Course information

Length

1 year full time or 2 years part-time

Scholarship information

Funding available

Course overview

Goldsmiths' operating principles for 2022-23 have not yet been finalised but should changes be required to teaching in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will publish these as early as possible for prospective students wishing to start their programme in September 2022.

The MA Promotional Media explores the impact of digital platformisation and automation on promotional professions, skills and techniques

You will explore the convergence between public relations, advertising, and marketing roles, as well as hybridised fields such as digital marketing, social media management and UX/UI design. This MA isn’t about studying ads or press coverage, but about becoming a professional who can cross-examine and critique the power dynamics between promotional professions, their client-organisations and today’s platformised media landscape. 

At its core, this masters looks at how you can better serve society by improving communications across the promotional disciplines, and how public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing professionals can best develop within a challenging digital world. You’ll learn how to reflect on contemporary intellectual theories – including digital media studies, sociology, feminist theory and algorithmic culture – and apply them to workplace realities so you plan the next decade of your career.

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 12th in the world (2nd in the UK) in the 2022 QS World Rankings for communication and media studies.

The questions we explore

  • We want you to understand the existing power struggles between traditional and emerging promotional professions, therefore, this programme will look at public relations, advertising, and marketing as inter-related disciplines, drawing on theoretical and professional debates around industry issues as they happen.
  • You will explore, for example, the implications of digital platformisation on the increasingly data-driven nature of promotional work, including the use of Artificial Intelligence and automation, among other topics.
  • You’ll also examine current industry expectations and trends, and look at the crossovers between digital skills, creativity, management, and strategy.

The processes we use

  • This is a theory-based programme, but you’ll have many practice-based options in subjects from different departments; from online news reporting and social media campaigning, to film making fundamentals or design methods, to consumer behaviour or marketing strategy.
  • You'll also get the latest insights from industry professionals across PR, advertising and, marketing through our visiting speaker series. Recent industry guests have discussed: earned vs paid media, transmedia storytelling, programmatic advertising, SEO analytics, and social media community management.
  • We periodically host public seminars such as Critical Perspectives on Promotional Cultures, with prestigious academic speakers from around the UK.
  • You will also be encouraged to attend the Department’s Media Forumwhich covers everything from Why Local Journalism Matters, to Reporting Africa.

The approach we take

Note that this isn’t a business studies-style MA. It’s a rigorous, academic programme, which investigates promotional workers, their workplace experiences, and their use of media in today’s campaigns and debates. 

Our compulsory modules apply fields such as sociology, anthropology, feminist studies, digital media and digital cultural studies to public relations, advertising and marketing, exploring how these and other promotional professions work together, where they overlap, and where the tensions lie.

You also have the freedom to choose optional modules from across theory and practice in different departments.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Clea Bourne.

What you'll study

Overview

Throughout the compulsory components of the degree, you'll examine the many ways that public relations, advertising, marketing and emerging promotional specialisms are represented in society, together with the skills and techniques enacted by practitioners in their day-to-day roles. You will be encouraged to develop your critical and analytical skills, but also to think creatively and become more confident in your academic judgment. 

Goldsmiths prides itself on its innovative and critical approaches, and you will be encouraged to immerse yourself in its wider intellectual environment to deepen your understanding of the cultural infrastructure surrounding PR, Advertising, Marketing and other promotional work.

Compulsory modules

Compulsory Modules Module title Credits
  Promotional Media I: Changing Fields & Contexts 30 credits
  Promotional Media II: Campaign Skills & Techniques 30 credits

You will also complete a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits).

Option modules

In addition to the compulsory modules and the dissertation, you will also choose 60 credits worth of optional modules from across different departments.

Choices made by current MA Promotional Media students include: 

Campaign Skills; Consumer Behaviour; Critical Social Media Practices; Design Methods and Processes; Digital Culture; Film Producing Fundamentals; Internet Governance and its Critics; Journalism in Context; Marketing Strategy; Media Law and Ethics; Media Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures; Music as Communication and Creative Practice; Online News Reporting; Media Systems, Media Ecologies and Turbulence; Promotional Culture; Social Media in Everyday Life; Software Studies; Structure of Political Communication; and Understanding the UK Media Industries.

For a full list modules available in this department, see list of Media modules.

Assessment

  • You will be assessed primarily through coursework essays and written projects.
  • Both compulsory modules include group presentations, including the opportunity to develop a promotional campaign.
  • Practical modules may require audiovisual elements to be submitted.
  • This MA will also include a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Download the programme specification. 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.

For 2021-22 and 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.

What our students say

Michelle See

As an international student from Hong Kong, I came to Goldsmiths because of its great reputation in media studies.

