For more information about Royal Holloway, please see this promotional video. To see a promotional video for the MA Consumption, Markets & Culture see here. To see a promotional video for the Royal Holloway School of Management, click here.

For more information about the Royal Holloway MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing and the application process see here.

To get an understanding of the unique values that underly the MA Marketing and MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing programme please read these blog posts: Value of Scholarly Values, Importance of Reading and Morris Holbrook and Business Interest in Education.

Monday, 18 March 2013

New Master of Art in Consumption, Culture & Marketing at Royal Holloway

This year we launch a new Master of Art programme in Consumption, Culture & Marketing which marks a collaboration between sociology and marketing faculty at Royal Holloway. This is an innovative inter-disciplinary programme that adopts a unique positioning in relation to the studying of lives under conditions of mass-consumption, brand culture and marketing.

The Master of Art programme has two core modules in Consumers & Brands and the Sociology of Consumption. Both courses seek to equip students with deep understandings of core sociological theory and insights into how to think through theoretically the impact of life as a consumer. As the year proceeds, students select from a range of further modules which cover such subjects as social media, advertising, risk, youth culture, popular music consumption and the role of technology in everyday consumer life. Students will be required to write a dissertation and will be trained in a range of qualitative research methods from ethnography to social media analysis.

Whilst this programme is fundamentally interested in marketing, we are interested in marketing because we recognise its role as both a driver of culture and economy but also as a meaning system which provides us ways of seeing and making sense of transformations in culture and economy. For example, we note the increasing prevalence of marketing-speak and its saturation of everyday living - note how we are encouraged to think of ourselves as a brand to which value must be added, how universities and hospitals are thought of as places where consumers experience service and note how the CV or resume becomes a resource for commodifying our interests and life history as something which makes us more enticing for a would be buyer (i.e. a prospective employer). Note how marketing logic has been extended into dating and romance with websites encouraging people to synoposise personalities as biodata, a representation of human capital intended to be sold in the market of life. All of these social phenomena remind us that we live in an age in which the logic of marketing and consumption is not just something that exists externally, in marketing head offices of large American firms or in advertising breaks on television, but rather that marketing is now part of our daily practices and vocabulary. That is to say that we participate in marketing by marketing ourselves and we incorporate and internalise the logic of consumption into all sorts of ordinary, routine and everyday ways of being and our sense of  identity: we live in and are subjects of a consumer society.

We might also question why critical images of consumerism are so often gendered

The MA Consumption, Culture & Marketing wants to understand life in these conditions. We pose the questions of what politics, meanings and new ways of being emerge. We ask these questions, not on behalf of industry, but on behalf of ourselves as subjects of a consumer society. We ask; is this a good life? What are the horizons of possibility that such a life holds? In whose interest does this orientation serve and what forms of collateral risk occur?

We explore, probe and evaluate the role of marketing as a system of ideological practice. We take marketing seriously as a cultural and economic force but our intention is not to train people in how to do marketing or how to be a marketing manager, but rather how to understand what marketing is and how to evaluate the politics and ethics of a life lived under conditions of near total marketing.

Who Should Study This Programme?

We are all thought of and addressed as consumers and therefore this is a programme which is of interest to everybody. However our preferred applicants are those who want to think intellectually about the world, who enjoy being challenged by knowledge and want to spend many hours reading and thinking seriously about difficult theory and who then want to experiment and investigate their insights by conducting new research. We believe that this programme will be especially of interest to graduates who are curious about business practice but are not interested in taking a business school degree. This programme allows you to understand the application and practices of business but to do so in a way that is entirely intellectually stimulating and in accordance with the university commitment to the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge sake.

Transferable Skills

Whilst we do not emphasise skills-orientated education there is no doubting that the level of critical analysis that we promote leads to deeper understandings of how marketing and capitalism operate that would hold relevance both inside and outside marketing and general commercial practice. Ultimately the skills that we seek to cultivate and encourage relate to how we can understand the world critically, how to engage with complex theory, how to work with teams, how to generate intellectually rich and defendible arguments, how to generate and analyse data and how to think conceptually about the everyday world that surrounds us. These skills can be applied in a range of professions including policy development, publishing, academia and, of course, marketing and commercial management.

Information on our entry requirements and application process can be found here.

Course Fees

Please visit the Fees and funding pages for the latest information about tuition fees and the different sources of funding which may be available to you.

Speical Programme Scholarships 

We hate and regret that our fees are so expensive. To support students enrolling on this new programme within the Faculty of Management and Economics, the Royal Holloway and Bedford New Trust will be funding three “Masters Scholarships”, each worth £3,000 on a competitive basis. Any applicant to this programme who has accepted a conditional or unconditional offer of a place by 3rd May 2013 will be automatically entered into the competition.

Each award has a value of £3,000 which may be received as either quarterly maintenance payments, or as a credit against the programme tuition fee. The award is made for one academic year only.

A panel comprising members of the programme teaching team will meet to assess applications, and identify the three candidates who best “demonstrate excellent potential and/or academic achievement” on the basis of the information supplied in your Royal Holloway application. In order to permit current undergraduates – both internal and external – to provide evidence of achievement during the 2012/13 academic year, the final allocation of awards will be made in week commencing 1st July 2013. Shortlisted candidates may be contacted in advance of this date to request the provision of examination transcripts as they become available. Successful candidates will be informed during the week commencing 8th July 2013. The decision of the judging panel is final.


  1. Sounds interesting and very academic =)
    I miss Royal Holloway.

  2. Is the course accredited by the Chartered Institute of Marketing or any other bodies? Thanks