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MA in Critical & Creative Analysis

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Sociology

Course overview

Cultural processes are creative and dynamic, meaning that our analysis of them must be too. This programme emphasises the critical analysis of cultural processes from an advanced theoretical perspective and with an interdisciplinary outlook.

How can cultural analysis engage with the most significant challenges of the contemporary globalised world, with all its inequities and all its possibilities? Can the critical traditions of sociological thought provide adequate responses to today’s world?

The principal disciplinary resources the programme draws on are those of sociology of culture, cultural studies, post-structuralist philosophy, critical literary aesthetics and textual analysis. Together they provide students with a critical grasp on contemporary cultural processes and central issues in the theory and analysis of contemporary culture.

Our most flexible MA, the programme benefits from an expanded choice of option modules.

In addition to the core module and one chosen from within a wide range of Sociology options, you are able to choose two further modules from across a range of participating departments, allowing you to tailor the degree to your individual interests. 

The MA attracts students with backgrounds in social science, humanities and philosophy as well as more creative pursuits, and from across the world.

This course covers the following disciplines: 

  • sociology and social sciences
  • anthropology
  • art
  • philosophy
  • other humanities

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Monica Sassatelli

Modules & structure

Overview

The MA enables you to develop critical and analytical interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary socio-cultural processes. It offers a sense of the breadth of possible approaches, while developing the skills necessary to produce original analyses in a scholarly and inventive manner. You take:

  • A core module (30 credits)
  • Three option modules (or equivalent; 90 credits in total)
  • A dissertation (60 credits)

The core module is taught within the Department of Sociology, and provides an introduction to critical contemporary sociological conceptualisations of culture, presenting opportunities for the development and exploration of interdisciplinary perspectives on the analysis of contemporary cultural processes.

In addition to the core module, you also study three option modules (or equivalent). One of these must be chosen from Sociology; the others may be taken from departments across Goldsmiths including the Departments of Anthropology, English and Comparative LiteraturePolitics and Media and Communications, Music, Educational Studies, and the Centre for Cultural Studies.

You also write a Dissertation for which you meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff and participate in Dissertation workshops.

As a full-time student, you would normally complete the core module and one option in the Autumn term, and two further options in the Spring term. As a part-time student you will spread these over two years. Core and option modules are normally taught by one hour lectures, followed by one hour seminars.

Core module

Module title Credits
  What is Culture? 30 credits

Option modules

You have 90 credits at your disposal; of these, 30 credits must be taken from within the Department of Sociology. You can choose either one regular option (30 credits) or two 'mini options' (2 x 15 credits) from the department's extensive list

For your other options, you can choose modules from the following Departments across Goldsmiths. Not all modules are suitable for students from all academic backgrounds; you will discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor at the start of your degree.

Dissertation

For your Dissertation you'll meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff and participate in Dissertation workshops led both by staff and students (based on presentation and discussion of your work in progress). The dissertation is a substantive piece of research, empirical or theoretical, on a topic of your choice.

Assessment

Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) awards are also available in this programme. For the award of Postgraduate Diploma, you would need to successfully complete the core module and option modules to the value of 120 CATS; for the Postgraduate Certificate you would need to successfully complete the core module and option modules to the value of 60 CATS. Please note that these are exit awards; if you successfully complete the whole programme you'll be awarded an MA.

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Department

Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
1st in London* 8th in the UK and 37th in the world**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research**

Sociology

The Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are interested in everything from the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice to the ‘micro’ issues of cultural identity and the presentation of self in a digital world.

Our staff are some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – they’re the pioneers who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. They’ve played a key role in developing social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural policy, and linking theory to practice.

Through their world-leading research you’ll be at the forefront of current debates and will be encouraged to see the world differently.

Find out more about the Department of Sociology.

*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings

Staff

Many members of staff contribute to the programme. You may meet a range of different staff members if you choose the options on which they teach, or if your dissertation project fits well with their expertise and they are available to supervise you.

Staff that have contributed to the core module in recent years include:

Find out more about staff in the Department of Sociology.

Suggested reading

  • Adorno, T. W. (1991) The Culture Industry. Routledge
  • Becker, H. S. (1998) Tricks of the trade: how to think about your research while you’re doing it. University of Chicago Press
  • Becker, H. S. (2007), 2nd ed. Writing for social scientists: how to start and finish your thesis, book, or article. University of Chicago Press
  • Bell. V. (2007) Culture & Performance. Sage
  • Bennett, T. and Frow, J. (2008) The Sage Handbook of Cultural Analysis. Sage
  • Eagleton, T. (2000) The Idea of Culture. Blackwell
  • Elliott, A. (2008) Contemporary Social Theory. Routledge
  • Jameson, F. (1998) The Cultural Turn. Verso
  • Lash, S. and Lury, C. (2007) Global Culture Industry. Polity
  • McGuigan, J. (2009) Cultural Analysis. Sage
  • Oswell, D. (2007) Culture & Society. Sage
  • Oswell, D. (2010) Cultural Theory, 4 vol. Sage
  • Williams, R. (1993) Culture & Society. Hogarth Press

Relevant academic journals include:

  • Constellations
  • Cultural Inquiry
  • Cultural Sociology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Cultural Values
  • Differences
  • European Journal of Social Theory
  • Feminist Theory
  • New Formations
  • Poetics
  • Public Culture
  • Theory, Culture & Society
  • Theory & Event
  • Political Theory
  • Signs

Skills & careers

You'll develop the following skills during the programme:

  • advanced analytical skills
  • the ability to evaluate complex theoretical positions and to deploy those within appropriate formats and frameworks

Recent graduate have embarked on professional careers in social research, thinks tanks, the arts and cultural sectors, government and public administration, development, human rights, NGOs, and in media an dcommunications globally. They have also progressed to PhD study.

 Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student profiles

Beatrix

"The course provided me with a door to new ways of thinking."

"After having trained in contemporary dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I undertook the MA in Critical & Creative Analysis in order to inform my artistic practice.

As a working artist, I believe it is important to develop an awareness and understanding of society and find inspiration along different avenues. This MA, the most flexible course in the Sociology department, has helped me to achieve this by further solidifying my academic base and providing me with a door to new ways of thinking."

Ivana

"I've developed as a scholar"

"I chose the MA Critical and Creative Analysis because it deals with influential critical theory, old and new, and nurtures a flexible and open approach to it, for which Goldsmiths is widely known.

In the core module we touched upon various topics that included cultural theory, gender studies, urbanism, modernity, philosophy of sciences and politics. We read both new and older classical theories through the contemporary experience, which provided us with a broad range of tools for analysing social and cultural phenomena.

Aside from the core module, I designed my own mix of Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies and focused on the topics that particularly interested me. It all led me to developing a dissertation on philosophy of immanence and biopolitics.

Prior to coming to London, I was running an activist platform based on self-organisation, collaboration and the use of commons. Having broadened my knowledge in critical theory, the MA will help me improve my work as an activist who encounters various groups and helps them articulate their practice. Having acquired new ways of engaging with theories as tools for deeply understanding contemporary contexts, I feel that I can develop further as a scholar and pursue PhD."

Sarah

"Intellectually and academically, I was surrounded by supportive and brilliant faculty and peers who challenged and nurtured me to propel my understanding of cultural theory, as well as my critical capacity."

"MA Critical and Creative Analysis was a profound and engaging opportunity for personal and professional development. Intellectually and academically, I was surrounded by supportive and brilliant faculty and peers who challenged and nurtured me to propel my understanding of cultural theory, as well as my critical capacity.

I had the flexibility with choosing courses to design a platform to develop my skills and interests in feminism and qualitative research methodology. I also had the fantastic opportunity to engage with some of the outstanding lecture series and events that Goldsmiths hosts. The flexibility of the MA dissertation design allowed me to combine a practice element to implement the new skills I had acquired in social research, and take advantage of the fantastic internal resources at the College (e.g. the Women’s Art Library).

I also had opportunities to participate in research projects, such as the Sociology Department’s collaborative experiment in real-time ethnography that worked in partnership with the Richard House Children’s Hospice. The rigour of academic training from the programme has served to secure my funded placement in the doctoral programme at the Institute for Cultural Practices at the University of Manchester. 

Additionally, I am continuing to enjoy the generous intellectual support of both faculty and peers that I met while at Goldsmiths, which has had such a positive impact on my personal and professional trajectory to this day."

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
  • An electionic copy of your reference on letter headed paper, or alternatively the email address of your referee who we can request a reference from. It is preferred that you use an academic reference, however in cases where applicants are unable to provide one, a professional reference is acceptable.
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory).

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an application deadline.

Selection process

As part of the selection process, you may be offered an informal interview with the Programme Convenor.

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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