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Masters Degrees (Ma Critical Theory)

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This programme offers you the chance to study a range of theories in depth. It engages with modern literary theory, psychoanalytical theory, political theory and theories of visual and aesthetic experience. Read more
This programme offers you the chance to study a range of theories in depth. It engages with modern literary theory, psychoanalytical theory, political theory and theories of visual and aesthetic experience.

You reflect on these areas of thinking in themselves and as they relate to particular literary texts, to post-enlightenment philosophy and to other relevant areas of culture and experience. It is for those interested in writing, reading, language, art, the self, literature and discovering more about the relations between literature and philosophy.

The MA in Critical Theory offers a choice of two core courses that survey a wide range of modern theoretical approaches, and a range of taught options covering postcolonial theory, theories of art, modern approaches to comparative literature, deconstruction and a chance to work in depth on a single key theoretical text and the writings it refers to.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/216/critical-theory

About the School of English

The School of English has a strong international reputation and global perspective, apparent both in the background of its staff and in the diversity of our teaching and research interests.

Our expertise ranges from the medieval to the postmodern, including British, American and Irish literature, postcolonial writing, 18th-century studies, Shakespeare, early modern literature and culture, Victorian studies, modern poetry, critical theory and cultural history. The international standing of the School ensures that we have a lively, confident research culture, sustained by a vibrant, ambitious intellectual community. We also count a number of distinguished creative writers among our staff, and we actively explore crossovers between critical and creative writing in all our areas of teaching and research.

The Research Excellence Framework 2014 has produced very strong results for the School of English at Kent. With 74% of our work graded as world-leading or internationally excellent, the School is ranked 10th out of 89 English departments in terms of Research Intensity (Times Higher Education). The School also received an outstanding assessment of the quality of its research environment and public impact work.

Course structure

You take two modules in the autumn term and two in the spring term; one core module (FR866: Literature and Theory) and three optional modules. You are also expected to attend the Faculty and School Research Methods Programmes.

You then write a theory-based dissertation between the start of the Summer Term and the end of August.

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

FR866 - Literature and Theory (30 credits)
FR807 - Postmodern French Detective Fiction (30 credits)
EN889 - Literary Theory (30 credits)
EN897 - Advanced Critical Reading (30 credits)
FR872 - Theories of Art in Modern French Thought (30 credits)
CP808 - Writing the Self: Autobiography in the Modern Period (30 credits)
CP810 - Comparative Literature in Theory and Practice (30 credits)
EN852 - Colonial and Postcolonial Discourses (30 credits)
EN857 - Body and Place in the Postcolonial Text (30 credits)
TH831 - Spirituality and Therapy (30 credits)
TH833 - Contemporary Critical Approaches to the Study of Religion (30 credits)
EN876 - Dickens and the Condition of England (30 credits)
EN888 - Extremes of Feeling: Literature and Empire in the Eighteenth Century (30 credits)
EN818 - American Modernism 1900-1930 (Teaching Period I) (30 credits)
EN832 - Hacks, Dunces and Scribblers: Authorship and the Marketplace in the Eig (30 credits)
EN835 - Dickens, The Victorians and the Body (30 credits)
EN842 - Reading the Contemporary (30 credits)
EN850 - Centres and Edges: Modernist and PostcolonialQuest Literature (30 credits)
MT864 - Reading the Medieval Town: Canterbury, an International City (30 credits)

Assessment

The course is assessed by coursework for each module and by the dissertation which accounts for a third of the final grade.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- extend and deepen through coursework and research your understanding of modern literary and critical theory

- study the reading-practices, analytic tools and vocabularies of modern critical thought

- develop your independent critical thinking and judgement

- introduce you to the research methods that facilitate advanced theoretical study of literature

- provide a basis in knowledge and skills if you intend to teach critical theory, especially in higher education

- develop your understanding and critical awareness of the expressive and analytical resources of language

- offer scope for the study of critical theory within an interdisciplinary context, notably that provided by philosophy

- develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form

- examine this writing in the wider context of literature, culture and philosophy

- provide teaching which is informed by current research and scholarship and which requires you to engage with aspects of work at the frontiers of knowledge

- develop your research skills to the point where you are ready to undertake a research degree, should you so wish.

Careers

Many career paths can benefit from the writing and analytical skills that you develop as a postgraduate student in the School of English. Our students have gone on to work in academia, journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; as well as more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

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Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Read more
Philosophy at Essex takes philosophy back to its roots in everyday existential, social and political issues. Our radical approach cuts across traditional boundaries, fostering dialogue between different schools and disciplines, and we are one of the few universities in the world that bridges the divide between the two great traditions of Analytic and Continental philosophy.

Our MA Philosophy will provide you with a rigorous grounding in modern and contemporary European philosophy. We have leading expertise in critical theory, phenomenology, German Idealism, nineteenth Century German philosophy, aesthetics, existentialism, contemporary French philosophy, philosophy and psychoanalysis, and medical humanities.

You study modules of your choice, develop your research, writing, and employability skills through an intensive Writing Workshop, and prepare an MA dissertation in your chosen area of research.

Our department is widely regarded as among the very best in the UK, having been recognised as one of the top 10 UK universities for research excellence (REF 2014), and being placed in the top 10 in The Guardian University Guide in 2010, 2011, and 2013.

As an alternative to our more flexible MA Philosophy, you can focus your study on a more specific area by following one of the following pathways:

MA Philosophy (Continental Philosophy Pathway)
All of our academic staff work on Continental Philosophy, including classical German philosophy (Kant and German Idealism), Frankfurt School Critical Theory (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), nineteenth-century philosophy (Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche), and phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty). On this pathway you choose from a range of specified topics in these areas, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Continental Philosophy.

