Course information

Length

1 year full time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

All changes will be considered through the College's established processes to assure the quality of each programme. Approved changes to programmes will be published from 19 July.

If government guidelines change, it may mean we need to make further adjustments to teaching arrangements. If this is the case, you will be notified of any further changes.

This unique programme introduces you to the variety of ways in which brands are developed and used, and helps you to understand how the growth of branding – in business, but also in politics, government, sport and culture – has changed the societies we live in.

Why study MA Brands, Communication and Culture at Goldsmiths?

  • This MA is not a conventional branding or marketing degree – it offers a unique, theory-based approach to the study of brands, reflected in topics taught on our compulsory modules such as gender, colonial history and branding, social media and open source cultures, and geodemographics and new forms of social classification.
  • You’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the history and development of brands and branding, and their relationship to contemporary forms of communication and culture. You'll also ask what happens when the state uses branding techniques to communicate with its citizens.
  • You’ll also gain in-depth knowledge of the social, political and economic backdrop against which branding has become so important, and an understanding of the key themes and debates surrounding its development and use, including the relationship between brands and intellectual property, and the extent to which branding promotes or inhibits openness and transparency within organisations.
  • You’ll improve your ability to think critically and creatively about contemporary communications and cultural practices. When you have completed the programme you will be able to analyse contemporary communications, make judgments about their significance, and be able to thoughtfully contribute to contemporary communications.
  • You’ll be part of a group of students who have a range of experiences and interests in communication, management, politics, design and the cultural industries.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Jamie Matthews.

What you'll study

The programme is made up of two compulsory modules (60 credits in total), between two and four options modules (60 credits in total), and a dissertation (60 credits). 

The department offers a range of theory-based options as well as some practice-based options in areas such as media futures, online journalism, campaign skills and processes for innovation.

Compulsory modules

Compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Branding I: History, Contexts and Practice 30 credits
  Branding II: Key themes and debates 30 credits

Option modules

In addition to the compulsory modules, you can take up to 60 credits chosen from the list of Media modules or the list of Sociology modules below.

 

Sociology modules Module title Credits
  What is Culture - Key Theoretical Interventions 30 credits
  Introduction to Feminism and Cultural Theory 30 credits
  Navigating Urban Life 30 credits
  Through The Lens Part A: Imaging the City 15 credits
  Empirical Visual Research 15 credits
  Sensory Sociology: Imagining Digital Social Research 30 credits
  Theories and Debates in Visual Research Sociology 15 credits
  Consumer Citizenship and Visual Media 30 credits
  Globalising Human Rights 30 credits
  Gender Affect and the Body 30 credits
  Urban Field Encounters 30 credits
  Through the Lens B: Urban Identities 15 credits
  Urban Photographers 15 credits
  Digital Social Research Methods 15 credits (offered jointly by Sociology)
  Social Research for Public Engagement 30 credits
  Bodies in Pain: Subjectivity, Health and Medicine 30 credits
  Mapping Capitalism 30 credits
  Cultural Policy and City Branding 30 credits
  Politics and Difference 30 credits
  Data Made Flesh 30 credits

Dissertation

You will also complete a dissertation (60 credits) on the topic of your choice. 

Recent dissertation topics have included:

  • Branded Good? An analysis of socially conscious branding and new-imperialist narratives 
  • Branded Cosmopolitanism: A study of music festivals in China
  • Virtual Intimacy: Fantasies of authenticity in the branding strategies of VR adult studios
  • An uncertain community: an in-depth investigation into the subscribers and followers of a youtube brand 
  • Subtle Branding: An investigation into the branding value of ‘nothing’
  • Branding post-capitalism? An investigation of crowdfunding platforms
  • Trespassed city: mapping London’s privately owned public spaces
  • The rise of co-working spaces
  • Craft entrepreneurs: an inquiry into the rise of artisanal production in post-industrial cities
  • Hashtags in photo sharing social media apps
  • Sustainable brand strategies – good for the environment or just a selling strategy?
  • Fashion bloggers, influencers and cultural capital
  • Medical tourism and branded healthcare
  • Intellectual property in the fashion industry

Assessment

Depending on the options chosen assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, presentations, practice-based projects or essays/logs, group projects and/or reflective essays.

Download the programme specification. 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.

For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page

What our students say

Paul Hitchens

I chose Goldsmiths for its excellent academic reputation and global ranking amongst the very best universities.

I chose Goldsmiths for its excellent academic reputation and global ranking amongst the very best universities. I have been working in the Creative Industries for 30 years and wanted to recharge my thinking, find inspiration and access insights for the future. The academic environment is both challenging and creative, which is exactly what I needed. I hope to pursue further consultancy and training opportunities in the fields of Brands, Communication and Culture.

Masae Nakagaki

My curiosity and challenging spirit brought me to Goldsmiths, where I knew I would encounter something or someone totally different from my existing world.

"Before I went back to a student life in London to change my career path, I was working for a Japanese advertising agency, which had been my dream since I was little. Building a career in my dream field was exciting, however, something pushed me to challenge myself to go an extra mile and apply for an MA. My curiosity and challenging spirit brought me to Goldsmiths, where I knew I would encounter something or someone totally different from my exisiting world. 

