Address the image world, find out how images create meaning, and discover what you can do with what you see on this eclectic MA programme
If this degree were a film we’d be watching the beginning and the end. We think, like Walter Benjamin, that it’s in these moments – in their inception and their obsolescence – that you see the utopian possibilities of a form or social movement.
The questions we ask
Are we in the midst of a beginning? What can we learn now from visual culture’s past? What’s happening to our bodies when we play a video game? What are the gestures involved in everyday life? How do our bodies relate to technology?
These are the kinds of topics we analyse on this MA. We want to go beyond the borders of a traditional film studies degree so we go back to the beginning of film history to explore what it meant to fashion yourself in an image, or for a society to see itself in an image. Then we explore how images gain meaning now, and where they’re going next.
The processes we use
We’re interested in the evolution of the image, but also image culture. As photographs and films constitute more and more of our communication, we encourage students to try to put their thought into audio-visual form for some modules.
For the MA’s Media Arts Pathway, you can make your own piece of work and submit it as part of the final project, the dissertation. Production values are not the focus for us. We’re interested in what you do with an idea.
The approach we take
We think learning is about trying to get hold of something you don’t know yet; wrestling with ideas you’re unsure of so as to work critically and imaginatively across multiple media forms. While we do look at films, we also investigate such things as contemporary gallery work, the city’s screens, computer and phone interactivity to reconsider our relationship to images.
We study our heritage of image taking and making not just to discover how that relationship has changed over time, but also to find jumping off points for own experimentation and try to create something new.
As part of the University of London you also have the chance to explore one option from the MA Film & Media programmes at other universities. Find out more on the Screen Studies Group website.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Rachel Moore
What you'll study
The MA offers two pathways:
MA Film and Screen Studies: Moving Image Studies Pathway
The moving image media today are a concentrated form of culture, ideas, socialisation, wealth and power. 21st-century globalisation, ecology, migration and activism fight over and through them. How have the media built on, distorted and abandoned their past? How are they trying to destroy, deny or build the future? This pathway explores new critical approaches that address the currency of moving image media in today's global context – their aesthetics, technology and politics. It seeks to extend the boundaries for studying moving images by considering a wider range of media and introducing students to a wider range of approaches for investigating moving images' past and present.
MA Film and Screen Studies: Media Arts Pathway
The most intense and extreme forms of media, experimental media arts, test to breaking point our established ideas and practices. From wild abstraction and surrealist visions to activist and community arts, they ask the profoundest questions about high art and popular culture, the individual and the social, meaning and beauty. This pathway explores these emerging experimental practices of image making and criticism. Students on this pathway are encouraged not just to study but to curate and critique past, present and future media arts by building exhibitions and visual essays of their own. Short practical workshops will enable students to make the most of the skills you bring into the course.
The MA consists of:
- two core modules (60 credits in total) comprising one shared and one pathway-specific core module
- option modules to the value of 60 credits
- a dissertation (60 credits) on a topic agreed in conjuction with your supervisor (on the Media Arts pathway up to 50% of the dissertation can be submitted in audiovisual form)
The core modules will give you a foundation to the subject. The shared core module in Archaeology of the Moving Image introduces current debates in film and screen studies through the key notion of media history.
Pathway-specific cores develop new ways of conceptualising the cinematic today, focusing respectively on the political aspects of media forms and styles in Politics of the Audiovisual (the Moving Image Studies pathway) and on artists' use of various screen media in Experimental Media (the Media Arts pathway).
|Archaeology of the Moving Image||15 credits|
|Politics of the Audiovisual||15 credits|
|Experimental Media||30 credits or 15 credits|
We offer a wide range of option modules each year. For more information, please refer to our list of Media modules that are currently running.
Students on the MA in Film and Screen Studies can also take one option from the MA Film & Media programmes at other University of London colleges. Please consult the Screen Studies Group website for further details of other programmes and the Film and Screen Studies Convenor at Goldsmiths for more details on how to take part in options at other colleges. Options taken under this scheme are deemed to count for 30 credits at Goldsmiths.
The MA is assessed primarily through coursework essays and written projects. Practical modules may require audiovisual elements to be submitted. It will also include a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
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.
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 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
Find out more about tuition fees.
We provide free reader packs, and other essential readings are on our virtual learning environment to download for free.
You should budget approximately £30 for film screenings and exhibition entry, plus travel costs. You will also need to print two copies of your MA dissertation.
If you take any option modules with an audiovisual assessment, you may need to submit work on a USB drive, which you will need to provide, however it will be returned after marking.
If you choose to take modules from other Departments or intercollegiate modules from other institutions in the Screen Studies Group, there may be additional costs – please check with the Department or institution in question.
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
- A personal statement – This can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online. Please indicate in your personal statement which pathway (Moving Image Studies or Media Arts) you are applying for. In your personal statement you will also need to demonstrate an awareness of the historical and contemporary significance of screen-based media and a willingness to accept the challenge of interdisciplinary study.
