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
- other humanities
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Monica Sassatelli
Modules & structure
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 Literature, Politics 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.
|What is Culture?||30 credits|
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.
- Media and Communications
- Centre for Cultural Studies
- English and Comparative Literature
- Educational Studies
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.
Each module and the Dissertation are individually assessed. The core module and most option modules are assessed by a 5-6,000 word essay (2-3,000 word essays for mini-options). The Dissertation is a 12-15,000 word original piece of scholarship.
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 for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
8th in the UK and 35th in the world for this subject area**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research***
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.
**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
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.
- 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:
- Cultural Inquiry
- Cultural Sociology
- Cultural Studies
- Cultural Values
- European Journal of Social Theory
- Feminist Theory
- New Formations
- Public Culture
- Theory, Culture & Society
- Theory & Event
- Political Theory
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.
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.
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 minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)
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.
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.
- 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.
As part of the selection process, you may be offered an informal interview with the Programme Convenor.
Find out more about applying.