Political Communication MSc/PgDip

Politician being interviewed

This programme offers you a thorough and engaging academic analysis of how political communication works in our highly mediated world. It enables you to develop an in-depth understanding of how political actors, the media and the public interact in different countries during both elections and day-to-day politics, and how this affects the distribution of power at the domestic and international levels.

Key facts

Why this programme

  • The programme is designed for those who plan a career, or are already working, in an organisation involved in any aspect of political communication, from political parties to non-governmental organisations to public relations agencies.
  • The programme is currently the only one in this are in Scotland and one of very few anywhere based in a Politics department (rather than in Media or Communication).
  • The programme draws on very strong staff expertise in political communication, as well as recognised strength on comparative politics, international relations and media studies. 
  • Through the Political Communication seminars you can benefit from a truly unique opportunity to meet with top practitioners in the profession to informally discuss the practical aspects of political communication as well as career options.
  • If you would like to go on to a PhD in the field of political communication, you should consider the closely-related Political Communication (MRes).

Programme structure

You will take 3 core and 3 optional courses. You will also write a dissertation on a political communication topic of your choice, under the guidance of personal supervision by a specialist member of staff.

You will attend lectures, seminars and tutorials and take part in project work and case studies.

Core courses

  • Media and democracy
  • Political institutions and communication

Plus one from the following

  • Qualitative methods for social scientists
  • Social science statistics 1

Optional courses

  • Challenges in international politics
  • China's international politics
  • Chinese politics and society
  • Comparative European politics
  • Comparative public opinion
  • Critical perspectives on human rights
  • Crime, media and popular culture
  • European Union in international politics and development
  • Foreign policy analysis
  • Human rights and global politics
  • Humanitarian intervention
  • Institutions and policies of the European Union
  • International relations theory
  • International security and global politics
  • Internet and civil society
  • Media and regime transformation in CEE, Russia and the FSU
  • Media, communications and journalism: Criticism and theory
  • Media, security and war
  • Researching audiences and the media.

You may also choose, with the programme convener's approval, from courses in the other subject areas in the School of Social & Political Sciences. Some courses might not be available every year.

Background and aims

The MSc in Political Communication was founded in 2006. Our programme is currently the only one in this subject in Scotland and one of very few in the UK based in Politics.

Although not a vocational course, the programme gives students key knowledge and analytical tools relevant to a career in organisations involved in political communication, such as government agencies, international organisations, political consultancies, media, public relations, public affairs consultancy, charities and NGOs, or for further academic research in a PhD programme.

Moreover, through the Political Communication Seminar, the programme enables students to discuss key issues in the field with top practitioners. In recent years, guest speakers have included Andrew Baird (Head of Communications for the Scottish Government), Peter Barron (Google’s Director of Communications for the UK, Ireland and the Benelux countries), Joe Benenson (lead pollster and Senior Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign), Dorothy Byrne (Channel 4 Head of News and Current Affairs), Steven Lawther (former Head of Communications for the Scottish Labour Party), David Muir (Glasgow alumni and former Director of Political Strategy for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown), Joe Rospars (founding partner and Creative Director of Blue State Digital and Barack Obama’s principal strategist and advisor on digital media) and Kirsty Wark (highly-regarded BBC presenter).

We actively promote student-centred teaching and guarantee individual dissertation supervision. Our students benefit from intensive teaching by political scientists with strong publishing profiles and international reputations in their areas of expertise. Our instructors include Dr Ana Langer and Professor Andrew Hoskins. Dr Langer focuses on the relationship between media and politics, and on how this affects the conduct and nature of the democratic process. Prof Hoskins focuses on the theoretical and empirical investigation of today's 'new media ecology' and the nature of/challenges for security as well as individual, social and cultural memory in this environment. 

The student body is very cosmopolitan with a mix of students from all over the world including the UK, Germany, Spain, Norway, the US, Canada, Chile, China, Taiwan, Finland and Malaysia. You will also share classes with students from other programmes. This adds to the liveliness and breadth of experience in classes and it enriches the student experience for all.

Graduates have found the MSc in Political Communication an excellent preparation for a range of careers, including at the United Nations civic literacy programme, industry analyst at Google, online news for STV, public communication for Greenpeace, social media strategy for the US embassy, public affairs and public relations consultancy at Media House International, and media relations and campaign strategy for a number of Members of Parliament and parties. Others have obtained full funding for pursuing doctoral studies. 

What our students say

The following are testimonials from recent students on the MSc and the MRes in Political Communication, which are closely related. Teaching on subject-specific courses is shared between the two.

Juste Petkeviciute, Lithuania

Juste Petkeviciute

'As a graduate of journalism and media practitioner, I was highly interested in having a more in-depth look into communication and political theories. This programme provided me not only with theoretical background of politics, communication and political communication, but it also gave me the chance to put it into practice when analysing different political and communication systems from across the world. It helped that both the professors and the students brought their experience from various parts of the world. I cannot think of a better and more effective way of learning as sharing, explaining and analysing how media, society and politics interact with one another (...) I believe that each highly motivated student, whose willingness to undertake a Master’s programme here will benefit from a wide range intellectually challenging activities. 

