For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of this programme are delivered. Find out more
Examine the impact of being abusive or being abused. You will look at theoretical perspectives considering abusiveness and its impact in different international, cultural and social contexts.
This MA Understanding Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse is unique and represents the first psychologically informed programme of its kind. It is particularly suitable for people wanting to increase their grasp of the interplay between mental distress, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
This programme is also available via Distance Learning or by studying individual modules as part of a Continuing Professional Development plan.
The programme will offer a blended learning approach with a mixture of online and face to face contact. The online components will be largely focused on the acquisition of theoretical knowledge through computer-mediated activities via the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
The classroom-based content of the programme will have an emphasis on experiential and reflective learning which will help you understand the process of identifying, assessing and managing both perpetrators and victims. This aspect of the programme will be delivered in blocks (including some Saturdays) to make the study more accessible to working adults.
You may take individual modules separately (see below) or exit with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.
You can keep up to date with everything that's happening on the programme by following us on Twitter.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Doireann Larkin.
What you'll study
For 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
Your learning will be underpinned by a unique synthesising of psychodynamic, systemic, cognitive behavioural and social theories to examine the impact of being abusive or of being abused. The programme focuses on looking at practice and research from these theoretical perspectives and will consider abusiveness and its impact in different cultural and social contexts from childhood to older age.
The learning will be provided by a cross-disciplinary team that covers approaches from the social work, community and youth work, cross-sectoral arts, and therapeutic approaches including art and dance psychotherapy, psychodynamic, counselling and cognitive behavioural approaches.
Students are required to take 180 credits at Masters level. The programme can be taken over one year (full-time) or two years (part-time).
Students will undertake the following compulsory modules:
- Theories, Research and Policy - Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse (30 credits)
- Research Methods (15 credits)
- Group Work: Power, Identity and Conflict (30 credits)
Students will then take three of the following optional modules:
- Working with Children in the Context of Domestic Violence (15 credits)
- Working with Adults in the Context of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse (15 credits)
- Adolescents as Victims and Perpetrators (15 credits)
- The Impact of Trauma - Distress, Resilience and Post-traumatic Growth (15 credits)
Students will also complete a dissertation (60 credits)
Assessment is through a combination of extended essays, journals, reports, assignment and dissertation.
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 second class standard in a relevant/related subject. You must also be able to demonstrate significant experience in either health and social care, psychological therapies, or experience from the third sector in a specialist abuse service.
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.
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: £19660
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.
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.
Aziz Foundation Scholarship
This programme is eligible for an Aziz Foundation scholarship. Find out more about how to apply.
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 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.
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.
The MA will develop skills including:
- a knowledge various theoretical perspectives
- an understanding of cross-disciplinary work within the field
- an understanding of the different international, cultural and social contexts from childhood to older age within the field
It is expected that a number of professionals will use either the course credit or the degree to supplement their CPD portfolios, which are a requirement for the majority of these professionals.
For workers with extensive experience this programme (or its constituent courses) will provide a sound basis in theoretical knowledge and current research which will help them develop their current work and increase their potential for further advancement in the field.
The UK has developed recognised forms of intervention in this field that have an international application and relevance. Issues regarding domestic violence and sexual abuse have an international public health and human rights dimension, which makes the programme internationally relevant.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.