MA Philosophy (Critical Social Theory Pathway)
We are the leading centre for Critical Social Theory in the UK with five members of academic staff working on the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Habermas, Honneth), contemporary French thought (Derrida, Foucault, Rancière) and issues in Critical Social Theory, such as activist political theory, theory of recognition, aesthetics and politics, deliberative democracy, and the moral limits of markets. On this pathway you study modules on the Frankfurt School and Contemporary Critical Theory, in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Critical Social Theory.

MA Philosophy (Philosophy and Art History Pathway)
Drawing on the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach of the School, our new Philosophy and Art History pathway enables students to get a thorough grounding in philosophical aesthetics. You explore issues in aesthetics and their bearing on other areas of philosophy (such as critical theory or existentialism) and Art History (such as aesthetic practices and curating), and profit from the wide-ranging expertise of our staff in both disciplines. On this pathway you study modules on Philosophy/Aesthetics and Art History (dealing, for example, with Art & Politics, Art, Architecture and Urbanism, or Art, Science & Knowledge), in addition to some outside options and a dissertation on a topic in Philosophy and Art History.

Our expert staff

Our courses are taught by world-class academics, and over three quarters of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), which puts us fifth in the UK for research outputs.

Our open-minded and enthusiastic staff have an exceptionally broad range of research interests, so whatever questions in philosophy catch hold of your imagination, there is certain to be someone you can approach to find out more.

Recent projects and publications include:
-Béatrice Han-Pile and Dan Watts’ major new research project, The Ethics of Powerlessness: the Theological Virtues Today
-The Essex Autonomy Project, a major interdisciplinary project funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), which aims to investigate the role of autonomous judgment in many aspects of human life
-Peter Dews’ The Idea of Evil, Polity, 2007
-Béatrice Han-Pile, Foucault’s Critical Project: Between the Transcendental and the Historical, Stanford University Press, 2002
-Fiona Hughes, Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: A Reader’s Guide, Edinburgh University Press, 2007.
-Wayne Martin, Theories of Judgement: Psychology, Logic, Phenomenology, Cambridge University Press, 2006
-Irene McMullin’s Time and the Shared World: Heidegger on Social Relations, Northwestern University Press, 2013
-Fabian Freyenhagen’s Adorno’s Practical Philosophy: Living Less Wrongly, Cambridge University Press, 2013

Specialist facilities

-Graduate students have access to desk space in the School and many students work there on a daily basis
-A dedicated German-language course for graduate students in philosophy
-Attend our Critical Theory Colloquium
-Attend the Werkstatt, where recent work on phenomenology is presented
-An exciting programme of research seminars, reading groups and mini-courses that help you expand your philosophical knowledge beyond what you learn on your course
-Access a variety of philosophy textbooks and journals in the Albert Sloman Library and in our departmental library

Your future

Many of our philosophy graduates embark on doctoral study after finishing their MA. We offer supervision for PhDs in a range of fields including:
-Continental philosophy
-Critical Social Theory
-History of philosophy
-Applied ethics

Our graduates have also gone into careers in law, the media, local administration, HM Revenue and Customs, and top jobs in the Civil Service.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Example structure

-Dissertation: Continental Philosophy (optional)
-Dissertation: Critical Social Theory (optional)
-Dissertation: MA Philosophy (optional)
-Dissertation: Philosophy & Art History (optional)
-Phenomenology and Existentialism (optional)
-Kant's Revolution in Philosophy (optional)
-Hegel (optional)
-Contemporary Critical Theory (optional)
-Topics in Continental Philosophy (optional)
-MA Writing Workshop (optional)
-The Frankfurt School (optional)
-Philosophy and Aesthetics (optional)
-Collecting Art From Latin America (optional)
-Art & Politics (optional)
-Current Research in Art History (optional)
-Art, Architecture and Urbanism (optional)
-Contemporary Theories of Justice (optional)
-Environmental Politics (optional)
-Political Economy (optional)
-Political Theory (optional)
-Research Seminar in Political Theory and Methods (optional)
-Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)
-Ideology and Political Discourse (optional)
-The New Nature Writing (optional)
-Foundations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (optional)
-The Protection of Refugees and Displaced Persons in International Law (optional)
-Human Rights and Development (optional)
-International Trade, Investment and Human Rights. (optional)
-Human Rights for Women (optional)
-Transitional Justice (optional)
-Psycho Analytic Theory (optional)
-Psychoanalytic Methodology (optional)

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This programme takes a philosophical, theoretical and historical approach to cultural studies, exploring the work of cultural criticism, reception and production through new critical perspectives, interdisciplinary insights and a vast spectrum of applications and opportunities. Read more

This programme takes a philosophical, theoretical and historical approach to cultural studies, exploring the work of cultural criticism, reception and production through new critical perspectives, interdisciplinary insights and a vast spectrum of applications and opportunities.

We study the major traditions of cultural theory, including semiology, deconstruction, feminism, psychoanalysis, and Frankfurt School theories of the aesthetic, the media and technology. This training enables you to shape your thinking critically and develop your interests in a rigorously analytical context.

These theoretical and historical perspectives allow us to tease out the critical charge embedded in the notion of culture itself, and the transformative potential of creative and critical work in the arts and humanities.

Close reading and textuality are at the heart of the course, encouraging you to think critically about issues of modernity and postmodernity, the postcolonial, subjectivity and sexuality.

Diverse and dynamic

Founded in 1987 (as MA Cultural Studies), and situated in the School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, this programme appeals to students from across the humanities who are interested in a broad range of objects and genres including literature, film and the visual arts, performance, music, and philosophy.

You’ll work alongside students in different creative and critical disciplines and benefit from the diverse research interests of our tutors. It’s a dynamic environment where you’ll gain valuable knowledge and skills in a city with a vibrant cultural life.

