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Strategic Communications MA PG Dip

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Students will learn how states and their governments communicate in international politics and how they shape long term strategies in a range of fields from military to diplomatic to aid and development. This includes preparing for conflict between states or with insurgent groups, communicating a path during hostilities, and transitioning through post-conflict situations. It further analyses how states use diplomacy, culture and economics to manage the peace and avoid conflict, and engage in treaty and trade negotiations. Students will also encounter crisis communications: how to shape strategic responses to natural disasters, terror attacks, and military invasions. To appreciate this complex field from multiple perspectives, students will further discover how insurgent and revolutionary movements think about and put into practice their communications strategies with populations and states.

These themes will be taught through a set of challenges that represent some of the most significant that strategic communicators will face in the coming decade. We aim to prepare them with suitable skills.

Along with subject matter expertise, students will develop transferable analytical, research, and practical skills in a dynamic and rigorous, intellectual environment.

The course is associated with the King’s Centre for Strategic Communications (KCSC) - a global network of government agencies, media and marketing companies, and alumni.

Visit our online hubs for content, news and events about the Department of War Studies here

Key Benefits

War Studies is a multidisciplinary department devoted to the study of all aspects of war and conflict and the broad remit of international relations. In the 21st century we need to understand how states and insurgent movements communicate their policies and ideas in these dynamic contexts. We enable you to:        

  • Develop skills for in-depth analytical and critical thinking about international politics. Work with the latest, cutting-edge research in your field.
  • Contribute to a vibrant research community. Our world-renowned staff and international student body come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds.
  • Work with some of the world’s best academics in your field. Our Department staff publish world-leading research and offer outstanding research-led teaching and training.
  • Work with some of the world’s leading practitioners from governments, internal organisations, and strategic communications agencies. We teach not only how to think about strategic communications but how to do it.
  • Build networks. Connect with visiting academics, government ministers, diplomats, soldiers, aid and trade leaders, and journalists who regularly deliver our lectures and contribute to our seminars.
  • Grow your networks with employers, think-tanks, organisations, policymaking bodies in the UK and globally.E
  • Enjoy living and studying right in the heart of London beside the River Thames.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Distance Learning, Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180 / ECTS 90 (UK 120 / ECTS 60 for FT PG Dip students)

Course leaders

Dr Neville Bolt

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7000
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200


Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of War Studies



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MA Strategic Communications

In the heart of London

MA Strategic Communications at King’s examines the fascinating role of communications in contemporary politics, corporate leadership, foreign policy and international development.

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Course detail


The MA

The aim of this Masters programme is to enhance your knowledge of national and geopolitics today as seen through the lens of strategic communications.

The course themes will be taught through a set of challenges that represent some of the most significant that strategic communicators will face in the coming decade. We aim to prepare them with suitable skills.

These challenges will be subject to change from year to year. But students might cover such themes as the genealogy of Strategic Communications; similarities with and differences from political marketing, commercial marketing, branding, public relations, and propaganda; and topics such as the return of Great Power politics; environmentalism and new social movements; future insurgency and revolution; Big Data and micro-targeting; the dominance of the image and visual culture; and empathy and emotions. All are examined through the lens of Strategic Communications.

Course format and assessment


The following table will give you an idea of what a typical MA Strategic Communications full-time academic year might look like as you progress through your studies:

 ModuleLectures, seminars and feedback Self-study 
 Per 45-credit module

60 hours of teaching across 20 weeks (Theory and Concepts required module).

40 hours teaching across 20 weeks (Applied Strategic Communications required module).

 390 hours.

 410 hours. 

 Per 15-credit module

20 hours of teaching across 2 weekends (for each recommended strategic communications optional modules)

 130 hours.
 Dissertation module (60 credits) Up to 12 hours of online guidance, training workshops and personal supervision.  588 hours.

 Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours work.


Assessment methods will depend on the modules selected. The primary method of assessment for this MA and Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) is a combination of essays, project work, class participation, and/or exams.

The dissertation module assessment will be assessed solely on the 12,000 word dissertation (100%).


Most of the learning for this degree takes place at the King’s College London Strand and Waterloo Campus, and at Bush House. Please note that locations are determined by where each module is taught and may vary depending on the optional modules you select.

We will use a delivery method that will ensure students have a rich, exciting experience from the start. Face to face teaching will be complemented and supported with innovative technology so that students also experience elements of digital learning and assessment.

Regulating Body

King's College London is regulated by the Office for Students. 



Year 1

Courses are divided into modules.

