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 MSc Consumer Behaviour equips you with a comprehensive grounding in approaches to understanding consumer preferences, judgements, decision-making and behaviour.
You will learn how to use this knowledge to improve organisational strategy and success, in terms of targeting, product placement, advertising, marketing, influencing and protecting consumers.
The programme aims to enhance your employability by fostering the development of the real-life and job-relevant competencies and skills that are required to succeed in today's competitive job market. You will be provided with the strong knowledge base and hands-on research experience needed for succeeding in careers such as marketing, media, communications, advertising, consumer research, consumer insight, entrepreneurship, and public relations.
You will develop the skills necessary to conduct independent research and to understand:
the psychological and cultural processes underlying consumer behaviour
the psychology of consumer preferences and choices
psychological theories of attitude change, persuasion, and influence
the psychology and strategy of branding
how to create and sustain customer experience
behavioural economics (including the psychology of pricing)
the psychological impact of various types of media and advertising
The Institute of Management Studies at Goldsmiths benefits from staff who conduct high impact, applied research and who have excellent links with industry. For example, for the past two years, students of the module Consumer Behaviour have been working on research projects led by Ivan Korolev, Product Insight Manager at Converse. Recent speakers in our Innovation Case Studies series have included fashion designer Sir Paul Smith, 'city super woman' Nicola Horlick, and editor of Monocle Tyler Brûlé.
The MSc Consumer Behaviour contributes to and strengthens Goldsmiths’ reputation as being one of the premier institutions of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Adele Gruen.
What you'll study
The MSc in Consumer Behaviour consists of:
six compulsory modules (90 combined credits)
two or three optional modules (30 combined credits)
a research dissertation (60 credits)
The modules are organised within the Institute of Management Studies (IMS) and most have a strong practical component.
All lecturers on this programme have a strong research profile, which they bring to bear when presenting the theoretical, technical, and applied components of consumer behaviour.
This lecture course will introduce you to the fundamentals of consumer psychology and behavioural economics.
It will give you an understanding of the fundamental decision making processes and the factors that influence these processes. It covers topics such as prospect theory and classical economics, brain structures and information processing, heuristics and rules of thumb, and framing and influencing techniques.
It also discloses the various strategies used by marketers to differentiate their products, leverage brands, set strategic prices, reduce the effectiveness of consumer search, and it compares the effectiveness of each.
The course covers topics such as the types and effectiveness of pricing strategies, individual differences in uptake of pricing strategies, value perceptions and subconscious influences (priming), and ethical and legal issues around influencing consumer choice.
The lectures in this course will be supplemented by several assignments designed to develop and enhance practical skills, and further develop familiarity with consumer psychological methods and theories.
This module provides the knowledge requirement for marketing and advertising. The module will provide a critical understanding of what consumers buy, how they buy (i.e., buying patterns), and why they buy the way they do (i.e., why we see these patterns). This knowledge in turn will enable you to improve marketing and advertising strategies of organisations both on large scale and small-scale projects. By using theory, case material and practical examples, you are introduced to the importance of theory and research-based practice in these fields.
Throughout the module you will develop a contemporary, cognitive toolkit for researching, analysing, and understanding buyer behaviour. You will contrast this current approach with traditional models of marketing and advertisement. Finally, you will learn to apply this knowledge for organisational strategy initiatives (e.g., launching a new marketing campaign). This module brings together a wide range of approaches to buyer behaviour, marketing and advertising, both on organisational and project-by-project levels. You will also be offered an opportunity to apply your learning to analysing case studies.
This module covers skills required for effective research design and analysis of data in work environments to enable inferences about cause and effect relationships. You will also learn to critically evaluate the research appearing in academic and business literatures. Lecture topics include the following:
Basic principles of research design, scientific method, role of theory
Sample selection, data cleaning, data screening, descriptive statistics
Association: correlation and covariance
Design of experiments: one way and two way ANOVA, contrasts, repeated measures
Regression: simple, multiple, logistic, time series, awareness of multi-level modelling
Measurement: classical test theory, reliability, validity, factor analysis and item response theory, structural equation modelling
The objective of this module is to equip students with some of the knowledge and tools to analyse the internal and external business environment and devise marketing strategies that help to distinguish businesses from their key competitors whilst adding value to the product/service offering. The module will be divided into two section: one more theoretical and one more practice. The module will start defining the role of marketing strategy within the business strategy and the corporate strategy of the company. It will also help to differentiate the three levels, and it will highlight the relationships between these three levels of strategy. The module will then look into the process of creation of a marketing plan as a core tool for the definition of the strategy. The marketing planning process will start from understanding the market opportunities of the company, through the identification of attractive market segments, to the differentiation and brand positioning. The module will then move on the formulation of marketing strategies such as marketing strategies for new market entries, growth markets strategies, mature and declining markets strategies. Finally, students will learn how to implement and control strategy, and to measure effectively the performance of a specific strategy. In the second section, students will be required to complete a business simulation. In order to show a practical understanding of the concepts of the first part, students will be divided into teams and will be asked to complete in a simulation related to marketing strategy (i.e. Markstrat). This simulation will allow students to draw a parallel between marketing strategy and marketing tactics (4Ps). This will also allow them to apply the knowledge about other elements of marketing management that they have been studying in other modules.