Leeds University Library is one of the major academic research libraries in the UK with extensive print, online and manuscript collections. The University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them. The School houses Parallax, published by Taylor and Francis, an internationally distributed journal of cultural theory and analysis.

Course content

The two modules that sit at the heart of this course will develop your understanding of cultural theory over time.

A core module in Cultural Theory offers an introduction to key paradigms, focusing on theories of the commodity, language, discourse, subjectivity and sexuality.

The second core module, Cultural History, explores the genealogies of contemporary theory in relation to a longer tradition of cultural criticism that emerged, with modernity itself, in the 18th century. Emphasis is given to practices of close reading, the question of textuality and the case study.

You will develop an understanding of the ideas of ‘commodity’ and commodity fetish’ that are central to the study of consumer culture, as well as issues around language, sign and discourse and subjectivity. You will put this into the context of the development of cultural studies, focusing on thinkers from Rousseau to Kant and Homi Bhabha. You will use film and other texts to explore these ideas.

In each semester, you will also have the chance to specialise when you choose from a range of optional modules.

We provide an integrated course of training in advanced level research. The skills you will develop, combined with the specialist knowledge built through your optional modules, will ultimately be focused in your dissertation ― an independent and self-devised research project, which you will undertake with the guidance of your supervisor. In Semester 2, you will present some of your own research at the annual MA Symposium.

If you choose to study part-time, you will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Cultural Theory 30 credits
  • Advanced Research Skills 15 credits
  • Advanced Research Skills 25 credits
  • Cultural History 30 credits
  • Cultural Studies: Dissertation 50 credits

Optional modules

  • Derrida and Deconstruction 30 credits
  • Making Sense of Sound 30 credits
  • Capitalism-Criticism-Contemporary Art 30 credits
  • Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust 30 credits
  • Aesthetics and Politics 30 credits
  • Encountering Things: Art and Entanglement in Anglo-Saxon England 30 credits
  • The Origins of Postcolonial England 30 credits
  • Humanity, Animality and Globality 30 credits
  • Individual Directed Study 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Cultural Theory MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Critical and Cultural Theory MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

To help you benefit from the expertise of our tutors, we use a range of teaching and learning methods. These include seminars, film screenings, lectures, online learning and tutorials. Independent study is also a crucial component, allowing you to form your own ideas and develop your research and critical skills.

Assessment

Assessment methods will vary depending on the modules you choose. However, among others they may include essays, in-course assessment, group and individual presentations, poster presentations and portfolio or e-portfolio work.

Career opportunities

This programme will develop your critical and cultural awareness and expand your subject knowledge in theories and histories of culture. In addition, it will equip you with sophisticated research, analytical, critical and communication skills that will put you in a good position to succeed in a variety of careers.

Many of our graduates have also continued with their research at PhD level and secured external funding to support them – including AHRC scholarships. A large proportion of our former research students are now developing academic careers in the UK, Europe, Asia, USA and Australia.

Some have taken up posts working as curators and education staff in museums and galleries, as well as in journalism, publishing, arts marketing, public relations, university administration and teaching.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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The Cultural and Critical Theory MA will give you a sophisticated appreciation of the limits of human understanding, the interdependence of philosophy and theory, and the implications of these for political action, aesthetic sensibility and representation in art and activism. Read more

The Cultural and Critical Theory MA will give you a sophisticated appreciation of the limits of human understanding, the interdependence of philosophy and theory, and the implications of these for political action, aesthetic sensibility and representation in art and activism.

The course offers three distinct pathways:

  1. Aesthetics and Cultural Theory
  2. Globalisation, Politics and Culture
  3. Philosophy and Critical Theory

All pathways provide for the development of an advanced understanding of specialist areas in cultural and critical theory, and effective preparation for doctoral research.

The core course, delivered during the autumn and spring terms, is complemented by a research methods module and two elective modules that offer opportunities for study across the range of humanities provision.

The course culminates in the submission of a specialist 20,000-word (or equivalent) project, which allows you to apply your advanced philosophical and theoretical understanding to an issue or text of your choice.

Taught courses are delivered with a maximum size of 12 students. Supervision for the project, and for pre and post-essay tutorials, is on a one-to-one basis with the appropriate tutor.

Why study with us?

  • Opportunity to specialise in aesthetics and cultural theory, political and cultural globalisation, or philosophy and critical theory
  • Successful international conferences – for example 'Slavery, Race and Reparative History', 'Globalisation and its Discontents' and 'Complicity', all with visiting scholars from across the globe
  • The Philosophy, Politics and Aesthetics seminar series that invites debate from across the College, and hosts visiting scholars to deliver seminar papers twice a month
  • A research methods module that improves your skills in independent study, and prepares you for doctoral work as well as for your MA project
  • Staff with diverse research interests that span art practices, ethics, aesthetics, Marxisms, Freudianisms, Liberalisms, the political philosophy of international relations and global change, philosophy and filmmaking, literature and visual art, political activism and forms of democracy, and more

Areas of study

Delivered during the autumn and spring terms, the core course consists of a common lecture line and two modules in aesthetics and cultural theory, philosophy and critical theory, or political and cultural globalisation, depending on your chosen specialist area.

You also take a research methods module, which prepares you for the research project by considering the various approaches taken by relevant disciplines, interrogating the requirements of MA-level research and addressing how your intended research topic might best be refined.

The project itself normally consists of 18-20,000 word dissertation (or 12,000 words alongside a video, an installation or studio-based work) in which you apply your knowledge of cultural or critical theory to an issue or text of your choosing. Your work towards this submission is supported by one-to-one project supervision.

The elective modules can take one of three forms:

  • a module from one of our other arts and humanities MA courses
  • a Higher Education Teaching and Learning Course in which you shadow a tutor in the delivery of a module on the undergraduate programme
  • a 10,000-word extended essay with regular one-to-one tutorial supervision.