Michelle's time at Goldsmiths

I am a MA graduate in Promotional Media: PR, Advertising & Marketing in 2018. As an international student from Hong Kong, I came to Goldsmiths because of its great reputation in media studies. Looking back, my time at Goldsmiths was fulfilling and productive.

Convened by an ex-practitioner, the course is well structured and easy to follow. It not only offered a theoretical lens to me to critically examine marketing strategies and explore the debates around public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing these three promotional professions, but also allowed me to develop practical skills, like project management and campaign planning, by working on different real-world group projects. Throughout my studies, I received an incredible amount of academic support from both the department and university. The facilities at Goldsmiths were great too – they created an excellent learning environment for lectures, seminars, individual study as well as group discussion.

Another thing I like about the course is that I got to become a student member of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), which is a trade association for the public relations sector in the UK. With the student membership, I had the opportunity to attend a networking event to meet people from the media industry. I was also able to acquire basic knowledge of working in the promotional industry through a series of online courses offered by PRCA – from crisis management to media writing.

Alongside my study, I was a member of Student Ambassador. I got a chance to take part in various school projects and events with other ambassadors across the University. I appreciate being part of a student body with diverse backgrounds and interests. Being able to talk to people from different backgrounds made me realise how big the world is, and how important it is to respect each and every individual. This had also boosted my confidence and enhanced my communication skills. Studying at Goldsmiths was absolutely one of my best times in life.

Life as an international student

For me, Goldsmiths is a melting pot of nationalities and cultures. I never felt left out as an overseas student because most of the people I met here were very friendly and helpful which just made me feel welcome. I also appreciate the intellectual freedom at Goldsmiths – everyone is able to discuss and explore all kinds of topics and issues. This absolutely made me feel empowered and motivated, allowing me to do my best work. Apart from that, I am also thankful for the opportunity to be part of the student ambassador team.

As an international student with a Tier 4 visa, I was permitted to work only up to 20 hours a week during term time. The student ambassador programme offered me a way to not only bring in some cash while studying, but also gain work experience in a culturally diverse environment. The work is flexible – I could choose the shifts that fit my studies. The work is also diverse – from supporting on-campus events to sharing my passion and knowledge around my course to holding workshops in local schools to promote higher education. It was challenging as it involved lots of public speaking and personal interaction, but the excitement of being a representative of the University is something I enjoyed the most. It gave me a huge sense of belonging to the place.

Living in New Cross

I lived in student accommodation managed by the University during my time at Goldsmiths. The closest tube station is New Cross Gate which is roughly 4 minutes walk. I enjoyed my time living at New Cross a lot. It is a great neighbourhood with amazing bus and rail connections. A big Sainsbury’s grocery store is next to New Cross Gate station. There are lots of independent cafés, pubs and restaurants scattered all around the area. Moreover, given that New Cross is in Zone 2, it is just around 20 minutes on a train away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. The living costs were a bit more affordable as well.

To my mind, the best thing of living in New Cross is that it has lots of green space nearby, with both Telegraph Hill and Greenwich Park down the road. It is something I appreciate a lot because green space in my hometown, Hong Kong, is very limited and is considered a luxury. I used to go to these parks during the weekend either with friends or by myself to wind down and switch off for a while.

Michelle's dissertation

My dissertation talked about the branding campaign in Hong Kong in the second post-handover decade (2007-2017). More specifically, it looked at how the campaign’s narrative evolves over the years, and how it has affected citizens’ view of their identity. In doing so, first, I underwent discourse analysis to examine the development of the branding practice. I selected a number of texts and documentation released by both government and non-government organisations, ranging from reports, booklets, opinion polls, websites and videos. Second, I conducted qualitative interviews with a selection of Hong Kong people. The interview was based on the aforementioned analysis and incorporated some phrases and materials into the interviews to stimulate discussion, as well as to capture their perception of the evolving narratives. Third, I reviewed both the analysis and interviewing results to see whether there are any differences and similarities, for example, in terms of the campaign format and narratives. The ultimate aim of this research is to understand how people perceive the evolvement, and how this view may affect their sense of identity.

Life since graduating

Ever since studying at Goldsmiths, I have always wanted to work in the digital marketing & advertising industry because I have a passion for it and I think it has a lot of potential. After completing my coursework, I went back to Hong Kong and landed a job at GroupM. I was the Media Executive working across multiple categories from FMCG to hotels, from telecoms to insurance. My role involved campaign execution and management across online, offline, social channels, data organisation and reporting, client-servicing, and research. I enjoy working at a media agency because it is fast-paced and varied. It is also exciting that we have opportunities to influence our day-to-day life through the work we do with clients. Moving into 2022, I wish to further challenge myself, both personally and professionally. So now I am back in London and am going to start working at Publicis Groupe. I am looking forward to joining the team soon and am also intrigued to find out the differences between life at a media agency in Hong Kong and in London.

