Course information

Length

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 core 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 core 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.

Core modules

Core 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 core 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? 30 credits
  Introduction to Feminist 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
  Remaking London 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, for the 2019-20 intake. 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.

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 2020/21 academic year.

  • Home/EU - full-time: £8640
  • Home/EU - part-time: £4320
  • International - full-time: £17070

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 Tier 4 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

The Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies sometimes offers fee waivers for this MA. Find out more 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 and Convener of MA Brands, Communication and Culture. 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 core 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 focuses 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

There are no ‘set texts’ but the following are key readings to help prepare you for the course:

Amoore, L. (2013) The Politics of Possibility: Risk and security beyond probability, Duke University Press.

Amoore, L and V, Piotukh. (eds) (2016) Algorithmic Life: Calculative devices in the age of big data, London and New York: Routledge.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woodham, J. (1997) Twentieth Century Design, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

What our students say

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."

Sharifah

The whole campus is very nice to be around as it has that 'artsy' feel to it which, is extremely comforting.

"Being from the creative line, Goldsmiths was always mentioned as one of the front-runners in the creative industry. I was initially meant to start my Masters immediately after completing my undergraduate degree in 2017. However, being an international student, the monetary aspect of it all really affected my family. That is why I decided to defer for a year and move back to Malaysia. The whole experience was very sudden but I managed to deal with it with the help of family and friends. I then worked for a year as a digital designer in an advertising company before making the decision to accept my offer to Goldsmiths.

I applied for scholarships to help the financial burden, and thankfully I managed to get some sort of help. Ever since then, it has been such a whirlwind of an experience, moving back to the uk and into halls (again). The whole campus is very nice to be around as it has that 'artsy' feel to it which is extremely comforting. As for London, it has been a dream of mine since I was 15 to live in London and I'm finally living it! I must say its really amazing as I get to go to galleries and exhibitions in my free time, and immerse myself in the London lifestyle that I've always dreamt of having. I am hoping to get a job in the UK at the end of my Masters. My aim is to try and get as much of the London life as possible before the next chapter of my life begins. So far it has been amazing, and I am so thankful for this experience."

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