Course information


1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

Please note that this programme has been suspended for 2024-25 entry. You can explore other programmes by visiting our course finder.

‘Culture is a paradoxical commodity. So completely is it subject to the law of exchange that it is no longer exchanged; it is so blindly consumed in use that it can no longer be used. [...] The whole world is made to pass through the filter of the culture industry.’ –Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry’, 1947

  • Our MA Culture Industry will allow you to explore the interface between contemporary economics and culture, from the scale of a start-up or artwork, to that of governmental policy, a city, or the global marketplace. It will also provide the approaches in critical and theoretical analysis that will enable you to conduct further academic research in areas ranging from art history, to urban studies and critical theory.
  • In distinction from postgraduate programmes in the Cultural and Creative Industries, this Master’s programme focuses on the paradoxes and potentials of the relationship between culture and capitalism evoked by the term ‘culture industry’.

Taking full advantage of the UK’s leading role in the creative industries, and London’s status as a world city, this course creates opportunities for you to:

  • make projects
  • go on field trips
  • do placements
  • carry out academic learning and research
  • meet diverse creative practitioners and theorists

This will give you first-hand experience of the fast moving creative economy, as well as giving you indispensable skills in understanding that economy from a cultural, philosophical and political standpoint. By combining theoretical and practical approaches to study, the course will not only help you to prepare for a career in the cultural sector, but also to engage with it imaginatively, critically and tactically. 

Engage with the cultural sector

  • Within the accelerated climate of digital networks and globalisation, the forms and behaviour of culture are mutating, converting the workshop into the handheld device and the cinema and gallery into the bedroom. This course is aimed at creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and theorists wanting to experiment with these changes, and set them into a historically and discursively rich framework.
  • The Research Lab will help you develop analytical practices with which to study the culture industry in action. We undertake field trips which help you learn to relate first-hand experience to the theoretical ideas introduced by the course. We develop ethnographic skills with which to record, document and make sense of cultural and working practices. We think about ways to read and decode visual culture such as film, advertising and artworks. With these mixed methodologies, students are equipped to extend initial questions and observations into systematic research methods of their own design.
  • 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 Gholam Khiabany or Marina Vishmidt.

What you'll study

Compulsory modules

Module title Credits
Theories of the Culture Industry 30 credits
Practices of the Culture Industry 30 credits
MA Culture Industry Dissertation 60 credits
Research Lab 30 credits

Recommended option modules

You take option modules to the value of 30 credits. Modules can be chosen from across Goldsmiths departments and centres. There are a number of Media modules, which are recommended for your programme.

Other option modules by department

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

You can also choose modules from the Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship (ICCE) and the Department of Visual Cultures. For details of the modules available please email the relevant department at or

Please note that not all the modules listed may be open to you. Your final selection will depend upon spaces available and timetable compatibility.


Essays; project report and documentation/placement report and documentation; research lab participation.

Download the programme specification.

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

What our students say

Martin Crasbon

The fact that Goldsmiths is located in New Cross makes it feel more intimate, and a little less institutionalised than university campuses in the city centre.

My favourite thing about Goldsmiths is the university's dedication to the arts and the humanities, and the unique courses it offers as a result. I was amazed to find a masters programme that delved so deeply and specifically into the niche I had written my bachelor thesis in. Moreover, I was very impressed by the expertise of my lecturers, both leaders in their respective fields, and the quality of their support during my research process.

The fact that Goldsmiths is located in New Cross makes it feel more intimate, and a little less institutionalised than university campuses in the city centre. The campus feels more like a home, and inspires a lot of creativity and student-led initiatives.

After finishing my masters at Goldsmiths I moved to Ghent, Belgium. I am currently studying filmmaking at an art school there.


Xueqing Yu

Never limit your imagination at Goldsmiths, just like never stop looking for who you are and where you're going. There is no distance between people here, unless you set it yourself.