Over the past three decades, customers have gained centre stage in marketing education and practice. Establishing close and intimate relationships with customers is considered to be key to marketing success, and customer equity has become an important marketing performance indicator.
The advent of digital technology and social media have had a major impact on the nature of customer relationships. Today, companies are seeking to engage the customer by creating interactive, participative marketing landscapes which will be the focus of this module.
Based on a solid understanding of traditional customer relationship management and contemporary customer engagement theories, this module discusses the creation of customer experiences from two perspectives.
First, the module will teach students how managers involve customers throughout the marketing process. Existing technology allows customers to participate in product design (for example online product customization), pricing (for example pay-what-you-want), and marketing communications (creation of viral online content). 3D printing may revolutionize the distribution of material goods, with customers designing products online and printing them at home.
Virtual Reality will add further customer touch points to our existing marketing landscapes in the near future. Specifically, Virtual Reality has the potential to transform retail environments and create entirely new marketing communication channels. Furthermore, companies are increasingly engaging customers in brand building, especially via brand communities. The merits as well as the limitations of participative customer experiences will be discussed in this module. Also, the potential impact of other emerging technologies on the customer experience will be examined.
Second, this module focuses on customer involvement in the innovation process. Companies are increasingly involving customers directly in the development of novel products and services. On the one hand, this occurs via crowdsourcing efforts and product idea competitions. On the other hand, selected customers may work directly with engineers and managers during the innovation process. Furthermore, customers often innovate on their own, which is well-documented in the lead user and market creation literature. The module demonstrates how managers can create fertile grounds for successful customer co-creation of new products and services. Also, it will debate the value and limitations of customer engagement in companies’ innovation efforts.
This module aims to introduce students to consumer culture. This module departs form psychological and traditional perspectives on consumer behavior in looking at consumers from a social, cultural, and anthropological point of view. The assumption is that brands are cultural icons and as such they have meanings that go beyond their economic value. As such, this module will look at products, services, branding, retailing, and advertising from sociological, anthropological and cultural perspectives. The module intends to challenge students’ existing understanding of marketing and consumer behaviour, and to develop a critical view on contemporary marketing issues.
The research project constitutes a major part of your final mark (60 credits) and requires you to execute and document an original research investigation. The research focus can be on any area of your degree programme, can use a number of different research methodologies, and can employ a specific population (e.g., salespersons), a general working sample, or pre-existing/archival data.
The research is conducted under the guidance of an academic supervisor and it allows you to make an original intellectual contribution to your discipline. The student is required to conceptualise, plan, and execute the research, and after this to write it up into a journal-style report.
If you intend to conduct a field study (i.e., in an organisation) it is a good idea to start thinking about your research project early, as gaining access to an organisation can be a time consuming process.
Although the research project is a challenging part of the module, many students find they benefit greatly from the experience. By the submission deadline, you will not only have developed your skills as a researcher, but also gained experience applying theory and research to areas of concern in your discipline. Furthermore, it is not unusual for high quality MSc research projects to be subsequently presented at conferences, and/or published in academic journals. Unless otherwise agreed, the research project supervisor will share authorship, with the student, on any publications and conference presentations arising from the research project.
You can also choose up to 30 credits of option modules. The list of approved modules will include those run by the Institute of Management Studies and by other departments at Goldsmiths that have modules relevant to Consumer Behaviour.
The objective of this module is to provide an introductory overview to the theory and practice of personnel assessment and selection. A guiding principle of the module will be the scientist-practitioner perspective, with particular emphasis on the value of scientific, theory-driven research for understanding and addressing pragmatic problems. This module provides the knowledge requirement for the DOP core curriculum domain of ‘Psychological Assessment at Work’.
