The Media and Cultural Studies program aims to re-think the role of media in the Arab world and enrich debates taking place on various levels in media and cultural studies. In accordance with the Doha Institute's mission of integrating teaching and research to better prepare its graduates to become academic researchers and capable professionals, this program will train the next generation of high caliber Arab media and cultural studies scholars. 

Overall, the program emphasizes research training to enable students to conduct empirical and policy-driven research on Arab media production, cultures and institutions.  Program courses address research methodology, media theory, media representation, Arab media cultures, visual culture, media audiences and users, the political economy of mass media, and media ethics and law, among other areas. The program's cross-disciplinary courses contribute to broad understanding of relevant study areas in the social sciences and humanities.

The Media and Cultural Studies MA program is to be completed over two academic years, and consists of a total of 42 credit hours. In all, students register for eight 3-credit Media and Cultural Studies program courses (for a total of 24 credit hours). As outlined below, these eight Media and Cultural Studies courses include three core program courses and five program elective courses. In addition to these eight Media and Cultural Studies courses, students register for three 3-credit extra-disciplinary courses (for a total of 9 credit hours), one 3-credit free elective course, and a 6-credit MA thesis.

Program Entry Requirements

The Media and Cultural Studies program welcomes outstanding applicants who possess the skills and motivation required for graduate study.


A bachelor's degree in the field of the social sciences and humanities is desirable. Applications from students with a degree from any other academic background will be considered in light of the applicant's eligibility to study in the program.  

Before applying please ensure you have visited and understood the Admissions requirements and procedures at the Institute level.


Mohamad Hamas El Masry
Head of Program and Associate Professor (see full profile)

Imed Ben Labidi
Assistant Professor (see full profile)

Paolo D'Urbano​
Assistant Professor (see full profile)

Program Structure

Note: Course offerings may vary and are dependent on faculty availability, student demand and registration capacity.

A. Program Requirements  - 24 credits:

Core Courses

Students are required to study the two core courses (3 credits each) listed below:

MACS 611 Communication Research Methods:​ This course introduces students to media and cultural research techniques and methods. It prepares students to produce a substantial piece of research in the field of media and cultural studies. The course examines the historiographies of knowledge production and research within the field. It focuses on the histories, uses, and limitations of empirical research. The course teaches students how to conduct research using different empirical methods. 

MACS 612 Mass Communication Theory: This course will examine the development of media and cultural studies as a discipline, highlighting its theoretical origins and its contributions to cultural and media critical analysis. A key objective of the course is to introduce students to the discourse around de‐westernizing media and cultural studies as both a historical process and an academic endeavor that connects media and cultural theory to sociological and philosophical questions that are emerging from Arab academia. 

MACS 613 Rethinking Arab Media Cultures: An Anthropological Perspective: This course has both a practical and a theoretical component. It introduces students to novel and innovative modalities for studying media and visual cultures in the Arab region. It invites students to examine the relationship between everyday life, cultural and media institutions and cultural production, through an engagement with theories covered in “Critical Approaches to Media and Cultural Studies”. The practical component of the course entails visits to institutions including news networks, galleries, museums, and production houses. Students will be asked in groups to produce short ethnographic studies on an aspect of media, popular and visual culture in Doha. Through media ethnography, students will develop a self- reflexive contextual and critical understanding of the use of media both as an object of study and a tool for the conduct and dissemination of research.

Elective Courses

MACS 622 Critical Approaches in Media and Cultural: Critical Approaches in Media and Cultural studies engages with key concepts in critical theory and philosophy, from both Western and Arab academic sources. This course will examine the development of media and cultural studies as a discipline, highlighting its theoretical origins and its contributions to cultural and media critical analysis. The course examines Euro-American crit-ical theory from scholars including, but not limited to, Adorno, Horkheimer, Gramsci, Althusser, Said, Hall and Williams. A key objective of the course is to introduce students to the discourse around de-westernising the media and cultural studies as both a historical process and as an academic endeavour that connects media and cultural theory to sociological and philosophical questions that are emerging from Arab academia. 

MACS 623 Global Visual Cultures: Art, Aesthetics and Criticism: This course engages with key debates in the field of visual cultural studies, with a specific focus on art theory and practice. It examines the intersection between art, aesthetics and politics in the Middle East and beyond. The course explores the reasons behind the global proliferation of art circuits and critically assesses their implications on aesthetic trends and art criticism. 

MACS 624 Media Representations and Post-Colonial Studies: This course speaks to several questions arising at the intersections between postcolonial theory, the persistence of imperial cultural hegemony, and racial discourse. By undertaking the task of learning how to conduct postcolonial criticism, this course is designed to help students explore and examine the complicity of media representations and the production of knowledge paradigms with respect to Orientalism, Islamophobia, Eurocentrism, race, and gender differences. The emphasis is placed on explaining mass media’s production of spectacles in different forms by using the critical insights of ground breaking theories in the field of postcolonial studies. The course critiques Hollywood’s cinematic narratives and filmic representations of racial and cultural categories and compares critics’ responses.

MACS 625 Media Activism in the Middle East and North Africa: This course looks at the role of civil society groups in the MENA region and how they have appropriated different media platforms from which to voice their demands. The course explores how social media have facilitated alternative spaces for different social movements, transforming the way we understand and conceptualize key concepts, such as the public sphere, doing politics, and citizenship.

MACS 626 Media and Communication: From the Press to Web 2.0: This course explores how media technologies have evolved over time and explores how media historians, sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists have studied the ways in which the media have shaped the modern world. It critiques the discourses of technological de terminism whilst acknowledging the impact technology has on social transformations. The course will introduce the histories of the press, radio, television and the Internet beyond a chronological approach, emphasizing the interdependent relationships between the social, the cultural, the political and the economic.

MACS 627 The Political Economy of Communication: Ownership, Management and Regulation: This course provides the students with a strong grounding in media economics and the theories of political economy. It explores the importance of the political economy approach to the study of communications. This includes questions around media ownership, funding structures, and their implications for media policy, regulation and censorship. It also explores how media economics are directly linked to the stratification of society and the dissemination of information. 

MACS 628 Media Audiences and Users: The first part of the course reviews a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, focusing on and critiquing key debates on media audiences and the second part will be devoted to discussions around old media/new media, modernity/post-­‐modernity and identity politics. The purpose of this course is to engage students with theoretical and empirical research on media audiences; to critically examine and evaluate the different methodological approaches to the study of media audiences; and to contextualize audience theory and research from a transnational perspective.  

MACS 633 Ethics and Law in Contemporary Journalistic Practice: This course critically engages with key issues around journalistic practice today. Given the developments in media technology and the changes in the political economy of the media, this course rethinks journalistic practices in relation to issues around credibility, objectivity, legitimacy, censorship and freedom of speech. The course encourages students to creatively re-­conceptualize media law and ethics in light of new developments in the media.

Specialized English Language Course

MACS001 English Language for Media: non credit course

B. School Requirements - 12 credits:  ​​​

1 Cross - Disicplinary Course - 3 credits: 

SOSH 601 Issues in the Study of the Humanities and Social Sciences: All SOSH students must successfully complete two non-credit core compulsory courses offered at the School level as a cross-disciplinary introduction to the study of the social sciences and humanities.  Please visit the Interdisciplinarity at SOSH​ page for more details about these courses and their descriptions.​

2 - Interdisciplinary Courses - 6 credits:

Each program allows students to enroll in courses of special interest, and of a cross-disciplinary nature, which are offered jointly with one or more other programs. Courses offered as interdisciplinary courses may vary and are dependent on faculty availability, student demand and registration capacity. 

All students will choose two courses of 3 credits each from the list of interdisciplinary courses. ​Please visit the Interdisciplinarity at SOSH page for more details about these courses and their descriptions. 

3 - Non-restricted Elective - 3 credits: ​

Students may choose one course of 3 credits from any program in any of the Schools/centers in the DI (including SPADE and CHS). For this course, students may take an extra-disciplinary course from another SOSH program, or MACS 626 (Media and Communication: From the Press to Web 2.0), or a different MACS course that they haven’t yet taken. Students may opt to take their non-restricted elective course in their third semester instead of their fourth semester.

C. Thesis - 6 credits:​

Semester Four of the program (i.e. the second semester of the second year) will be devoted to the researching and writing of a thesis on a topic related to the program. This will be an opportunity for students to focus on an area of study of their choice, demonstrating the knowledge and skills they have acquired during the preceding three semesters. Students will be assigned academic advisors to supervise their research. 

The thesis examination consists of two parts; a marked assessment of the thesis (12,000-18,000 words) by two examiners and an oral defense in front of an examination panel comprised of the same two examiners. 

Career Destinations

Upon completion of this program, graduates will obtain a "Master of Social Sciences and Humanities in: Media and Cultural Studies". 

Graduates of this program will acquire relevant knowledge, research skills that are relevant to students' academic and professional careers. It will equip graduates with the critical, theoretical and methodological grounding that is needed to further their postgraduate studies, including Ph.D. studies. 

The program will also provide students with transferable skills that are essential for future careers in the media and the creative industries. Some career destinations include:

•           Government or non-government organizations analysts

•           Media researchers for news organizations

•           Strategic communications specialist 


Applicants may apply for the Media and Cultural Studies program through an online application. Please review the Admissions Dates to ensure the application and all required documents are submitted before the deadline. 

Please visit the Apply page in order to start your application.

For any academic questions please contact the School of Social Sciences and Humanities.