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Research Master
Communication Science: Research Master's (Academic)
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Study programme

The curriculum of the Research Master's track in Academic Communication Research is largely tailor-made by the student in consultation with the study adviser. It consists of 120 ECTS in total and is structured as follows:

1. Substantive coursework (36 ECTS)

Of the substantive coursework, 6 ECTS is dedicated to the mandatory course Advancing and Building Communication Science Theory, which lays the foundation for advanced understanding of theory building in communication science. The remaining 30 ECTS can be chosen from our four substantive domains: Corporate Communication, Persuasive Communication, Political Communication and Entertainment Communication. You can specialize in one of the domains, but you can also create your own individual profile by selecting any combination of substantive theoretical courses.  

2. Methodological coursework (39 ECTS)

In order to ensure that you have extensive knowledge of the dominant research methodologies in the field of Communication Science, 21 ECTS consists of mandatory core methodological coursework. These mandatory courses are: Experimentation in the Social SciencesContent Analysis and Survey Design. A course element on Research and Data Ethics is also mandatory. Besides this, you need to complete at least 12 ECTS from a selection of elective courses concerning the statistical analysis of empirical data. You can choose the remaining ECTS out of all methods electives mentioned in the programme according to your own interests and profile. It is also possible to select methods courses offered by other departments at the UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. 

3. Research participation (12 ECTS)

The ASCoR Research Participation and Evaluating Academic Research are a mandatory part of the Research Participation. During the ASCoR Research Participation you will individually participate in an ongoing research project at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) for a total of at least 168 hours. You can select your own project to participate in from the many ongoing research projects at ASCoR. For instance, you could oversee an international group of coders conducting a large-scale content analysis of the news and help analyze the results. Or, you could design and conduct an experiment together with an ASCoR researcher.

In addition, a maximum of 12 ECTS can be devoted to an academic Research Internship. The internship will substitute a part of your requirement of the methodological coursework. Research internships can take place at ASCoR or another academic research institution in communication science or related field located at a Dutch or international university, or at professional communication and/or social research organisations in the Netherlands or abroad. Previous students have taken research internships at Ohio State University, the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and the University of Lund in Sweden, among others. 

4. Dissertation Module (21 ECTS)

The dissertation module consists of two parts. The largest part is the mandatory Research Master’s thesis. This involves an 18 ECTS empirical research project, individually supervised by a senior ASCoR researcher, resulting in a written thesis. Next, there is a mandatory Thesis Communication module, where the thesis research findings are presented to academic or lay audiences (e.g., an oral presentation for an academic or lay audience, contribution to academic journal manuscript, a blog etc.).

The Master’s theses from some of our alumni have been published in international top-ranked journals such as the Journal of Advertising, Public Relations Review, and the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. You can find some example theses here.

Individual study plan

Before starting the programme, you fill out an individual study plan which needs to be approved by the study adviser. More information about this study plan can be obtained from the study advisers.

Academic track versus Professional track

The academic track is tailored to students who have the ambition to pursue a PhD. The professional track is tailored to students who have the ambition to pursue a career in research outside academia (although it also gives access to PhD programs).

Courses

A more detailed description of all courses mentioned above can be found in the course catalogue

COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Advancing and Building Communication Science Theory
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    6
  • Good Research Practices Preparation
    1—2
    4—5
  • Experimentation in the Social Sciences
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 2
    6
  • Research & Data Ethics
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 6
    3
  • Restricted-choice electives: Substantive coursework
    1—2
    4—5
    12
  • Restricted-choice electives: Methodological coursework
    1—5
    12
  • Content Analysis
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 4
    6
  • Survey Design
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 5
    6
  • Participation ASCoR Research
    1—3
    6
  • Evaluating Academic Research
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 6
    6
COURSES SEM 1 SEM 2 SEMESTER 1 SEMESTER 2 EC
  • Restricted-choice electives: Substantive coursework
    1—2
    4—5
    18
  • Restricted-choice electives: Research participation
    1—6
    18
  • Participation ASCoR Research
    1—3
    6
  • Good Research Practices
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 1
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 4
    6
  • Good Research Practices Preparation
    1—2
    4—5
  • Research Master Thesis Communication Science
    1—6
    18
  • Thesis communication: Item for lay or academic audience
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 3
    ???studyprogramme .period??? 6
    3
See more information in the Course Catalogue

Workload

Students are expected to study full-time. The majority of these hours concern self-study, complemented by on average 8 hours per week of class meetings.

Our teaching approach emphasizes commitment. Teaching methods mostly concern tutorials, with groups ranging from 20 to 25 students. Both teaching staff and students are expected to actively contribute to the tutorials, by giving presentations, working on small-scale research projects, and active discussion.