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Media and Communication Theory


Admission requirements

Required course(s):


Recommended course(s):



This course is an introduction to the field of mass media and mass communication with a focus on news media and journalism studies. It focuses on the way in which media mirror and shape our world. Therefore, we study and evaluate the processes that generate news and shape our social environments. Students will not only learn to recognize the role of media in changing political, social and cultural dynamics on the global stage but also criticize and analyze the many and ever-evolving relationships between media and their audiences.

The main aim of this course is to introduce students to the various dimensions of the (news)media so that they can independently and competently consider and reflect on mass media content and policy. Next to a theoretical section the course also has an empirical component: students will conduct a small-scale research project based on a content analysis.

Course Objectives

After completion of this course, students are able to:

  • explain how various theories have evolved, the various perspectives included, and the relevance for today’s impact of media on society;

  • describe the interdisciplinary nature of journalism studies and its connections with other disciplines;

  • discuss the objects of journalism studies as a discipline;

  • analyze media from a social constructionist’s perspective;

  • discuss key concepts such as social construction, framing, social problems, objectivity;

  • apply the basics of qualitative and quantitative media content analysis;

  • critically reflect on everyday news media;

  • demonstrate an understanding of the process by which social problems are constructed


Timetables for courses offered at Leiden University College in 2021-2022 will be published on this page of the e-Prospectus.

Mode of instruction

The first weeks will be characterized by a weekly theme that will be explored through lectures focusing on media theories followed by seminar sessions in which students elaborate on the theories discussed by applying these theories to examples from present day news media, brought in by students (video/radio fragments, news photographs, articles from news sites, blogs, etc.). In this way, we will cover both media theory and practice, visually and textually.

Next to these sessions in weeks 1 to 5, there will be a small-scale research project in week 6 (no regular classes that week; students work in small groups on a research project). In week 7 they present their research results. In week 8, there is a final exam.

Assessment Method

  • Presentation on Media Theory (teamwork: 20%) – weeks 1 – 5.

  • Small Scale Content Analysis Project including research presentation (video) + short research paper/ fact sheet (teamwork: 35%) weeks 6 and 7.

  • Written test Media Theory; (choose 7 questions out of 10) (individual: 35%) – week 8.

  • In-class Participation (individual, 10%)

Reading list



Courses offered at Leiden University College (LUC) are usually only open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Leiden University students who participate in one of the university’s Honours tracks or programmes may register for one LUC course, if availability permits. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator,


Dr. A. Vandendaele: