Course information

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

Interrogate the status quo with leading academics who don’t just talk and write about politics, but actively campaign to create change in the world

All around us governments are in crisis, protests are on the increase, dissent and mobilisation is widespread and relayed across the world instantaneously on a screen. Communication is at the very heart of the structures, institutions and actors that give meaning to politics in governments, in parties and on the street. 

The questions we ask

How do we live our politics on a daily basis? Who holds the power to influence political decisions that structure our lives? How might democracy be done better? What is the relationship between politics, the individual, institutions and the media? These are the kinds of questions we’re asking on this programme.

And we take an expansive view, so you’ll learn about politics and communications not just as a singular discipline, but as a subject that’s much more nuanced, moving across everything from governments and parties to NGOs and activists; from economic and environmental policy and conflict representation, to issues of race, gender, social theory and popular culture. 

The processes we use

Alongside traditional lectures and seminars we also do workshops and research exercises to reflect on how political communications are part of the rituals and rhythms of our daily lives and how this is influenced by others.

As part of the programme you may also be tasked with designing and pitching your own political campaign. We use these kinds of exercises because we think it’s only by actively engaging with political communications that we can better understand how it is part of our everyday lives. 

The approach we take

We’re active not passive so this course isn’t just about having our heads in books, it’s about applying ideas to the real world. We’ll expect you to be reading the news every day because we want you to engage with what’s happening and unravel it.

There are also opportunities to interact with industry experts, get involved in live campaigns and collaborate with people coming from all over the world. We pride ourselves on fostering a supportive environment and offering an open door throughout your time with us. At Goldsmiths the conversations are always just starting. 

 

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Aeron Davis

What you'll study

Overview

The programme’s core curriculum will address a range of contemporary issues, debates and theory in political communication, including work on:

  • comparative media systems
  • theories of communication and democratisation
  • global media, international governance and transnational communication
  • economic, financial and industrial policy
  • digital media and online politics
  • media sociology and news production
  • political parties, party ideologies and party-member dynamics
  • public relations, political marketing and spin
  • government communication systems and media management
  • media audiences, effects and agenda-setting
  • public opinion and public sphere debates
  • interest groups, social movements and alternative media
  • advocacy, civil society and public affairs
  • new technologies and the information society
  • citizenship and public engagement
  • the policy process and government decision-making
  • politics and culture
  • social theories of power, culture and communications

Theory is usually applied to a number of case study areas on, for example: conflict and war; elections; social and environmental debates; foreign affairs; the economy, finance and business; crime and disorder. Theory and discussion is always related to current events and debates.

Structure

The MA in Political Communications is built up of modules that must count up to 180 credits. The programme comprises:

  • Two core modules taught in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies (60 credits in total)
  • A research skills module
  • 60 credits' worth of modules chosen from the Department of Politics or Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies. These can be a combination of 30 and 15 credit modules
  • Up to 30 of the 60 credits of options may be chosen from the departments of Sociology, Anthropology, English and Comparative Literature, and the Centre for Cultural Studies

Core modules

Module title Credits
  The Structure of Contemporary Political Communications 30 credits
  Critical Perspectives on Political Communications 30 credits
  MA in Political Communications Dissertation and Research Methods 60 credits

Option modules

Media options

We offer a wide range of option modules each year. For more information, please refer to our list of Media modules.

Politics options

Choose a total of 30 credits (1 x 30 or 2 x 15).

Module title Credits
  The Political-Economic Governance of the European Union 30 credits
  Risk in Contemporary Politics 30 credits
  Global Political Cultures 1: Knowledge, Power and Culture 15 credits
  Theories of International Relations 30 credits
  Government and Politics of the European Union 15 credits
  Continental Political Theory 15 credits
  Global Political Cultures 2: The Body Gender and Politics 15 credits
  An(Other) China: Postcolonial Theory, Postmodern Concerns 30 credits

Assessment

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.

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 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.

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.

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

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional costs

We provide free reader packs, and other essential readings are available to download for free.

You will 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, there may be additional costs – please check with the Department in question.

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.

Scholarships

The Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies often offers fee waivers for this MA. Find out more on our departmental funding page.

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
  • 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 accept applications from 1 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 earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Final 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

Research

Be taught by professionals and industry experts

Teaching draws on the professional and research expertise of the department’s highly regarded staff. Research generates global interest with 80% of staff producing research classified as ‘world leading’ or ‘recognised internationally’.

Currently, all core teaching staff are active participants of the Leverhulme Spaces of the News research project, investigating developments in digital news media and politics, the Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy and the Media Reform Coalition.

The course also takes advantage of the diverse set of teaching, research and practical resources available to the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths. This large department offers a wide range of theoretical subjects and perspectives.

Find out more about our key research projects:

Find out more about research in the Department of Media and Communications

Careers

We know that political organisations relish thinking graduates. It’s why we focus on delivering a programme that’s rooted in a critical perspective. By the time you leave we want you to feel transformed so that you can go forward and transform the world. 

Our graduates go on to work within government organisations, political parties,  NGOs and news media and across the public and private sectors - from the Houses of Parliament and BBC World Service to Google, Greenpeace and the UN. 

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

What our students say

Javier

"Goldsmiths is a place where the only limits are self-imposed"

Applying for the MA in Political Communications at Goldsmiths was a straightforward decision. Enrolling in the programme, I was convinced, would take my career to the next level. And it certainly did. Not only by helping me get my dream job, but also by incubating the critical, open-minded, internationally-inspired principles that stimulate my daily work.

As a Spanish youngster having to start my career in the midst of an economic crisis, I had concerns and fears about the future. But Goldsmiths is a place where the only limits are self-imposed. The campus, an ever-inspiring and arty place, empowers students to create, think and grow their own ideas.

The Media department, in particular, is home to a determined and proactive group of academics from whom I learned how communication (old and new media) shapes the world today. They also passed on to me that political communications should be intrinsically linked to a professional commitment to inform and warn the public about ongoing injustices and inequalities.

I met my current boss while researching my MA dissertation. Doing political communications at the EU level is a fascinating challenge for a new graduate, and I felt, from the very first day, motivated and well prepared for the task ahead. 

Over the last 4 years in Brussels I have worked to maximise my MEP's public projection, gain media coverage and further her influence and reputation. To do so, I have designed and implemented creative campaigns and public actions which have been recognised by many as fresh, innovative and groundbreaking.

I cannot recommend Goldsmiths enough. It will enrich you from both a professional, cultural and civic perspective. The university enables you to critically understand and interact with this ever-changing, media-dominated world.

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