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Masters Degrees (Dress History)

We have 6 Masters Degrees (Dress History)

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The Masters in Dress & Textile Histories provides you with the skills to research and interpret the history of dress and textiles. Read more

The Masters in Dress & Textile Histories provides you with the skills to research and interpret the history of dress and textiles. Drawing on the knowledge of interdisciplinary academic and curatorial experts, the programme combines taught and research components based on a combination of theoretical and object based approaches. Working with museum collections, archives and historic interiors you will also be given a unique insight into the curation, interpretation and preservation of historic dress and textile collections.

Why this programme

  • The programme provides you with a unique opportunity within the UK to study historic dress and textiles, enabling you to develop knowledge and understanding of theory and practice in dress and textile histories in a critical and/or historical context
  • Scotland has a rich textile heritage and Glasgow is the ideal city in which to study dress and textile history, as there are internationally significant object and archival collections in the city and close by, including the National Museums Scotland, Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, and the Scottish Business Archives at the University of Glasgow.
  • You will have privileged access to primary source material, objects and archives, including at the University of Glasgow’s Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery and Glasgow Museums.   
  • The work placement option will enable you to develop your professional expertise within the heritage sector.

Programme structure

The taught component consists of three core courses and three optional courses running over two semesters. This is followed by a period of supervised research and writing of a dissertation.

A number of study visits are built into the programme, introducing important local collections.

Teaching is delivered by a combination of in-house specialist and visiting scholars and experts. The lectures are enhanced by seminar discussions, some based in museums and galleries, giving you the opportunity to present your ideas and discuss them with classmates in a supportive yet challenging environment. 

Core courses

  • Framing Dress and Textile Histories
  • Research Methods in Practice
  • Museums and the Making of Dress and Textile Histories

Optional courses

  • The Birth of Modern Fashion? Textiles and Dress, 1680 - 1815
  • Understanding Textiles
  • Victorian Visions: Dress and Textiles c.1837-1901
  • Material Cultures

You may also choose from the following options run by History of Art:

  • Work placement
  • Independent study

Or from the following options in the College of Arts:

  • A Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institution (HATII) course : 2D Digitisation (Theory and Practice)
  • A course from elsewhere in the College of Arts, subject to the approval of the programme convenor.

Study trip

These courses are supported by a self-funded four day study trip in semester 2. Previous trips have included Manchester (2012), Leeds (2013) and London (2014-16).

Dissertation

Submitted at the end of August, the dissertation (or other substantial piece of work) encourages independent work and the application of acquired research skills. It is expected that MLitt dissertations should make a contribution to some aspect of the subject. The dissertation is 15,000 words in length (including footnotes but excluding bibliography) and will be an in-depth critical exploration on a topic chosen in consultation with the tutors and the programme convenor.

Career prospects

The attributes you gain will be attractive to employers from museums, the heritage sector, art dealers and auction houses. You could also get into theatre, film and television production as a costume researcher/designer. The programme also offers an excellent foundation upon which to progress to PhD studies and an academic career.



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The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis. Read more
The History of Design and Material Culture MA focuses on both objects from everyday life and representations of them since the eighteenth century as a basis for research and analysis.

The course allies theory and practice in seminar-based discussions that embrace various methodological issues and perspectives, including Marxism, discourse theory, phenomenology, semiology, museology, gender, race, class, memory and oral testimony. Depending on the material you analyse in your essays and seminars, as well as the dissertation topic you choose, you can also emphasise your own intellectual and subject-specific interests.

Since its inception in the late 1990s, the MA has garnered a national and international reputation as one of the pioneering and most successful programmes of its kind. As a research-led course, it harnesses the academic expertise of staff with a recognised wealth of teaching and research excellence in subject areas such as fashion and dress history, the history and theory of advertising, photography and the mass-reproduced image, and heritage and museum studies.

