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Communication Science: Entertainment Communication
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Study programme

The curriculum of the Entertainment Communication track of the Master’s programme in Communication Science comprises one year of full-time study. This includes two specialisation seminars, a thesis preparation group, a research methods course tailored to the thesis, two electives and the final Master's thesis.

  • Developing Media Entertainment
  • Clashing Views on Media Effects
  • Thesis Preparation
  • Research Methods Tailored to the Thesis
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  • Elective 1
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  • Elective 2
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  • Master's Thesis
View course descriptions in the UvA Course Catalogue
Dr. Jessica Piotrowski

Programme outline

Developing Media Entertainment (Specialisation Seminar)

Dr. Jessica Piotrowski, programme director and lecturer in Developing Media Entertainment:

‘In Developing Media Entertainment, you are challenged to think about why media preferences change across our lifespan. In this class, you learn what science tells us about why we might enjoy programmes such as Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars as teens, but as young adults find these shows less attractive. Similarly, you will learn to answer questions about why our use of social network sites or video games differs as we get older, and what these changes say about media preferences. Using a media psychology perspective, you will learn why development is a key predictor of media preferences – and how to leverage this information to create entertaining media content.

The class places a heavy focus on balancing academic content with practical applications.  I firmly believe that it is critical for students to know how to translate academic knowledge in practical change.  As such, you will find that the class has a strong focus on thinking through what the content means “in real life”.  This includes reading popular press articles on state-of-the-art advances in entertainment media, and working as a consultant for an actual company through our Company Meets Student project (in collaboration with YoungWorks). Specifically, you will work in a small team as a consultant for an actual company in the Netherlands to help them identify how to use media to reach their target audience. In some cases, this might mean helping a company rethink the approach to their website where in other cases this might mean helping a company learn how to leverage social media to share their messages with the “right” audience. You will apply your knowledge of different audiences to help them develop or extend their media content. The project concludes with both a written consultancy report as well as a formal symposium presentation. This project is an excellent opportunity to put your academic skills into practice, and is frequently lauded by our students as one of their favorite projects in their educational career’.

Stephani Pio
Steph Pio

Clashing Views on Media Effects (Specialisation Seminar)

Stephani Pio, South Africa, student in Entertainment Communication:

‘Clashing Views on Media Effects provides an interesting take on media effects and the current media landscape. Initially, we were taught core media effects theories and looked at media critically from a scientific perspective. Having this background meant that I felt more informed and able to express critical opinions about media within society. In the second part of the course, we delved deeper into a variety of weekly topics, such as violence or sex in the media, around which presentations were presented and discussions were initiated. Common questions surrounded a broader notion of whether or not there was reason for concern regarding media effects. A highlight for me was definitely the blog writing component of the course. During the second part of the course, we were required to write a weekly blog post on the week’s topic. These assignments helped to exercise my writing ability, combining both the scientific knowledge we had acquired as well as our thoughts on current practices and real-life media examples. It was great to get some fresh perspectives from my classmates about the topics we were discussing in class and we were encouraged to interact with each other by commenting on the posts. Clashing Views on Media Effects was a great blend of scientific perspective and practical examples of the media’s existence in our everyday lives. It definitely left me looking at media and considering media effects with new eyes.’

Research Methods Tailored to the Thesis

During the first semester, you will also take the course Research Methods Tailored to the Thesis course (6 ECTS), in which you’ll refresh, train, and further develop your research skills before starting to write your Master’s thesis in the following semester. 


In the second semester, you can personalise your Master’s by choosing two electives (6 ECTS each), allowing you to create a Master’s programme that suits your interest best. There is a range of excellent electives offered each semester, including, for example, Digital Media Lifestyles and The Blind Spot: Tracking Media Users. Here you can read about all the electives.

Master’s thesis

The Master’s thesis in Entertainment Communication must reflect a thorough understanding of the theories relevant to the topic and be based on original empirical research. You will be guided and supervised in the creation, design, conduct, and analysis and reporting of an academic empirical study. There is a wide array of potential research topics. For example, you might ask whether using social media such as Snapchat during television viewing alters the entertainment experience, whether entertainment media can influence identity formation, or you might investigate the potential opportunities of entertainment education. Alternatively, you might study the potential effects associated with binge viewing (e.g., Netflix viewing), the motives behind sharing videos online, or the negative and positive consequences associated with using Tinder. These are just some of the many different topics that are possible in this track. Several example theses of this and other tracks can be found by following the link.

Accreditation and title

Upon completion, you will receive a Master of Science (MSc.) degree. You can read more here.