Careers and employability

About a third of graduates from the Cultural and Critical Theory MA go on to PhD study, equipped with advanced research skills and specialist knowledge of their subject area. Others start or continue work as museum or gallery curators, in arts administration, journalism, social work, education or politics.



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This interdisciplinary course offers you the rare opportunity to study contemporary critical and cultural debates across a wide range of fields. Read more

This interdisciplinary course offers you the rare opportunity to study contemporary critical and cultural debates across a wide range of fields. Exploring a variety of different visual, textual and spatial forms of culture, and their diverse theorisations, the course will particularly appeal to those with wide-ranging interests in the arts and humanities, as well as those interested in cutting-edge theoretical debates.

Modules are taught by expert staff from a number of different disciplines, giving you the chance to follow particular themes in the areas that most interest you. Recent work by staff in Cultural and Critical Studies includes books and articles on new media, urban theory, gender, contemporary art and aesthetics, Victorian criminality, China, visual culture, architecture, post-colonialism and critical theory.

The course consists of two main core modules, Capitalism and Culture, and Problems and Perspectives in Cultural Studies. These establish a framework for the close analysis of the locations, products and systems of culture. The dissertation of 10-12,000 words, which can be written on an appropriate topic of your choice, and the Research Methods module are also core modules. There is also an optional work placement module.

You are encouraged to attend the research seminars in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, at which visiting speakers, creative practitioners and teaching staff present their current work.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

You will choose four modules from the option modules list.

Core modules

Option modules

Career path

Graduates from the MA in Cultural and Critical Studies have gone on to pursue a wide variety of careers both within the educational, cultural and creative sectors and beyond.

Recent graduates from the course have gone on to become archivists in cultural institutions such as museums, galleries and universities, as community and educational programme co-ordinators for museums, as art gallery directors, theatre managers and a range of other roles within the creative industries, including public relations, marketing and recruitment.

Others have become language teachers and translators, while many have undertaken doctoral research and gone on to pursue careers in higher education or become teachers in secondary and primary schools.



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This programme will provide you with a firm grounding in political analysis and a critical insight into the real politics behind the headlines. Read more

This programme will provide you with a firm grounding in political analysis and a critical insight into the real politics behind the headlines.

You will explore the variety, dynamism and relevance of political theory in the modern world, gaining an insight into political thought and practical application of political ideas.

You will consider the various ways in which theory is vital to understanding a range of urgent and pressing problems (such as terrorism, global poverty, social cohesion, immigration, censorship, war and the environment) in contemporary politics and address the practical implications of these ideas.

Throughout the course you will build a portfolio of in-depth study of many of the defining events and dynamics of modern society, across Europe, North America, Africa and Asia, providing an understanding of the world that will prove invaluable in further academic study or a range of postgraduate careers.

The Political Theory and Cultural Values Research Group is an active team of enthusiastic academics, pursuing cutting-edge research into a wide variety of strands of political thought.

The Political Theory Centre is part of the White Rose Association for Political Philosophy, linking you into the complementary political theory teams at York and Sheffield Universities.

Links with the Leeds Centre for Democratisation afford excellent opportunities for discussing the application of many of the ideas studied on the programme. Political theorists form part of a large department of political studies, including International Relations and Development, which additionally provide an auspicious context for the study of applied theory.

Course content

Through compulsory and optional modules, this programme will offer you:

  • the chance to engage in in-depth critical analysis of political thought
  • the opportunity to examine the nature of freedom, justice and equality
  • a firm grounding in political analysis
  • a critical insight into the defining events and dynamics of modern society
  • a rigorous grounding in the dominant paradigms of political science
  • the chance to personalise your programme.

You will also be able to hone your research and writing skills in your compulsory dissertation – an independent piece of research on your chosen topic.

The wide-ranging list of optional modules means that you can explore a diverse range of related subjects of interest to you.

If you are a part-time student, you will study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • Political Theory in Action 30 credits
  • Advanced Political Analysis 30 credits
  • POLIS MA Dissertation 60 credits

Optional modules

  • The Global Politics of Health: Power and Inequity 30 credits
  • Conflict, Complex Emergencies and Global Governance 30 credits
  • Political Economy of Resources and Development 30 credits
  • European Defence and Security Analysis 30 credits
  • The Rise of China 30 credits
  • American Foreign Policy 30 credits
  • Contemporary Politics of the Middle East 30 credits
  • The Politics of the Israel-Palestine Conflict 30 credits
  • International Political Economy 30 credits
  • International Relations and the Environment 30 credits
  • Global Justice 30 credits
  • Research Methods 30 credits
  • Political Theory in Action 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Politics (Political Theory) MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Politics (Political Theory) MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

Teaching is tailored for interactive small-group work, and uses a combination of lecture and seminar-discussion modes.

Teaching on political theory modules is predominantly seminar discussion-based, while other modules include more lecture-oriented material.

You will be expected to do a significant amount of preparatory reading before each session, and emphasis will be on student-led discussion to build critical and reflective confidence in a group environment.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by varying combinations of exam and coursework, depending on the module.

Career opportunities

The emphasis on applied use of political thought, particularly from a transformative perspective, means the critical analytical skills learnt here are of use in a wide range of employment sectors, including the civil service, public sector organisations and the third sector.

Many graduates go on to complete PhDs in Political Theory, having had the opportunity to strengthen their command of a certain area of political thought during their Masters studies.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.



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This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies enables you to study, principally through its core module Theories of Literature and Culture, a range of theoretical issues, currents and thinkers in literary and cultural theory from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day. Read more

This pathway of the MA in Literary Studies enables you to study, principally through its core module Theories of Literature and Culture, a range of theoretical issues, currents and thinkers in literary and cultural theory from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day.

