Research course

Digital Culture and Communication

Birkbeck, University of London · School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication

Entry requirements

A good degree in media and communication studies, cultural studies, or other related areas in the social sciences, humanities or computer science. Depending on your background and research experience, a BA might be sufficient. Generally we recommend that you apply with a good MA degree.

You will also need to submit a specific indication of research interests with your application, and a 2000-word proposal.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

Our MPhil/PhD programme in Digital Culture and Communication invites you to submit a proposal for research on the digitally mediated dimensions of aesthetics, affect, art, cities, everyday life, politics and the (post) human condition.

An MPhil/PhD is an advanced postgraduate research degree that requires original research and the submission of a substantial dissertation. The MPhil thesis is not more than 60,000 words; the PhD thesis is not more than 100,000 words. This programme also welcomes practice-based PhD theses, the requirements for which vary according to the nature of the research and should be discussed with the admissions tutors. Both the MPhil and the PhD are assessed by a viva voce examination.

We offer an exceptionally stimulating environment, where your digital culture and communication research will flourish in a wider interdisciplinary context. We have critically engaged research clusters working on cultural policy, creative labour, curatorial practice, digital aesthetics, digital politics, essay film, film exhibition, journalism and democracy, media reform, mediated spaces and television studies.

Our aim is to offer a programme of seminars, lectures, conferences, workshops and reading groups that not only help you build your research skills, but generate a sense of intellectual community, based on dialogue and mutual support. You will also be offered training sessions at all levels of the College, including at the Birkbeck Graduate Research School (BGRS).

At Birkbeck, you are initially registered on an MPhil and you upgrade to a PhD after satisfactory progress in the first year or two (full time). You need to find a suitable academic supervisor at Birkbeck, who can offer the requisite expertise to guide and support you through your research. Find out more about undertaking a research degree at Birkbeck.


  • This MPhil/PhD in Digital Culture and Communication is offered as part of a range of competitively awarded PhD studentships funded by support from UK Research and Innovation, charities, government and external partners.
  • The award-winning Birkbeck Cinema is central to our research culture. The 70-seat cinema is equipped with 35mm and state-of-the-art DCP projection. Our Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image (BIMI) runs a busy, intellectually stimulating programme of events, including conferences, screenings and film-related events of all kinds, including at our cinema.
  • You will have the opportunity to participate in and attend the Essay Film Festival, jointly run by BIMI and the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), with free admission to events hosted at Birkbeck. You will also be able to take advantage of practical film-making opportunities offered through the Derek Jarman Lab.
  • The Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology integrates a wide range of digital culture research at Birkbeck, while making available equipment and systems to students, interns and academics. In addition, the Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture (BIRMAC) provides a unique space for reflective critical inquiry on media and culture, where researchers from different disciplines can gather and participate in a sustained intellectual conversation in a truly interdisciplinary context.
  • As well as the Birkbeck Library, you will have access to the nearby Senate House Library, various libraries of the University of London colleges, the British Library, as well as other specialist collections and institutions in central London, including the British Film Institute library.
  • Birkbeck was ranked as one of the top four universities in the UK for its Art and Design research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. Birkbeck’s research excellence overall was confirmed in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework with 83% of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, the requirement for this programme is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Fees and funding

PhD students resident in England can apply for government loans of over £26,000 to cover the cost of tuition fees, maintenance and other study-related costs.

Flexible finance: pay your fees in monthly instalments at no extra cost. Enrol early to spread your costs and reduce your monthly payments.

We offer a range of studentships and funding options to support your research.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MPhil/PhD
    part time
    84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700