Goldsmiths, University of London

Course Introduction

This programme brings together social analysis, activism, and inventive research methods in a critical engagement with various dimensions of urban work – from policy'making, research and cultural interventions, to the management of social programmes and institutions.

The MA Cities and Society is a research and training programme designed to help identify the constraints, injustices and potentials of cities and urban processes. The programme supports strategic interventions in urban governance, activism and institution'building, as well as social'spatial development and cultural production. Distinguished by its theoretical rigour, integrity and a focus on experimental empirical research, the programme focuses particularly on:

' Using research'led teaching to explore the importance of sociological knowledge to understanding cities, urban economies, culture, politics and social justice.

' Analysing the organisation of contemporary cities, including the built environment, commerce, housing, culture, political and social infrastructures

' Critically examining how distributions of wealth, power and culture in spaces and places are constituted through political, material and social processes.

' Investigating the proliferation of technologies, techniques and ideas that change our notions about the use of things and bodies

' Utilising our location in Southeast London to explore issues of city'making and urban change through hands'on methodological training.

' Introducing students to a lively community of researchers and urban practitioners at the Centre for Urban and Community Research.

This programme covers the following disciplines: sociology, geography, anthropology, architecture, cultural studies, history, fine arts, media and communications.

Course Modules

Core modules: Remaking London; navigating urban life; urban field encounters. A specialist option module taken from the department's extensive list, or from the departments of Anthropology, Media and Communications, English and Comparative Literature, Politics, Music, or Educational Studies, and a dissertation.


One'hour lectures address the core themes of each module, followed by one'hour seminars in small groups of under 20. Urban Field Encounters also entails workshop activities.

You'll be encouraged to attend dissertation classes that train you in the basic principles of dissertation preparation, research and writing. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor who will be available when you are writing the dissertation (approximately one hour contact time per month).

The main aim of the program is to explore new approaches to thinking about and researching the city formation and urban life. This can be broken down into three inter'related aims:

To promote an appreciation of the relevance of the social, sociological knowledge and ways of knowing in the understanding of cities, urban economy, culture and politics, and the management of social change, and to encourage a critical understanding of interrelated concepts, debates and themes.

To enable students critically to engage sociological and geographical theories and methodologies relevant to the studies of cities and urbanities, controversies and social change, and conduct an intellectually informed sustained investigation.

To expose students to a lively research environment and the relevant expertise of the Department of Sociology and related departments and centres to provide a catalyst for independent thought and study.

Expert walks and seminars

The course is accompanied by a series of expert 'London walks' spread across the year. These are led by a range of researchers from within the Centre for Urban and Community Research, as well as guests from various institutions across the city, and take students through the sites of that their work focuses on.

Alongside core modules, the convenors will also run an Urban Film Series, a series of evening screenings of various documentaries and films relevant to the themes of the course.

The Centre for Urban Community research also holds regular seminars with a range of urban professionals, architects and academics from outside the university, giving the MA Cities and Society a space to join in with the Centre’s intellectual community.

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
2 years
Part Time
MA Other Fees
1 year
Full Time
MA Other Fees

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 will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme.