Last Updated on December 23, 2022
Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.
All changes will be considered through the College’s established processes to assure the quality of each programme. Approved changes to programmes will be published from 19 July.
If government guidelines change, it may mean we need to make further adjustments to teaching arrangements. If this is the case, you will be notified of any further changes.
The MA Digital Media is unique in its combination of practical and theoretical approaches to contemporary media and technology.
This established and exciting degree is designed to help you understand digital transformations in media, culture, and society and apply this understanding in practice, in the media and creative industries and in further research. The programme will equip you with skills that can be applied to current and future developments in digital media, social media, computing, and other aspects of technology.
The MA Digital Media educates aspiring media practitioners and academics as well as early and mid-career professionals who seek to reflect on their roles in a structured and stimulating learning environment designed to give all students up-to-the-minute knowledge of digital media and the skills to apply that knowledge to future developments.
This programme offers three pathways:
- Pathway 1 is a Theory programme where you learn about developments in digital media and technology. This pathway draws on media theory, critical theory, continental philosophy, science and technology studies, gender studies, critical race studies, the posthumanities, software studies and cultural studies to diagnose our present digital condition.
- Pathway 2 (Image Making) is a theory and practice programme. Alongside engaging with digital media theory you will work with one or more of the following – animation, photography, video and other forms of moving image – to create installations, apps and single/multi-screen work that is responsive to a continually changing, and conceptually understood, digital landscape.
- Pathway 3 (Critical Computing) is a theory and practice programme where you will interrogate technical objects through critically learning a technical subject and by collectively criticising the results and processes involved – for example, by studying the racialisation of algorithms or exploring non-proprietary databases, operating systems, software licensing, programming, networking and open hardware in the shape of physical computing.
Acclaimed academics and practitioners
Benefit from the experience and expertise of one of the world’s leading media and communications departments. The programme is convened by Prof. Matthew Fuller, and key modules are delivered by Ms. Alice Dunseath, Dr. John Hampson, Dr Graham Harwood, Dr. Daniel Rourke, and Prof. Joanna Zylinska. In your options modules you will be taught by theorists and practitioners of international standing.
Work placements and internships
The MA Digital Media regularly attracts offers of work placements and internships. In the past these have come from Google, The Science Museum, and N1creative.com among others. There is also a £6,000 bursary available for UK students studying this course. Find out more about the Stationers’ Postgraduate Bursary Scheme on our departmental awards page.
An established record
The MA Digital Media has been redefining media theory and practice since 2004. Our students become proficient in:
- the history, sociology and philosophy of digital media
- the application of critical conceptual skills to specialist areas and future forms of media
- creative skills in image making (photography, video, animation, graphic art), and critical computing
Graduates have gone on to work in the digital media industry in start-ups and established global firms. They have pursued careers in academic research, art and design, and in the public and NGO sector.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Daniel Rourke .
What you’ll study
The programme has 3 different pathways.
Pathway 1: Theory Pathway, is comprised of one 30 credit compulsory module, one 30 credit recommended option and options to total 60 credits and the dissertation.
Pathway 2: Theory and Practice Pathway (Image Making), is comprised of two compulsory modules, options to total 30 credits, digital media practice and the practice/theory project.
Pathway 3: Theory and Practice Pathway (Critical Computing) is comprised of two compulsory modules, one option to total 30 credits, digital media practice and the practice/theory project.
|Digital Media: Critical Perspectives||30 credits|
Additional compulsory modules are pathway-specific. Please see the “Programme overview” section below for more information.
We offer a wide range of option modules each year. Please see our list of modules that are currently available for more information.
Seen take-home paper; essays; dissertation or practice/theory project and other production work for Image Making and Critical Computing.
This is an exciting programme which offers a critical, contextual and practical approach to digital media and technology. It problematises approaches to the ‘new’ media in academic and professional debate, especially those that overemphasise the potential for radical social change led by a homogenised technology itself.
The programme is defined by its resistance to technological determinism and its insistence on the importance of addressing the social and historical contexts within which a range of media technologies are employed. In order to provide a contextual framework and facilitate the conceptualisation of digital media and technologies as fully cultural forms and processes, the programme will draw on a range of disciplines including: media and cultural studies, sociology, anthropology and philosophy. However, the programme will remain focused on key contemporary concerns about the potential role of digital media in society and on refiguring the contours of the ‘new’ media debate.
The programme offers three pathways:
Pathway 1 addresses central theoretical and conceptual concerns relating to digital media.
Pathway 2 combines theoretical analysis and practical work, offering students the opportunity to explore new media theories and concepts in image making. This pathway is primarily aimed at students who already have some practical experience. It is meant to appeal to media industry professionals who are keen to reflect critically on their practice within a structured learning environment and graduates of practice-based courses.
Pathway 3 also combines theoretical analysis and practical work, offering students the opportunity to explore new media theories and concepts in critical computing. No advanced prior knowledge of computation is required, but a willingness to learn about technology and media on a theoretical and practical level is.
