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MPhil & PhD in Media & Communications

We welcome proposals for research in any area connected with media, communications, digital media, cultural theory and practice.

About the department
Media & Communications

Length
3-4 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time.
Funding
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline. Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants.

Skills
We aim to develop students who are able to express themselves creatively and self-critically in theoretical and/or practice work. You'll develop research skills, presentation skills, an understanding of the workings of the media and their broad cultural and social impacts and an understanding of the pleasures of media consumption.
Fees
See our tuition fees.
Visit us
Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

We give priority to those with proposals for research within the areas of interest of our staff.

Research degrees in this Department have two elements: the research work that you carry out individually under supervision; and a programme of taught courses which brings you into contact with other students within Goldsmiths.

Supervisors and their students form loose research teams, sometimes on a joint basis with another group. When you apply, please indicate your intended research area and any preference for a particular supervisor.

AVPhD in Media and Communications

The Department also offers a PhD programme partially by audio-visual practice. We encourage applications from Doctoral candidates who wish to submit, as part of their thesis, a portfolio of practical work alongside a reduced textual component.

Find out more about our research degrees, including information about starting your research, upgrading to PhD registration, and submitting your thesis.

Facilities

The Department offers a dedicated room with working spaces for research students, and as a postgraduate at Goldsmiths you are ideally placed to take advantage of facilities such as the specialist libraries at the British Film Institute and Colindale.

Assessment

Thesis and viva voce.

About the Department of Media & Communications

 
 
 
 
 

Video: Click to play


Application procedure and requirements

You can apply directly to Goldsmiths via the website by clicking the ‘apply now’ button on the main programme page.

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;
  • Contact details of a second referee;
  • 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);
  • Details of your research proposal.

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.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the Research Programme Secretary, Media and Communications. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals 

Along with your application and academic reference, you should also upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

This should be in the form of a 1,500 word statement of the proposed area of research and should include: 

  • delineation of the research topic;
  • why it has been chosen;
  • an initial hypothesis (if applicable);
  • a brief list of major secondary sources.

AVPhD Applications

See the AVPhD in Media and Communications page for further details on how to apply.

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 conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application no later than 31 January. Goldsmiths has quota grants from both AHRC and ESRC to support doctoral research in the Department. The application procedure is highly competitive, but is open to all students who are accepted onto the programme.

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.

Entrance requirements 

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. 

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 also accept a wide range of international equivalent qualifications, which can be found on our country-specific pages. If you'd like more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

English language 

If your first language isn't English, you need to demonstrate the required level of English language competence to enrol on our programmes. 

Please check our English language requirements for more information.

Find out more about applying 

Contact us 

Get in touch via our online form 

UK/EU
+44 (0)20 7919 7766
course-info@gold.ac.uk 

International (non-EU)
+44 (0)20 7919 7702
international-office@gold.ac.uk

Student & graduate profiles

Dr Eleftheria Lekakis, Lecturer in Global Communications at the University of Sussex

"Goldsmiths equipped me with the toolkit for understanding the field of study in which I engaged and in which I continue to engage." 

At Goldsmiths I met some of my best friends and although most of them are now spread all over the world, we continue to live and work together whenever we get the chance.

Research

Departmental Research Profile

Having celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013, Goldsmiths’ Department of Media and Communications is one of the oldest and largest media departments in the UK. It is also unique in its diversity of approaches to, and articulations of, the disciplinary conjunctures around media and culture. The Department has equal research strengths in media and communications and in cultural studies research, in humanities and in social sciences approaches, and in theory- and practice-driven work. Its work spans a wide range of topics and modes of enquiry – from philosophical studies of technology and human life to sociological investigations of media production and use; from issues of identity, embodiment and becoming to post-feminism, queer theory and critical race studies; from global screen studies and transnational investigations of media and culture to news’ role in contemporary democracy. 80 per cent of our research was described as ‘world leading or internationally excellent’ in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

The Department’s research falls into four main strands which make up our research groupings:

  • Media and Democracy: (building on the work of the Centre for Global Media and Democracy and the Leverhulme programme on media’s contribution to democracy - including the changing nature of journalism and political communication)
  • Media Futures: (bringing together arts, humanities and social sciences approaches to understanding the changing role of media technologies in art, culture, economy and science, and the changing relation between the virtual and the material)
  • Gender, Feminism and Contemporary Culture: (connecting the long tradition of work within the Department on culture and representation, embodiment and affect, to its specific strengths in gender, race, sexuality and cultures of work)
  • Screen Cultures and Media Arts: (consolidating the long-standing focus on screen cultures within the Department, as concentrated within the Leverhulme programme, combined with an expanded exploration of media arts such as photography, video, digital imagining, sound and performance).

