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 Professor Des Freedman.
What you'll study
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.
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
|The Structure of Contemporary Political Communications||30 credits|
|Critical Perspectives on Political Communications||30 credits|
|MA Political Communications Dissertation and Research Methods||60 credits|
We offer a wide range of option modules each year. For more information, please refer to our list of Media modules.
Choose a total of 30 credits (1 x 30 or 2 x 15).
|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|
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.
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 2020/21 academic year.
- Home/EU - full-time: £8640
- Home/EU - part-time: £4320
- International - full-time: £17070
If you're an international student interested in studying part-time, please contact our Admissions Team to find out if you're eligible.
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
- 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
- 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.
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.
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:
- Leverhulme Spaces of the News Research Project
- Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy
- Media Reform Coalition
Find out more about research in the Department of Media and Communications.
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.