About the course
We are surrounded by advertising, marketing and media campaigns in a hugely competitive world-wide marketplace and these areas play an important commercial function within businesses and organisations.
This course brings together expertise from our top-rated Department of Sociology and Essex Business School. You investigate key theoretical and substantive debates in the critical study of advertising, marketing and media, and analyse the advertising industries in Britain, North America and newly emerging economies like India.
You explore topics including:
- Recent developments from actor network theory on market devices
- Concepts of advertising, marketing and consumption
- Contemporary marketing and management
- Media and communications
- Developing brand cultures
You will also be introduced to primary research materials, like market research data, examining debates about the historical rise of marketing-orientated businesses and the growth of the advertising agency.
Essex Business School takes you beyond the basics of a business education. Our strong emphasis on ethics and sustainable business practice in the global economy, and our expertise in international management, accounting and finance, will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary for your future career in an increasingly complex business world.
Our Department of Sociology was rated top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014), and we consistently receive strong student satisfaction scores, including 96% overall student satisfaction in 2015.
Our expert staff
We are a large and friendly department, offering a diverse range of research interests and with staff members who are committed to teaching, research and publication that covers a broad geographical spectrum.
Many have worked at the local level with local authorities, justice councils, community partnerships and charities. Others have worked at a national and international level with bodies like the United Nations, the European Commission’s Expert Group on Public Understanding of Science, Amnesty International, The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the Home Office and national non-governmental organisations.
Within Essex Business School, our staff specialise in areas including SMEs, business-to-business relationship marketing, branding, marketing management, new product development and social entrepreneurship.
While maintaining core engagement with contemporary marketing practice, our staff enrich our courses with novel marketing ideas drawn from both the contemporary business world and cutting-edge academic research.
- Dedicated postgraduate support facilities
- Our renowned off-campus Graduate Conference takes place every February
- A unique Student Resource Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, is stocked with daily newspapers, magazines and journals, and has free drinks available
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
Our landmark new Essex Business School building on our Colchester Campus is the first zero carbon business school in the UK. Set around a lush winter garden, the Eden-style dome gives the building its own micro-climate.
Our new building provides you with a stunning new work environment, offering:
- A virtual trading floor with Bloomberg Terminals offering direct use of Bloomberg data, information and analytics
- A light and spacious lecture theatre, with seating for 250 students
- Study pods and innovation booths for group working
- Dedicated office space for student entrepreneurs
- Networking opportunities with visiting businesses
- A café with an adjacent sun terrace
This course provides excellent preparation for further academic study, and many of our postgraduates go on to successful academic careers, both in the UK and overseas.
Others have established careers in non-governmental organisations, local authorities, specialist think tanks, government departments, charities, media production, and market intelligence.
We work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Postgraduate study is the chance to take your education to the next level. The combination of compulsory and optional modules means our courses help you develop extensive knowledge in your chosen discipline, whilst providing plenty of freedom to pursue your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.
For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are, in many instances, just a selection of those available. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current postgraduate students, including details of all optional modules.
You take one of these two modules: Text and Documents or Sociological Research Design. You do not take both.
How has advertising tried to understand the consumer? What challenges are posed by international advertising? Or by the arrival of new media and alternative delivery systems? Explore the history of advertising in Britain and North America, then learn how to analyse and theorise about advertising and the wider creative industries.
What interests you? Do you want to deepen your knowledge, build invaluable research skills and develop your academic freedom? Your dissertation lets you study a topic of your choosing, in depth, with supervision and guidance from our world-leading academics.
Strategic brand communication considers all the means by which brand meaning is created and circulated - not only through channels such as promotion and distribution, but also how for example employees are utilised for the purpose of communicating a consistent brand message. You analyse the underlying ideas that inform how brand messages are constructed, and how for example stereotypes or normative ideas of gender are reproduced in those messages.
In the current brand-dominated and rapidly globalising world of business and management, saturated by advertisements, critical understanding of marketing activities and how they affect businesses and individuals is a requirement for a general management and marketing career. In this module you investigate the role of marketing within organisations, and the linkage between marketing and general management.
Does shopping change the world? Can you make a difference by choosing more sustainable options as a consumer? These are key questions that you will be able to answer after completing this module. Examine the systems through which many of the everyday goods you enjoy are produced, circulated and consumed, explore how commodities are provisioned within a global society, and consider the possibilities and complexities of transitioning towards a more sustainable market.
How do you design social research for projects? Examine the research process, from forming initial research questions through to writing up your findings. Develop your own research ideas via the approaches discussed, building a critical perspective on empirical research that will help you with future research goals.
Do hackers have ethics? Who owns digital media? Is surveillance justified? Explore the history of the digital media economy, looking at hacking, digital media piracy and peer-to-peer networks. Build your understanding of the social, economic and cultural role that digital media now plays in developed Western societies.
- We have a strong research group culture
- Graduate students are encouraged to take part in our weekly Departmental Seminar which regularly features eminent outside speakers
- Your modules are assessed by coursework and your dissertation
- Your 15,000-word dissertation allows you to focus in-depth on your chosen topic from April onwards
- You work with close supervision from academic staff
UK entry requirements
A degree with an overall 2:1.
International and EU entry requirements
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries.
for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the
undergraduate qualification you have already completed or are currently taking.
IELTS entry requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 6.0
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
You can apply for our postgraduate courses online. You’ll need to provide us with your academic qualifications, as well as supporting documents such as transcripts, English language qualifications and certificates. You can find a list of necessary documents online, but please note we won’t be able to process your application until we have everything we need.
There is no application deadline but we recommend that you apply before 1 July for our taught courses starting in October. We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
We hold postgraduate events in February/March and November, and open days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
- tour our campus and accommodation
- find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
- meet our students and staff
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.