Course information

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

The MA Cultural Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary to culture, politics and society.

As a Masters Cultural Studies student, you have the opportunity to develop the theoretical skills and methodological tools to engage with the critical contemporary issues as they are expressed in popular culture. You engage with some of the key theorists and the significant debates in the Cultural Studies tradition, from its inception in Britain dating from the 1970s to its current concerns in the USA and internationally.

The programme enables you to apply a Cultural Studies approach to particular examples, case studies, events and consumer technologies and to larger-scale institutions or economic and political systems. Cultural Studies permits close analysis of topics such as race, youth, music, fashion, and creative economies, as well as embracing the history of sexuality, emotions and affect, national identities and popularism and the cultural dynamics of precarity and austerity, art, and cultural expression for the new feminist activism. The analysis the Cultural Studies approach offers is geared towards intervention in current debates.

Why study MA Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths

  • Explore the impact and influence Cultural Studies has on a wide range of research interests, not only in the English-speaking world but also internationally. The programme teaches you about a range of Cultural Studies methodologies that you can then apply in your own writing and research. It also include a Critical Ethnography Afternoon where students explore the place of this kind of research in the cultural studies tradition.
  • Examine the effect media technologies have on the cultural practices of production and consumption. As the course has a strong focus on new developments in sonic technology, this might include, for example, emerging local music scenes. This might also involve a focus on changes in fashion consumption, such as platform providers, and the role of influencers. 
  • You will have the opportunity to submit a five-minute iPhone film as part of your assessment.
  • Media, Communications and Cultural Studies is a large and highly interdisciplinary department, and the themes of cultural studies run through the research interests of many academics within it. These span the fields of music, film, digital media, aesthetics, cultural industries, gender and queer studies, postcolonialism, journalism, political economy, critical race studies, and critical theory. 
  • Discover your own path through the fields of Cultural Studies, and apply what you have learned to your own research in the form of your dissertation on which every student receives appropriate guidance and support. Media, Communications and Cultural Studies (MCCS) is an extremely broad and open-minded department – even by Goldsmiths' standards – and we are committed to making your interests as welcome as possible.
  • Immerse yourself in a postgraduate environment shared by numerous creative practice-based MA programmes, such as MA FilmmakingMA RadioMA Journalism, and MA Script Writing. You will also share interests and activities with students from several sister programmes, such as MA Race, Media and Social JusticeMA Postcolonial Culture & Global Policy, and MA Cultural Industries
  • Access extra-curricular activities with field trips, and Sound System Outernational (SSO) events offering opportunities to meet up with students on other programmes, and become involved in Lewisham’s local music scene. Students interested in the fashion industry will have the chance to visit exhibitions and design studios.
  • Study in one of London’s liveliest and most diverse communities. You will study in a stimulating critical and creative research-led environment, which will prepare you for employment in a range of culture-related professions.
  • 'World-leading or internationally excellent' research (Research Excellence Framework, 2021) and 12th in the world (2nd in the UK) in the 2022 QS World Rankings for communication and media studies. 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Professor Julian Henriques.

What you'll study

Overview

This is a programme which in the first compulsory course offers a different topic each week permitting the exploration of various methodologies and approaches. The first five weeks will present you with work from the Birmingham tradition and beyond to the present day, including neo-nationalism, race and ethnicity, policing and the prison system, gender and popular feelings, and the rise of queer theory.

The second five weeks turn to media technologies, sonic cultures, gender and social media and more broadly issues of cultural production and consumption. The second compulsory course provides an intense engagement with questions of cultural theory, capitalist society, new activisms, and the politics of protest and assembly.

The programme’s modules can include the different ways in which culture itself is to be understood in terms of technologies, practices, subjectivities and capitalist social formations. Options modules are available within the department at either 15 or 30 credit levels. Further option modules can also be taken in the Anthropology, English and Creative Writing, History, Politics and Sociology departments. As if not enough, students are also encouraged to ‘audit’ modules – attend lectures (but not seminars), without enrolling for assessment.

Compulsory modules

Module title Credits
Cultural Studies and Capitalism 30 credits
MA Cultural Studies Dissertation (Methodology and Research) 60 credits
Doing Cultural Studies 30 credits

Optional Modules

You will take option modules to the value of 60 credits chosen from across Goldsmiths departments. There are several Media modules available to you on this programme.

You may also be able to take modules from across many other Goldsmiths departments, such as:

Please note that module availability can change from year to year, and not all modules listed may be open to you. Your final selection will depend on the spaces available and timetable compatibility.

Download the programme specification.

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

Between 2020 and 2022 we needed to make some changes to how programmes were delivered due to Covid-19 restrictions. For more information about past programme changes please visit our programme changes information page.

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 2023/2024 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9050
  • Home - part-time: £4525
  • International - full-time: £17430

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.

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. As well as telling us about your own interests and ambitions, please include in your personal statement why you want to study this particular MA Cultural Studies programme at Goldsmiths in the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies department. What are the particular parts of the programme that interest you? Which staff research area are you most interested in? Please also 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 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.

Find out more about applying.

Careers

Careers

Around half of students completing this programme progress to PhD level, and others go into practical work – in the creative industries and in NGOs in a great number of countries.

Skills

High-level knowledge of cultural research; transferable skills within social and critical theory, aesthetics and performance, communication and multimedia; ethnography skills; critical appreciation of current debates in the media, the culture industries and the wider contemporary cultural environment.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

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