As I came to Goldsmiths as a graduate student after working for 3 years – I valued my year of study more than most recent undergraduates in China. My experience at Goldsmiths was exactly what I wanted. During my MA, I attended a variety of classes at the department of Media and Communication & Cultural Studies and experimented with a variety of media, including making short films, animations, fieldwork and, of course, writing my essays. Goldsmiths offers the freedom to experiment and find your own direction. The process of studying at Goldsmiths has given me a new understanding of what it means to think independently and to work independently on my own projects, which has been a huge boost to my work.

I am currently working on a sci-tech art exhibition at a listed company in Shanghai. At the same time, I am still experimenting with my own work. While open calling the best sci-tech artists in China, I also find better sources of ideas and working methods in the process of talking with them, which is also very helpful for my own creation. Therefore, I really enjoy the part where my work and my own creations complement each other.

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. 

It is highly desirable to have previous experience in studying and analysing contemporary theory, policy and sociology, especially as it applies to the creative and artistic fields. You might also be considered for this programme 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

To find out more about your fees, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

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. Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement
  • A sample of your academic written work – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF.
    As part of your application, you should upload an essay from your undergraduate studies. Alternatively, you can submit a writing sample (1000 - 1500 words) on a topic that you feel relates to the prospectus of the course.

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

Applicants are encouraged to submit by 31 May, though applications after this date may still be considered to start the following September if spaces are still available.

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. 

If you're applying for funding you may be subject to an 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.

Student work

Xueqing Yu

In this project, I have attempted to use the shaping of fiction as a starting point to depict and explore the possibilities of these issues through storytelling, frame-by-frame animation, and audio-visual.

Read more

Suggested reading

  • Theodor W Adorno, The Culture Industry: Selected Essays on Mass Culture, London: Routledge Classics, 2005
  • Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Soul at Work, Cambridge MA; MIT Press, 2009
  • Bernadette Corporation, Reena Spaulings, LA: Semiotexte, 2004
  • Isabelle Graw, High Price, Sternberg Press, 2010
  • Richard Florida, ‘The 3T’s of Economic Development’, in The Rise of the Creative Class Revisited, Basic Books, New York, 2011, pp. 228-265
  • Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study, Wivenhoe, New York and Port Watson, Minor Compositions, 2013
  • David Harvey, Rebel Cities, London: Verso, 2012
  • Robert Hewison, Cultural Capital, London: Verso, 2014
  • Grant H Kester, The One and The Many, USA: Duke University Press, 2011
  • Thorbjorn Knudsen, Marcus Becker, Richard Swedberg, The Entrepreneur: Classic Texts by Joseph A. Schumpeter, Stanford Business Books, 2011
  • Scott Lash and Celia Lury, Global Culture Industry, Cambridge: Polity, 2006
  • Maurizio Lazzarato, ‘Immaterial Labour’, in Radical Thought in Italy, Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt (eds), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996
  • Angela McRobbie, Be Creative: Making a Living in the New Culture Industries, Polity Press, 2015
  • Andrew Ross, No Collar, the Humane Workplace and its Hidden Costs, New York: Basic Books, 2003
  • Richard Sennett, The Craftsman, London: Penguin, 2009
  • Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age, Pluto Press, London, 2004, pp. 73-97



The programme provides advanced training for labour market-relevant skills in trans-disciplinary analysis of cultural work, aesthetics, urban development, governmentality, financialisation, cultural policy development, technology, intellectual property rights, and the role of cultural institutions.


Placements are self-initiated by students and supported by the research and organisational network of the course leaders. Students on the MA Culture Industry have undertaken placements at the BBC, Stephen Graham Gallery, White Cube gallerySHAPE ArtsChinatown Oral History ProjectMaximum Rock n Roll, the British CouncilBlack Dog PublishingResonance FMGlasgow BiennaleLondon Architecture WeekGlastonbury FestivalLondon Film Festival, the British MuseumSouth Bank CentreGrizedale Arts, the Japan Foundation, the London Anime and Gaming Con, and Sound and Music.


Suitable careers and areas of work for graduates of the programme include:

  • Government and non-government sectors
  • Arts and arts administration
  • Design
  • Curation
  • Publishing
  • The academic sphere
  • Journalism
  • Media
  • The cultural sector

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

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