- 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 application deadline.
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 that contribute to the programme include:
Professor Sean Cubitt is currently researching the history of visual technologies, media art history, and relationships between environmental and post-colonial criticism of film and media, three strands that converge around the political economy of globalisation and aesthetics.
His publications include The Practice of Light: A Genealogy of Visual Technology from Prints to Pixels (MIT Press, 2014), Ecomedia (Rodopi, 2005 ), The Cinema Effect (MIT Press, 2004), Simulation and Social Theory (Sage, 2001), Digital Aesthetics (Sage, 1998), Videography: Video Media as Art and Culture (Macmillan,1993), and Timeshift: On Video Culture (Routledge, 1991).
Dr Richard MacDonald researches the circulation of moving images beyond the cinema theatre and other commodified circuits, an interest pursued in relation to a wide range of social and cultural practice: pedagogic, civic, aesthetic and religious.
Working across film and screen theory, visual culture, media history and anthropology, and employing both archival and ethnographic methods his research aims to broaden our understanding of cinema by engaging the diverse contexts and infrastructures of image projection and spectatorship, both in the past and present.
He is the author of The Appreciation of Film: The Film Society Movement and Film Study in Britain (University of Exeter Press), a study of 16mm projectors, film clubs and the making of film culture in britain.
Dr Rachel Moore writes on early film history and theory; the historical and contemporary avant garde.
She is author of Savage Theory: Cinema as Modern Magic (Duke University Press, 2000), and Nostalgia (2006, MIT and Afterall Press)
Dr Gareth Stanton first used postcolonial theory to teach world cinema in the department in 1998.
His article, 'New Welsh Cinema as Postcolonial Critique' (2004, British Journal of Popular Cinema), remains a landmark in writings on Welsh language film. He is currently researching Nollywood and the Indonesian horror movie.
Dr Pasi Valiaho
Dr Pasi Valiaho’s work cuts across the areas of early and pre-cinema, film theory and philosophy, digital culture, and media and technology.
He is currently researching the archaeology of the projected image. He is author of Biopolitical Screens: Image, Power, and the Neoliberal Brain (MIT Press, 2014) and Mapping the Moving Image: Gesture, Thought and Cinema circa 1900 (Amsterdam University Press, 2010) and co-editor of several anthologies on media theory and philosophy.
Research culture in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths is unique in that it draws on and brings together different disciplinary and intellectual traditions, approaches and perspectives rooted in the humanities and the social sciences, in theoretical analysis and practical creations, in critical readings and performance.
Our work spans a wide range of topics and approaches – from philosophical studies of technology and human life to sociological investigations of media production and use; from issues of identity, embodiment and becoming to post-feminism, queer theory and critical race studies; from global screen studies and transnational investigations of media and culture to news’ role in contemporary democracy.
The Department’s research falls into four main strands which make up our research groupings:
- Gender, Feminism and Contemporary Culture: connecting the long tradition of work within the Department on culture and representation, embodiment and affect, to its specific strengths in gender, race, sexuality and cultures of work
- Media and Democracy: building on the work of the Centre for Global Media and Democracy and the Leverhulme programme on media’s contribution to democracy -- including the changing nature of journalism and political communication
- Media Futures: bringing together arts, humanities and social sciences approaches to understanding the changing role of media technologies in art, culture, economy and science, and the changing relation between the virtual and the material
- Screen Cultures and Media Arts: consolidating the long-standing focus on screen cultures within the Department, as concentrated within the Leverhulme programme, combined with an expanded exploration of media arts such as photography, video, digital imagining, sound and performance.
Many of the projects undertaken within the Department are collaborative in nature -- such as the work conducted under the umbrella of Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre, funded with a 2006 Leverhulme grant to study the design and significance of various contemporary media spaces. Members of the Department have also received funding from AHRC, British Academy, British Council, Carnegie Trust UK, Council for British Research in the Levant, ESRC, EPSRC, Guggenheim Foundation, Higher Education Academy, Hong Kong Research Grants Council, JISC, London Centre for Arts and Cultural Exchange, Media Trust and Open Society Foundation.
As well as working on collaborative projects, we have published a number of books with high-impact international presses, on a diverse range of topics: affect and emotion, artificial intelligence, bioethics, the body and experience, branding, broadcasting, Chinese cinema, democracy, film history, the future of journalism, media geographies, the mediation of power, post-feminism, postcolonial politics, sound and voice.
Members of the Department edit leading academic journals, including Body and Society, Culture Machine, Global Media and Communication, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Subjectivity and photographies.
Recent research projects
- The Leverhulme Trust funded Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre
- Storycircle (Framework for Innovation and Research in MediaCityUK)
Find out more about research in the Department of Media and Communications.
Our graduates go on to work in areas such as programming and curating, film and video distribution, and film and television criticism, but many also create their own careers. Twenty per cent of our graduates pursue PhD degrees.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.