The module aims to provide an introduction to individual and organisational health and the ways in which organisational environments can be designed to facilitate this. The module begins with a discussion of the antecedents of individual and organisational health and wellbeing, and also discusses the likely symptoms of when health and wellbeing are poorly managed by organisations. The ways in which this process can be mitigated is then discussed in light of the impact of individual differences as well as the impact of health and safety management systems. After this, the module broadens out to discuss the organisational context for health, wellbeing and performance in more detail through the design of work, organisational structure and culture, and planned change for improving organisational effectiveness.
The module aims to provide an introduction to the ways in which individuals learn and develop within organisations. The module begins with a discussion of how people learn, training design and delivery and the organisational context in which all of this occurs. Following this, a specific application of training, namely Stress Management Training (SMT), is explored in detail. Next, training is contrasted with a contemporary form of development activity known as coaching. Finally, these different forms of development are discussed within the context people’s careers, and the ways in which career counselling can be used to help people navigate their professional lives are examined.
This module is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of leadership and talent in organisations. Moreover, students will learn about methods for assessing leadership potential and talent, along with approaches to enhancing leadership ability and talent. The module will also cover use of technology in leadership development and talent management. By using case material and practical examples, students are introduced to the importance of theory and research-based practice in these fields.
Innovation is a defining feature of novelty in complex technological, sociocultural, and biological systems. Theories of innovation offer principles on which the practices of innovation are based as well as the connections between theory and practice. As the psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote there is “nothing more practical than a good theory”. Innovation theories help explain the features of systems that make them capable of innovating and how the mechanisms that create novelty help us better understand and shape our world. Building on empirical, modelling and theoretical research, Innovation Theory, introduces a diverse variety of interdisciplinary theories explaining how innovation systems are formed, evolve, and transform in particular conditions and disciplines.
Design Thinking encourages individuals to act as creative catalysts with a systemic approach to innovation challenges. It can be applied in the workplace, at home, and in any sector of socio-economic life, though the focus of this course is the application of Design Thinking to challenges and opportunities specifically related to the management of innovation. The course introduces the concepts of design thinking applied to product development but does so as an exemplar of, and entry into, how those design thinking concepts can be applied to conceptualising changes in organisational culture, structure, processes, and systems. The core set of skills in Design Thinking, from understanding your customer to defining problems, ideation, prototyping, journey mapping, iteration and testing, are introduced in the course through both theory and practice. Design Thinking involves a step-by-step process that can be activated in a linear or non-linear fashion as there are no explicit dependencies between the skills. The foundational agenda of the course is providing students with a theoretical framework and toolkit for surfacing, defining, and refining viable ideas quickly and then executing on high-impact business and social interventions with a lean human-centred design mindset aimed at solving problems and creating opportunities. In the management of innovation, this applies to everything from actionable strategies for workplace or workforce challenges to the leadership skills for developing and nurturing high-performance teams or organisations poised to innovate using, indeed, Design Thinking strategies.
Students are taught to approach real-world problems from the point-of-view of their target audience, demonstrating the kind of audience-led and lead-user that translates inventive ideas into business-ready concepts and encourages making small bets fast, constructive evaluation of failures, and exploiting and harnessing breakthroughs to propel organizational growth or social good. The course structure features 10 lectures focused on learning and applying theories of Design Thinking and two labs where students gain exposure to and experience with software tools used to augment and accelerate application of design thinking theories to real-world challenges.
Project Management involves all aspects of defining, designing, delivering, and supporting organisational initiatives and product development. These aspects include planning and controlling for scope, time, cost, quality, HR, communications, risk, procurement, and their integration. It involves all activities from initiating projects to managing, directing, controlling, and closing them. This module will address all of these areas in a rigorous and structured way, using three dominant methodologies currently active in operational environments. It will provide students with an active skillset in project management and prepare them to pursue certification in any of these three methodologies. The curriculum will use lectures, activities, case studies, group work, role-play scenarios, and presentations. Students will be taught in a single lecture environment each week before breaking off into smaller groups for project management tools and software training in labs in five of the weeks.
The Case Studies lectures set the stage for each week of teaching and encourage student exposure to and interaction with the theory, culture, economics, and emerging technologies of the theory and practices of innovation. The case study format encourages active learning and allows the application of theoretical concepts to be demonstrated, thus bridging the gap between theory and practice. Each week features a different topic so students gain in-depth knowledge of 10 innovation topics through weekly case study demonstration and critical analysis. Each case study features an academic lecture followed by a case study presentation from a top-tier industry guest speaker at the executive level discussing challenges and opportunities related to a realworld implementation of the particular case study topic.