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While choosing my degree, the ranking of the University and its reputation played a big role together with an opportunity to study in a widely international environment. I was motivated by the fact that an overall Master’s programme lasted for one year. Furthermore, it was very important that the University offered the chance to create an inter-disciplinary course offering which satisfied my personal interests.

I particularly liked that in Political Communication where we had a chance to meet “the big fishes” in the world of media and politics, such as Joe Rospars (Blue State Digital), Claudia Gonzalez (The Global Fund), Alan Clements (STV). These meetings were beneficial not only because we, students, had a chance to hear from these professionals about day to day issued they were solving, but also because in the beginning of road of our choices we heard personal stories of how to develop a wide range of personal and professional skills and make them work for your future career.

My year in Glasgow helped me decide that I wanted to continue as a media practitioner. I believe that each highly motivated student, whose willingness to undertake a Master’s programme here will benefit from a wide range intellectually challenging activities. The professors were always very open to our suggestions and you could feel that student feedback is very important for them as well as willingness to reach the best learning results in our discussions.

Learning and living experience in Glasgow has a very special aura. For me it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had and my kind suggestions for those considering joining would be – keep your eyes wide open! I could talk about my experiences in Glasgow for days. However, I will mention only one thing. In this relatively small city I found the whole world.'

Sheghley Ogilvie, UK

'I am sure that anyone with an interest in political communication would agree that the Scottish Independence Referendum was a fascinating period of political campaigning during which the relationship between the media and political actors were of utmost importance. It was in the wake of this campaign that after four years in the labour market I began to reflect on my interests and consider a career change. I began to research Masters programmes which would provide a real opportunity to build upon my skills and to develop a thorough understanding of how political actors, the media and the public interact. The MSc in Political Communication at Glasgow is the only course of its kind in Scotland and thus was an obvious choice. Should you choose to study Political Communication at Glasgow be prepared for a stimulating, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable year, which will change how you interpret news content and provide an in depth understanding of the relationship between political actors, the media and the public.

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I opted for the MRes pathway as this was most compatible with my aspirations and allowed me to build upon both my quantitative and qualitative research skills. The course was everything I expected and has contributed to the increased number of job interviews I have been invited to since completion two months ago. In particular I was impressed by the seminar series through which students have the opportunity to hear from and meet a variety of inspirational speakers in an informal setting. Should you choose to study Political Communication at Glasgow be prepared for a stimulating, challenging and thoroughly enjoyable year, which will change how you interpret news content and provide an in depth understanding of the relationship between political actors, the media and the public.'

Lucia Hodgson, UK

'In 2008, having just finished from my undergraduate course, I applied to be a speechwriter for a major political party. I was 21, I had a degree in a completely unrelated discipline, but I knew that was what I wanted to do. It came as no surprise, however, when I didn’t get an interview. I knew that I had a major knowledge-gap to plug, and a lot of experience to gain, before I could even dream of getting an interview. Undertaking postgraduate study for me became a necessity, and one that would be a huge investment. When I found the Political Communication programme I knew it was the right one – so I had a look to see whether there was one closer to home. That’s when I realised how unique the Glasgow programme was – I couldn’t find another course that came anywhere close to providing such a niche yet accessible programme of study.

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I had never studied politics formally, but always had a strong interest in it. For me, the appeal of Political Communication was the mixture of politics with media. I also had the freedom to pick from a wide range of other modules. It allowed me to dabble in gender studies and international politics. Four years after graduating, and I have now been a Chief Speechwriter in government for six months. It has taken a lot of hard work and patience, but I unequivocally credit my time at Glasgow with helping me to get to this point, with its expert, caring and interesting tutors. I never want to take the future for granted, but I think my time at Glasgow prepared me well for whatever comes next. '

Josh Bain, Scotland

'It was during my undergraduate years studying politics and sociology at Glasgow University that I realised I wanted to learn more about issues concerning society and the media. Having already established relationships within the university, and after listening to recommendations from course staff, I decided to apply for the MRes in Political Communication. I haven’t looked back since. The MRes not only taught me new skills and research methods, it allowed me to tailor the course to my specific goals. Along with the thought-provoking core courses such as Media and Democracy, I was able to study courses of my own choosing, such as The Disabling Society. This was a selling point for me as it gave me control and variation over what I was studying. This was also true when it came to researching and writing the dissertation. I was able to take my own personal interest – issues of disability – and incorporate it with the research methods and media aspects that I had learnt throughout the course. Furthermore, the staff were fantastic, providing support and motivation throughout the year, especially when it came to concerns about my dissertation. I now work as a research assistant at the university, and I believe that this is down to the enthusiasm of the course staff and everything they taught me during my studies. Finally, the fact that I am still here in Glasgow after almost 6 years now, is a testament in itself as to how great a place Glasgow is to live and study in.'

