Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

Course level




Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

The highlights

Change is everywhere. Can you help shape it?

The climate crisis, biodiversity and habitat loss, the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of populism, threats to free speech and democracy around the world, ageing populations: these are just some of the challenges we face in the 2020s. 

At the same time there are many areas of opportunity. New and sustainable technologies promise a future with clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles, while social media enables people to work together to challenge prevailing orthodoxies, prejudices and governments. There is youth activism and widespread movements for racial and societal justice.

If you want to really understand what drives global challenges such as these, and play a role in designing solutions to them, this Masters degree is for you. It’s unique because it covers such a wide range of subjects — particularly history and international relations, politics, journalism and communication studies.

Using a range of theories and approaches from all these subjects, we will analyse issues from different perspectives, so you will come to appreciate that there is never just one way to look at a problem. We’ll touch on topics such as:

We will discuss and debate current affairs — from the latest political developments and technological or scientific breakthroughs, to economic matters and social movements. We will also consider how the news is created and shaped, considering issues such as freedom of the press and 'fake news'.

globe, global warming, energy
protest, save the planet

Develop a powerful set of skills

Throughout the course, you will be expected to read widely, research thoroughly and synthesise and analyse information to form considered opinions and persuasive arguments. As part of this process, you will learn quantitative data analysis techniques and ways to present data, since this has become an important part of today’s communications.

Your assessments — which include writing policy proposals, reports, essays and conference papers, as well as delivering presentations — will enable you to practise and perfect these skills; none more so than the independent study. This research-based dissertation will enable you to explore in-depth, an area you are particularly passionate about, and consider the issue from all standpoints.

By the time you graduate, you will be a skilled thinker, researcher, communicator and influencer — abilities that could lead you into research, politics, journalism, the civil service, charities and many other fields.

Multi-Faith Centre, Kedleston Road

Postgraduate Open Event

Join us at an upcoming Postgraduate Open Event, where you will get the opportunity to meet our expert academics and find out more about your course.

Book your Postgraduate Open EventBook your Postgraduate Open Event

What you will study

You will study modules such as:

  • Research Methods in Global Affairs
  • Democracy and Authoritarianism
  • Negotiating Change: conference module
  • Independent Study
  • History and Policy
  • Investigating Journalism and Politics
  • ‘The Shape of Things': Culture, Identity, and Representation
  • Economy and Environment
  • Contemporary Challenges and Debates
  • Data Journalism and Data Science
  • Globalisation and the Legacy of Imperialism

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

How you will learn

We use a range of approaches to enable your learning. These include lectures, seminars, tutorials and debate, but because this is a masters, there is an emphasis on self-directed study. We have a blended learning strategy, which means that, in addition to face-to-face teaching, you can also find materials for all modules on the virtual learning environment and take part in online discussions here.

How you are assessed

There are a variety of ‘summative assessments’ towards the end of each module, such as writing policy proposals, reports, research symposiums, conference papers and essays, as well as conducting data analysis and and delivering presentations. The final Independent study, a traditional research dissertation, carries the most weight so we help you prepare for this task early on in the programme by providing specific research training.

As well as the summative assessments, we will be assessing you regularly during teaching sessions and one-to-one tutorials, checking that you understand theories and concepts and providing feedback. This will also help you evaluate your own strengths, weaknesses, abilities and talents: a critical part of masters-level study.

Who will teach you

Alistair Hodge

Alistair Carnegie Hodge
Programme leader

After many years as a business leader in the creative and cultural industries, Alistair Hodge is now Head of the School of Humanities and Journalism. His MA (Hons) is in Modern History from St Andrews University, Scotland, and he studied toward a PhD, in seventeenth-century history, at Lancaster University.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

You will need a good honours degree (1st or 2:1) in any subject, or its international equivalent. Applications may be considered if you have a 2:2 honours degree and/or significant relevant professional experience.

It is important that we get to know you, your aspirations and your expectations. Therefore, before being accepted onto the programme applicants may be invited to an informal interview to discuss the course, the nature of the programme, and what will be expected of you during it.

The University welcomes applications from every sector of society and welcomes International applicants.

If English is not your first language you will need to demonstrate English language capability in line with the prevailing University of Derby requirements for admission to study.

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply

UK students

Students should apply directly to the University.

Apply directly to the University
International students

Students applying to start in September 2021 need to apply for this course through an educational agent representative.

Find an educational agent representative in your country

Students applying to start in January 2022 onwards may apply directly, through UCAS or through an educational agent representative.

Apply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for a postgraduate degree


You will develop advanced skills that are highly desirable in the graduate careers market, including in independent research, critical evaluation, problem-solving, written and verbal communication and negotiation. You will also emerge from the programme with greater cultural awareness and understanding, and a respect for differing viewpoints.

These skills and abilities could lead you into a broad range of careers, such as in policy analysis and development, communications and journalism, or information and archival research. You may want to enrol on civil service graduate training schemes or postgraduate training and education. The programme would also enable you to continue your own research through doctoral study.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

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Additional information about your studies

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Please also note that due to the current Covid-19 situation, if your course offers fieldtrips, the location of these may change or be cancelled. If this happens, you will be communicated to in advance and we will do our very best to seek out other practical opportunities to ensure your experience is not affected.

The information below is correct for entry in the academic year September 2021 - August 2022 only. Entry for future academic years may be subject to change.

Included in your fees
Optional costs not included in your fees

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.