MA in Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Centre for Cultural Studies

Course overview

Conceived in the context of world-systemic transformation, this MA will give you the analytical tools to understand contemporary developments and world(s) through an encounter with post-colonial theory and international political economic issues.

We're witnessing today a tectonic shift in global geopolitics. The emergence of China, Brazil and India as global players, the development of global governance, the financial crisis, climate change – are all symptoms.

On this Masters you’ll grasp concepts like race, diaspora, hybridity, difference, grassroots development, HDI, multitude, immanence, and human rights.

These concepts are used to analyse practical, policy and activist issues arising from globalisation: global civil society, the role of international organisations (the IMF, WTO, UN and World Bank and global NGOs), intellectual property rights, social capital, financialisation, global governance and deep democracy.

You'll deal with issues like terrorism, microfinance, indigenous people, gender and sexuality, multiculturalism and environmental justice.

The MA is ideal for anyone pursuing careers in policy research, NGOs, advocacy, charities, international organisations, cultural and political activism, global media, art and curating, as well as for further academic work leading to a PhD.

Practical placement

The Masters includes a supervised and assessed practical placement. This may be with NGOs in India or Africa, arts and conservation organisations in China, indigenous activists in Latin America, London-based global NGOs, diasporic communities, think-tanks, environmental organisations, publishers or financial/microfinance organisations.

Leading theorists and visiting lecturers

You'll be taught by leading theorists and visiting lecturers drawn from a wide circle of activists, artists, film-makers, lawyers, economists, journalists and policy-makers.

Find out more about:

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Shela Sheikh

Modules & structure

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Globalisation: Politics, Policy and Critique 30 credits
  Postcolonial Theory 30 credits
  Policy Lab and Placement 30 credits
  MA in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy Dissertation 60 credits

Recommended option modules

You take option modules to the value of 30 credits. Modules can be chosen from across Goldsmiths departments and centres. Option modules are subject to availability and approval by the module lecturer/convenor.

Module title Credits
  Crisis and Critique 30 credits
  Interactive Media Critical Theory 15 or 30 credits
  Mapping Capitalism 30 credits
  Cultural Theory 30 credits
  Media Philosophy 15 credits
  Biopolitics & Aesthetics 15 credits
  Art and Politics: Theory History Event 30 credits
  Constructing Human Rights 30 credits

Other option modules, by department

You may prefer to look through the full range of optional modules available across Goldsmiths departments.

Please note that not all the modules listed below may be open to you - your final selection will depend upon spaces available and timetable compatibility.


Essays and/or practical projects; dissertation.

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.


In the Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS) we’re dedicated to
theoretical and practical explorations in contemporary culture

Centre for Cultural Studies

We specialise in the study and design of culture: media technologies, software, art, urban space, and interventions in global geo-politics, for example. We engage at the same time in serious theoretical enquiry.

As a student in CCS you can benefit from our extensive events programme, which includes regular talks, workshops and film screenings. We also work closely with the Media, Sociology and Art departments at Goldsmiths, all of which have world-leading reputations.

Find out more about the Centre for Cultural Studies.

Skills & careers


The programme provides advanced training for labour market-relevant skills in transnational analysis of sovereignty, democracy, governmentality, financialisation, intellectual property rights, and the role of non-governmental organisations.


Suitable careers and areas of work for graduates of the programme include:

  • the academic sphere
  • government and non-government sectors
  • arts and art administration
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • media
  • the culture industry in general

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.


Saoirse Fitzpatrick

"I learned to be more of a realist and look at the world in a different way"

“I wanted a course that was really critical of development, and there was definitely not a similar course around. I knew Goldsmiths was pretty left-wing and open minded because whenever I had heard lecturers from Goldsmiths on the radio, they were always on a really interesting programme and often quite outspoken.

It seemed like a natural progression from my undergraduate degree - going more in-depth and questioning what I had learned before.

