New Media and Society


The digitisation of media and communication presents both users and companies with massive societal challenges. It also has far-reaching implications for our information society and innovation economy. The rapid pace of technological evolutions, forces the user to adapt accordingly. Both in terms of media consumption patterns, but also with regard to attitudes, skills, expectations and consumption. When combined with the heightened competition of new (often international) (internet) players, traditional business models are becoming increasingly threatened.

This means innovation and user focus are more than ever key in the quest to find new models of value creation and corporate management in a digital economy. This economy is irrevocably tied to the societal shift to a knowledge society. Economic insights are linked to political economic ones in this shift that is being felt on several different levels and stakeholders.

The specialisation in New Media and Society aims to prepare social scientists who are ready and able to tackle these challenges. Social scientists attuned with the quickly changing ‘homo digitalis’ who possess the necessary economic and societal knowledge to translate these insights into innovation management, corporate models and policy makers. The specialisation is supported by the research group Media & ICT (MICT).

Obligatory courses

For these reasons the specialisation in New Media and Society is centred around three courses that have strong ties with the professional world.

The three basic courses are each tied to one of the three types of stakeholders and levels that we are seeing challenged by digitisation:

  • Media and ICT: Innovation-research
    Methodological course looking at the user’s perspective. How do I map the changing user? How do I measure his/her experiences and involve him or her in the different phases of innovation development? Practical usability and applying these methods are central. The methods vary from creative ones such as co-creation and co-design, over experimental and interdisciplinary methods, to quantitative methods such as potential estimation.
  • Media, Market and ICT
    Economic perspective. Students are familiarised with basic concepts surrounding value creation and business models. Sector by sector, we map the challenges and current developments. A topical and case driven approach is taken.
  • New Media Studies
    Societal and political economic perspective. ‘New Media Studies’ focuses on the societal changes resulting from the digital revolution. Students are made acquainted with the growing social-scientific and critical theory formation and research traditions within the broad domain of the information society. Themes covered include digital participation, youth culture and new media, social media, identity and privacy/surveillance and convergence culture.
  • Master’s Dissertation

A close cooperation with the professional field is expressed in interdisciplinary exercises and challenges. Students are challenged by managers companies and organisations. In the span of a semester they are tasked with solving an issue that these companies are currently struggling with. Students have to come up with a market- and user-oriented solution. Students then report on their findings from an academic perspective. In recent years we have collaborated with Belgacom, Barco, Kinepolis, Mobile Vikings and VRT.

Apart from this, we try to get as close to the professional field as possible through guest lectures, workshops, internships and project weeks.

Elective courses and internship

Students are able to customise the programme to suit their own interests. Business oriented courses such as ‘Business Skills’ and ‘Market and Prices’ are on offer, as well as methodological ones such as ‘Advanced Qualitative Techniques’ or courses geared towards the media industry, such as ‘Politics and Media’ and ‘Television Studies’. Furthermore, students can opt for an internship in various branches to get a head start on their future careers.

Labour market

Our graduates often find employment as social media coordinators, consultants, UX experts, project leaders in innovation, (scientific) researchers, product designers, e-marketing coordinators, trendwatchers, digital content editors, journalists and data analysts. Some even start their own companies.