Ken Waters, Ireland

'I moved to Glasgow at a time when I needed to kick start a career change. The MSc has certainly helped me do that. I can hardly speak highly enough of the University of Glasgow and everyone in the Department of Politics for helping me do this. The course content was really stimulating and probably led to as many conversations outside of seminars as it did during them. While the Media & Democracy and Internet & Civil Society courses were personal high points, each of the modules certainly served a valuable purpose in building aggregate knowledge. This is perhaps only really evident when you begin to research and write your dissertation. As with most things in life, it is the people you share the experience with who really make it memorable. Glasgow is a great place to build a network of friends and invaluable relationships. I know I’ll be relying on some of those people in the future, regardless of where work and life take me.'

Faizah Zahir, Malaysia

'I graduated from Political Science, but my genuine interest was however related to communication and media studies. Witnessing such a dynamic and powerful effects brought by the new media into the political atmosphere in my country pushed me forward to study Political Communication at Glasgow. Without a doubt, it was a great and fantastic experience being a part of this department and school. Ranging from academic staff down to support staff, everybody was very helpful and students were always kept informed about important information. I feel this has been the most interesting year in my entire student’s life. A one-to-one meeting with David Muir, the former Chief Political Strategist for British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was one of the a memorable moments, and I feel I was very fortunate to be able to have a discussion with him. In fact, I think this is what makes Msc. Political Communication programme different from others as in the Political Communication Seminar it gives the students opportunity to meet people who are expert and knowledgeable in this field.
I also liked very much enjoyed living Glasgow; everything is reachable, people are very friendly, shopping centres are varied and I can easily feel the real essence of Scotland here. And as a Muslim, ‘halal’ butchers and restaurants are everywhere, mosques and prayer rooms can be found easily. In summary, I really enjoyed my stay in Glasgow; it was the best dream and reality.'

Marek Zemanik, Slovakia

'I have always believed that an ideal university degree should be interesting, challenging and stimulating. It should, however, also be enjoyable and provide you with tools you can impress with in the future. The MSc in Political Communication ticks all the boxes. Let me pinpoint a few highlights. The flexibility of this degree means you can pick courses you are interested in from an extensive range – making for a much more interesting and enjoyable time studying. The in-class discussions I had with my classmates were always stimulating and exciting – the wide variety of our backgrounds ensures this. But most of all, both Ana Langer and Sarah Oates [the programme's directors] are, in a word, fantastic. Experts in their field, very organised and knowledgeable and at the same time helpful and supportive with a friendliness that I have found to be pretty rare. All of the above helped me to get a job at the Scottish Parliament and even though I am not a fan of the phrase ‘dream-job’, it is on the tip of my tongue. Many changes enter my mind in hindsight, but the MSc in Political Communication will always remain one of the best choices I ever made.'

Guest speakers and events

Our seminar series presents a truly unique opportunity for students in the MSc and MRes in Political Communication to meet with top practitioners in the profession to informally discuss the practical aspects of political communication as well as career options.

Guest speakers include pollsters and political strategists, print and broadcast journalists, public relations, marketing and digital media specialists for parties, interest groups, international organisation and business, media-policy makers and those who work in communication for government agencies.

The seminar meets about four times a year. Guest speakers generally make a brief presentation, leaving plenty of time for questions and answers, group discussion and the all-important networking. They also often have lunch or dinner with students in the programme.

Guest speakers 2014-15

Gary Gibbon

Gary is an award-winning journalist, and has been Political Editor for Channel 4 News at ITN since 2005. He has covered the past five UK general elections for Channel 4 News, as well as peace process in Northern Ireland. He offers regular insight and observations into political issues and current affairs on his Channel 4 blog.

In 2001, Gary’s interview with Peter Mandelson, then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, triggered the politician’s second resignation from the cabinet. He won the Royal Television Society Home News Award in 2006 with Jon Snow for their scoop on the Attorney General’s legal advice on Iraq. In 2008, he was awarded Political Studies Association Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award, and in 2010 won the Royal Television Society Specialist Broadcast Journalist Award for his coverage of that year’s UK general election

Blair Jenkins 

Blair Jenkins was the chief executive of Yes Scotland campaign. He is also a Fellow of the Carnegie UK Trust and one of the most experienced figures in Scottish media. He has been Director of Broadcasting at Scottish Television and Head of News and Current Affairs at both STV and BBC Scotland. He chaired the independent Scottish Broadcasting Commission set up by the Scottish Government to make recommendations on the future of the industry.
Blair was born in Elgin and attended Elgin Academy and Edinburgh University, from which he has a first-class honours MA in English Language and Literature. 