This starts with Nietzsche and including, for example, Freud, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Benjamin and Adorno, Structuralism, Blanchot, Derrida, Gender and Postcolonial Theory. The main focus will be on the relationship of theory to literary and cultural criticism but you will also be able to concentrate on theoretical concepts in their own right.

While the core module gives you a strong grounding in literary and cultural theory, you also have the opportunity to pursue your wider interests thanks to the flexible structure of the MA, by studying three options from the large provision of the department, choosing at least one of these in an area that is relevant to modern literary theory. Both the core module and the options are taught by leading specialists of the subject.

You will be able to further develop your interest in literary theory or literary-theoretical approaches to literature and culture through a 15,000-word dissertation to be submitted at the end of your programme of study.

All texts will be studied in English or in English translation.

Modules & structure

Core module

In addition to the core module and dissertation, you also take three option modules. Please visit the website for more information

Skills

You'll develop transferable skills, including:

  • enhanced communication and discussion skills in written and oral contexts
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate different textual materials
  • the ability to organise information; the ability to assimilate and evaluate competing arguments

Careers

Graduates of this programme have gone on to pursue careers in:

  • publishing
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • teaching
  • advertising
  • the civil service
  • business
  • industry
  • the media

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



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This MA introduces you to recent debates on gender in the disciplines of sociology and media and communications studies, and to the interdisciplinary domains of feminist social and cultural theory. Read more

This MA introduces you to recent debates on gender in the disciplines of sociology and media and communications studies, and to the interdisciplinary domains of feminist social and cultural theory.

Drawing on the internationally recognised and pioneering expertise of staff in the Department of Sociology and Department of Media and Communications, as well as the Centre for Feminist Research (CFR), the programme offers you the opportunity to develop cutting-edge critical skills in relation to cultural approaches to gender formation and gender theory.

As well as these theoretical and analytical points of orientation, the MA in Gender, Media and Culture aims to help you grasp the importance of epistemology and methodology for the evaluation of empirical investigations of gender formations.

The programme therefore introduces you to, and offers training in, the key socio-cultural methods for the study of gender in the contemporary world, including methods for the study of visual culture; the body and affect; and memory.

These two elements of the programme are brought together in a dissertation study, which involves tailored supervision in the application of research methods to a specific topic.

This programme relates to the following disciplines:

  • Sociology
  • Media and Communications
  • Humanities
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Philosophy

Overall the programme has the following interrelated aims

  • to provide in-depth interdisciplinary knowledge of contemporary gender formations
  • to provide theoretical, analytical and methodological points of orientation for understanding gender and culture transnationally and across different societies and geo-political regions
  • to offer skilled supervision in the development and completion of a small research project which tests thoroughly a range of research skills
  • to expose students to a lively research environment and the relevant expertise of the research-led Departments of Sociology and Media and Communications

Modules & structure

Core components of the programme will familiarise you with the wide range of debates integral to the fields of gender studies, feminist theory, and cultural studies. These include:

  • questions about sexual difference and the performativity of gender
  • gender, science, debates on affect and emotion
  • gender and migration and the new international division of labour
  • feminism

You complete one core module and one option module each term, as well as a dissertation module in the spring term. The first core module introduces key debates and developments in feminist theory, cultural theory and, in particular, feminist cultural theory. It introduces both early debates which defined these fields and contemporary developments and departures. More specifically, you will be introduced to social constructivist and post-structuralist perspectives, to ‘new materialism’, to debates on feminism and the critique of universalism; to key questions in relation to feminism and biology; to debates on psycho-analysis and the emergence of queer theory and its intersection with feminist theory.

The second core module examines the place of gender, affect and the body in feminist theory and feminist practice. The course offers you different angles on what has become known as “the affective turn,” placing a strong emphasis on the history of feminist contributions to the study of affect and emotion as well as the body. We ask how bodies are constructed, experienced and lived from a variety of feminist perspectives, attending to questions of corporeal difference, as well as the intimacy of bodies, spaces, objects and technologies. We also reflect on the significance of affect and the body for feminist and queer cultural practices, as well feminist and queer activisms. This module therefore offers instruction in some of the most cutting edge issues in contemporary feminist theory. A team of leading feminist scholars based in the departments of Sociology and Media Communications at Goldsmiths teach this module on the basis of their research specialisms. 

There will be a series of dissertation workshops to help you plan and develop your dissertation, especially in regard to issues of methodology and method. Each student will be assigned a supervisor who will work with you to develop your proposal and undertake independent research.

Core modules

Option modules

You have 60 credits at your disposal, you can choose any 30 credit modules related to gender from postgraduate modules across the University. You can choose either a regular option (30 credits) or two ‘mini-options’ (2 x 15 credits).

For your other options, you can choose modules from either the Department of Sociology or the Department of Media and Communications as they co-convene the programme. You can also choose from the following departments across Goldsmiths:

Please note that not all modules are suitable for students from all academic backgrounds; you will discuss your choices with the Programme Convenor at the start of your degree.

Assessment

Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.

Skills

Graduates from this programme gain conceptual and methodological knowledge of the key concepts and debates in the study of gender and culture; the skills of critical analysis; the ability to distinguish and appraise a range of socio-cultural research methodologies; the skills to design and develop a research project; and the ability to recognise and account for sensitive ethical issues relating to research and representation.

The two core courses provide you with the necessary skills to understand the relationships between early debates in the fields of gender studies, feminist theory and feminist cultural theory, and the ability to critically engage with new developments in these fields. Furthermore, you will gain a critical appreciation of the role and place of the body and affect in the development of feminist cultural theory and gender theory, and the challenges that contemporary socio-cultural changes bring to the theorisation of the body.

