Course information

Department

Sociology

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

All changes will be considered through the College's established processes to assure the quality of each programme. Approved changes to programmes will be published to the programme changes page.

If government guidelines change, it may mean we need to make further adjustments to teaching arrangements. If this is the case, you will be notified of any further changes.

This degree brings together the rich work within critical and cultural theory, continental philosophy, cultural studies, and contemporary feminist and postcolonial scholarship.

The MA Sociology (Cultural Analysis) enables you to develop critical and analytical interdisciplinary perspectives on contemporary socio-cultural processes. It offers a sense of the breadth of possible approaches while developing the skills necessary to produce original analyses in a scholarly and inventive manner. You will explore topics like the nature and historical conditions of critique itself, the relations between power and subjectivity, the concept of performativity, cosmopolitics, novel forms of protest, and radical empiricism, among others. These questions cross and connect human and non-human worlds, and involve both aesthetic and historical aspects.

Develop your understanding of the analysis of contemporary culture 

You will be introduced to a range of traditions and resources from cultural studies, continental philosophy, postcolonial theory, process philosophy, speculative thought, and critical cultural analysis. Through reading, seminars, and written assignments, you will gain a critical understanding of contemporary cultural processes and central issues in the theory and analysis of contemporary culture.

Tailor the degree to your own interests

The MA Cultural Analysis embraces a transdisciplinary approach that allows students to choose options from within the department and across Goldsmiths to sit alongside the core theoretical and methodological modules. This allows you to take your critical cultural approach into areas that most appeal and feel most urgent to you. You will be able to explore areas of contemporary social and cultural life that interest you most. This flexible MA programme allows you to select options from within and beyond Goldsmiths' Department of Sociology.

Participate in an interdisciplinary community

Students join this MA from around the world, bringing a range of backgrounds, interests, and unique perspectives to discussions. We have welcomed graduates with backgrounds in sociology, politics, and anthropology, as well as the humanities, philosophy, and more creative and artistic pursuits such as dance and architecture. You will become part of the department’s innovative research culture, which includes events organised by the following:

Our engagement with the socio-cultural world will take multiple routes, expanding sociological methods to also include approaches that route themselves through its poetic, spatial, fictional, affective, sonic, or visual dimensions as much as through its textual. Previous students have explored: the sounds of Kigali street sellers; the memories of violent events in Bogotá; theories of gender fluidity; philosophies of immanence and biopolitics; and archives of radical rock music in the UK.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the convenor, Professor Vikki Bell.

What you'll study

You will take two compulsory modules worth 30 credits each. You will also write a Dissertation worth 60 credits, for which you meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff and participate in Dissertation workshops.

As a full-time student, you will normally complete one compulsory module and one option in each of the Autumn and the Spring terms. As a part-time student, you will spread these over two years, taking the Methodology Now module in your second year. Compulsory and option modules are normally taught by weekly hour-long lectures followed by an hour-long seminar.

Compulsory modules Module title Credits
  What is Culture - Key Theoretical Interventions 30 credits
  Methodology Now 30 credits
  Dissertation 60 credits

Option Modules

You will also choose 60 credits of option modules. One of these must be offered by the department of sociology; the other may be taken from a participating department across Goldsmiths.

For your other options, you can choose modules from the following Departments across Goldsmiths. Not all modules are suitable for students from all academic backgrounds; you will discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor at the start of your degree.

Dissertation

For your dissertation, you'll meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff and participate in Dissertation workshops led both by staff and students (based on presentation and discussion of your work in progress). The dissertation is a substantive piece of research, empirical or theoretical, on a topic of your choice.

Assessment

The assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice-based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) awards are also available in this programme. For the award of Postgraduate Diploma, you would need to complete the compulsory module and option modules to the value of 120 CATS; for the Postgraduate Certificate, you would need to complete the compulsory module and option modules to the value of 60 CATS. Please note that these are exit awards; if you successfully complete the whole programme you'll be awarded an MA.

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

Louka Maju Goetzke

With the MA Sociology (Cultural Analysis) – formerly MA Creative and Cultural Analysis – I found a unique multidisciplinary program that allowed me to solidify my knowledge in sociocultural theory and analysis.

With the MA Sociology (Cultural Analysis) – formerly MA Creative and Cultural Analysis – I found a unique multidisciplinary program that allowed me to solidify my knowledge in sociocultural theory and analysis while also broadening my horizon with regards to other fields such as political theory and literary studies.

Simultaneously, it gave me the flexibility to focus on my personal interests in postcolonial, feminist, and posthuman perspectives and enabled me to gain a better understanding of the kinds of issues I want to explore further. Thus, my year at Goldsmiths provided me with a sound basis for pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology on gender transitions from a new materialist perspective, with a doctoral fellowship at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany.

