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MA in Cultural Studies

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department
    Media and Communications

Course overview

The MA Cultural Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary culture.

Students are introduced to a variety of perspectives and traditions as well as to the creative interface between such disciplines.

The programme addresses art and the city, the culture industries, politics and globalisation, and media in the information age, as central themes.

It incorporates the basic themes and leading figures of classical Cultural Studies as well as the latest developments in Cultural Studies and Cultural Theory.

Contact the department

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

Modules & structure

Overview

You will take two core modules together with a selection of individual modules, and complete a Masters dissertation. 

Core modules

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

Recommended option modules

You take option modules to the value of 60 credits. Modules can be chosen from across Goldsmiths departments and centres. Below are a number of option modules especially recommended for your programme:

Module title Credits
  Practices of the Culture Industry 30 credits
  Biopolitics & Aesthetics 15 credits
  Crisis and Critique 30 credits
  Software Studies 15 credits
  Theories of the Culture Industry: Work, Creativity and Precariousness 30 CATS
  Postcolonial Theory 30 credits
  Media Law and Ethics 15 credits
  Journalism in Context 15 credits
  Campaign Skills: Theory and Practice 15 credits
  Embodiment and Experience 15 credits
  Media Geographies 15 credits
  Race, Empire and Nation 15 credits
  Media, Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures 15 credits
  Music as Communication and Creative Practice 15 credits
  Political Economy of the Media 30 credits
  Promotional Culture 15 credits
  The City and Consumer Culture 15 credits
  Contemporary Screen Narratives in Practice and Theory 30 credits
  The Structures of Contemporary Political Communication 30 credits and 15 credits
  Asking the Right Questions: Research and Practice 15 credits
  Cultural Studies and Cultural Geography: Speed, Mobility and Territory 15 credits.

Other option modules, by department

‌You may prefer to look through the full range of optional modules available across Goldsmiths departments:

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

Download the programme specification, relating to the 2017-18 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.

Department

We are ranked:
1st in the UK for the quality of our research* Joint 1st in the UK for effective teaching** 8th in the world for communication and media studies***

Media and Communications

We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.

The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.

We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.

And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.

Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications

*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

Skills & 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

Student profiles

Ulises

"Goldsmiths is known to be an open space for ideas, creativity and sparkling notions about art."

"The first time I heard about Goldsmiths I was working for Random House in Mexico, and a few friends told me about the attitude the university had about education. Without any effort I found that they were right, as Goldsmiths is known to be an open space for ideas, creativity and sparkling notions about art. When I decided I wanted to be part of this community I was trying to comprehend the value of culture in Mexico via the publishing industry, so I thought it would be a perfect joint to study cultural studies in a place like Goldsmiths with my localized curiosity about the Mexican cultural field. I was fortunately granted the Banco Santander Scholarship, which happily allows me to focus in my studies and engage with the British culture in all its richness."

Federico

"The course allowed me to understand the industry I work in as a field of cultural production, and how I can interact with it and with all its philosophical and political implications."

“I chose this course because I wanted to complement my studies in economics with a more philosophical approach. I felt the course could teach me how to contextualise my work in the publishing industry within a critical interpretation of culture and cultural production, as well as improve the theoretical foundations of my writing.

I particularly liked the study of cultural studies and how it provided a truly interdisciplinary approach, while at the same time creating strong connections between philosophy, cultural theory, anthropology, sociology, art and even business studies.

I gained a deeper understanding of the various theoretical and critical approaches to cultural production during the course. This has helped me contextualise both my work and my position as a cultural consumer. I also met some very interesting people during my studies, who I hope to stay in touch with.

The course allowed me to understand the industry I work in as a field of cultural production, and how I can interact with it and with all its philosophical and political implications. 

I enjoyed the courses’ scope for independence, which meant I had the time and the resources to explore and research, which was a great asset to the writing I am doing now.

During my studies, Franco Berardi ‘Bifo��� really inspired me through his writing and through our friendship, along with writer Mark Fisher who I still frequently discuss ideas with. In terms of more contemporary journals, I have found Wilful Disobedience a very worthwhile read.

The knowledge I have gained from the course has definitely made me a lot more familiar with the concepts behind the books that Verso, the company I work for, publishes.

My dream would be to live well while writing, as well as having free time to travel.

I would advise prospective students to read as much as you can and try to meet and talk with people, not just the ones on your course, and try and have a mentor/friend that you can discuss your work with.”

Sibi

"I believe the course has helped me to develop a more analytical framework, which I can apply when possible during my work as a journalist."

“I chose the Cultural Studies course for the potential it held in widening my knowledge base, especially in media and media theory related ideas, which I hoped would help enhance my career prospects in journalism.

The course stood out for me. It was unlike other courses I had looked at, and because I had already acquired a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism, I felt the knowledge that I would gain from a course in Cultural Studies would be more relevant to me.

The course has taught me how to read philosophical and theoretical texts in a structured manner, research and write in detail on subject areas of my choice and interest, and in particular, develop a meticulous reading habit.

My favourite part of the course was organising the seminar called Unfinished Business—Undoing Cultural Studies, along with other peers from my department. The seminar dealt with a wide array of issues regarding cultural theory and how it is practiced. I was primarily involved in the making of a short-documentary which involved gaining opinions from a large spectrum of people on the question of culture. The process was a student-initiated affair, and it was a great learning experience organising the event itself.

I believe the course has helped me to develop a more analytical framework, which I can apply when possible during my work as a journalist. The theory I learnt has also helped me form more coherent arguments.

Throughout the course, I was really inspired by works such as Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari, and the theoretical texts of Michel Foucault, which I was unfamiliar with before the course commenced. A wide range of South Asian texts, including works by writers like SH Manto, also provided me with a new perspective.

In the future, I would like to have a job which enables me to produce journalistic reports and features on a consistent basis, and on a wide-array of subjects within the South Asian context.

I think for perspective students interested in this course, it would be good to know exactly how you would like to apply theory, to learn, and get informed about your chosen field before enrolling on to the course.”

See more profiles for this programme

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at upper least 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.

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

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

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 two academic referees 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 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.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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