The first compulsory module, shared by all pathways, is Digital Media: Critical Perspectives and this is taught in a small workshop format in the Autumn term. This module functions as a foundation for the second compulsory module and offers students a map of the key debates in digital media. The module is taught in ten two-hour workshop sessions, and is supported by the provision of one-to-one tutorials.
Then there is a cluster of three modules, all dealing with different aspects of digital media. It includes: Digital Culture: Critical Perspectives; Software Studies; and Photography and After. Pathway 1 (Theory) students must choose at least one of these three modules. Pathway 2 students must take Photography and After as a compulsory module. Pathway 3 students must take Software Studies as a compulsory module.
Digital Culture: Critical Perspectives takes examples from science fiction, digital architecture, software and art to explore the possibility of the critique of technology today, at a time when intelligent machines cannot be seen as simply passive instruments but are rather performative of ideas, perceptions and actions. Software Studies combines approaches from the arts, humanities and social sciences with those drawn from computing in order to develop a creative and critical approach to the theories and practices of computation. Photography and After studies the ubiquity of the photographic medium today, while also exploring photography’s kinship with other media as well as its transformation towards various post-photographic practices in which the maker and/or the audience also include nonhuman agents (CGI, photogrammetry, machine vision).
Students are required to take options from the lists provided by the Department of Media, Communications, and Cultural Studies. Each student’s options will be discussed with the programme convenor in order to ensure that the balance of subject-specific topics is appropriate for the individual concerned. Option modules are taught primarily through lectures, seminars and tutorials, and take place in the Autumn or Spring terms.
All students are required to produce either a 12,000 word dissertation on a topic agreed by the student and supervisor, or a practice/theory project. The length of the practical element is dependent on the media and form used, and will be agreed on in advance with the supervisor. Students undertaking the practice/theory project will also be expected to submit a 3-4,000 word analysis of their practice which locates it within the theoretical debates explored in the MA as a whole. This essay may be presented as a separate document or as an integral part of the project depending on the nature of the project, and subject to agreement with both theory and practice supervisors.
The programme’s subject specific learning outcomes require students to analyse and contextualise developments in digital media and technology with reference to key debates in the history, sociology, anthropology and philosophy of the media. Students who opt for one of the practice/theory pathways will also be required to produce material of publishable standard and to evaluate the ways in which theoretical and practical insights intersect. All students will develop a wide range of transferable qualities and skills necessary for employment in related or unrelated areas. These are described by the Quality Assurance Agency as: ‘the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations, and the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development’.
By the end of the programme students will be able to:
- Map and critically evaluate key debates in the field of new media
- Analyse and contextualise current and future developments in digital media and technology
- Evaluate and articulate key historical, sociological, anthropological and philosophical approaches to the study of digital media and technology
- Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of at least four differing areas of inquiry
- Demonstrate an advanced level of conceptual knowledge and (where relevant) practical skill appropriate for a sustained piece of work in the field
- Prepare and deliver clearly argued and informed work
- Locate, retrieve and present relevant information for a specific project
- Manage a complex array of competing demands and work effectively to a deadline
- Work resourcefully and independently
- Think critically and/or work practically within a given context
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.
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
What our students say
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject. If you’re applying to the practice pathway you’ll also need to submit a portfolio of work. Further details are in the ‘How to apply’ section.
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.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home – full-time: £8990
- Home – part-time: £4495
- International – full-time: £17760
If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.
If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.
In addition to your tuition fees, you’ll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.
There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you’re applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
There is also £6,000 bursary available for UK students studying this course. Find out more about this scheme on our departmental awards page.
How to apply
We provide graduates with skills that are cutting edge: in the critical analysis and/or creative production of digital media; in the disciplinary knowledge and conceptual frameworks necessary for current and future forms of media and technology; in the awareness of how digital media and technologies are re-shaping society from the ways we communicate (through social media and web 2.0) to the increasingly ‘smart’ environments in which we live.
Our programme provides a theory and practice pathway and prepares students for work in the following areas:
- media and creative industries; advertising, marketing and PR (graduates of the MA Digital Media have found work with Virgin Media, Google, the BBC and other leading organisations worldwide)
- research and academia (graduates from this programme have gone on to study for PhD degrees in higher education institutions around the world and also here with us)
- media production and new media art (graduates have exhibited, published and produced work in photography, journalism, TV, documentary, film and multimedia)
Graduate Ekaterina discusses her career:
“I work for a company, called Visual DNA, which already sounds like life happening After New Media. The company is the largest data provider in Europe and is totally multinational. We actually try to analyse human visual DNA, you memories, feelings, thoughts about the future, anticipations, etc by creating personality quizzes where instead of verbal answers we tend to use images.
My role is as Creative Developer. It involves working with images from concept to finding/shooting and post-production. My qualifications perfectly matched what they’ve been looking for, Digital Media rocks!
My tip for the new-to-be-graduates is this: physically go to places and companies and talk to people. It really opens up loads of possibilities, and when I tell someone where I’ve graduated from they look impressed, and there is some sort of respect coming from them.”
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Our students have access to state-of-the-art facilities including well-equipped lecture and seminar rooms, exhibition spaces, computer facilities and digital media suites.