Advice for future students

As an international student whose English is not my first language, I think the most important thing when studying abroad is to overcome the fear of speaking English. In hindsight, that is something I could have done better to make the most of my time at University.

Because of the anxiety about speaking English, I was always too nervous to contribute to seminars. I wish that, for some of my time at University, I had not been so self-conscious and nervous when it came to engaging in seminars. It is easy to shy away from the discussion or debate because I am scared of saying something ‘incorrect’, whether it is grammatically or verbally, or something simply people disagrees with. That is certainly not how I can get the most out of my seminars, or my course as a whole. The truth is that it is unlikely that anyone in the room is going to be critiquing or judging every word I said, or anyone in the classroom, except the seminar tutor, is an expert on the topic we are discussing. I wish I had put a little more effort into getting over this anxiety and seen it as a chance to practice expressing opinions in English during my University experience.

Also, I did not get involved enough in societies because of my fear of speaking English. I did attend the odd event or talk hosted, but I just failed to get involved with any of the societies because I was too shy to make the first step. I wish I had pushed myself outside of my comfort zone a little more and branched out a little more to try new things and meet new people.

The biggest thing I have learnt during my time at University is that you get out of your experience what you put into it. And we should not let the fear of speaking English hold us back. The more effort you put into joining societies and meeting new people, for example, the better your experience may be. Or the more engaged you are with your course, the more you will get out of that. I am so glad that the people at Goldsmiths are friendly and helpful. I had the most unbelievably enjoyable experience with the people I was studying with, and I even managed to get a distinction for my dissertation thanks to the guidance and patience of my supervisor. I am happy with my time at Goldsmiths, I just wish that I had always taken every opportunity given to me and made the most out of each and every part of my experience, which would be my advice to anyone coming to University.

Zofia Bobrowicz

Studying along so many passionate students from around the world made me feel constantly challenged and inspired.

"The theories that I have learnt studying at Goldsmiths gave me a unique insight into the consumer's mindset, as well as helped me critically analyse marketing strategies. Studying along so many passionate students from around the world made me feel constantly challenged and inspired.

In my current role, I coordinate a variety of B2B event sponsorships and set up partnerships with, for example, the Financial Times on Future of the Cat Summit (May 2018).
I also oversee the production of visual content to promote the company's flagship product, working on everything from developing ideas and demonstrations, to final editing processes. I design and produce adverts, including slogans and banners for conferences and print magazines."

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. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have extensive, relevant professional experience in PR, Advertising or Marketing, 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

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2022/2023 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £9260
  • Home - part-time: £4630
  • International - full-time: £18290

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

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.

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.

Scholarships

Find out more about funding opportunities 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

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

Careers

Our students acquire general transferable skills, including critical thinking, pattern recognition, research skills, and career management. 

Specific transferable skills for the promotional industries include: message framing; storytelling and narrative construction; segmentation, measurement and evaluation; professional ethics and regulatory standards. 

MA Promotional Media graduates work across disciplines and countries in wide-ranging roles, including: account executives, content marketers, corporate communicators, digital copywriters, event managers, government communicators, product managers, media buyers, media planners, marketing officers, programmatic advertising executives, SEO analysts, social media community managers, sponsorship coordinators and UI/UX copywriters.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Student work

Your dissertation (60 credits) is an opportunity to dissect industry trends or issues.

Recent dissertation topics include:

  • Advertising Effectiveness vs Creativity: Modern ‘Wengqing’ Culture in Taiwan
  • China’s Millennials: Rejecting Luxury Products?
  • Empowering Disability Narratives: Disabled Bodies on Social Media
  • #IStandWithPP: Planned Parenthood and 21st Century Reputation Management
  • Live from the White House: Government communication and the Trump Administration
  • Online Ad Fraud and Search Engine Advertising on Baidu
  • Media Brands’ Response to ‘Fake News’
  • Place Branding and Hong Kong: Twenty Years Since the Handover
  • Public Relations and Participatory Culture in South Korea
  • Public Sector Brands on Social Media: The NHS and The Met Police
  • Rebranding Strategies in Aviation Marketing
  • #Repealthe8th: Social Media and the Irish Repeal Movement
  • Switzerland’s Stop AIDS Campaign: Advertising Practitioners as Cultural Intermediaries
  • Youtubers: Promoting Products…and Political Opinions?

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