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  MA - Sociology (Urban Studies)

Goldsmiths, University of London    Department of Sociology

Full time & Part time See Course MA 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time Award winner
Sociology (33)

FindAMasters summary

Are you curious about the fascinating world of cities and urban life? Look no further than the MA Sociology (Urban Studies) programme at Goldsmiths. This exciting programme delves into the meaning of cities, exploring topics such as gentrification, urban culture, and infrastructure. With a focus on experimental research and a multi-disciplinary approach, you'll gain a deep understanding of urban sociology from various perspectives. What sets this programme apart is its hands-on training, utilizing the unique urban setting of South East London. Whether you're a graduate or have relevant experience, this programme welcomes students with a passion for understanding the complexities of urban life. Contact programme convenors Dr Alex Rhys-Taylor or Dr Emma Jackson for more information.

About the course

This MA draws on urban sociology to explore the meaning of cities, urban life and culture.

The programme covers topics including the politics of gentrification, urban community, infrastructure and the intricacies of urban culture, alongside lectures on urban policy, food politics, poverty and migration.

You will also zoom out to consider the broader meaning of urban sociology and its ongoing contribution to social science. With over two-thirds of the global population destined to live in cities by 2050, there has never been a more important time to research and understand urban life.

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Entry Requirements

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.

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 Course Content

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Where will I study?

Where is Goldsmiths, University of London


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Student Profiles


I was interested in the Cities and Society course because I found urban life fascinating, alluring and, well, dizzyingly complicated. I took the course in an effort to better educate myself on how academics, activists and theorists have come to understand the city and how it, in turn, has come to shape human behaviour.

Having not come from an academic background I had worried the course might have been too dense and opaque. From the outside, academia can sometimes seem like it speaks its own - inaccessible - language. However, the same could not be said of this course. What we studied was underpinned by sociological heavyweights and ideas that stand up to intellectual rigour. And yet by making big, abstract topics accessible, we were able to express ourselves in a way that made academia, and the rich ideas within, open to more people. This directly fuelled the discussions in classrooms and during seminars which were both stimulating and one of the joys of this course. There is also a heavy emphasis on complimenting the book work with a boots-on-the-ground approach to research. This mix allows for space on the course to put theory into practice.

This is a compassionate course. The lecturers are both interesting and interested. It is a supportive environment for people to develop their skills and broaden their understanding of the city around them. Since graduating, I have had a keener eye for how the city around me operates and a better understanding of the wider social factors at play that come to shape how people might behave and act the way they do. Your eye is sharpened to injustices in the city and in how the city comes to be shaped into the form it is today. I have found this invaluable in my work as a filmmaker and a researcher.


A year in Goldsmiths was a refreshing experience. Coming from an Italian Cultural Anthropology background, the Masters in Cities and Society helped me to question and expand my theoretical foundations. A new attention to materiality and sensory aspects of urban life, along with new methods to analytically look at them, have been particularly enlightening inputs.

I really enjoyed the continuous exchange with lecturers, tutors, and fellow students, both inside and outside the classrooms. Two highlights of the course include Urban Field Encounters’ practical exercises, as well as the dissertation workshops, which are really helpful for students coming from non-British academic paths.

I am currently working as a social impact evaluation officer in an Italian Onlus (Italian non-profit social organisation). Among my research fields, I focus on community development, urban regeneration.


Working with a diverse set of artists gave me a broad perspective on ways of working and thinking. I grew more confident in my own practice and theoretical grounding. Putting on a public exhibition allowed me space to develop my performance skills. All round my confidence and knowledge with IT grew, and I learnt a lot more about the practical aspects of research.

My dissertation project 'Writing to Fight' has been performed to several different audiences, from Goldsmiths students through the Dragon Cafe, a community creative project for mental health service users, to Peer Mentors at Southwark Council. I have written a short piece about it for an undergraduate Sociology zine.


For me, the MSc in Social Research was the perfect grounding for doctoral research. This rigorous and rewarding course allowed me to develop my quantitative and qualitative research skills, grow my sociological imagination and hone my writing skills. Supported and inspired by a fantastic teaching team, I have no doubt that this MSc is the reason I was successful in my funding application for an ESRC PhD studentship.

But the potential rewards of this course are not purely instrumental or financial. The MSc introduced me to a particular kind of sociology that is so alive here at Goldsmiths. What is more, it allowed me to get stuck in and try it for myself! It has shaped how I design and think about research, and ultimately set me off on a much longer intellectual journey. Highly recommended!


My time at Goldsmiths was hugely influential for both my personal and academic development. I chose the course at Goldsmiths as engaging with human rights through a Sociological lens and learning about not only theoretical debates but also acquiring practical skills really appealed.

My experience was both positive and challenging. Studying Sociology at Goldsmiths makes you think outside the box and question what you previously didn't. The well-organised structure of the course meant that I could engage with the core debates in human rights, culture and justice whilst also developing my own interests in gender and women's rights. My final dissertation was an exploration into how the language of human rights and social justice is used by young women in contemporary Britain in the everyday.

My tutors were encouraging, constructive and passionate. Our classes were filled with interesting and like-minded people who have now become friends. After having such a positive experience at Goldsmiths I now intend to pursue a career in academic research.


I chose Goldsmiths for its reputation in the social sciences and its location in a creative, exciting part of London. The course has been great – it's really flexible so you can tailor it to your particular interests. It's also ideal for people who want to work across multiple disciplines or aren't really sure where they fit academically as you can try a bit of everything.