Under guidance, you will be encouraged to explore the relationship between theory and practice and to develop your own skills as an independent researcher, thinker and writer.

Course structure

The History of Design and Material Culture MA draws on the wide-ranging academic expertise of staff in the fields of the history of decorative arts and design, dress history, material culture, museology and social history.

It stimulates innovative and interdisciplinary study in the history of design and material culture in both their western and non-western contexts, considering the relationship between local, national and international patterns of production, circulation, consumption and use.

The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, study visits and tutorials. Considerable emphasis is placed on student involvement in the weekly seminar readings and discussions within the two thematic core modules, Exploring Objects and Mediating Objects.

Based at Pavilion Parade, a Regency building overlooking the famous Royal Pavilion, teaching takes place close to the seafront and city centre amenities.

Syllabus

• Exploring Objects

The Exploring Objects module introduces you to a series of different research methods and historiographical approaches, as you interrogate and make sense of designed objects in terms of how they are designed, produced, circulated, consumed and used in everyday life. It covers the period from the late eighteenth century to the present time and typically involves discussion and debate on the following themes, theories and methods: Marxist and post-Marxist historiography; production and consumption; gender and taste; phenomenology; object-based analysis; the use of archives; and 'good writing/bad writing'. It also introduces you to the academic rigour of postgraduate dissertation research.

• Mediating Objects

This module complements Exploring Objects by focusing on the mediation between 'this one' (the object itself) and 'that one' (the object as represented in word and image). On one level, it examines how objects are translated in various texts and contexts, from museum and private collections to photographs, advertisements, film and fiction. On another level, it examines how objects are transformed through the embodied processes of everyday rituals such as gift-giving and personal oral and collective memories. The module therefore deals with the idea of intertexualities and how the identities of things and people are phenomenologically bound up with each other. By extension, you examine objects in relation to ideas concerning sex, gender, class, generation, race and ethnicity.

• Dissertation

The centrepiece of your MA studies, the dissertation is a piece of original writing between 18,000 and 20,000 words on a research topic of your own choosing. It allows you to pursue a specific research topic related to your own academic and intellectual interests in a given area of the history of design and material culture, for example fashion and dress, textiles, ceramics and glass, product design, interior design and architecture, graphic communications, advertising and photography, film, museums, collecting and curating, and design pedagogy. The dissertation is largely based on primary research, often using specialist archives and surviving historical material.

Facilities

This course makes use of the University of Brighton Design Archives, which include the archives of the Design Council, Alison Settle, FHK Henrion and the South of England Film and Video Archive.

Close professional contact with national institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as with local collections and centres of historical interest (such as Brighton’s unique Royal Pavilion and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, with its internationally famous collection of decorative art from the 1890s onwards), present research opportunities for students registered on the course.

The course is closely linked to our arts and humanities research division through a joint research lecture series, and we have successfully encouraged high achievers to register for the MPhil/PhD programme.

The student environment also includes the thriving postgraduate Design History Society as well as opportunities for conference presentation, professional contact and career development in the field.

Careers and employability

The course has an extremely healthy track record in helping students to take up careers in related areas of employment and further study. Many of our postgraduates have succeeded in finding work as lecturers, curators, journalists, designers and design consultants, while many others have pursued doctoral research, most often also securing prestigious funding from the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council).

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The distinctive emphasis of Goldsmiths' Department of History is a theorised, interdisciplinary and comparative approach to research. Read more

The distinctive emphasis of Goldsmiths' Department of History is a theorised, interdisciplinary and comparative approach to research.

The culture of the Department of History is open, friendly and accessible, and research students are encouraged to be innovative in their use of sources and methodologies.