I chose to study MA Brands, Communication and Culture at Goldsmiths, graduating in 2018. The reason I chose Goldsmiths was very clear: it's because the school has a high reputation in research and study within the media and creative field on a global scale. I was eager to encounter people from other countries who were also studying at Goldsmiths and therefore were at a high level in their fields, and with whom I could share experiences and knowledge.

I gained three key things from my time at Goldsmiths: 

  1. The library: I was always impressed by the books Goldsmiths stores in the library. Every time I went to the library I found a fascinating book, even in other department areas. The library is an example of being at a top academic organisation of media and creative studies. Also, studying overseas taught me the importance of reading and absorbing information in another language as this gave me a wider and more objective point of view.
  2. Plenty of surprise and motivation from my amazing classmates: my classmates were simply amazing people. I really respected their courage to speak up in classes, as well as their educational and career backgrounds, yet they were still modest and had a very passionate attitude to others and their studies! I'm really lucky to have them in my life and to have shared such a precious time. 
  3. Flatmates who became lifelong friends: this may be cheesy, but my flatmates were my greatest gain. I was living in student accommodation and met nine other students who were also studying at Goldsmiths. I would never have been able to complete my academic life without them. We studied together until midnight, encouraged each other, cooked together, watched Netflix, went into central London and explored across the city, and we also talked about religion and politics, embracing our differences. These times shared by friends all chasing our dreams were incredible and dramatic. I hope that any future Goldsmiths students also meet someone special whilst studying. 

After I left Goldsmiths I joined an international company in Japan and have been working as their integrated media lead, utilising what I learnt during my course and also using the courage I gained. I'm not sure if I'm playing as globally now as I had dreamed, I'm halway there though. "

Yumi Kim

"I found that Goldsmiths has a specific course related to branding communication, and I would like to focus on digital branding marketing in the future. The free and diverse cultural atmosphere of Goldsmiths helps me enhance various views of the world."

"I would like to have a deeper knowledge of Media and Communications. Therefore, I found that Goldsmiths has a specific course related to branding communication. I have experience in retail digital marketing, and would like to focus on digital branding marketing in the future. 

I think that the importance of branding is enhanced among diverse kinds of industries. The free and diverse cultural atmosphere of Goldsmiths helps me enhance various views of the world."

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.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £8990
  • Home - part-time: £4495
  • International - full-time: £17760

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Scholarships

Find out more about funding opportunities on our departmental funding page.

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

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 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.

Staff

Staff who teach on and contribute to the MA include:

Dan Neyland

Dan Neyland is a Professor in Sociology. His research interests cover issues of governance, accountability and ethics in forms of science, technology and organization. Most recently he published ‘Bearing account-able witness to the ethical algorithmic system’ (Science, Technology and Human Values 2015).

Kat Jungnickel

Kat Jungnickel is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology. Her research explores mobilities (particularly cycling), digital technology practices and grassroots DIY/making cultures. She is the author of Bikes and Bloomers: Victorian women inventors and their extraordinary cycle wear (Goldsmiths Press 2018) and DIY WiFi: Re-Imagining Connectivity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

Liz Moor

Liz Moor is a Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications and convenes one of the compulsory modules. Her research looks at the role of communication in economic life. She is the author of The Rise of Brands (Berg, 2007) and Design and Creativity: policy, management and practice (Berg, 2009, with Guy Julier), and is currently working on a book about money and communication.

Aeron Davis

Aeron Davis is a Professor of Political Communication. His research and teaching focusses on political communications, cultural economy, the political economy of the mass media, promotional culture and cultural intermediaries, political sociology, social movements and civil society. His publications include The Mediation of Power (Routledge, 2007), Political Communication and Social Theory (Routledge, 2010), and Promotional Cultures (Polity, 2013).

Careers

Skills

The programme helps students to develop a high-level understanding of contemporary branding and communications techniques and their social, economic and political contexts. You will be encouraged to develop your critical reasoning skills and your understanding of contemporary cultural and media theory, but also to develop greater visual literacy and a capacity for creative thinking. Assessments are designed to ensure that you are able to apply these skills in practical ways.

Careers

The programme equips you with the skills necessary to pursue a wide range of careers related to branding and communication in the media and other industries. Students are encouraged to seek work experience and work placements during the programme as time allows. The MA also allows you to pursue further academic research in one or more of the areas covered on the programme.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Suggested reading

Brands and Branding

Arvidsson, A. (2006) Brands: meaning and value in media culture, London: Routledge.

Julier, G. (2008) The Culture of Design, Oxford: Berg, second edition.

Klein, N. (1999) No Logo, London: Random House

Lury, C. (2004) Brands: The logos of the global economy, London and New York: Routledge.

Moor, L. (2007) The Rise of Brands, Oxford: Berg.

Williams, R. (1960) ‘Advertising: The Magic System’, New Left Review, 1/4

Consumer culture

Lury, C. (2011) Consumer Culture, Cambridge: Polity, second edition

Molotch, H. (2003) Where Stuff Comes From, New York: Routledge

Cultural and social theory

Barthes, R (1964) Elements of Semiology, Atlantic Books

Deleuze, G (1992). ‘Postscript on the Society of Control’, The MIT Press, 59

Hillis, K., Paasonen, S and M, Petit (eds) (2015) Networked Affect, MIT Press

Marcuse, H. (1964) One Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society, London: Routledge

Williams, R. (1958) Culture and Society. New York: Columbia University Press

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