The course taught me to question my own position in terms of picking out when I was positively discriminating against things. The policy lab lessons were especially interesting, because at the time when I was studying, it was all about the rise of the tuition fees. It was a real movement we were in - we were part of something historical. It was great that we did not look at global issues in a passive way, but were encouraged to actively talk about it.

I learned to be more of a realist and look at the world in a different way, especially by getting away from the romantic tendency to see cultures foreign from your own as beautiful, amazing and unchanging, and to actually see that there are so many lines where things converge and diverge. It is when you see history repeating itself again, that forces you to question why we are going through the same mistakes again.

The course gets rid of your assumption that in global development or charities something needs to be done, and therefore doing anything is reasonable. It teaches you to question yourself and your own goodwill, and to question where your own anthropologic attitudes come from.

The most important thing the course taught me was that development does not really work if it is not for profit. I think for me, now working with social enterprise, development is about giving people business opportunities to make a living, because meritocracy is a myth, as we do not all start off in the same playing field, and some people do not have access to the same opportunities, so I think it is about recognizing those differences in class, in privilege, that people have, and try to narrow that gap.

I would advise prospective students to get stuck in and reflect on what the course teaches you on a day-to-day basis.”

Paul Mills

"I was intrigued by the approach of this course, that seemed more contemporary than certain more traditional anthropology or development courses in other universities"

Postcolonial Studies provides a way of thinking that can be applied to a range of issues I am interested in, from domestic issues such as multiculturalism, to more anthropological studies on culture and identity, and wider phenomenons such as globalisation and neoliberalism. I felt the course would help me hone a set of theoretical tools that would give me more nuanced and complex understandings of the issues that interest me, whether at home or abroad.

I was intrigued by the approach of this course, that seemed more contemporary than certain more traditional anthropology or development courses in other universities that lead you through a history of the classic works of the discipline. Whilst studying highly theoretical perspectives on issues such as culture, globalisation, development, diasporic culture, subaltern studies and feminism, the Policy Lab encouraged us to bridge the gap between theory and action, discussing how these ideas affected us activists, writers and campaigners.

The course taught me to try and decenter myself from a trained way of thinking, critiquing our own identity and philosophy in order to understand how we got where we are. I think a key challenge is to try and understand the many different worlds that exist our Western one, which can be relevant whether thinking about history, religion, politics, development or philosophy. I ended up applying this approach to urban studies, where I studied how African cities, specifically Douala in Cameroon, have developed in different ways to our own and are generating new ways of living that should not be understood simply as failed or underdeveloped versions of our own cities.

Since the course I have become more confident in my understanding of certain key socio-political terms of our times. I have gained a criticality and set of perspectives which I will take with me whatever I do.

My advice to prospective students is to just do it! I felt it was a real privilege at this stage in my life to have the time to stop and think and read about issues I care about. I think it helps if you know what you are looking for; approaching the course through the lens of a particular issue you care about can make it easier to navigate way through what can sometimes be a dense and difficult theoretical jungle!”


"I am enjoying the provocative and challenging lectures."

"Goldsmiths offers a vibrant educational atmosphere. Every day you meet people from around the globe and hear different perspectives on all the hot topics of the day. I study on the MA programme in Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy and I am enjoying the provocative and challenging lectures on orientalism, globalisation, biopoilitcs, and other subjects. Along the way, I am being guided in developing research and theoretical tools with which to continue my career. Prior to undertaking this course I was a journalist and I can clearly see how the skills I am learning now will help shape my work in the future, thanks to the Goldsmiths teaching staff in the Centre for Cultural Studies

With its green spaces and its location out of the hustle of central London, the Goldsmiths campus is also a great place to relax and spend time with new friends."

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at upper least 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 7.0 (including 7.0 in the written test)

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
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • 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

Applicants are encouraged to submit by 31 May, though applications after this date may still be considered 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 earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

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.

Find out more about tuition fees.

Related content links