Our staff is young and we are on the cutting-edge of our fields and the student-teacher ratio allows us to devote an unmatched amount of time to individual supervision. Find out more about staff in the department

MPhil and PhD topics in the department currently include:

  • The Song of the Pen: Penny Romantic Literature 1839-89
  • The Freak Show in Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • British Women and German Prisoners of War in the 1940s
  • Decoding Dress in Interwar Detective Fiction
  • The British Diaspora - Race Return Migration and Identity in 20th Century Britain
  • Atatürk and his Cult - A Visual History, 1918-1968
  • Another Balkan Myth? The Extreme Right Wing in Serbia: Indigenous Phenomenon or Foreign Adaptation?
  • London Schools and Children, 1870-1920
  • The Seekers Found: Radical Religion during the English Revolution

Find out more about research degrees at Goldsmiths

Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.

Research

Research in the Department of History is esteemed internationally. History staff publish books and articles with leading international publishers and journals and their research has been externally funded by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Panacea Society and Wellcome Trust.

Find out about individual Staff.

Skills & careers

Our PhD students have taken up academic posts in history and related fields around the world; others are employed in the media and as researchers and teachers.



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Inventing Modern Art enables you to understand how painting, design and architecture took new forms and meanings in an age of radical social, scientific and technological change. Read more

Inventing Modern Art enables you to understand how painting, design and architecture took new forms and meanings in an age of radical social, scientific and technological change. Working with leading experts, you will learn to interpret these from theoretical as well as object-based approaches.

Why this programme

  • World-leading resources, from Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s School of Art to the Burrell Collection and The Hunterian, home to the world’s largest public Whistler display.
  • State-of-the-art collections access at the new Kelvin Hall Study Centre, and tuition by specialists including the Mackintosh and European Modernism Academic Curator.

Programme structure

The programme offers a wide-ranging mix of taught and research components, and is taught by a team including the Academic Curator in Mackintosh studies and European Modernism, and experts in the Enlightenment, Whistler, Impressionism, the Vienna Secession, and dress history. 

The 20-credit core course on 'Research Methods in Practice' is taken by all students in Semester 1, and provides an introduction to the key techniques and principles of advanced art-historical study and research. This provides a foundation for the programme's other components, which consist of:

  • A compulsory dissertation (60 credits; 15-20,000 words, including footnotes and bibliography). This is submitted in August and written under the guidance of a specialist tutor. It provides opportunity for self-directed research on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the programme convener and the tutor.
  • Five individual option courses, each worth 20 credits. These enable you to study particular themes or artistic movements in depth, and, if desired, also to obtain work experience. They include opportunities for first-hand engagement with relevant work in local collections and the new Kelvin Hall Collections Study Centre, and are selected from the following list.

Some courses are taught in Semester 1 and some in Semester 2 (not all are available each year):

  • Whistler, Impressionism, and European Avant-Gardes
  • The Artistic House
  • The Birth of Modern Fashion? Textiles and Dress, 1680-1815
  • Victorian Visions: Dress and Textiles c. 1837-1901
  • Cultures of Collecting
  • Provenance
  • Work Placement 
  • Independent Study 
  • Semester Abroad (Ecole du Louvre, Paris)
  • Research Forum 

One or more of your option courses may be chosen from those available in other College of Arts subjects, to create a distinctive interdisciplinary emphasis within your degree. The programme convener will give guidance on choices relevant to your personal goals and interests. 

Career prospects

The programme provides a strong foundation for work in the museum, heritage, and education sectors, as well as in media, publishing, and arts administration. Its distinctive object-based study sessions and field trips introduce you to key professionals, whilst the placement option provides 'live' work experience - an essential first step in much arts employment. Our Art History Masters' graduates have secured curatorial posts at institutions including the Palace of Westminster, V&A Museum, Ironbridge Museum, and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, as well as specialist positions with film and TV companies and auction houses. For those interested in an academic career, the dissertation component provides essential preparation for doctoral research. 



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Investigate fashion, dress and style in culture and society. Examine the evolving relationship between fashion and film. MA Fashion Cultures offers a unique experience in fashion education at postgraduate level. Read more

Introduction

Investigate fashion, dress and style in culture and society. Examine the evolving relationship between fashion and film.

