BA (Hons) Promotional Media

Goldsmiths, University of London
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Bachelor's programs


Course overview

Examine the rise of the promotional industries, and their relationship with media, both in the past and in contemporary society.

Today, native advertising, advertorials, and new online practices have blurred the boundary between promotional content, and factual or fictional content. This programme allows you to study developments from a uniquely theoretical and practical perspective, integrating creative and critical analytic thinking.

By bringing together theory and practice, this degree covers a broad spectrum of critical perspectives on promotional media and introduces a range of contemporary promotional media practices. It offers a solid basis of practical experience in promotions-based media production, and a critical understanding of the complex relationship between the media and promotional industries.

We provide an experience in which theory and practice elements inform each other to produce original and critical work, and teach independent learning skills for use in a rapidly changing industry.

Why study BA Promotional Media at Goldsmiths? 

  • Explore a range of promotional media practices, from planning and launching media campaigns, to web design, writing for the media, pitching and presentation, research skills, and learn about key aspects of digital and visual culture.
  • Come into regular contact with people who work in this sector, including on practice modules taught by industry professionals, thanks to the department’s close links with the media world.
  • You'll be able to take a compulsory work placement in your final year, allowing you to gain valuable experience in a professional setting.
  • Study a variety of critical approaches to advertising, branding, public relations and marketing, including their increasing convergence, and learn about global and transnational approaches.
  • Study and evaluate the cultural, sociological, economic, and political impact of promotional activity, and explore the growth of the promotional industry both historically and in a contemporary context.
  • Gain a critical perspective on the promotional industries and their relationships with media industries, and learn about a range of promotional media practices and key roles in promotional organisations.
  • Evaluate the impact of promotional activity on culture, society, the economies, and politics.

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What you'll study

In your first year, you will be taken on industry visits, learn web design and presentation skills, as well as how to develop pitches. In year two, you will be set ‘live’ briefs, and learn visual storytelling through moving images and photography. In year three, students will undertake work experience and will develop their professional portfolio.

This programme will help you develop your knowledge and understanding of:

  • The key approaches to advertising, branding, public relations, and marketing
  • The relationship between promotional practices and wider activities of the media
  • The relationship between different media (art, photography, video, storytelling, digital life), and promotional media
  • The relationship between the development of new technology and the growth of the promotional industries
  • The relationship between social, cultural, and economic processes and the development of the promotional industries
  • Changes in the practices of the promotional industries and their interrelationships
  • The growth of promotional media and the development of the self

Year 1

15 credits

This module examines the rise and development of the promotional industries in the twentieth century. It places their growth in the context of the emergence of the rapid expansion of the media and the growth of consumer culture. It introduces you to the main theories about consumer culture and media power. It critically examines the growth of advertising and branding, public relations, marketing as distinct industries and considers their relationships with each other and with media institutions and organizations. It will examine the longstanding role of celebrity in advertising and branding and will explore the growing importance of celebrity content across the promotional industries today. It introduces you to different theoretical approaches to understanding the spread of promotional culture and how the promotional industries have tried to influence media content. You will also study the key changes that occurred in the final decades of the twentieth century that set the stage for the transformations in the promotional industries that we witness today, in preparation for your year two module on the promotional industries in the twenty-first century.

15 credits
15 credits

This module is an introduction to marketing. By the end of the module you will have a knowledge of the role of marketing within organisations and within society, and of the principles of marketing management.

Conceptually, the module is divided in two sections. The focus of the first section is to understand what marketing and its role within society. In the first five weeks, you will be introduced to the definition of marketing, the role of marketing within organisations, the value of marketing within organisations and society, the history of marketing, the role of marketing in constructing the consumer society, and the relationship that marketing has with society (i.e. marketing ethics, and sustainability).

We will study both traditional and critical/interpretativist theories of marketing.

In the second half of the module, you will be introduced to foundational topics in marketing management. You will also be introduced to marketing strategy through an brief overview of the 4Ps of marketing - Product, Place, Promotion and Price.

15 credits
30 credits

This module will develop your knowledge and understanding of a variety of styles and genres of media writing, including non-western writing genres. You will learn how to deconstruct media content and critically appraise media writing. You will learn practical skill in writing for the media in the following areas: press releases; news stories and feature writing; media reviews; social media content; advertising copy, blogging. You will learn the basics of researching, brand strategy, concept development, and academic writing skills. For the portfolio assessment you will produce a written deconstruction of one existing piece of writing. You will also do an oral presentation basis on that deconstruction which will be a formative assessment. You will be provided with one piece of content from which you will be required to produce different pieces of writing for different formats and audiences. Each written element of the portfolio assessment will be given a separate weighting that accumulate to 100 percent. You will keep a journal in which you reflect on your encounter with promotional media drawing on critical concepts introduced on the module.

30 credits
15 credits

The module starts by looking at some of the different ways in which artists have used media and technology across different historical periods. Through this, we introduce aesthetic concerns to the study of media, raising questions about cultural appreciation, value and taste, but also about social and political issues concerning art. You will learn to be critical towards many forms of media art – both old and new. The notion of ‘art’ as a unified field of specialist cultural production is then put into question in the context of the wider discussions of creativity and amateur media practices. By studying contemporary forms of media production via social media, open web, etc., we consider whether, in the age of online media and cheap digital technology, everyone is potentially an artist. Blurring the boundary between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, the module attempts to get you to 'think about media' and 'make media' as part of the same classroom experience and module assignment.

15 credits
15 credits

Cultural studies assumes that history - its shape, its seams, its outcomes - is never guaranteed. As a result, doing cultural studies takes work, including the kind of work deciding what cultural studies is, of making cultural studies over again and again. Cultural studies constructs itself as it faces new questions and takes up new positions. In that sense, doing cultural studies is always risky and never totally comfortable. It is fraught with inescapable tensions (as well as with real pleasures). (Lawrence Grossberg, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Routledge, 1992: 18)

If we want to trace the ‘history’ of cultural studies in the UK, we have to go back to adult education classes in the 1950s and ‘60s, where students and their tutors embarked on the challenging task of questioning what constituted culture, social distinction, nationhood and other forms of identity. Cultural studies began to put a spotlight on everyday cultural practices which had hitherto been regarded as inferior or which contradicted established notions of what constituted culture itself. In so doing, cultural studies research has uncovered the richness of daily life for sections of society whose lives had not been deemed worthy of study or who had been dismissed as ‘uncultured’. Since this period, the field of cultural studies has shown how apparently self-evident concepts and beliefs have strong ideological underpinnings dependent on the wielding of social, economic and political power. In this sense, cultural studies is a political project which is not only interested in presenting alternative definitions of culture but also in investigating the power structures which shape them. Cultural studies provides us with the opportunity to interrogate notions of national identity, such as ‘Britishness’; to explore attitudes and practices which perpetuate social inequality and to understand how key markers of identity such as gender, race, class and sexuality are cultural formations with complex and continually shifting histories.

Cultural studies is now widely taught, not only in the UK but also in the US, Australia, and many other countries. Due to its immense variety and liveliness, it has been described somewhat humorously by Colin Sparks as a ‘rag-bag of ideas, methods and concerns’ (Storey, 1996: 14) it is nevertheless united by two main concerns:

  1. The study of culture perceived as a ‘whole way of life’;
  2. The examination of the political, economic and social structures which shape culture (but which are at the same time part of this culture)

One of the aspects of the political nature of cultural studies is the constant need for self-examination. As Stuart Hall, one of the most influential figures in the field, has argued, cultural studies ‘is a project that is always open to that which it doesn’t yet know, to that which it can’t yet name’ (in Grossberg et al, 1992: 278). Put simply, cultural studies can be described as a ‘project in the making’ in which meaning and identity are constantly in being renegotiated.

This module serves as an introduction to the study of culture and to the emergence of cultural studies. It starts with a general introduction to the idea of culture, and some of the problems associated with defining it. It also sketches the context within which cultural studies emerged from the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in Birmingham in the late 1960s. We will take a close critical look at some of the key texts and theories that emerged from the Centre in the 1970s. This will be followed by some detailed analyses of a number of ideas associated with cultural studies - identity, hybridity, essentialism, resistance - and a number of cultural products and practices – soap operas, shopping, music and city life.

15 credits
30 credits

This is a practice-based module which will develop your skills in web design and enable you to develop a content-management-system website that will host a promotional campaign. You will learn how to build a web and social media presence and how to use some analytics software to track the performance of your website. You will learn the differences between various CMS website solutions, and how to choose the best one for your projects, assessing how users navigate websites. You will present a web design draft plan as part of your portfolio which will be a formative assessment for which you will receive a pass/fail grade. You will also learn basic legal requirements in using found images. Starting with a site, you will learn about how to select an appropriate theme, customising a theme with plug-ins, and the potential for advanced functionality such as e-commerce and social media campaign management. You will learn how to design graphics, edit images in Photoshop, and gain an understanding of the coding that underpins all web-development. Along the way, you will be introduced to UX (User Experience), UI (User Interface), HTML (Hypertext Mark Up Language, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). The portfolio assessment will contain a website plan for formative assessment, a website based on found images and original text, a self-reflective essay containing information about your design decisions (1000 – 1500), and a short report on your website analytics (500 – 800 words). Each element in the portfolio will be appropriately weighted to give a total of 100 percent.

30 credits
15 credits

This module introduces you to the rapid and far reaching changes in the main promotional industries: advertising, public relations, branding and marketing. The promotional industries are adapting to digital technologies and as a result, there has been a realignment of the practices of promotional industries and their markets and the growth of new celebrity-based promotional strategies such as the rise of influencer marketing. You will study these changes in the context of mergers in the promotional industries and media convergence. You will examine convergence from a number of angles including economic convergence, convergence in technology, content, and job roles. You will critically evaluate the processes and consider their impact on the wider media landscape and promotional cultures.

15 credits
30 credits

Visual Storytelling invites you to make an engaging visual sequence consisting of between 8-12 still images. Inspired by artist-photographer Duane Michals, the module challenges you to create a sequence of still images that conveys a story, an idea, an impulse or an emotional tone that develops between the opening frame and the end-frame. And beyond.