Lion Blau

The MA programme's openness in terms of choosing modules makes it possible to create one's own pinpointed studies

In this very noisy world we find ourselves in, this MA is something precious. For someone with a divergent disciplinary background like me, previously having worked as a fashion designer in Paris and being mostly a person of handiwork and practice, it offers invaluable possibilities to enter the worlds of theory and to think and reflect on our times' pressing issues.

The MA's student body was a colourful bunch of fascinating individuals who each brought their distinct point of view to the seminars, making for very stimulating discussions each week which more often than not extended into an evening at the nearby pub. The MA programme's openness in terms of choosing modules makes it possible to create one's own pinpointed studies, reflecting one's interests and making the most out of the time spend at Goldsmiths. And so was I able to attend classes from the Anthropology department and a module from Visual Sociology, in which I was able to learn the combination of social science with artistic practice. The MA's compulsory main module 'What is Culture' and its convenors, successfully build an intellectually and personally very engaging environment, in which one attentively studies the content of a multiplicity of scholarly works, plus most importantly, also learns to think with those works' creators.

I cannot emphasise enough this MA's value for my personal and professional growth. It truthfully enables one not only to learn and gain knowledge of a diverse array of topics independent of one's academic background but also facilitates a flourishing in scholarly creating with the knowledge gained.

Muireann Bird

The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the MA meant that I could make choices about which modules to take as my knowledge and interest grew.

I was looking for an MA that would help me to begin a new career, without having a very clear idea of what that career might be and so the MA Creative and Cultural Analysis was a perfect choice for me as it really allowed this exploration.

I was drawn to the core modules which offered an introduction to new ways of thinking and great opportunities to follow my own interests.

The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the MA meant that I could make choices about which modules to take as my knowledge and interest grew as opposed to having to choose a fixed course of study at the start of the year. As a result I ended up going in a direction I hadn't even considered prior to starting.

This MA gave me the skills and confidence I needed to embark on a career as a freelance researcher. It also allowed me to connect with a brilliant group of people, with lots of interesting conversations!

See more profiles for this programme

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 relevant experience 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 2021/2022 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £8990
  • Home - part-time: £4495
  • International - full-time: £17760

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.

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 electionic 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.
  • 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 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.

Selection process

As part of the selection process, you may be offered an informal interview with the Programme Convenor.

Find out more about applying.

Staff

Many members of staff contribute to the programme. You may meet a range of different staff members if you choose the options on which they teach, or if your dissertation project fits well with their expertise and they are available to supervise you.

Staff who have contributed to the programme in recent years include:

Find out more about staff in the Department of Sociology.

Careers

You'll develop the following skills during the programme:

  • advanced analytical skills
  • the ability to evaluate complex theoretical positions and to deploy those within appropriate formats and frameworks

Recent graduates have embarked on professional careers in social research, thinks tanks, the arts and cultural sectors, government and public administration, development, human rights, NGOs, and in media and communications globally. They have also progressed to PhD study.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Suggested reading

Here are some reading suggestions of texts you may meet on the MA Sociology (Cultural Analysis) programme: 

  • Adorno, T. W. (1991) The Culture Industry Abingdon: Routledge 
  • Benjamin, W. (1985) One Way Street and Other Writings London: Verso
  • Bell, V. (2007) Culture & Performance London: Berg
  • Bennett, J. (2009) Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things Durham: Duke University Press
  • Butler, J. (2020) The Force of Non-Violence London: Verso
  • Chakrabrarty, D. (2000), Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1987) A Thousand Plateaus London: Continuum
  • Foucault, M. (1994) ‘The Ethics of the Concern for the Self as a Practice of Freedom’ in Michel Foucault: Ethics, Subjectivity and Truth (Essential Works of Michel Foucault Vol 1 (ed. Paul Rabinow) New York: The New Press
  • Gilroy, P. (2000) Between Camps: Nations, Cultures and the Allure of Race London: Penguin
  • Haraway, D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble Durham: Duke University PRess
  • James, W. (1996) A Pluralistic Universe Nebraska University Press. 
  • Manning, E. (2016) The Minor Gesture Durham: Duke University Press
  • Moten, F (2003) In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
  • Said, E. (1978) Orientalism Pantheon Books
  • Santner, E. (2006) On Creaturely Life: Rilke, Benjamin, Sebald Chicago: Chicago University Press
  • Shapiro, M. (2012) Studies in Trans-Disciplinary Method New York: Routledge
  • Sharpe, C. (2016) In the Wake: On Blackness and Being Durham: Duke University Press
  • Schuppli, S. (2020) Material Witness Cambridge, MA:MIT Press
  • Savransky, M. (2021) Around the Day in Eighty Worlds Durham: Duke University Press
  • Stengers, I. (2005) The cosmopolitical proposal. In: B. Latour and P. Webel (eds) Making Things Public. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press
  • Whitehead, A.N. (1967) Adventures of Ideas New York: Free Press

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