The MA

The MA comprises modules that total 180 credits. You will take two required modules – Theory & Concepts, and the practical Applied Strategic Communications. Each is worth 45 credits. You will take a further 30 credits of optional modules. This can be made up of a single 30 credit module or two 15 credit modules. MA Strategic Communications students are also required to write a 12,000-word research dissertation on a topic of Strategic Communications (60 credits). 

The Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip)

You will take modules totalling 120 credits.  You will take two required modules – Theory & Concepts, and the practical Applied Strategic Communications. Each is worth 45 credits. You will take a further 30 credits of optional modules. This can be made up of a single 30 credit module or two 15 credit modules.


Required Modules
MA & PG Dip Full time

All full-time students are required to take the following modules:

Only MA students are required to take the following module:

  • Dissertation (60 credits)

PG Dip Part time

As a part-time Diploma student, you will take one 45 credit required module and a 15 credit optional module in your first year.

•      Strategic Communications: Theory & Concepts (45 credits)

•      Plus one 15 credit optional module 

MA Part time

As a part-time MA student, you will take one 45 credit required module and 30 credit worth of optional module(s) in your first year.

•      Strategic Communications: Theory & Concepts (45 credits)

•      Plus , normally, two 15 credit optional modules 


Optional Modules

MA & PG Dip

You are required to take 30 credits of optional modules. Optional modules may typically include:

•      Audience and Population Behaviour & Influence (15 credits) – taught with King’s Business School

•      Political Marketing in the Digital Age (15 credits) – taught with King’s Business School

Or choose from a range of optional modules available within the Department of War Studies.  

Please Note: the optional modules available change each year, and are therefore only made accessible to enrolled students during the module allocation process.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Year 2

Required Modules

PG Dip Part time only

You are required to take the following modules in year 2:

•      Applied Strategic Communications (45 credits)

•      Plus one 15 credit optional module from the optional module

MA Part time only

You are required to take the following modules in year 2:

•      Applied Strategic Communications (45 credits)

•      Dissertation (60 credits)

Optional Modules
You will make up remaining credits from optional modules.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Strategic Communications Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements

High 2:1


Undergraduate degree with high 2:1 honours (i.e. overall average of at least 65% across all years of study) in history, international relations, political science, economics or other appropriate subject.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £70 applies.

All applications are assessed by a committee of academic tutors. This process takes on average eight weeks.

Please note that as part of the evaluation of your application you may be required to undertake a Skype interview.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes  A personal statement is required. This can be entered directly into the online application form (maximum 4,000 characters) or uploaded as an attachment to the online application form (maximum 2 pages). Please explain why you are interested in this particular programme and outline any relevant experience you have. If there are any anomalies in your academic record, please use the personal statement to explain related extenuating circumstances.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago. In some cases, we may request an additional reference from you.
Other Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.


Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. Our first application deadline is the 26th March 2021. After this date, the programme will remain open only if places are still available and will be closed as soon as it is full.

For programmes that remain open beyond this date, the final application deadlines for the following fee statuses are listed below:

  • EU or overseas (international) fee status: 30th July 2021
  • Home fee status: 27th August 2021

Please note, you will not be eligible for an application fee refund if you apply after the first application deadline in March, and we are unable to process more offers as places are filled before the final application deadlines above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: MA: £15,420 per year (2021/22); PG Dip: £10,280 per year (2021/22); PG Cert: £2,570 per year (2021/22)
  • Full time overseas fees: MA: £27,900 per year (22021/22); PG Dip: £18,600 per year (2021/22); PG Cert: £4,650 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time Home fees: MA: £7,710 per year (2021/22); PG Dip: £5,140 per year (2021/22)
  • Part time overseas fees: MA: £13,950 per year (2021/22); PG Dip: £9,300 per year (2021\

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March, payment is due by 30th April 2021.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April and 30th June, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July and 31st July, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer from late August onwards, payment is due within 2 days of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional Costs

In addition to the costs above, you can also expect to pay for:

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies
  • Library fees and fines
  • Personal photocopies
  • Printing course handouts/binding costs
  • Society membership fees
  • Stationery
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses
  • Graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

This year four students joined the UK Cabinet Office as Strategic Communicators after completing the MA programme. Over the last 3 years, 14 of our students have enjoyed internships at the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Riga, Latvia, and several others have interned with and later been employed by communications companies in London.

This new MA course equips students to think conceptually about Strategic Communications in the dynamic world of global affairs, then how to apply particular practices and techniques to working in the field.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

View guide

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