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

Public relations, advertising, and marketing roles are converging. This MA isn’t about studying ads or press coverage, but 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 you can better serve society by improving communications across the promotional disciplines, and how public relations (PR), advertising, and marketing professionals can best develop within a challenging media world. You’ll learn how to reflect on contemporary intellectual theories, and apply them to workplace realities so you plan the next decade of your career.

The questions we explore

  • We want you to understand existing power struggles between these three professions. Therefore, this programme will look at public relations, advertising, and marketing as inter-related disciplines, drawing on theoretical and professional debates around industry issues as they happen.
  • You will explore, for example, the implications of ‘fake news’, and its rapid circulation via social media, the repercussions of the media’s pivot to video, and the use of Artificial Intelligence in promotional work, among others topics.
  • You’ll also examine current industry expectations, and look at the crossovers between creativity, management, and strategy.

The processes we use

  • This is a theory-based programme, but you’ll have many practice-based options in subjects from different departments; from online news reporting and social media campaigning, to film making fundamentals or design methods, to consumer behaviour or marketing strategy.
  • You'll also get the latest insights from industry professionals across PR, advertising and, marketing through our visiting speaker series. Recent industry guests have discussed: earned vs paid media, transmedia storytelling, programmatic advertising, SEO analytics, and social media community management.
  • In 2019, we launched a public seminar series titled Critical Perspectives on Promotional Cultures, which hosts prestigious academic speakers from around the UK.
  • You will also be encouraged to attend the Department’s Media Forum, which covers everything from Why Local Journalism Matters, to Reporting Africa.

The approach we take

Note that this isn’t a business studies-style MA. It’s a rigorous, academic programme, which investigates promotional workers, their workplace experiences, and their use of media in today’s campaigns and debates. 

Our core modules apply fields such as sociology, anthropology, media and cultural studies to public relations, advertising and marketing, exploring how they work together, where they overlap, and where the tensions lie.

You also have the freedom to choose optional modules from across theory and practice in different departments.

What you'll study

Throughout the core components of the degree, you'll examine the many ways that public relations, advertising and marketing are 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 academic judgment. 

Goldsmiths prides itself on its innovative and critical approaches, and you will be encouraged to immerse yourself in its wider intellectual environment to deepen your understanding of the cultural infrastructure surrounding PR, Advertising and Marketing.

Core modules

  • Promotional Media I: Changing Fields & Contexts
  • Promotional Media II: Campaign Skills & Techniques

You will also complete a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits).

Option modules

In addition to the core modules and the dissertation, you will also choose 60 credits worth of optional modules from across different departments.

Choices made by current MA Promotional Media students include: 

Campaign Skills; Consumer Behaviour; Critical Social Media Practices; Design Methods and Processes; Digital Culture; Film Producing Fundamentals; Internet Governance and its Critics; Journalism in Context; Marketing Strategy; Media Law and Ethics; Media Ritual and Contemporary Public Cultures; Music as Communication and Creative Practice; Online News Reporting; Media Systems, Media Ecologies and Turbulence; Promotional Culture; Social Media in Everyday Life; Software Studies; Structure of Political Communication; and Understanding the UK Media Industries.

For a full list modules available in this department, see list of Media modules.


  • You will be assessed primarily through coursework essays and written projects.
  • Both core modules include group presentations, including the opportunity to develop a promotional campaign.
  • Practical modules may require audiovisual elements to be submitted.
  • This MA will also include a dissertation of approximately 12,000 words.

Download the programme specification, for the 2019-20 intake. 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.


Our students acquire general transferable skills, including critical thinking, pattern recognition, research skills, and career management. 

Specific transferable skills for the promotional industries include: message framing; storytelling and narrative construction; segmentation, measurement and evaluation; professional ethics and regulatory standards. 

MA Promotional Media graduates work across disciplines and countries in wide-ranging roles, including: account executives, content marketers, corporate communicators, digital copywriters, event managers, government communicators, product managers, media buyers, media planners, marketing officers, programmatic advertising executives, SEO analysts, social media community managers, sponsorship coordinators and UI/UX copywriters.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

Visit the Promotional Media: Public Relations, Advertising & Marketing - MA page on the Goldsmiths, University of London website for more details!





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