David Muir 
David Muir graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1992 with a first class honours degree in Politics and Economics. Following his studies, David worked for well-known advertising companies such as Ogilvy and Mather as well as their parent company WPP. During his career, he also co-wrote the bestselling book The Business of Brands. His extensive knowledge in market research and marketing communications eventually landed him a job as Gordon Brown’s Director of Political Strategy, which he worked as from 2008 to 2010. He worked closely with Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould on the Labour Party's 2010 general election campaign. He was the lead negotiator of the historic British TV Election Debates and was an early proponent of them. David currently works a freelance political consultant.

Ian Small

Ian is Head of Public Policy and Corporate Affairs at BBC Scotland. He started his career in teaching and lecturing before he moved to Strathclyde Regional Council's press office in 1988. He later worked as Communications Officer for the region's Education Department before joining BBC Scotland's press office in 1995.

He also worked in PR, marketing and international relations in the Middle East followed before he returned to BBC Scotland in 2000 to work on BBC Scotland's Pacific Quay project. From 2002 to 2006, he oversaw the organisation's governance and accountability functions as BBC Secretary in Scotland.

He is Honorary Professor at Glasgow University in the School of Culture and Creative Arts; a member of the Board of Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland and a former Director/Trustee of Inspiring Scotland.

Guest speakers 2013-14

Joe Rospars
Joe Rospars is the founding partner and Creative Director of Blue State Digital, a full-service agency that develops and executes multi-platform digital and social marketing programs across the political, non-profit and commercial sectors. He worked as President Barack Obama’s principal strategist and advisor, being responsible for the successful and innovative use of digital media usage on both campaigns. The voter engagement and fundraising masterminded by Joe provides him with a unique substantial insight into the importance of digital media in the 21st century political landscape.

David Muir
David Muir graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1992 with a first class honours degree in Politics and Economics. Following his studies, David worked for well-known advertising companies such as Ogilvy and Mather as well as their parent company WPP. During his career, he also co-wrote the bestselling book The Business of Brands. His extensive knowledge in market research and marketing communications eventually landed him a job as Gordon Brown’s Director of Political Strategy, which he worked as from 2008 to 2010. He worked closely with Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould on the Labour Party's 2010 general election campaign. He was the lead negotiator of the historic British TV Election Debates and was an early proponent of them. David currently works a freelance political consultant.

Alan Clements
Alan Clements is Director of Content at Scottish Television (STV). Previously, Alan was Founder and Managing Director of Wark Clements & Co Ltd (1990-2004) and Chairman and Creative Director of IWC Media Ltd (2004-2008). Alan holds a double first from the University of Glasgow and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He started his career as a teacher before working as a political researcher and journalist for the BBC and then freelance for several Scottish and national newspapers. He has been involved in documentary making for 20 years, and has produced acclaimed documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and the Discovery Channel. He published Restless Nation (Mainstream) in 1996 and Rogue Nation (Mainstream), a political thriller, in 2009.

Claudia Gonzalez
Claudia Gonzalez is Head of Marketing at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Previously she led Public Relations and Special Projects for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and was Head of PR, media and special projects for the World Economic Forum for 8 years. Claudia specializes on marketing and communications for humanitarian causes and her expertise includes image and reputation, digital marketing, branding, social media, celebrities, and high profile events and campaigns.

Blair Jenkins
Blair Jenkins is the chief executive of Yes Scotland campaign. He is also a Fellow of the Carnegie UK Trust and one of the most experienced figures in Scottish media. He has been Director of Broadcasting at Scottish Television and Head of News and Current Affairs at both STV and BBC Scotland. He chaired the independent Scottish Broadcasting Commission set up by the Scottish Government to make recommendations on the future of the industry.
Blair was born in Elgin and attended Elgin Academy and Edinburgh University, from which he has a first-class honours MA in English Language and Literature. 

Guest speakers 2012-13

Ric Bailey
Ric Bailey is the BBC's Chief Adviser, Politics, taking up the post in Editorial Policy in September 2006. He joined the BBC in 1982, working first in local radio, mainly at Radio Stoke as a reporter, producer and news editor, winning a Sony Gold award for coverage of the miners' strike. Ric Bailey was appointed Editor of Political Newsgathering in 1995, leading the team of BBC Political Correspondents and newsgatherers at Westminster. Between 2000 and 2006, he was Deputy Head of Political Programmes, with responsibility for Question Time, for which he was the BBC's Executive Editor. In the run-up to the 2010 UK General Election, Ric represented the BBC on the team which negotiated the first ever television election debates between the Prime Ministerial candidates.

Joel Benenson
Joel Benenson is the only Pollster in democratic history to have achieved success in three Presidential campaigns. Most recently, Benenson was lead pollster and Senior Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in the 2012 election, as well as serving for Obama in 2008 and for Bill Clinton in 1996.
Benenson founded Benenson Strategy Group in 2000, a highly acclaimed global strategic research and consulting firm. Throughout his career, Benenson has worked alongside some of America’s most instrumental CEOs including Bob Pittman of AOL and A. G. Lafley of Proctor and Gamble. Before coming a pollster in 1995, Benenson worked as a political journalist and also as a communications director, thus shaping his widely recognised combination of communication expertise and aggressive analytical approach.

