a thriving academic community. Find out more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email:

CPD opportunities

Each year, a number of mid-career professionals take our MA degrees on a part-time basis and find that the University provides a valuable space for reflection, as well as for further learning.