Runaway climate change, mass extinctions, radical ecological transformations. We are living through profoundly unsettling times, and face equally uncertain futures. The MA Ecology, Culture, & Society offers the opportunity to engage with the urgency of contemporary socio-ecological challenges and to imaginatively explore ways of inhabiting the Earth otherwise.
The MA will take a distinctively interdisciplinary and critical perspective. It will highlight the concept of “ecology” in an expanded sense and encompass the complex web of interconnections that bind people, animals, bodies, soils, ideas, technologies, practices, institutions, cultures, and histories with their changing environments. Drawing on perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences, this programme explores the many shifting relationships between natures and cultures around the world. It introduces critical new approaches to the connections between humans and animals in more-than-human worlds, and it will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which ecological issues are intertwined with the question of social justice, cultural difference, and decolonisation.
You will be encouraged to explore the philosophical, cultural, political, and social dimensions that shape our understanding of contemporary socio-ecological issues and to explore imaginative responses to them. You will also learn to develop and apply ecological perspectives on various forms of social, political, and cultural analysis.
Link ecology with social, cultural and political processes
This programme will give you a critical understanding of our times and will help you develop key interdisciplinary skills for critical socio-ecological scholarship, creativity, communication, and activism. It will equip you with the insights, concepts, and skills needed to understand and engage with the tangled relationships between nature and culture, and the ethics and politics of our relationships with animals. You will also acquire knowledge and understanding of key concepts such as Anthropocene, anthropocentrism, value, difference, domestication, human exceptionalism, extractivism, decolonisation, radical pluralism, and the arts of living.
Expand your practical skills
In addition to lectures and seminars, you will learn to conduct independent research and will participate in experimental and practical forms of learning by conducting observations and developing practical experiments of your own design. You will also have the option of doing a placement with an NGO, grassroots activist network, or other relevant organisations, in order to develop your practical skills and reflect upon socio-ecological and animal practices.
This programme will also allow you to benefit from its location in a global city, home to major cultural, scientific, artistic, and political institutions, movements and NGOs that play world-leading roles in furthering ecological knowledge, thought, and practice.
Study with the experts
Teaching on the MA Ecology, Culture, & Society draws on Goldsmiths’ strengths and leadership on environmental issues, including our Green New Deal, to have a transformative effect on your understanding of, and critical engagement with, the most pressing socio-ecological issues of our time. It will build on existing Sociology staff’s expertise on philosophy, animal studies, environmental humanities, science and technology studies, social and cultural theory, radical pluralism, postcolonial studies, aesthetics, and more-than-human politics.
The MA is ideal for anyone pursuing careers in policy research, NGOs, advocacy, charities, international organisations, cultural and political activism, global media, art and curating, as well as for further academic work leading to a PhD.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Martin Savransky.
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
You will study the following compulsory modules, and write a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits), for which you will meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff, and participate in Dissertation workshops.
|Compulsory modules||Module title||Credits|
|Social Theory for Changing Climates||30 credits|
|The Ethics and Politics of Animals||30 credits|
|Cultural Ecologies||30 credits|
You will also study 30 credits of option modules from a list annually approved by the Department. (The following is an indicative list.)
|Option modules||Module title||Credits|
|Practical Ecologies (Placement)||30 credits|
|Social Research for Public Engagement||30 credits|
|Politics and Difference||30 credits|
|Feminist Methods||30 credits|
|Postcolonial Theory||30 credits|
|Globalisation: Politics, Policy and Critique||30 credits|
|Cultural Studies and Capitalism||30 credits|
|The Political Economy of the Anthropocene||30 credits|
|Development for the 21st Century||30 credits|
|Decolonising Knowledge: Debates in Human Science||30 credits|
|Learning from Social Movements||30 credits|
|Critical Voices in Development||30 credits|
|The Contemporary American Novel in the Era of Climate Change||30 credits|
|The Ocean as Archive||30 credits|
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Successful applicants will have a 2:1 or equivalent from their honours undergraduate degree programme in a relevant subject. Those without this level of qualification may make a case for consideration and will be interviewed for admission.
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 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £8990
- Home - part-time: £4495
- International - full-time: £17760
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a 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.
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.
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 education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments.
- An electronic copy of your reference on letter headed paper, or alternatively the email address of your referee who we can request a reference from. It is preferred that you use an academic reference, however in cases where applicants are unable to provide one, a professional reference is acceptable.
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online.
- 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.
Find out more about applying.
The following are some of the academics teaching on this programme.
Mariam Motamedi-Fraser is a Reader in the Sociology Department. Her research interests lie broadly in the theoretical, methodological and ethical implications of recent developments in the animal sciences for social science thinking (i.e. for the kinds of concepts and theories deployed in the social sciences; for the relations of animals to social science teaching and research; etc.). She is currently writing a book, provisionally entitled Dog Politics: Canis Familiaris in the Animal Sciences, which addresses the unique place of dogs in the animal sciences, and the burdens they bear, on account of their co-evolution with humans, as experimental subjects, working subjects, and 'conversing' subjects. The book is informed in particular by debates about species and individuals, evolutionary biology, and racism.
Monk is a Research Fellow in the Sociology Department. Monk is a black Labrador. He has accompanied Mariam Motamedi-Fraser to Goldsmiths since September 2015, when he was seven months old. He comes to staff and student meetings, and to the lectures and seminars that Mariam teaches.
Martin Savransky is Senior Lecturer in the Sociology Department and Convener of the MA Ecology, Culture & Society. His research expands across philosophy, the environmental humanities, and postcolonial studies, exploring a multiplicity of divergent practices of thinking, knowing, and living with others in and out of Europe: how they might enable us to envisage modes of inhabiting worlds otherwise, and of making worlds more inhabitable. He is especially interested in ecological pluralism, value ecologies, and the decolonisation of modern thought. His latest book is titled Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse (Duke University Press, 2021).
This programme is ideal for anyone pursuing careers in policy research, NGOs, advocacy, charities, international organisations, cultural and political activism, global media, as well as for further academic work leading to a PhD. Students are encouraged to seek work experience and work placements during the programme (see the optional module “Practical Ecologies") 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.