Skip to main content

Consumption, Culture and Marketing

Thank you for considering an application

Please follow the instructions on Royal Holloway Direct and be sure to provide any documents required to support your application.

If you are a current undergraduate Royal Holloway student we would ask that when creating a postgraduate application you do so using your current Royal Holloway email address.

If you haven’t applied to Royal Holloway before please click here to apply:

Start your application

If you have already applied to Royal Holloway please click here to login to your application portal:

Admissions portal

Consumption, Culture and Marketing


The closing date for applications to start this course in September 2023 has now passed. Find out more

Key information

Duration: 1 year full time

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees*: £8,600

International/EU fees**: £19,500

The course

Consumption, Culture and Marketing (MSc)

Please note that this course has changed from MA Consumption, Culture and Marketing to MSc Consumption, Culture and Marketing.

Our MSc Consumption, Culture & Marketing is an interdisciplinary masters programme that draws together content and teaching from both marketing and sociology. It is aimed at individuals who want to think intellectually about the world, enjoy being challenged and are curious about business practice. The knowledge and skills gained could help develop a range of professions including policy development, publishing, academia and, of course, marketing and commercial management. 

This course looks in-depth at our consumer culture and seeks to understand it and will engage in a number of areas such as branding, marketing, bio-power and neoliberalism. You will explore claims that our contemporary world can be best understood as a consumer society and a brand culture, as well as how marketing and consumerism increasingly define our experiences, social relationships and civic infrastructure. As such we seek to analyse marketing behaviour and consumption practices with a view to better understand how marketing connects with society and culture.  

You will join an intellectually stimulating, friendly and supportive research environment and work closely with our expert and experienced academic staff.

  • Distinctive from other marketing programmes in that it combines marketing and sociology.
  • Accredited by CIM (The Chartered Institute of Marketing). On completing this course you'll be able to apply for exemptions.
  • Innovative programme inviting students to critically explore their lived experiences within the consumer society.
  • Flexibility to tailor your studies to suit your specific areas of interest.

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

  • Strategic Marketing provides a holistic perspective on contemporary marketing practices and skills. Drawing on many case examples, this module examines current issues facing brands and other marketing organisations in order to set out the strategic marketing management process. The module embraces a range of theoretical perspectives from foundational marketing principles to advanced and contemporary approaches. You will be asked to think beyond disciplinary and sector silos to consider longer term and resource-intensive marketing issues facing brands, services, non-profits and public sector organisations. You will be required to demonstrate critical and strategic thinking skills.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the theoretical analysis of consumption in modern society. You will look at the development of consumption and consumerism in society, examining the foundational sociological ideas and arguments concerning the role of culture in promoting a sense of belonging and identity-formation. You will also consider how consumerism and cultural production are socially-contingent, shaped by historical conditions and political-economic arrangements.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key debates in relation to childhood, children and consumption. You will look at theories of consumption and consumer culture, considering a range of theorists including Marx and commodity fetishism, Veblen and conspicuous consumption, Marcuse's critical theory, Baudrillard and consumer society, and Bourdieu and cultural capital.

  • This module explores the connections between consumerism and crime alongside the rich theoretical work of cultural criminology. You'll look at, amongst other things, the relationship between gang cultures and consumerism, the marketing of deviance, and consumerism as a motivation for crime and will learn to demonstrate critical understanding of the role of a consumerist and brand culture in crime, deviance and subculture-formation.

  • Data is all around us, changing the future of society and how businesses operate. This module will teach you step by step how to think and work like a marketing executive with the support of valid and reliable data. You will be introduced to transferrable skills enabling you to understand the nature and process of conducting primary research. You will build expertise in qualitative and quantitative research methods to understand, analyse and predict consumer behaviour, and be exposed to relevant software to collect, measure and analyse numerical data. The skills, expertise and experience developed within the module will enable you to produce excellent research and interpret research findings that you will encounter beyond the university.

