Master in Media and Area Studies (MARS)


Program Description

What is Mars?

The Master in Media and Area Studies (MARS) combines two important contemporary fields of study: Media Studies and Area Studies. This combination provides in-depth and critical knowledge about processes of mediation and signification, and how space and geography - the political and social specificities of an area - intersect with them. In particular, MARS will enable a thorough understanding of the role of context. Media (and communication) studies have a long tradition of emphasizing the importance of context, in dealing, for instance, with media production, content and interpretation/reception. And, of course, contexts are also spatial. Regions and countries, with their imagined communities, their politics, their institutional structures, their insides, and outsides, are particular, and the impact in particular ways on media (infra)structures, media content and audience practices. MARS will generate a better understanding of the complexity of this context. Regions and countries are not internally homogeneous, and they cannot be studied in isolation and as structurally different from other regions and countries. MARS still takes into consideration that these regions and countries are particular socio-political and cultural entities that have characterizing but complex (and sometimes contradictory) particularities, which are extremely significant for the study of the media spheres that are embedded in these regions and countries.

The backbone of MARS is a groundedness in Prague, the Czech Republic, Central, and Eastern Europe and the European Union. This enables two particular spatial focal points, which provide the backbone of the MARS program, namely Central and Eastern Europe and the European Union. At the same time, MARS avoids an exclusive focus on Central and Eastern Europe, and offers (mostly but not exclusively through the electives) knowledge about other European regions, or about Europe as a whole. A second extension relates to more transnational and transcultural approaches, moving away from the logic of nation-state homogeneity, with emphasis on internal conflict and exclusion. This MARS backbone is combined with and strengthened by two main components: A theoretical component, which consists of a combination of post-colonial theory, media sociology, memory studies, and political geography. Moreover, also a methodological component provides the required support. These two focal points and the theoretical and methodological components structure the MARS program.

MARS is a collaboration between the Institute of Communication Studies and Journalism (ICSJ FSV UK) and the Institute of International Studies (IIS FSV UK).

What will MARS graduates have acquired after completing the program?

Graduates in the Master's program of MARS will have acquired factual knowledge of the cultural and historical position of media and media communication within the geographic area of Central Eastern Europe. They will understand the social and political contexts of Central Eastern Europe, and the wider context of the European Union and the neighboring European regions. They will know the terminology, the key concepts, and theories of the research field of interpersonal and mediated communication and of political studies. They will be capable of analyzing the social, political and cultural role of mediated communication, and they will understand the regional, transnational and European political dynamics and conflicts. They will know how to evaluate different sources of information critically, they have learned the rules of academic writing and they will be able to manage their own research project.

Future Careers

MARS graduates will have achieved in-depth knowledge about the media and political ecology in Central Eastern Europe and the European Union. This will support their future employment in more senior/advisory positions in a variety of social fields and organizations, including state administrations, private sector (including media), public service institutions, and non-profit organizations.

Who is this program for?

MARS is ideal for students who want to gain better knowledge about the societal role of media and politics, and who want to understand how different contexts interact with each other. MARS welcomes students who want to sharpen their critical and inquisitive minds, and who wish to gain in-depth knowledge about how the Czech Republic, Central, and Eastern Europe and the European Union function.

Why are Media Studies and Area Studies important?

Media are omnipresent in society, and play a key role in circulating a wide variety of representations about an equally large diversity of issues. More than ever, different technologies and organizations have become very active in mediating our worlds. These representations, technologies, and organizations are not neutral in themselves, but actively intervene in how we see our worlds. Moreover, they are crucial locations to understand how processes of making-making function. Area studies are based on the premise that space matters and that particular spaces have specificities that need to be studied in their own right. But at the same time, area studies are characterized by the permanent reminder that no space is homogeneous and that spaces influence each other, for instance in contexts of globalization and post-coloniality. Finally, area studies also critically focus on power relations within and among different areas, thematizing issues of domination and resistance.

Course Structure

Total credits

  • Compulsory courses: 69 credits
  • Compulsory courses - final thesis: 15 credits
  • Compulsory optional courses: 24 credits
  • Elective courses: 12 credits

Compulsory courses

  • Media and Society
  • Communication and Politics
  • Czech Media System in European Comparison
  • Conflict and Media in Southern Europe
  • Introduction to Post-colonial Theory
  • Political Geography
  • Theorizing Memory: Social and Cultural Remembering
  • Political Systems of East European Countries Today
  • EU Institutions
  • Grand Debates of European Integration
  • The methodology of Social Sciences
  • Academic Writing

Compulsory courses - final thesis

  • Master Thesis Seminar I
  • Master Thesis Seminar II

Compulsory optional courses

12 credits to select from list 1:

  • Audiovisual Interpretation of Reality
  • Cultural Studies
  • New Media and Convergence Culture
  • Political Economy of Communication
  • Media and Technical Images
  • Contexts of Television
  • Praxis

12 credits to select from list 2:

  • Culture and politics in Europe
  • Migration and mobility: comparative issues in Western European Countries
  • The transnational history of contemporary Europe
  • Current Challenges in Europe
  • Concepts and Interpretations of Central European History
  • Social Exclusion and Roma in Central Europe
  • Ethnic Conflicts in Central and Eastern Europe

Graduation Requirements

In the course of the program, students obtain a total of 120 ECTS credits, including the obligatory courses. Moreover, students will have to pass the state exam, which consists out of the defense of the final thesis and a 2000-word academic essay on a randomly allocated topic in the field of media and area studies.


Applicants for the MARS program will need to have obtained their BA certificates by the time of the start of the first semester of their studies (end of September every year). A background in media and communication studies, international relations, political studies/sciences, or other related disciplines will prove advantageous for the students during the course of the program, but we also welcome highly motivated applicants with backgrounds in other fields. What is essential for the applicant's success during the selection procedure is the demonstration of an active interest in media, communication, and politics.

In addition to the application form, the following documents must be provided:

  • Copy of a diploma to show completed bachelor studies, or confirmation of ongoing bachelor studies in the academic year that those studies will be completed
  • Transcript of marks and academic results from previous bachelor studies
  • CV
  • Motivation letter
  • Document showing level achieved in the English language (if applicable)

Applications may also include:

  • References or letters of recommendation
  • Writing sample - the best relevant academic text written by the student (essay, thesis, analysis, case study, etc.)

All documents which are not originally in Czech, Slovak or English must be accurately translated into English. Only complete applications will be considered. Personal data will be used exclusively for organizing course enrolment.

Applicants who are native speakers of English or whose studies were conducted in English do not need to provide evidence of their level of English. Other applicants should provide one of the following results: IELTS Academic - the minimum required overall band score of 6.5, with band score 6.0 or above in all four components, TOEFL Internet Based Test - the minimum required overall score of 80, or Cambridge ESOL FCE - minimum scale score of 173.

Applications that are complete, and that fulfill all requirements will be assessed by the admissions committee. The focus of the evaluation will be on the academic quality of previous activities, levels of acquired knowledge, skills and motivation. The committee will rank all considered applications on the basis of an allocated score on a scale of 1 to 100 points. This score is constituted as follows: (1) academic quality of previous activities and levels of acquired knowledge (including previous studies): 0-30 points; (2) skills (including English proficiency): 0-30 points; (3) motivation: 0-40 points. In order to be ranked at all, the score of each scoring component has to be more than 50% of the maximum score.


Tuition Fees

  • 3000 EUR per year for students from the EU and EEA countries
  • 6000 EUR per year for students from other countries

Please note that these fees cover only the cost of instruction and examinations and that students are responsible for paying their own living expenses (food, accommodation, etc.). The living costs in Prague are generally considered affordable in comparison to, for instance, many Western European capitals.

Reducing or Waiving the Fee

The Faculty of Social Sciences aims to support future students and their studies. Therefore we offer a set of scholarships and fee reductions.

Scholarships and Funding

International Visegrad Fund Scholarships

The International Visegrad Fund (IVF) is a joint initiative of the governments of the four Visegrad Group countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary). It offers scholarships for study abroad, both to students from within the Visegrad group and to neighboring countries like Belarus and Ukraine. If need be, scholarship applicants can request a preliminary confirmation of acceptance at the International Office of FSV UK.

Fulbright Commission Scholarships

The Fulbright Commission provides U.S. citizens with the opportunity to study, teach, or conduct research in the Czech Republic. You can find information about the grants here. Besides the Fulbright Grants, there are other scholarship programs available for U.S. students.

Other sources provides essential information about the higher education system, study opportunities, and scholarships, as well as about student life in the Czech Republic.

Why Prague?

  • Prague, with its particular geographic location and history, is a perfect place to study media and politics;
  • Charles University belongs to the world's best universities;
  • Charles University has partnerships with other top universities around the world;
  • Prague is a favorite destination amongst international students for its cosmopolitan environment and great job opportunities both during and after your studies;
  • Our excellent teaching staff uses a personal and student-centered approach to learning, while simultaneously stimulating the student's intellectual autonomy;
  • Prague is a kind, hospitable and welcoming city, without serious safety issues.
Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

Charles University (CU) was founded in Prague in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and belongs among the oldest, largest and most prestigious universities in the world. Charles University is c ... Read More

Charles University (CU) was founded in Prague in 1348 by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and belongs among the oldest, largest and most prestigious universities in the world. Charles University is currently ranked among the top 2% of the world´s universities in Shanghai University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities. It is the number one university in Eastern Europe according to the The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. Read less