Peter Brodnitz
In 2008 Brodnitz guided Democratic candidates to successfully gain control of Republican-held seats in both houses of Congress as well as on the state level. With Brodnitz’s strategic advice, Jeff Merkley became the first challenger in nearly 40 years to defeat an incumbent Oregon senator, ousting two-term Sen. Gordon Smith. Rep. On the state level, Brodnitz’s analysis and strategy in 2008 on behalf of the Campaign for a Moderate Majority’s independent-expenditure effort to elect Democrats to the Ohio Statehouse helped the Democrats pick up seven seats, enabling them to capture the Statehouse for the first time in 14 years. In 2007 Brodnitz was named Pollster of the Year, the industry’s top honour, for his work on the upset victories in Virginia of Gov. Tim Kaine, in 2005, and Sen. Jim Webb, in 2006.

Michael Jermey
Michael Jermey is ITV’s Director of News and former Programme Director from ITN. His career in television began in 1985 as a researcher in current affairs at Central Television. Later joining ITN, he was Programme Editor of News at Ten and head of both home and foreign newsgathering. Michael led ITN's award-winning coverage of many of the major stories of the 1990s including the war in Bosnia, the Rwandan genocide and the Dunblane massacre. In the early years of this decade he led the ITN team that launched Europe's first 3G video news service on mobile phones and set up an international consultancy team that advised on the launches of 24 hour news channels in Europe and Asia. His roles at ITV have included Launch Managing Director of the ITN News Channel and Deputy Editor of ITN’s national news service for ITV. 

David Muir (University of Glasgow Alumni and Honorary Professor, School of Social and Political Sciences)
David Muir was Director of Political Strategy for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown between 2008 and 2010. In 1992 he graduated with a MA Hons 1st Class in Politics and Economics. He also won the Alistair Reid Prize for Politics for the outstanding study of politics and an ESU Scholarship to work with the US politician Byron Dorgan. In 1992 Muir joined the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, becoming New Business Director until taking a leave of absence to complete his MBA in 1999. In 2003 he wrote with Jon Miller The Business of Brands, looking at how businesses could nurture and value their brands. In 2008 Muir left WPP to become the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown's, Director of Political Strategy. He along with Kirsty McNeill developed Brown's "No time for a novice speech" at the 2008 Labour Party Conference which was "warmly received".
He developed a close working relationship with the Obama campaign team and hired The Benenson Strategy Group where he worked closely with Joel Benenson. He also worked closely with Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould on the Labour Party's 2010 general election campaign. He was the lead negotiator of the historic British TV Election Debates and was an early proponent of them.

Guest speakers 2011-12

David Muir (University of Glasgow Alumnus and Honorary Professor)
David Muir was Director of Political Strategy for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown between 2008 and 2010. In 1992 he graduated with a MA Hons 1st Class in Politics and Economics. He also won the Alistair Reid Prize for Politics for the outstanding study of politics and an ESU Scholarship to work with the US politician Byron Dorgan. In 1992 Muir joined the advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather, becoming New Business Director until taking a leave of absence to complete his MBA in 1999. In 2003 he wrote with Jon Miller The Business of Brands, looking at how businesses could nurture and value their brands. In 2008 Muir left WPP to become the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown's, Director of Political Strategy. He along with Kirsty McNeill developed Brown's "No time for a novice speech" at the 2008 Labour Party Conference which was "warmly received".
He developed a close working relationship with the Obama campaign team and hired The Benenson Strategy Group where he worked closely with Joel Benenson. He also worked closely with Peter Mandelson and Philip Gould on the Labour Party's 2010 general election campaign. He was the lead negotiator of the historic British TV Election Debates and was an early proponent of them.

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf is a Scottish National Party member of the Scottish Parliament for the Glasgow region, elected in 2011 via the party list. At 26, he is one of the youngest parliamentarians in the United Kingdom. On his election to Parliament, he was appointed to the Justice and Public Audit Committees and as Parliamentary Liaison Officer to First Minister Alex Salmond. After completing his degree in Politics (including an Honours option in media and politics) at the University of Glasgow, Humza went to work in the Scottish Parliament. He has served as the Media Spokesperson for the charity Islamic Relief, worked for community radio for 12 years as well as for a project that provided food packages to homeless and asylum seekers in Glasgow. He was awarded the Future Force of Politics Award 2010.

David Pratt
David Pratt is Foreign Editor of the Herald (Glasgow). A foreign correspondent for more than 20 years, he has covered conflicts all over the world. An author and broadcaster, with a particular interest in the Arab and Islamic world, David also previously has worked for Reuters and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. View an archive of his work for the Herald.