The scheduling has made it possible to study part-time alongside my job. I'm a nurse, and through this course have had the opportunity to study health sociology and anthropology as well as related subjects like embodiment, empathy and difference. Other people on the course have focused on entirely different subjects, and that's one of the things that makes the seminars so interesting.

I submitted an essay I wrote for the 'What is Culture?' module to the Nursing Philosophy Journal graduate essay competition and was lucky enough to win first prize. This has led to publication in the journal and an opportunity to present at the International Philosophy of Nursing's annual conference in Galway, Ireland.


The favourite part of my degree was the quality of teaching, the engaging debates with staff and fellow students and meeting all the amazing people along the way. Goldsmiths has equipped me with life skills that made me who I am today.

Make use of the facilities that the Campus offers. Make sure to join a society of your interest to make new friends.

Goldsmiths Cafe just across the road from the library is a must place to check out!


I was looking for an MA that would help me to begin a new career, without having a very clear idea of what that career might be and so the MA Creative and Cultural Analysis was a perfect choice for me as it really allowed this exploration.

I was drawn to the core modules which offered an introduction to new ways of thinking and great opportunities to follow my own interests.

The flexible, interdisciplinary nature of the MA meant that I could make choices about which modules to take as my knowledge and interest grew as opposed to having to choose a fixed course of study at the start of the year. As a result I ended up going in a direction I hadn't even considered prior to starting.

This MA gave me the skills and confidence I needed to embark on a career as a freelance researcher. It also allowed me to connect with a brilliant group of people, with lots of interesting conversations!


Graduated in 2020

In this very noisy world we find ourselves in, this MA is something precious. For someone with a divergent disciplinary background like me, previously having worked as a fashion designer in Paris and being mostly a person of handiwork and practice, it offers invaluable possibilities to enter the worlds of theory and to think and reflect on our times' pressing issues.

The MA's student body was a colourful bunch of fascinating individuals who each brought their distinct point of view to the seminars, making for very stimulating discussions each week which more often than not extended into an evening at the nearby pub. The MA programme's openness in terms of choosing modules makes it possible to create one's own pinpointed studies, reflecting one's interests and making the most out of the time spend at Goldsmiths. And so was I able to attend classes from the Anthropology department and a module from Visual Sociology, in which I was able to learn the combination of social science with artistic practice. The MA's compulsory main module 'What is Culture' and its convenors, successfully build an intellectually and personally very engaging environment, in which one attentively studies the content of a multiplicity of scholarly works, plus most importantly, also learns to think with those works' creators.

I cannot emphasise enough this MA's value for my personal and professional growth. It truthfully enables one not only to learn and gain knowledge of a diverse array of topics independent of one's academic background but also facilitates a flourishing in scholarly creating with the knowledge gained.


With the MA Sociology (Cultural Analysis) – formerly MA Creative and Cultural Analysis – I found a unique multidisciplinary program that allowed me to solidify my knowledge in sociocultural theory and analysis while also broadening my horizon with regards to other fields such as political theory and literary studies.

Simultaneously, it gave me the flexibility to focus on my personal interests in postcolonial, feminist, and posthuman perspectives and enabled me to gain a better understanding of the kinds of issues I want to explore further. Thus, my year at Goldsmiths provided me with a sound basis for pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology on gender transitions from a new materialist perspective, with a doctoral fellowship at Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany.


We regularly offer a scholarship for prospective full-time home/EU students who have successfully secured a conditional or unconditional place on selected MA programmes.

Please email to find out more.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Fee waiver


You should be a home/EU applicant who has successfully secured a conditional or unconditional full-time place on selected MA programmes.

Application Procedure

Please email to find out more.

Find out more

10% fee discount to home students and the equivalent amount in pounds sterling to international students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% fee discount to home students and equivalent amount in pounds sterling to international students


The award is available to:

Home and international students (full-time and part-time) who received a first class undergraduate honours degree from a British higher education institution

You must be applying for a taught Masters programme (MRes and PGCE programmes are not included).

Read the full definitions for the eligibility criteria of the Goldsmiths Excellence Fee Waiver on our website.

Application Procedure

You do not need to apply for the Excellence Fee Waiver, Awardees must meet all other eligibility criteria at the point of enrolment or they will no longer be eligible for the award.

Please ensure you upload your final degree transcript or certificate as proof of your classification to your MyGoldsmiths account. The fee waiver will not be applied unless proof of your classification has been provided.

Awardees must meet all other eligibility criteria at point of enrolment or they will no longer be eligible for the award. The fee discount will then be applied automatically after full enrolment has been completed.

Please note: this award cannot be combined with the Goldsmiths Alumni Fee Waiver.

Find out more

10% fee discount to home alumni, and the equivalent amount in pounds sterling to international alumni.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% fee discount to home alumni, and the equivalent amount in pounds sterling to international alumni.


The award is available to the following Goldsmiths graduates:

- Home and international graduates (full-time and part-time)
- Study Abroad graduates
- Goldsmiths, University of London LaSalle graduates
- Goldsmiths, University of London Distance Learning programme graduates who have been awarded a BA in English, BSc in Computing and Information Systems, or a BSc in Creative Computing

You must be applying to start a taught Masters programme (MRes and PGCE programmes are not included).

Application Procedure

The fee discount will be applied automatically after full enrolment has been completed.

Please note: this award cannot be combined with the Goldsmiths Excellence Fee Waiver.

Find out more

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