Goldsmiths, University of London

Course Introduction

This exciting degree offers you the opportunity to study one of the major areas in contemporary media and communications – branding.

The unique programme introduces you to the variety of ways in which brands are developed and used, and helps you to understand how the growth of branding – in business, but also in politics, government, sport and culture – has changed the societies we live in.

What happens when the state starts to use branding techniques to communicate with its citizens?

And how does the rise of digital and social media change the relationship between brands and their publics?

What, for example, are the consequences of understanding political parties, artists or sports teams as ‘brands’?

**An introduction to contemporary branding debates**

The MA in Brands, Communication and Culture aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the history and development of brands and branding, and their relationship to contemporary forms of communication and culture. Specifically, you should acquire an in'depth knowledge of the social, political and economic backdrop against which branding has become so important, and an understanding of the key themes and debates surrounding its development and use, including the relationship between brands and intellectual property, and the extent to which branding promotes or inhibits openness and transparency within organisations.

You will also improve your ability to think critically and creatively about contemporary communications and cultural practices. When you have completed the programme you will have at your disposal a range of tools that will enable you to analyse contemporary communications, to make judgments about their significance and value and be able to thoughtfully contribute to contemporary communications.

**A unique approach to the study of brands**

This MA is not a conventional branding or marketing course. Instead it offers a unique approach to the study of brands. This is reflected in the topics taught on our core modules, which include:

' The role of brands in and beyond markets

' The rise of consumer culture

' Critical perspectives on brand management and governance

' Intellectual property

' Immaterial labour and the rise of ‘branded workers’

' Gender, colonial history and branding

' Attachment, identity and emotions in branding

' Ethics and transparency

' The emergence of brand experiences and ‘staging’ of brands

' Fair trade and accountability

' Branded spaces and communities

' Social media and open source cultures

' Geodemographics and new forms of social classification

The MA Brands, Communication and Culture is taught across two departments: Media & Communications and Sociology. This gives you access to experts in many fields. In addition to the two core courses you will have the opportunity to customize your degree by choosing from a range of modules from different departments to allow you to explore your own interests and make wider connections.

We welcome students who bring to the course a range of experiences and interests in communication, management, politics, design and the cultural industries.

**Recent dissertation topics include:**

' Branding post'capitalism? An investigation of crowdfunding platforms

' Trespassed City: Mapping London’s privately owned public spaces

' The rise of co'working spaces

' Craft Entrepreneurs: an inquiry into the rise of artisanal production in post'industrial cities

' Hashtags in photo sharing social media apps

' Consumer culture in contemporary Shanghai

' Branding of NGOs

' Sustainable brand strategies ' good for the environment or just a selling strategy?

' Fashion bloggers and cultural capital

' Medical tourism and branded healthcare

' Intellectual property in the fashion industry

' Branding London's districts

Course Modules

The programme is made up of two core modules, between two and four options modules, and a dissertation. Core modules: Branding 1; branding 2.

For the optional modules, you'll have an opportunity to explore some of the wider contexts for brands and branding by taking up to 60 credits of modules provided elsewhere in Media and Communications or neighbouring departments such as Sociology, Cultural Studies and Anthropology.

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

Start Date:


Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
1 year
Full Time
MA £7,520 Home Fees
1 year
Full Time
MA £16,080 Overseas Fees
1 year
Full Time
2 years
Part Time

Qualifications required:

  • 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.
  • If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements of IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study with us.