Magnus Linklater
Magnus Linklater is a prominent Scottish journalist and former newspaper editor. Linklater's journalistic career began in 1964, as a reporter with the Daily Express. This was followed by a position at the Evening Standard, before he moved to The Sunday Times in 1969, where he had a central role in the Hitler diaries scandal. He remained at the Times until 1983. This was followed by three years at The Observer, before he was recruited to launch and edit the London Daily News, a short-lived newspaper owned by Robert Maxwell. Linklater returned to Scotland at the start of 1988 to become editor of The Scotsman, running the newspaper until 1994, when he left to become a freelance writer. Linklater has regularly contributed to The Times, and, since 1998, has written a weekly column for Scotland on Sunday. Between 1994 and 1997 he presented the weekly discussion programme, Eye to Eye on BBC Radio Scotland, and has written a number of books about Scottish history and politics. 

Guest speakers 2010-11

Kirsty Wark
Kirsty Wark is one of Britain’s most highly regarded and versatile presenters. As a regular presenter of BBC2's Newsnight and The Review Show her portfolio has extended from current affairs to the arts. She recently competed in BBC1’s Celebrity Masterchef and got through to the final three. She is hosting a brand new cookery quiz A Question Of Taste on BBC2 starting in January 2012.  Kirsty also presented The Great British Home Movie Roadshow (BBC2), The Book Quiz (BBC4) and A Question of Genius (BBC2). Kirsty joined the BBC as a graduate researcher in 1976 for BBC Radio Scotland, going on to become a producer in radio current affairs. After a spell on Radio 4’s The World At One, she moved to television in 1983 - working as a producer on Reporting Scotland and later producing and presenting the current affairs weekly Seven Days. Kirsty has interviewed many top politicians - from Tony Blair in January 1996 to Margaret Thatcher in 1990. She was named journalist of the year by BAFTA Scotland in 1993 and Best Television Presenter in 1997.

Iain MacWhirter
Iain MacWhirter is an award-winning political commentator for the Sunday Herald and Herald. He has also been a presenter of BBC political television programmes from Westminster and Holyrood for nearly 20 years. Iain joined the BBC straight from Edinburgh University and became Scottish Political Correspondent in 1987. In 1989, he moved to Westminster where he was a member of the parliamentary lobby for ten years, during which time he presented Westminster Live and Scrutiny for BBC2. He also became a political columnist for the Observer and the Scotsman and contributed to numerous books, journals and conferences on constitutional change. In 1999, Iain returned to Scotland to launch the Sunday Herald and to present the BBC's Holyrood Live from the Scottish Parliament. He also serves as Rector of the University of Edinburgh

Major General Gordon Messenger
Major General Messenger is Strategic Communication Officer for the MOD, focussing primarily on improving public awareness of the Afghanistan campaign. He joined the Royal Marines in 1983.  After a range of junior officer appointments, he attended Canadian Staff College in 1994.  After two staff jobs, he was appointed as Chief of Staff to 3 Cdo Bde RM in 1999; a tour that included an operational deployment to Kosovo. He commanded 40 Commando RM from Dec 2001 to Aug 2003, which included operational deployments to Afghanistan.  After a sabbatical in Geneva, he joined JFHQ as COS in July 2004, a job that saw him on various operations worldwide, including the tsunami relief effort, the civilian evacuation from Lebanon and command of the Op HERRICK Prelim Ops deployment in Southern Afghanistan in 2005.  After attending HCSC, he briefly acted as Director Force Development in Main Building before being appointed to the position of Director Joint Commitments (Military) in Sep 2007, coordinating military policy for all overseas operations.  Major General Messenger then commanded 3 Commando Brigade RM for their tour to Afghanistan in September 2008.

Guest speakers 2009-10

Peter Barron
Peter is Google’s Director of Communications for the UK, Ireland and the Benelux countries. He began his career as a news trainee at the BBC and joined Newsnight in 1990, where he worked for the next eight years as a producer, filmmaker and latterly programme editor. In 1998 he joined Channel 4 News as deputy editor. He handled Channel 4 News' live coverage of the September 11 attacks on the United States. In 2002 Peter joined ITV's Tonight with Trevor McDonald. During his year on Tonight, the programme achieved record current affairs audiences. He rejoined the BBC as Editor of the new current affairs drama documentary series in 2003 and became Editor of Newsnight in 2004, position he held until 2008. Peter was also in 2007 Advisory Chair for The Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival (MGEIFT).

Dorothy Byrne
Dorothy Byrne is Channel 4 Head of News and Current Affairs, having previously been the Commissioning Editor in charge of Dispatches, the Channel Four's flagship current affairs programme. Her programmes have won Emmy, BAFTA and RTS Journalism awards. She was previously the editor of ITV’s The Big Story (1994-1996) and a producer on World in Action (1987-1994). Dorothy is also visiting professor of the School of Journalism at Lincoln University.

Alan Clements
Alan Clements is Director of Content at Scottish Television (STV). Previously, Alan was Founder and Managing Director of Wark Clements & Co Ltd (1990-2004) and Chairman and Creative Director of IWC Media Ltd (2004-2008). Alan holds a double first from the University of Glasgow and a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He started his career as a teacher before working as a political researcher and journalist for the BBC and then freelance for several Scottish and national newspapers. He has been involved in documentary making for 20 years, and has produced acclaimed documentaries for the BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and the Discovery Channel. He published Restless Nation (Mainstream) in 1996 and Rogue Nation (Mainstream), a political thriller, in 2009.

