Aside from helping us make sense of the world, this degree also makes you aware of different political systems from around the world

A profile photograph of masters student Umanga Perera. She is holding a pen.
Umanga Perera
Masters student
International Public and Political Communication MA
Umanga studied for our International Public and Political Communication MA in the 2019-20 academic year and has shared her experiences of the course.

What's your experience been like so far?

So far the course has been very intellectually stimulating. The modules interlink with each other and we explore the same concepts through different perspectives. I especially enjoy JNL6401 Media, Society and International Crises as it explores how current conflicts and their reporting affect public opinion and government policy. On paper, it sounds boring and tedious, but in reality, it is anything but. It dissects conflict and war through the eyes of different countries, explores failed propaganda attempts by the US in Iraq and examines the rise of the notion of terrorism.

I also have been receiving support from the University's Disability and Dyslexia Support Service, as I have depression and generalised anxiety disorder. I have been assigned a peer mentor who helps me organise my working schedule and keeps me on track with my goals and deadlines. Along with this, I have a learning support plan to help make the department aware of anything that may affect my academic performance and contribution.

Since I made this arrangement, I feel that my time as a masters student has been a lot easier than my undergraduate experience. I have been a much more active participant in lectures and seminars and have a renewed confidence in my work.


This course is really great for anyone who wants to know how politics works. It answers questions that have arisen after the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election. In today's politically charged climate it is helpful to know what is going on and this course helps you do that

Umanga Perera

International Public and Political Communication MA


In terms of extracurricular activities, I cannot recommend Sheffield Volunteering enough. They have a variety of projects you can participate in and are always looking for more people to join in. It's a great way to uplift your mood, give back to your community and experience something new and different. I am currently volunteering with the Children's Project (having served as a project leader during the final year of my undergrad) and serving as a social media volunteer for the Cathedral Archer Project.

In addition to this, I have started a podcast with Forge Radio called Warts and All, which explores the effects that my mental health has on the relationships around me. I am also part of the committee having recently been elected as Deputy Head of News with Forge Radio. This helps develop my skills as a journalist and content creator.

What's been your favourite moment so far – or what are you most looking forward to?

I am most looking forward to getting started on my dissertation project. We are given a lot of flexibility in choosing what we can research, which is very good since I have been obsessively studying Qatar's media landscape for almost three years now.

I really enjoy researching Qatar as it has a very unique background to journalism. It is the founding country of Al Jazeera, a renowned media organisation, whilst its own local media practises self-censorship. Not much research is done in this area and I want to try to fill in some of the gaps with my dissertation.

Please tell us about your plans or hopes for when you've finished your degree.

Once I have completed my degree, I hope to start work as a TV researcher and carry on with mental health advocacy through my podcast. In the future, I want to do a PhD on Qatar's local media.

What advice would you give to someone who's currently considering applying for a place on the MA International Public and Political Communication degree?

This course is really great for anyone who wants to know how politics works. It answers questions that have arisen after the Brexit referendum and the 2016 US presidential election. In today's politically charged climate it is helpful to know what is going on and this course helps you do that.

Aside from helping us make sense of the world, this degree also makes you aware of different political systems from around the world. It is not just focused on western democratic countries but regimes from all over the world. Debate is encouraged, especially in the seminars – we are asked to always question what is being said. In essence, if you love a good argument about politics and can go on a rant about Brexit, this degree can be a good fit for you!

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