Careers

Previous graduates have embarked on professional careers in social research, think tanks, the arts and cultural sectors, government and public administration, development, human rights, NGOs, and in media and communications globally. They have also progressed to PhD study.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



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The Media and Development MA is an interdisciplinary course that teaches main theories, concepts, case studies and practical media skills around the theme of media and development and its implications for less developed countries. Read more

The Media and Development MA is an interdisciplinary course that teaches main theories, concepts, case studies and practical media skills around the theme of media and development and its implications for less developed countries. The course will provide you with a unique blend of theory and practice teaching, aimed at deepening your knowledge of the history of communications within the development process of emerging economies. It will critically evaluate the impact of international and regional institutions from a critical political economic perspective. Teaching by academic staff, guest lecturers and other carefully selected staff from development organisations will provide you with an overview of the policies, actions and impact of state and non-state institutions within the area of communication media and development.

A distinctive feature is its emphasis on the practical role of communication media in development. You will participate in media production workshops and take part in our internship programme, offered in partnership with media and development organisations in London. As part of the work experience module, students participate in an extensive NGOs and media seminar series featuring experts and panel discussions. The work placement programme is in line with the University of Westminster’s strategy of nurturing of the critical practitioner.

The course team is led by Dr Winston Mano and includes Professor Daya Thussu, Professor Christian Fuchs, Professor David Gauntlett, Professor Naomi Sakr, Dr Anthony McNicholas, Dr Xin Xin, Dr Anastasia Kavada, Dr Maria Michalis, Dr Roza Tsagarousianou, Dr Tarik Sabry, Paul Majendie, Geoffrey Davies and Michaela O’Brien. Visiting Lecturers include Jackie Davies, founder and Director of the Communication and Development Network (C4D) (http://www.c4d.org), a community of professionals working in communication for development. As a peer network the C4D Network is aimed at communication for development practitioners plus allied development workers, donors, academics and communication experts from the BBC, UN and major development organisations. The joining criterion is an engagement in communication for development - either professionally or through academia. Students on the Media and Development MA have the option to join the C4D network and each can do a fellowship/internship with the network during the course.

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

One Semester One module from the below:

Semester 1 (option modules)

One Semester Two module from the below:

Semester 2 (option modules)

Industry links

We have strongly developed links with media and development organisations such as UNICEF, UNESCO, C4D, BBC Media Action, Internews Commonwealth Public Media Alliance.

Our large network of alumni keep our name and reputation alive in the industry.

Career path

Graduates apply for posts in development organisations based in London such as OneWorld, Oxfam, Save the Children, Red Cross, ActionAid, Panos, DfiD, Intermedia, BBC, Institute of War and Peace, Christian Aid and War on Want. Some students were able to build on knowledge, skills and their background in working for governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations (in Romania, Pakistan and India) and a range of international business organisations, including the BBC. The course also prepares students for further studies and for a higher degree, e.g., a PhD. Some students apply for PhD Scholarships advertised by the Faculty of Media, Arts and Design and they were all encouraged to join the Communication for Development Network (C4D) which meets once a month in London.

We are aware that the range of skills needed is exceptionally diffuse, and that students on the course hope to develop careers in a variety of fields in many different countries. We are also aware that we are preparing you for careers in a rapidly changing job market and the structure of the course allows you take advantage of change, and not to be its victim. It, therefore, would be misleading and unhelpful to place too much emphasis on acquiring a precise set of skills drawn from one part of the media and development sector. Finally, with a view to your professional development planning, the course is designed to give you a wide-ranging and critical knowledge of the development industry that you plan to enter.



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Social Media, Culture and Society MA offers a flexible, interdisciplinary exploration of key contemporary developments in the networked digital media environment. Read more

Social Media, Culture and Society MA offers a flexible, interdisciplinary exploration of key contemporary developments in the networked digital media environment. It will benefit those seeking to develop their understanding of contemporary communication and its societal, political, regulatory, industrial and cultural contexts.

Social Media, Culture and Society MA provides students with the opportunity to focus at postgraduate level on:

  • Studying the ways in which social media and the internet shape and are shaped by social, economic, political, technological and cultural factors, in order to equip students to become critical research-oriented social media experts.
  • Developing reflective and critical insights into how social media and the internet are used in multiple contexts in society, and into which roles social media can play in various forms of organisations that are situated in these societal contexts. The aim is that students are equipped to become reflective and critical social media practitioners.
  • Gaining in-depth knowledge and understanding of the major debates about the social and cultural roles of social media and the internet.
  • Acquiring advanced knowledge and understanding of the key categories, theories, approaches and models of social media's and the internet's roles in and impacts on society and human practices.
  • Obtaining advanced insights into practical activity and practice-based work that relate to how social media and the internet work and which implications they have for social and cultural practices.

This Master's is organised in the environment of the Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) and its Centre for Social Media Research. CAMRI is a world-leading research centre that studies the role of media and communication in society. It has become known as the Westminster school of critical media and communication research. The analysis of social media, culture and society is one of its research specialisms. In the most recent UK government research audit, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 42.2% of CAMRI’s research was classified as world-leading and 37.5% as internationally excellent, which makes it one of Britain’s four leading media and communication research institutions. 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. 

In semester one, students must select two elective modules from the two thematic groups below (any combination of modules is applicable): 

  • Theory and Global Political Economy of Media and Communication 
  • Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies. 

In semester two, students must select two elective modules from two thematic groups below (any combination of modules is applicable): 

  • Media Politics, Regulation and Business Strategies 
  • Media, Culture and Everyday Life. 

More information on modules and groups to which they belong to can be found below.