Guest speakers 2008-09

Andrew Baird
Andrew is Head of News for the Scottish Government and leads a team of 45 communications professionals.  He graduated in sociology and history from Glasgow University in 1987. He has worked in government communications since 1987, having previously been a journalist in local newspapers. He has worked under Conservative and Labour UK governments and with Labour/LibDem coalition governments in Scotland from 1999 to 2007 and now for SNP minority government. Andrew led the devolution Communications Team in 1997 and became the first official spokesperson for the First Minister in 2001 conducting daily on-the-record briefings with political journalists.

Blair Jenkins
Blair is Chair of the Scottish Broadcasting Commission. Previously, Blair was director of Broadcasting  at STV and Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland. From 1998 to 2003 he was Chairman of BAFTA Scotland and he has also been a member of the Royal Television Society's steering group on current affairs.

Lindsay Keenan
Lindsay currently acts as a consultant leading campaign projects for Greenpeace Nordic amongst others. Between 2001 and 2006 he was a senior campaigner at Greenpeace International travelling extensively to campaign on the issue of genetic engineering. From 1997-2001 Lindsay coordinated the UK healthfood industries Genetic Food Alert campaign. Lindsay will be presenting her views as an individual not as a representative of Greenpeace.

Pauline Moore
Pauline is senior producer for BBC Radio Scotland and has covered the 2008 US presidential election. She will be speaking about her experience of the elections, as well as what it’s like to produce radio news (a key component of the media in Scotland) in a time of rising nationalism and political change.

Guest speakers 2007-08

Douglas Fraser
Douglas Fraser is Scottish Political Editor of The Herald, a Glasgow-based newspaper with the largest circulation of a Scottish paper. The Herald is key in setting the political agenda, particularly regarding the new parliament and government.

Kevin Pringle
Kevin Pringle is Senior Special Adviser to First Minister Alex Salmond, focusing on media relations and external communications. Kevin was Research Officer at SNP headquarters from 1989-1994; Director of Communications from 1994-99; and was communications director at the Scottish Parliament for the newly elected SNP Group from 1999-2001. From 2001-2004, he managed media relations for the SNP Group at Westminster.

Kevin was Corporate Affairs Manager at Scottish Gas from 2004 to 2006, and specialised in corporate responsibility issues before returning to the SNP in January 2007 to work on the election campaign.

Rob Woodward
Rob Woodward is Chief Executive of the SMG. SMG runs STV, Virgin Radio, Pearl & Dean (cinema advertising) and Primesight (outdoor advertising). SMG is the sixth larger TV programme producer in the UK.

Rob Woodward was Commercial Director of Channel 4 and on the main board. He was CEO of 4Ventures and achieved a dramatic turnaround of legacy businesses, and built a set of successful new media and digital businesses. Rob was previously an MD of UBS Warburg and global COO of corporate finance in Media and Communications. He was formerly Managing Partner of Deloitte’s European TMT business and UK strategy consulting practice.

The Stevenson and ASRF Lecture Series
In addition, this year the Stevenson and ASRF Lecture Series, which are organised by the Politics Department, will be exclusively devoted to Media & Citizenship.

Guest speakers 2006-07

Steven Lawther
Steven is Head of Communications for the Scottish Labour Party. His main responsibilities include managing the Press Office and co-ordinating all the party's research in Scotland. He has worked for the Labour Party since 2001 and has been involved in political campaigning since the 1992 UK General Election. He also spent time at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research - a leading political consultancy in Washington DC - during the 2004 Presidential Election campaign.

Alasdair MacLeod
Alasdair is Executive Editor of News Programmes for News and Current Affairs, BBC Scotland, based in Glasgow. He is responsible for BBC Scotland's main news strands, including Good Morning Scotland, Reporting Scotland, Newsnight Scotland and Newsdrive. From 1999 to 2006, he was in charge of political output for BBC Scotland, based in Edinburgh; he then spent five months as acting Head of News and Current Affairs before taking up his current post in early 2007.

Chris Shaw
Chris Shaw is the Senior Programme Controller of Channel 5 TV responsible for News, Current Affairs and Documentaries. Chris launched the news service and won three Royal Television Society awards during its first year on-air. Since then, he has been responsible for more than 1,000 hours of factual programming. 

Entry requirements

for entry in 2015

The minimum entry requirements are an honours degree at the 2.1/upper second class level or higher or equivalent (e.g. B/3.0 GPA in the undergraduate degree) in politics, law or related social science subject.

We will consider applications from graduates from other fields, but the applicant should submit a statement indicating why they are interested in changing fields or the connection to their previous study. We will also take relevant work experience into account.