Many of the projects undertaken within the Department are collaborative in nature - such as the work conducted under the umbrella of Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, funded with a 2006 Leverhulme grant to study the design and significance of various contemporary media spaces. Members of the Department have also received funding from AHRC, British Academy, British Council, Carnegie Trust UK, Council for British Research in the Levant, ESRC, EPSRC, Guggenheim Foundation, Higher Education Academy, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, JISC, London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange, Media Trust and Open Society Foundation.

As well as working on collaborative projects, members of the Department have published many books with high-impact international presses, on a diverse range of topics: affect and emotion, artificial intelligence, bioethics, the body and experience, branding, broadcasting, democracy, film history, the future of journalism, media geographies, the mediation of power, post-feminism, postcolonial politics, sound and video cultures.

Members of the Department edit leading academic journals, including Body and Society, Culture Machine and its sister project, Photomediations Machine), Global Media and Communication, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Subjectivity and photographies.

Recent Research Projects

AVPhD in Media and Communications

We offer an option for your PhD to be partially assessed by audio-visual practice. We positively encourage applications from Doctoral candidates who wish to submit, as part of their thesis, a portfolio of practical work (such as photographs, video, film or other audio-visual material) alongside a reduced textual component. The work submitted must be original, and be as integral to the research aims, processes and outcomes of the project as the textual component itself. The final thesis as a whole will therefore demonstrate the integration of its practical and theoretical components, so that text and practice reflect critically on each other.

Criteria/regulations

  1. The length of the textual element should normally be between 40-60,000 words.
  2. The practical component should be a ‘substantial’ body of work. Given the potential range of media that can be used, and their differing potential relationships with the research process and the textual component, it is impossible to be precise here about what ‘substantial’ means. In the case of film/video it would normally entail the submission of a work (or works) of about one hour in length (or more), but detailed requirements will be worked out on a case-by-case basis.
  3. The practical component should fully and creatively exploit the medium in which it is made, and should make a contribution to the thesis that could not have been made in words.
  4. The practical component should also not be merely illustrative of the theory, but must make an original contribution in its own right, which relates back, in an integral fashion, to the theoretical component of the thesis.
  5. Similarly, the thesis cannot be ‘carried’ by the practical component, however original. The textual component of the thesis will therefore normally be more than a ‘commentary’ on the practical work. It should offer a substantial theoretical contribution to the chosen field of enquiry, at the standard (though not the length) of a normal PhD thesis.

Applications

You should apply to do an ‘AVPhD’ in the same way as ‘normal’ PhD students – please see programme information.

You are asked to enclose a 1,500 word outline of your proposed research, highlighting central questions to be addressed and some idea of theory and research methods to be used. In addition, your AVPhD research proposal should make clear in what way your project meets the criteria and regulations outlined above, paying particular attention to how you see the relationship between text and practical work in the research process you want to undertake.

We will also need to see evidence that you have the appropriate technical skills to undertake the proposed practical work. If your application is successful, you will get some expert support from supervisors and technical advisers, but no time-tabled technical tuition. We would therefore normally expect applicants to have had (and be able to demonstrate) a substantial amount of previous production experience in their chosen medium.

Supervisors and examiners

All PhD students at Goldsmiths routinely have a principal and a second supervisor. This is also true of AVPhD students, except that in this case it is most often a less uneven relationship, as one supervisor is normally a theory specialist, the other a member of staff with a relevant media practice background, and they operate as a team, frequently conducting joint supervision sessions. The practitioner supervisor will not necessarily have a PhD, but will be qualified by their expertise and specialist knowledge in the relevant field of media practice. The same criteria apply in the selection and appointment of the two examiners.

Technical and other resources

The Media and Communications Department has an extensive (and constantly expanding) bank of technical resources for digital media production, including HDV production, AVID, Final Cut, Pro Tools, a TV Studio and a range of photographic and digital imaging equipment. These resources are managed by a skilled team of Technical Advisers, and are in heavy demand (in varying degrees) at different times in the academic year, from the Department’s BA and MA students as well as PhD students. Access to them for Doctoral students is encouraged, but has to be carefully planned before the start of academic years.

The Department arranges a programme of courses in Research Methods for first year MPhil/PhD students. As an AVPhD student you will negotiate with your supervisors which elements and how many of these courses you should take. The Media and Communications Department at Goldsmiths also hosts an ‘AVPhD’ support group for all those doing audio-visual practice based doctorates in the Department, across the college and for some students in other institutions.

Current AVPhD students

Current students include Pola Bousiou, Catalin-Mihai Brylla, Sabine El Chamaa, Dettie Gould, Mine Kaylan, Alex Mattholie, Minou Norouzi, and Tom Tlalim. For more more information on their work please visit current PhD students.


Content last modified: 03 Feb 2014

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