Module Premise:

2. The cut (between frames) is the primary locus of meaning in sequential art.

3. Arranging your images to prioritise meaning in the cuts (not vice-versa) is the path to engaging visual story content.

Your sequence may be linear or non-linear and may be classically structured, circular or experimental in nature.

30 credits
15 credits

This module explores the changing world of advertising and examines its growing prominence in the media and in wider society. It begins by investigating the origins of advertising in consumer capitalism and by developing an understanding of the main theoretical approaches to: advertising as a persuasive industry; as a set of socio-economic practices; and as media texts and cultural objects. The module looks at the fundamental role that advertising plays in financing media and in shaping media and cultural production. We also examine the centrality of celebrity in the growth of advertising and promotional content and the way that celebrity-centred business models, which anchor aesthetic values to marketing concerns, are now widespread throughout media and society. The second half of the module examines new developments in advertising with the rise of the internet and the growth of digital media, including: new models of online advertising based on algorithms and big data; the growth of celebrity and micro-celebrity as a promotional tools, as a way of engaging consumers emotions in our age of ad blocking; the challenges of advertising regulation online; and the blurring of lines between creative content and promotional content, news/factual content and sponsored content, and the rise of native advertising. The module also examines the recent and ongoing convergence in the advertising and promotional industries, the growth of huge multinationals that now dominate and asks you to consider the consequences of the concentration of economic power in an increasingly monopolistic industry, and its growing control over content creation. This module asks you to critically examine the impact of the growth and power of advertising for our media, culture and society.

15 credits
30 credits

This module requires you to bring all of the skills, knowledge and understanding you have developed in the first three terms of your course to develop and launch a promotional campaign in a team. You will develop a brief and a campaign plan – including a fully developed brand strategy; pitch your plan in a group oral presentation, which will be a formative assessment, and you will choose to fully develop one of the promotional elements from your plan. You will reflect on your project management and consider strategies for assessing the effectiveness of the campaign.

30 credits

You will also take 30 credits worth of option modules offered by the Department of Media Communications and Cultural Studies.

Year 3

Year 3 Compulsory modules

15 credits

This module will examine how data is visualized and analysed. You will be introduced to techniques for gathering data from the internet and other electronic sources, including some of the currently available tools of analysis and visualization. You will learn how to scrape the web for data and how to read and understand three forms of data: 1) audience insights, 2) performance analysis, 3) use of data for storytelling. You will learn to use web-based software and data analytic tools to source information from the internet in order to gain knowledge about how to track campaign performance. You will also learn how to use intermediate excel tools and will submit an excel spreadsheet as part of your portfolio.  The assessment portfolio will contain an evaluation of an existing campaign report and a comparative report which analyses data for two real-life products in order to demonstrate the ability to track campaign performance. You will explore critical approaches big data and algorithms and the knowledge they construct, considering issues of data justice. You will write a short critical analysis as part of your portfolio. All written elements of the portfolio will be weighted appropriately with a combined value of 100 per cent.

15 credits
15 credits

The central objective is to enable you to take up a workplace learning experience which will benefit your studies, your skillset, your networks and your CV.

The work placement will take place over a two-week period or can be spread over a longer period. The project you undertake whilst on placement and/or the data to which you have access will be invaluable in developing your Essay. You will also deliver a presentation, based on your experience. You will be supported, in preparing your assignments, through three seminars and individual discussions.

Please note: we will endeavour to source placements from across a wide range of areas but cannot guarantee specific placements. You should be flexible and appreciate that any broadly-related experience can be valuable.

15 credits
30 credits

This module is a bringing together of all that you have learnt to produce an individual Promotional Campaign Portfolio. You will use your conceptual skills, planning skills, brand management skills and practical skills to develop a cross platform promotional campaign and produce content for it. You will develop your project management skills, learn how to select appropriate platforms, activities and content for your campaign – from apps, to social media influencers, to events, videos, photographs, blogs and other forms of promotional writing. You will be expected to produce written material, visual material, and digital material in a project that showcases your abilities and demonstrates your ability to select appropriate promotional content and reflect critically on your work, showing evidence of the development of your ideas. All elements of the portfolio will be submitted on a weekly basis for formative assessment; you will receive weekly feedback on your work and will adapt and resubmit work in a final portfolio. You will launch your campaign and track its analytics making adjustments in line with what you have learned from your data analysis. Your portfolio will be made of up your campaign plan, your campaign materials (which will include texts, images and digital content selected by their appropriateness to your campaign from the array of promotional forms and meanings you have been taught across the three years of the programme), a reflective essay and a report on the analytics of your campaign. Each element of the portfolio will be weighted appropriately to a cumulative value of 100 percent.

30 credits

You will also take 60 credits worth of option modules offered by the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies department.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

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.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBBAccess: 60 credits overall with 30 distinctions and distinctions/merits in a related subjectScottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)European Baccalaureate: 75%

International qualifications

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding

  • Home - full-time: £9250
  • International - full-time: £17400

If your fees are not listed here, please check our undergraduate 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 Tier 4 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.

Additional costs

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.

Funding opportunities

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Bachelor's programs


London , United Kingdom