Course information

Department

Sociology

Length

1 year full-time or 2 years part-time

Course overview

For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more

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.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

What our students say

Rachel Cummings

"I chose Goldsmiths for its reputation in the social sciences and its location in a creative, exciting part of London."
"I chose Goldsmiths for its reputation in the social sciences and its location in a creative, exciting part of London. The course has been great – it's really flexible so you can tailor it to your particular interests. It's also ideal for people who want to work across multiple disciplines or aren't really sure where they fit academically as you can try a bit of everything.
 
The scheduling has made it possible to study part-time alongside my job. I'm a nurse, and through this course have had the opportunity to study health sociology and anthropology as well as related subjects like embodiment, empathy and difference. Other people on the course have focused on entirely different subjects, and that's one of the things that makes the seminars so interesting.  
        
I submitted an essay I wrote for the 'What is Culture?' module to the Nursing Philosophy Journal graduate essay competition and was lucky enough to win first prize. This has led to publication in the journal and an opportunity to present at the International Philosophy of Nursing's annual conference in Galway, Ireland."

Beatrix

"The course provided me with a door to new ways of thinking."

"After having trained in contemporary dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I undertook the MA in Critical & Creative Analysis in order to inform my artistic practice.

As a working artist, I believe it is important to develop an awareness and understanding of society and find inspiration along different avenues. This MA, the most flexible course in the Sociology department, has helped me to achieve this by further solidifying my academic base and providing me with a door to new ways of thinking."

Ivana Andelkovic

"I've developed as a scholar"

"I chose the MA Critical and Creative Analysis because it deals with influential critical theory, old and new, and nurtures a flexible and open approach to it, for which Goldsmiths is widely known.

In the core module we touched upon various topics that included cultural theory, gender studies, urbanism, modernity, philosophy of sciences and politics. We read both new and older classical theories through the contemporary experience, which provided us with a broad range of tools for analysing social and cultural phenomena.

Aside from the core module, I designed my own mix of Sociology, Anthropology and Cultural Studies and focused on the topics that particularly interested me. It all led me to developing a dissertation on philosophy of immanence and biopolitics.

Prior to coming to London, I was running an activist platform based on self-organisation, collaboration and the use of commons. Having broadened my knowledge in critical theory, the MA will help me improve my work as an activist who encounters various groups and helps them articulate their practice. Having acquired new ways of engaging with theories as tools for deeply understanding contemporary contexts, I feel that I can develop further as a scholar and pursue PhD."

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

The fees for 2021 will be made available soon, but for reference these were the fees for 2020.

  • Home - full-time: £8640
  • Home - part-time: £4320
  • EU - full-time: £8640
  • EU - part-time: £4320
  • International - full-time: £17070

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 Tier 4 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.

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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