What is technology and how does it evolve? How can managers stimulate technological innovation in organisations? How can managers use technology to disrupt existing markets, and create entirely new ones? These questions lie at the heart of this module. Students will learn how to appreciate the potential commercial and social implications of emerging technologies, and how to orchestrate marketing processes for the creation of new markets.
Over the past three decades, the internet and digital technologies have transformed marketing landscapes beyond recognition. Indeed, they have created an entirely new marketing discipline: digital marketing. This module demonstrates how marketers navigate digital marketing environments successfully: how they implement effective marketing communication strategies, how they create successful digital business models, and how they build strong brands in digital marketing environments.
The module will ensure a solid understanding of fundamental theories on marketing communications and brand management. Based on this theoretical foundation, classroom discussions will be directed at the latest insights from an ever-growing body of research on digital marketing and digital branding. The first part of the module will focus on the idiosyncrasies of digital marketing communications. Students will learn how to develop a digital communication strategy and will be familiarised with relevant digital marketing metrics. Digital communication activities include, but are not limited to, mobile marketing, social media marketing, blogging, email marketing, and search engine optimisation. The lectures will also explain how to combine different social media (i.e., Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram) in order to achieve strategic marketing objectives. In the second part of the module, the lecturer will examine different online business models including, for instance, internet retail, subscription and curated commerce, two-sided markets, freemium products, and the sharing economy. Finally, the third part of the module will identify effective branding strategies and tactics for digital marketing environments. Specifically, students will learn how digital technology has changed the nature of customer relationships with brands. The module aims to enable students to leverage digital technology for the development of compelling brand identities.
Throughout the module, students will be challenged to identify unintended negative social consequences of the growing digitalisation of consumer worlds, and to understand the dark side of social media. For example, mental health issues of users, the emergence of the “gig economy”, and the proliferation of “fake news” will be discussed. This aims to ensure that students will employ digital technology thoughtfully in their future careers.
Digital technologies allow for the creation and storage of an unprecedented amount of data. The advent of the Internet of Things will further accelerate the growth of digital data, as more and more devices and physical objects will connect to the internet. The ‘digital universe’is expected to grow from 4.4 trillion gigabytes today to around 44 trillion gigabytes by 2020. This deluge of data presents an immense opportunity for marketing, yet seizing this opportunity requires specific market research skills.This module will introduce students to the rapidly growing field of data science and will familiarise them with its basic principles and general mindset. Students will learn concepts, techniques, and tools that are used to deal with various facets of large data sets. It is essential to develop a deep understanding of the complex ecosystem of tools and platforms, as well as the communication skills necessary to explain advanced analytics. This course will provide an overview of the wide area of data science and the tools available to analyse large amounts of data. The module will also highlight limitations of big data analytics. Specifically, big data analytics assist in improving and developing existing product portfolios, yet their ability to derive insights that may inform the creation of radical innovations and new markets is limited. Potential approaches to address this limitation will be discussed (e.g., combinations with qualitative/netnographic research methods).
In summary, this module aims to provide students with the skills needed to work in data-driven marketing environments.
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.
"The lecturers generally have been great, they've gone above and beyond what I expected from an MSc; the support, quick responses, level of knowledge, and commitment have been astounding."
"Before Goldsmiths, I'd been living abroad and moved back to the UK with ambition to get back to uni and progress my current Psychology degree. I found Goldsmiths online, and in all honesty, had never heard of it before! I have to admit, I was dubious about moving to London as it's far from anywhere I've lived or studied, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. The University has been nothing but amazing, in terms of resources and support available; the campus itself is brilliant, easy to find your way around and always what you need when you need it!
The course was more than I expected; as a complete newbie to marketing it's been the perfect foundation, alongside, developing and taking my knowledge down a specific avenue in order to specify my degree. The lecturers generally have been great, they've gone above and beyond what I expected from an MSc; the support, quick responses, level of knowledge, and commitment have been astounding. The modules are relevant, interesting and I love the contrast of teaching styles."
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
Appropriate work experience will be considered in place of an undergraduate qualification on a case-by-case basis. This may include (but not be limited to) sufficient experience within a design agency, and/or marketing or advertising department.
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.
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.