  • The dissertation offers the students an opportunity to conduct a 10,000 word independent piece of research on a topic of their interest in the areas relevant to cultural, consumption and marketing. The dissertation is not intended to be an original contribution to knowledge, but it should demonstrate the student’s ability to study a specific topic, design an appropriate methodology for investigating the specific research issue, collect data systematically where necessary, organize, present and analyse the findings, and ensure that the results are presented in a logical and clear manner. The conclusions should demonstrate how the independent research advances existing academic debates around the topic of interest. The dissertation should demonstrate both the technical knowledge that the student has acquired throughout the MSc Consumption, Culture and Marketing degree course and also the ability to integrate knowledge learning from different modules offered by the course and apply it to an academic or business-related problem.

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • In this module you will examine the principal means of marketing communications – advertising, promotion, public relations, and direct marketing. You will develop an understanding of the contemporary media environment and how this impacts on marketers' efforts to communicate with stakeholders. You will examine how communications must be tailored to the market segments and media channels, and look at the impact of communication cultures, particularly across markets and internationally.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of how the role of service marketing is changing in society and the changing factors that influence marketing decision-making for organisations. You will look at the differences between services and goods, the key elements of service marketing, the service delivery process, and implementing and managing profitable service strategies.

  • Digital technologies are transforming how marketing is developed and delivered. Contemporary marketers need sophisticated digital media and IT skills, alongside a knowledge of their practical application within Digital Marketing. This module reflects on the use of digital technologies within marketing and examines how they can be used within a range of commercial environments. The module focuses on the strategic use of digital marketing and its application to areas such as brand management, international business, marketing ethics, SEO, Content Marketing, PPC & Google Ads, and cutting-edge developments such as social & digital media, Netnography, digital segmentation, as well as its integration with more traditional marketing.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including essays, group projects and a dissertation.



Normally, we require a UK 2:2 (Honours) or equivalent in relevant subjects. Candidates with relevant professional qualifications or professional experience in an associated area will also be considered.

International & EU requirements

Graduates will have considered a wide range of theoretical issues relating to contemporary lives that form the basis of marketing practice. This knowledge may be useful to pursue a research career, or to augment and progress current careers in fields such as marketing, education, journalism, development, social policy and politics.  This course equips postgraduate students with the subject knowledge and expertise required to pursue a successful career, or provides a solid foundation for continued PhD studies. 

  • Graduates in recent years have entered different areas including Senior Associate at Bank of China International, Reporter at Xinhua News Agency, Senior Associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Finance Officer at Ealing Borough Council and Relationship Manager (Investments) at Barclays Bank.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £8,600

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £19,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

* and ** These tuition fees apply to students enrolled on a full-time basis. Students studying on the standard part-time course structure over two years are charged 50% of the full-time applicable fee for each study year.

All postgraduate fees are subject to inflationary increases. This means that the overall cost of studying the course via part-time mode is slightly higher than studying it full-time in one year. Royal Holloway's policy is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information, please see our terms and conditions. Please note that for research courses, we adopt the minimum fee level recommended by the UK Research Councils for the Home tuition fee. Each year, the fee level is adjusted in line with inflation (currently, the measure used is the Treasury GDP deflator). Fees displayed here are therefore subject to change and are usually confirmed in the spring of the year of entry. For more information on the Research Council Indicative Fee please see the RCUK website.

** The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us during the academic year 2023/24, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 30% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

*** These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2022/23 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing, have not been included.


Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

This course is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This means your qualification is recognised in the industry, giving you a competitive edge when applying for jobs.

CIM Accredited Degree logo

This course is a CIM Accredited Degree. On completing this course you'll be able to apply for exemptions.

Management Postgraduate Admissions

Explore Royal Holloway

Get help paying for your studies at Royal Holloway through a range of scholarships and bursaries.

There are lots of exciting ways to get involved at Royal Holloway. Discover new interests and enjoy existing ones.

Heading to university is exciting. Finding the right place to live will get you off to a good start.

Whether you need support with your health or practical advice on budgeting or finding part-time work, we can help.

Discover more about our 21 departments and schools.

Find out why Royal Holloway is in the top 25% of UK universities for research rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Royal Holloway is a research intensive university and our academics collaborate across disciplines to achieve excellence.

Discover world-class research at Royal Holloway.

Discover more about who we are today, and our vision for the future.

Royal Holloway began as two pioneering colleges for the education of women in the 19th century, and their spirit lives on today.

We’ve played a role in thousands of careers, some of them particularly remarkable.

Find about our decision-making processes and the people who lead and manage Royal Holloway today.