SCM Final State Examination

SCM Final State Examination

  • Defence of Diploma thesis

Following the submission of their MA theses, students will receive two reviews of their work (written by a supervisor and a reviewer) one week before the thesis' discussion, the latest.

The discussion of the MA thesis takes place in front of a committee composed out of at least three faculty members. The discussion of the thesis is divided into three parts and lasts around 45 minutes, resulting in the final evaluation which is preceded by the following steps:  
- students’ presentation of the thesis (around 15 minutes)
- evaluations of the thesis presented both by the supervisor and reviewer
- students’ replies to the reviews
- a general discussion 

More details concerning the MA thesis preparation (including the length of the thesis, submission deadlines) is available HERE.

  • Social and Media Theory: Written examination (an essay) and discussion

Written exam from Social and Media Theory is the first part of the State Exam, taking place on Day 1 in the morning. The students will be expected to use knowledge acquired in these classes: Media and Society: An Introduction, Contemporary Social Theory, Communications Research, Media Sociology.

From the five topics below, the committee will select three. From these three topics, each student will select one and will write a short essay covering its key points.

The essay should be at least 1500 words long and the students will have about 4 hours to write it.

It is closed books exam, so the students do not need to provide complete references. For example, quoting Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle (1995) can be done as "Debord writes that...." or "in his book about the spectacle, Debord claims that...." 

The students should always think about the social aspect and the media aspects of the topic. They should quote all the readings recommended for each of the topics, but they can go beyond that in order to demonstrate their familiarity with the topic and with authors dealing with it.

The essays will be evaluated by Dr. Jan Balon and Mgr. Jan Miessler who will suggest a grade (A-F) and 1-2 questions that will be based on the essay. For example, if a student would write about network society quoting only Manuel Castells, one of the questions may be: "Do other authors, like Jan van Dijk, agree with Castell's views on network society?"

The essays will be evaluated against the following criteria: a) social scientific relevance, b) argumentation, logical coherence and structure, c) the use of empirical evidence for illustrative purposes, d) style and language. 

The students will know the suggested grade and the questions before the oral part of the state exam and they should be prepared to answer these and follow-up questions of the committee in about 10 minutes. Based on their performance, the committee can adjust the grade one letter up or down, so if Balon and Miessler suggest a "C", the student should get "B", "C" or "D" but not "A", "E" or "F".

The list of topics and literature:

1. Postmodern theory. 

Matthewman, S., Hoey, D. (2006) What Happened to Postmodernism?. Sociology 40 (3): 529–547.

Baudrillard, J (1995) The Gulf War Did Not Take Place. Indiana University Press. (Chapter 3: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, pp. 61-87)

Debord, G. (1995) The Society of the Spectacle. Zone Books. (Chapter 2: The Commodity as Spectacle, pp. 12-15)

2. Theories of globalization.

Dirlik, A. (2003). Global Modernity: Modernity in an Age of Global Capitalism. European Journal of Social Theory 6 (3): 275–292.

Roudometof, V. (2009). Gusts of Change: The Consequences of the 1989 Revolutions for the Study of Globalization. European Journal of Social Theory 12 (3): 409–424.

3. The culture of the new capitalism. 

Kemple, T. M.  (2009). Spirits of Late Capitalism. Theory, Culture & Society 24 (3): 147–159.

Jenkins, H. (2006) Covergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York University Press. (Introduction: 'Worship at the Altar of Convergence': A New Paradigm for Understanding Media Change, pp. 1-24)

Hebdige, D. (1979) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. Routledge. (Chapter 6: Subculture: The Unnatural Break, pp. 90-99)

4. Transformations of Identity

Adams M. Hybridizing Habitus and Reflexivity:: Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Identity? Sociology 2006;40(3): 511–528. 

Orchard V. Culture as Opposed to What?: Cultural Belonging in the Context of National and European Identity. European Journal of Social Theory 2002;5(4): 419–433.

5. Recent trends in social theory (postcommunism, postcolonialism and multiculturalism, network society). 

Hall, S. (1996). „When was the “Post-Colonial”? Thinking at the Limit‟ in I. Chambers and L. Curti (eds.) The Post-Colonial Question: Common Skies, Divided Horizons‟, London: Routledge, pp. 242–260.

Ray, L. (2009).  “At the End of the Post-Communist Transformation? Normalization or Imagining Utopia?” European Journal of Social Theory 12 (3): 321–336.

van DIJK, J. (2012) The Network Society. (3rd ed.) Sage. (Chapter 2: Networks: The Nervous Systems of Society, pp. 22-48)


  • Research Project: Written examination and discussion

According to a committee’s assignment, the student will design a social research project in the fields of sociology, communication or media in the range of 1000 to 2000 words. The topic for the assignment will be communicated to the students on the day of the exam. The research project must have a mix-research design and therefore combine qualitative and quantitative methods. This project must correspond to the methodological principles taught in one of the subjects of the methodological basis of the study. The assignment will specify the parameters of the project, including research objectives, research questions and hypothesis, research design, sampling strategy and presentation of methods (including the discussion of reasons leading to their selection). An appointed member of the committee will prepare a written evaluation of the project. The students will be expected to use the knowledge acquired in these classes: Introduction to Social Research Methodology, Communications Research, Applied Social Research, Diploma Seminar I, Diploma Seminar II. Students could also apply the knowledge that they acquired during one of the elective methodological courses.


Babbie, E., 2012. The Practice of Social Research. London, Wadsworth Publishing Company

Batini, C., Scannapieco, M., 2006. Data Quality. Concepts, Methodologies and Techniques. Berlin, Springer-Verlag

Bickman, L. (ed.), 2000. Research Design. London, Sage Publication

Biemer, P. P., Lyberg, L. E., 2003. Introduction to Survey Quality. New Jersey, Wiley

Creswell, J. W.; Plano Clark, V. L., 2007. Designing and Conducting. Mixed Methods Research. California, Sage Publications

Jeřábek, H.: Paul Lazarsfeld and the Origins of Communications Research. Prague, Routledge 2019, (electronic version free in the faculty library) 

Schutt, R. K., 2005. Investigating the Social World. The Process and Practice of Research. Boston, Sage Publications (4th ed.)


When the state exam takes place?

The written parts of Social and Media Theory examination and the Research Project will take place in two separate days, normally around a middle of June, September, beginning of February (e.g., Monday and Tuesday on Week 1). The students will receive an evaluation within three days after the written examination (e.g., Friday on Week 1). The thesis discussion and discussion of written parts are expected to take place in one day one week after the written examination the latest (e.g., Monday on Week 2).

Evaluation of the Social and Media Theory, and Research Project Exam

The written work (essay and research project) will get a grade and the evaluators may ask some additional questions. Students should prepare a defence of their work and mark. Possibly the student will be asked for clarification of some points in their essay/research proposal. The mark will not change more than +- one grade (if a student gets B from the written part, he/she can get A/B/C after the oral part). The mark after the defence is the final one.