Course information


1 year full time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

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.
  • The Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies has been ranked 2nd in the UK for 'world-leading or internationally excellent' research (Research Excellence Framework, 2021) and 16th in the world (3rd in the UK) in the 2024 QS World Rankings for communication and media studies.

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

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 Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies and the Department of Sociology. Examples of recent Sociology modules can be seen in the list below, and Media module examples can be found here.

Sample Sociology option 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
Data Made Flesh 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
Politics and Difference 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


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


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.

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

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 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £10350
  • Home - part-time: £5175
  • International - full-time: £20460

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 under a student visa. 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.


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 academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • 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

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 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).



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.


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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