Core modules (semester one)

Option modules (Semester One)

Core modules (Semester Two)

Optional modules (Semester Two)

Career path

The Social Media, Culture and Society MA will benefit those seeking to develop their understanding of contemporary communication and its social, political and cultural contexts. This degree will be of particular interest to those who plan to work in the creative industries, as well as those already working in this field. Social Media, Culture and Society MA will also be of interest to students working in non-profit sectors, including NGOs and advocacy groups. The degree will help those seeking a competitive edge in a careers market that values high-level skills in communication, research and critical thinking.

The course also provides an excellent preparation for those wishing to continue their studies to PhD level. Around 10% of graduates of the course are now undertaking PhDs. Others work in the social media start-up scene in London, or work as journalists and in a range of industries and non-profit sectors.



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Critical theory is a rich and diverse field of enquiry that has emerged from a continuous dialogue with theories of both society and politics. Read more
Critical theory is a rich and diverse field of enquiry that has emerged from a continuous dialogue with theories of both society and politics.

Taught in collaboration with the School of Politics and International Relations, this innovative MA provides students with a thorough understanding of the close connection between critical theory and key contemporary political and social theories that shape today’s world. Therefore, it serves intellectually as ideal preparation for doctoral studies in these areas. Students undertaking this MA join a thriving postgraduate community in the Department of Cultural Studies. Reading groups, work-in-progress presentations by doctoral students, visiting speakers and research seminars by staff create a lively, stimulating, and supportive learning environment.

Course Structure

The MA in Critical Theory and Politics can be pursued either one year full-time or two-three years part-time – and we do our best to accommodate the needs of part-time students.

Modules offered may include:
• Postcolonialisms
• Social and Political Theories
• Sovereignty and Conflict
• Technology, Science, Life
• Visual Culture
• Globalisation and its Discontents
• Europe after the Cold War
• Security Studies
• International Political Economy
• The Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1948-2004

All students are assigned personal tutors as well as dissertation tutors to guide them through their coursework.

Teaching staff from the Department of Cultural Studies, the Centre for Critical Theory, the School of Politics and International Relations, and other participating schools, offer expertise in a range of areas including social and political theory, international relations, philosophy, and cultural studies.

Assessment

Taught modules are assessed by a 5,000-word assignment and students also submit a 20,000-word dissertation. There are no examinations.

Additional Entry Requirements

Candidates whose first language is not English must achieve an overall score on the British Council IELTS test of at least 7 with no less than 6 in each element; or a TOEFL score of 600 with at least 4.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE); or a TOEFL score iBT score of 100, with no less than 19 in any element. Test results should be no more than two years old.

Careers

Written coursework encourages the development of the scholarly tools required for doctoral research, and many of our graduates go on to pursue further studies at doctoral level. The course also provides students with a high degree of cultural awareness and literacy useful for careers in the media, advertising and public relations.

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From analysing the theories of intellectual heavyweights such as Foucault and Bourdieu, to unpicking a global campaign, explore the hinterland between the big three promotional professions and the media and society on this innovative MA. Read more

From analysing the theories of intellectual heavyweights such as Foucault and Bourdieu, to unpicking a global campaign, explore the hinterland between the big three promotional professions and the media and society on this innovative MA.

Right now the roles within public relations, advertising and marketing are converging. So this MA isn’t about studying ads – it’s about becoming a professional who can understand the dynamics of power that exist between these professions, and critically intervene in today’s media landscape. 

At its core this masters looks at how we can better serve society by improving communications across these disciplines, and how we can develop as professionals who can adapt within a challenging media world. You’ll learn how to reflect on the intellectual theories of the past and apply them to the present, so you plan the first decade of your career.

The questions we explore

We want you to understand the power struggles that exist between these three professions so we look at public relations, advertising and marketing as inter-related disciplines, drawing on theoretical and professional debates around issues such as globalisation and homogenised consumption. We also discuss current industry expectations looking at the crossovers that exist between creativity, management and strategy.

We’ll tackle some of the big things that are changing when it comes to the way the world works - aspects such as globalisation, the control of knowledge, digital technologies, and the way content is created. You’ll also get an introduction to media and cultural theory, which lies at the intersection between the promotional professions, media and society.

The processes we use

This is a theory-based programme, but it also offers vocational elements, so you can take practice-based options in subjects ranging from online journalism and social media campaigning, to design methods and media law and ethics. You'll also get the latest insights from industry professionals across a range of sectors through our visiting speaker series in the Spring.

The approach we take

We take fields such as sociology, anthropology media and cultural studies to understand how public relations, advertising and marketing get together, where they overlap and where the tensions lie. This means we might take an anthropological perspective on how the promotional professions work together to develop a product – not just in terms of its messaging – but in terms of how it was conceived and came to market in the first place.

It’s important to mention that this isn’t a business studies-style MA; it’s a rigorous, academic programme investigating promotional workers and their use of media in today’s campaigns and debates. 

Modules & structure

Throughout the core components of the degree, you'll examine the very wide range of ways in which public relations, advertising and marketing is represented in society, together with the skills and techniques enacted by practitioners in their day-to-day roles. You will be encouraged to develop your critical and analytical skills, but also to think creatively and become more confident in your aesthetic judgment.

Goldsmiths prides itself on its innovative and critical approach, and you will be encouraged to immerse yourself in its wider intellectual environment in order to deepen your understanding of the cultural infrastructure surrounding branding and promotional media.

Core modules

Option modules

We offer a wide range of option modules each year. Below are some examples of modules that are currently running. For a full list, please contact the Department of Media and Communications.