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 conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
Admission to many programmes is by interview either in person or via Skype.
Adèle Gruen is the Director of the MSc in Consumer Behaviour. She holds a BSc in Management, an MSc and an MRes in Marketing Research and Strategy from Université Paris-Dauphine in France. She holds a PhD in consumer behaviour at that same university. Adele’s research interests lie in the field of the developing access economy (i.e., collaborative consumption or sharing economy). Her research is grounded in consumer culture and aims to understand the relationship consumers develop with objects and places they access and share with other consumers. She studied the fields of car sharing and coworking spaces. She is interested in understanding the connections between consumption and work in new ways of working.
Sven is the Director of the MSc in Marketing and Technology. Prior to joining Goldsmiths, Sven worked at Cass Business School, City University London, as a Lecturer in Marketing, and was a Research Fellow at Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He obtained his PhD in Management from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. Sven’s research lies at the intersection of Marketing Strategy, Innovation Management, and Entrepreneurship. He examines how inventors, managers, and entrepreneurs explore, identify, and create new market space for early-stage ideas and technologies. Sven’s research work is mainly set in the empirical context of university technology transfer, with a special emphasis on science-based start-up companies. He aims to extend his research efforts to purpose-driven start-ups in the near future. With his research, Sven seeks to help individuals faced with ambiguous and undefined market spaces achieve commercial success.
Annemijn Loermans is a Lecturer in Marketing and the Graduate Careers Coordinator for Marketing. Prior to joining Goldsmiths, Annemijn worked as a postdoctoral researcher at ESSEC Business School, in Paris, France. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from Utrecht University, an MSc in Behavioural Science from the Radboud University Nijmegen, and a PhD in Psychology from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, all in the Netherlands. Annemijn’s research lies at the intersection between marketing, psychology and management. She examines differences in the cognitive representation of abstract concepts, concepts like time, future selves, and brands, and explores how these differences drive our (consumer) behaviour, motivation, and emotions. She mainly employs quantitative techniques in studying these topics and with her research seeks to contribute to a better understanding of cultural differences, how people navigate career transitions, and how consumers interact with brands and consumer goods.
Christian A Eichert is a lecturer in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour. He is currently finishing his PhD in Marketing and Consumption Studies at Cass Business School. Christian started his first company aged 14 and has more than 15 years of experience in founding, managing, and consulting for businesses in Europe and the United States. He has worked in a variety of industries, including online B2C and B2B services, data centre and IP infrastructure, blockchain technology, education, and investment management and advisory. His current research projects encompass three topical and theoretical domains of inquiry: (1) vulnerable and marginalized communities and subcultures, for example how consumers avoid, manage, and resist social stigma in the marketplace; (2) gender and sexuality, for example how consumers navigate markets for casual intimacy on smartphone apps such as "Tinder" or "Grindr"; and (3) digitalisation and globalisation, for example how new technologies facilitate the emergence of location-independent work and consumer lifestyles.
Dr Nigel Guenole BA (Hons), MA, GradDipApplStat, PhD Courses: Research Design and Applied Statistics, Dissertation
Nigel is the Director of the MSc Global Leadership programme and teaches the Leadership and Talent Management course on the MSc Management of Innovation. His research focuses on the measurement of high performance for leadership and talent management using advanced psychometric methods. His consulting work focuses on the design and validation of psychological assessment instruments for employee selection and development purposes. He supervises MSc Management of Innovation dissertations focused on quantitative methods and advanced statistics.
You will become adept at assessing marketing techniques, problem-solving, interpreting human behaviour, influencing consumer choice, analysing complex information, working in teams and excelling in individual projects.
Possible careers for graduates of the programme include:
‘Culture is a paradoxical commodity. So completely is it subject to the law of exchange that it is no longer exchanged; it is so blindly consumed in use that it can no longer be used. [...] The whole world is made to pass through the filter of the culture industry.’
–Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, ‘The Culture Industry’, 1947
Shape the future of work by training as an Occupational Psychologist in the Institute of Management Studies (IMS). Gain the scientific knowledge, practical skills, and professional network to challenge the status quo and offer innovative workplace solutions.
This programme will equip you with the fundamental business and social enterprise knowledge and skills needed to manage innovative product and brand or policy development, service delivery, and integration of emerging technologies in fast-paced industries.
The MSc Marketing & Technology aims to transform students into uniquely-trained individuals possessing the knowledge and skills required to be successful marketers in dynamic and technology-driven industries.