International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of pre-Masters courses.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English):  176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

 

For further information about English language requirements, please contact the Recruitment and International Office: pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk

Fees and funding

Tuition fees for 2015-16 (subject to change and for guidance only)

MSc

Home and EU
Full time fee£6800
Part time 20 credits£756
International
Full time fee£14500

PgDip

Home and EU
Full time fee£4533
International
Full time fee£9667

Funding opportunities

Career prospects

Career opportunities include positions in public relations and communications in government agencies, political parties, charities and international organisations; politics and political consultancy; public relations and public affair agencies; political journalism; business; media policy-making; and higher education, including doctoral studies.

How to apply

We ask that you apply online for a postgraduate taught degree. Our system allows you to fill out the standard application form online and submit this to the University within 42 days of starting your application.

You need to read the guide to applying online before starting your application. It will ensure you are ready to proceed, as well as answer many common questions about the process.

Guide to applying online

Do I have to apply online for a postgraduate taught degree?

Yes. To apply for a postgraduate taught degree you must apply online. We are unable to accept your application by any other means than online.

Do I need to complete and submit the application in a single session?

No. You have 42 days to submit your application once you begin the process. You may save and return to your application as many times as you wish to update information, complete sections or upload additional documents such as your final transcript or your language test.

What documents do I need to provide to make an application?

As well as completing your online application fully, it is essential that you submit the following documents:

  • A copy (or copies) of your official degree certificate(s) (if you have already completed your degree)
  • A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing full details of subjects studied and grades/marks obtained
  • Official English translations of the certificate(s) and transcript(s)
  • Two supporting reference letters on headed paper
  • Evidence of your English Language ability (if your first language is not English)
  • Any additional documents required for this programme (see Entry requirements for this programme)
  • A copy of the photo page of your passport (Non-EU students only)

If you do not have all of these documents at the time of submitting your application then it is still possible to make an application and provide any further documents at a later date, as long as you include a full current transcript (and an English translation if required) with your application. See the ‘Your References, Transcripts and English Qualification’ sections of our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Do my supporting documents need to be submitted online?

Yes, where possible, please upload the supporting documents with your application.

How do I provide my references?

You must either upload the required references to your online application or ask your referees to send the references to the University as we do not contact referees directly. There is two main ways that you can provide references: you can either upload references on headed paper when you are making an application using the Online Application (or through Applicant Self-Service after you have submitted your application) or you can ask your referee to email the reference directly to pgadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk. See the 'Your References, Transcripts and English Qualifications' section of the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

What if I am unable to submit all of my supporting documents online?

If you cannot upload an electronic copy of a document and need to send it in by post, please attach a cover sheet to it that includes your name, the programme you are applying for, and your application reference number.

You may send them to:

Recruitment & International Office
71 Southpark Avenue
Glasgow
G12 8QQ
Fax: +44 141 330 4045

Can I email my supporting documents?

No. We cannot accept email submissions of your supporting documents.

What entry requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

You should check that you have met (or are likely to have met prior to the start of the programme) the individual entry requirements for the degree programme you are applying for. This information can be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab on each individual programme page, such as the one you are viewing now.

What English Language requirements should I have met before applying? Where can I find them?

If you are an international student, you should also check that you have met the English Language requirements specific to the programme you are applying for. These can also be found on the ‘entry requirements’ tab for each specific programme.

Further Information

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions for more information on applying to a postgraduate taught programme.

Guidance notes for using the online application

These notes are intended to help you complete the online application form accurately, they are also available within the help section of the online application form. If you experience any difficulties accessing the online application then you should visit the Application Troubleshooting/FAQs page.

  • Name and Date of birth: must appear exactly as they do on your passport. Please take time to check the spelling and lay-out.
  • Contact Details: Correspondence address. All contact relevant to your application will be sent to this address including the offer letter(s). If your address changes, please contact us as soon as possible.
  • Choice of course: Please select carefully the course you want to study. As your application will be sent to the admissions committee for each course you select it is important to consider at this stage why you are interested in the course and that it is reflected in your application.
  • Proposed date of entry: Please state your preferred start date including the month and the year. Taught masters degrees tend to begin in September. Research degrees may start in any month.
  • Education and Qualifications: Please complete this section as fully as possible indicating any relevant Higher Education qualifications starting with the most recent. Complete the name of the Institution (s) as it appears on the degree certificate or transcript.
  • English Language Proficiency: Please state the date of any English language test taken (or to be taken) and the award date (or expected award date if known).
  • Employment and Experience: Please complete this section as fully as possible with all employments relevant to your course. Additional details may be attached in your personal statement/proposal where appropriate.
  • References: Please provide the names and contact details of two academic references. Where applicable one of these references may be from your current employer. References should be completed on letter headed paper and uploaded on to your application.

Standard application deadlines

  • International applications (non-EU) 24 July 2015
  • UK and EU applications 28 August 2015
    (with the exception of those programmes offering SFC funded places)

Classes start September 2015 for most programmes and you may be expected to attend induction sessions the week before.

Apply now