Content

MA Fashion Cultures offers a unique experience in fashion education at postgraduate level.

The course has two specific but interrelated pathways: History and Culture; and Fashion / Film. On this course you will have the opportunity to study fashion and dress within its historical, social and cultural contexts. A dynamic in-depth exploration of theoretical and methodological perspectives will give you a grounding in the history of fashion and an underpinning of social and cultural theory for both pathways. You will then undertake more specialised study on your chosen pathway. On the History and Culture pathway you will investigate fashion as object, representation and practice through an interdisciplinary approach from both historical and contemporary perspectives. On Fashion/Film you will investigate the ongoing changing relationship between fashion, costume and forms of film as well as the relationship between cinema and consumption within a global context. While you will choose one pathway, you will have the opportunity to attend the lectures for the other pathway if you wish to, so you can gain the fullest possible understanding of a variety of disciplines and their impact upon visual and material cultures.

The pathways are led by renowned experts in their respective fields, and they are supported by research fellows, professors, authors, curators and historians who contribute to the course. Based in one of fashion’s most important cities, our students benefit from access to the special collections and archives of many leading institutions in London, including the V and A, Museum of London and the British Film Institute. You will also have the opportunity to work with other graduate students from the Culture and Curation Programme on some units of the course.

We attract students from a wide variety of academic and industry backgrounds, some of whom have completed theory-based first degrees, while others come with practice-based backgrounds. After completing their Masters studies, some students from both former courses have progressed to higher level research degrees, and others have established themselves in a number of related fields including curation, visual merchandising, styling, archiving, fashion buying, lecturing and research.

Structure

Block One September to January

Social and Cultural Theories (20 credits) (both pathways)
Fashion Histories (20 credits) (both pathways)
Research Methods (20 credits) (both pathways)

Block Two February to May:

Cycles of Fashion (20 units) (History and Culture pathway), or
Fashion, Stardom and Celebrity Culture (20 credits) (Fashion / Film pathway), or
Sustainability and Fashion (20 credits) (either pathway)

Gendering Fashion (20 credits) (History and Culture pathway), or
Film Concepts, Global Cinema (20 credits) (Fashion / Film pathway), or
Consumer Behaviour and Psychology (20 credits) (either pathway); Collaborative Unit (20 credits) (both pathways)

Block Three May to September: Masters Project (60 credits) (both pathways)

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This fascinating course examines many different aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds – their literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages and material cultures – through a scholarly tradition that is both fast-moving and long-standing. Read more

MA in Classical Studies

This fascinating course examines many different aspects of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds – their literature, history, philosophy, archaeology, languages and material cultures – through a scholarly tradition that is both fast-moving and long-standing. You will investigate the different disciplinary fields of Classical Studies, bringing you into direct contact with a wide range of fragmentary evidence from classical antiquity such as surviving texts and artefacts, which you’ll examine from multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives. You will also acquire and develop research skills that will enhance your knowledge of the ancient Graeco-Roman world and prepare you for independent study, culminating in a dissertation.

Key features of the course

•Explores the question of ‘how we know what we know’ about the ancient civilisations of Greece and Rome
•Takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of ‘the ancient body’, including birth, death, ancient medicine, dress and beauty
•Draws on cutting-edge research by members of the Classical Studies department
•Concludes with a substantial piece of independent research on a topic of your choice.

This qualification is eligible for a Postgraduate Loan available from Student Finance England.

Modules

To gain this qualification you require 180 credits as follows:

Compulsory modules

• MA Classical Studies part 1 (A863)
• MA Classical Studies part 2 (A864)

The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.

Credit transfer

If you’ve successfully completed some relevant postgraduate study elsewhere, you might be able to count it towards this qualification, reducing the number of modules you need to study. You should apply for credit transfer as soon as possible, before you register for your first module. For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.

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