Politics, Media & Canals

Politics, Media & Canals

Students choosing the Media and Politics specialisation will be studying for the second year at The University of Amsterdam (UvA) in the capital of the Netherlands.

The studies in Amsterdam focus on political journalism, its changing nature and its impact on citizens, politics and society at large. We look at the perspectives of journalists, politicians and communication professionals and explore the challenges they face interacting in increasingly global societies. 

The courses focus on the role of what represents 'good' political journalism; key political issues such as European integration, immigration or international conflicts in the eyes of citizens, journalists and political elites; political campaigning in elections and referendums; and new trends in political communication in- and outside Europe. Also, you will examine recent transformations in the European and international media and journalism landscape.

Throughout the specialisation year in Amsterdam, students can take part in numerous field trips, guest lectures and activities. In the past, students visited the European Commission, Brussels NGO’s, The Hague, the Clingendael Institute and the International Criminal Court, among others.

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is one of the world’s intellectual hubs. It is a university with a leading international reputation and outlook, fitting in with Amsterdam’s character and history as an independent, innovative and engaged city.

The vibe of Amsterdam adds an extra dimension to student life. The city was ranked 11th out of 200 cities worldwide in Mercer's 2015 ‘Quality of Living Survey’. In the pan-European 'International Student Barometer', 91% of students polled said Amsterdam was 'the place to be'.

Studying in Amsterdam

University of Amsterdam

The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is one of Europe’s most prominent research-led universities. It is a modern institution with a long and rich history dating from 1632.

With 5000 staff members, 30,000 students and 100 different nationalities, UvA is connected to thousands of researchers and hundreds of public and private institutions in the Netherlands and around the world.

The Media and Politics track, that can accommodate 25 Mundus Journalism students, is housed within the Graduate School of Communications. With approximately 400 new full-time students each year, the Graduate School of Communications is among the largest in the world.

The faculty of the Graduate School of Communications is also directly involved in the School of Communication Research (ASCoR). ASCoR is the largest institute for communication science research in Europe and one of the largest in the world. ASCoR received excellent results from the Research Assessment in 2014.

The Amsterdam modules

Module 1 // Journalism and the Media // 12 ECTS: Focuses on the interplay between journalism and politics in modern democratic societies. This module addresses different models and conceptions of political journalism, the role of journalism in society, ethical considerations, issues of freedom of speech, and the question of what represents 'good' political journalism today.

Module 2 // Communicating Europe // 6 ECTS: Deals with European integration and the behaviour of both the elites and the masses e.g. the European integration in the eyes of voters and the political elites. Political campaigning in European elections and referendums is a key focus of the seminar. 

Module 3 // Innovating Journalism // 6 ECTS: Examines the relatively recent transformations in the media and journalism landscape and discusses how these transformations can be critically assessed and have consequences for the consumption, production and distribution of journalism.

Module 4 // Electives // 6 ECTS: Students can choose from a range of thematic modules which cover different topics within the field of communication science.

Module 5 // Master Thesis // 30 ECTS: Students develop and carry out their own original research under the experienced guidance of a supervisor. Furthermore, to present the findings of this empirical thesis to a wider audience, students develop a journalistic product, varying from a documentary to a news article, website or other media formats.

Living in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the Netherland's capital, known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled facades - legacies of the city’s 17th-century Golden Age. Its Museum District houses the Van Gogh Museum, works by Rembrandt and Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum, and modern art at the Stedelijk. 

Although Amsterdam is famous, it is not a big city. About 750,000 people live there – and you can ride your bike from left to right and from north to south easily within one day.

Amsterdam has one other university (the Vrije University) and a lot of other institutions for higher education, making it a real student city.

There are many ways to enjoy yourself as an international student, and many on-campus organisations to help students. In the Netherlands the Euro is the official coin as in many other European cities.

For all kinds of information for foreigners on what to do, see, how to live, what to expect, please check Iamsterdam

The Amsterdam vibe

Students in Amsterdam will most probably find that they have no time to waste: Staff at the university are busy and very research engaged and make sure their students are also part of this energetic environment. 

Scholars at UvA are involved in a number of international collaborations and projects. As well as teaching Mundusians and others in the School of Communications Research, Professor and Chair of Political Communication, Claes H. de Vreese, for example, directs regional research organisation at the Centre for Politics and Communication - a forum for scholars, journalists, political actors and others interested in political communication.

UvA's School of Communication Research is involved in many other international projects too, like the collaborative initiative Multiple Journalism, encouraging independent and networked grassroots journalism around the world. 

Students are just as ambitious, and their work outputs echo the ambitious working environment of their teachers. The specialisation has a focus between journalism and research that sees its students not just produce research reports, but also an accompanying piece of journalism that corresponds with their research.

Many Mundusians in Amsterdam also compliment their studies with additional reporting work like ongoing podcast series Planet Mundus. Some recent students have used their spare time to travel Europe and produce a multimedia project called 'Goodnight, Habibi', about children who are refugees. 

The Amsterdam network: 

Andreas Schuck | Germany | Associate Professor at UvA + Mundus Journalism Programme Director in Amsterdam
Penny Sheets | USA | Assistant Professor at UvA + Academic Advisor for Mundusians in Amsterdam
Paulette Desormeaux | Chile | Alumna + Investigative Journalism Lecturer at UC Chile + recent visiting scholar to UvA
Hannah Wallace Bowman | UK | Amsterdam alumna + Lead Creative & Partner Strategist for LoveMattersHQ & Radio Netherlands Worldwide Media