Assessment

The MA is assessed primarily through coursework essays and written projects. Practical modules may require audiovisual elements to be submitted. It will also include a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Skills & careers

From account executives to digital copywriters and from product managers to media planners and sponsorship coordinators, our graduates enhance their careers by working across disciplines, across countries, and across everything from social media and content generation, from sponsorship and events marketing, to corporate communications or government communications.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths



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Our MA in Culture Industry will allow you to explore the interface between contemporary economics and culture, from the scale of a start-up or artwork to that of governmental policy, a city, or the global marketplace. Read more

Our MA in Culture Industry will allow you to explore the interface between contemporary economics and culture, from the scale of a start-up or artwork to that of governmental policy, a city, or the global marketplace. It will also provide the approaches in critical and theoretical analysis that will enable you to conduct further academic research in areas ranging from art history to urban studies and critical theory.

Taking full advantage of the UK’s leading role in the creative industries, and London’s status as a world city, this course creates opportunities for you to:

  • make projects
  • go on field trips
  • do placements
  • carry out academic learning and research
  • meet leading creative practitioners and theorists

This will give you first-hand experience of the fast moving creative economy, as well as giving you indispensable skills in understanding that economy from a cultural, philosophical and political standpoint.

Engage with the cultural sector

Within the accelerated climate of digital networks and globalisation, the forms and behaviour of culture are mutating, converting the workshop into the handheld device and the cinema and gallery into the bedroom. This course is aimed at creative practitioners, entrepreneurs and theorists wanting to experiment with these changes, and set them into a historically and discursively rich framework.

Through participant observation, critical theory, and playful experiment, the course will not just prepare you for a career in the cultural sector, but help you to engage with it imaginatively, critically and tactically.

Placements

Placements are student-led and supported by the research and organisational network of the course leaders. Students on the MA in Culture Industry have undertaken placements at the BBC, Stephen Graham Gallery, White Cube gallerySHAPE ArtsChinatown Oral History ProjectMaximum Rock n Roll, the British CouncilBlack Dog PublishingResonance FMGlasgow BiennaleLondon Architecture WeekGlastonbury FestivalLondon Film Festival, the British MuseumSouth Bank CentreGrizedale Arts, the Japan Foundation, the London Anime and Gaming Con, and Sound and Music.

Students' projects

Our students’ projects are very diverse, and have included exhibitions, publications, websites, photographic projects, market stalls, travel guides, films, novels, app prototypes, ethnographies, and community resource projects.

Modules & structure

Core modules

Recommended option modules

You take option modules to the value of 30 credits. This could include:

Assessment

Essays; project report and documentation/placement report and documentation; research lab participation.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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



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Critical Methodologies is a unique interdisciplinary taught course focused on the study and applications of critical theory. Read more

Critical Methodologies is a unique interdisciplinary taught course focused on the study and applications of critical theory.

Students get to explore some of the major modern schools of thought and contemporary theories and practices of interpretation, from Formalism and Structuralism through Barthes and textuality to queer theory, psychoanalysis and feminism, and materialist and postcolonial theories. The course also gives students the opportunity to follow their own interests from a wide range of optional modules across humanities and social sciences, all of which draw on the varied and lively research culture of King's in these fields.

Leads to careers in universities, the media, arts, teaching and journalism.

Key benefits

  • Unique interdisciplinary course focused on the study and applications of critical theory.
  • Wide range of optional modules across humanities and social science disciplines.
  • Located in the heart of London. 

Description

Our interdisciplinary course in Critical Methodology is built around a required module in critical theory. This will introduce you to the main debates in current critical theory through the exploration of a series of key texts. It explores theories and practices of reading, from Formalism and Structuralism through Barthes and textuality to queer theory, psychoanalysis, materialist and postcolonial theories. In addition to this required module, you will be able to choose from a list of modules linked to critical theory in a range of subjects. You will investigate and write a dissertation on a topic that links the required module to the material of one or more of your optional modules. This course is ideally suited to you if you have a humanities degree and are looking to prepare for PhD study, or if you want to pursue a career in teaching, journalism, the media and the arts.

Course purpose

For students with arts & humanities degrees who wish to further their knowledge of critical theory and its practice across a range of fields and/or to prepare for PhD study. To develop a knowledge of the broad implications of critical theory, and the skills of interpretation and analysis in relation to specific fields of study.

Course format and assessment

Teaching

If you are a full-time student, we will provide six hours of teaching each week through lectures and seminars, and we will expect you to undertake around 34 hours of independent study.

If you are a part-time student, we will provide two to four hours of teaching through lectures and seminars each week, and we will expect you to undertake between 16 and 18 hours of independent study.

For your dissertation, we will provide a further six hours of supervision.

Assessment

We assess the majority of our modules through coursework, typically a 4,000-5,000-word essay for every 20 credits. We will assess your dissertation through an oral presentation (10%) and a 12,000-word essay.

Sign up for more information. Email now

Have a question about applying to King’s? Email now



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This MA allows you to build an individual, 'tailor-made' programme of study, which incorporates the intellectual concerns, skills and understandings that lead to a clearly focused research dissertation. . Read more

This MA allows you to build an individual, 'tailor-made' programme of study, which incorporates the intellectual concerns, skills and understandings that lead to a clearly focused research dissertation. 

You choose four modules, including at least one of two core modules, which provide you with specific research skills relevant to your interests.

This route is appropriate for those who have a particular interest they wish to develop not covered by one of our specialist pathways, or for those who are seeking a broadly based programme of music study at postgraduate level (taking both core modules, for example, would provide exceptional training for those going on to doctoral study).

Applicants should note that departmental timetable restrictions apply; consequently, part-time study offers the most flexible range of potential course combinations. This programme is not suitable if you're keen to take composition or performance modules – if this is what you'd like to do, please explore our MMus study options

The programme appeals to a wide range of students developing intellectual skills in music, perhaps as preparation for further postgraduate research, prior to entering teaching, or as a basis for a employment in arts administration, journalism, or other occupations in the creative and cultural industries.

Find out more about the MA in Music.

Modules & structure

Core modules

Core modules 

You choose three modules from a list that currently includes:

Dissertation



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