MA in Computational Arts

  • Length
    1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Department

Course overview

Our MA in Computational Arts aims to help you develop and apply skills in computational technology through arts practice, whilst simultaneously providing the opportunity to integrate your practice within our environment of world-leading research.

The programme aims to bring together ideas and paradigms from computer science, art, and cultural theory, providing you with the necessary technical, theoretical and historical background to develop the new aesthetics for computer media. As a graduate, you will be able to mediate between the worlds of visual, performing and relational (or interactive) art, technology and computer science. 

The MA is a one year (two years part-time) programme underpinned by the necessary technical, theoretical and historical background. It is identical to the first year of our MFA programme, and taught through the Goldsmiths Digital Studios.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Theo Papatheodorou

Modules & structure

The programme is made up of the following modules:

Programming for Artists

This module provides you with the tools you will need to creatively apply programing skills to your own practice. It encourages a practical and theoretical engagement with computer programming.

Visits from guest speakers and student-led discussions will encourage and enhance your critical awareness of the issues surrounding computer art. During the module you will be expected to undertake small-scale programming projects.

Creative Technologies & Art Practices

To better understand the relevance of current art practices employing new technologies, we begin this module by situating such art in an (art) historical context.

We will consider how computational art re-thinks curatorial strategies that are often difficult to classify according to previous museological canons and geographies.

Some (eg Graham & Cook, 2010) argue that work involving interactivity, networks and computation is often about process and behaviour rather than objects. How do these issues impact on what you do and how your work is disseminated to the public?

Workshops in Creative Coding

This module aims to offer you the opportunity to develop skills in applied audiovisual computing through a series of workshops and project sessions. The topics delivered cover creative software development in C/C++, and audio and graphics programming for embedded systems (iPhone and iPad).


A number of optional modules are available on a variety of interdisciplinary topics such as artificial intelligence, computer vision, audio engineering, physical computing, animation and cognition.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


Computing at Goldsmiths is ranked 17th in the UK for the quality of our research**


The Department of Computing offers a creative, contemporary and pioneering approach to the discipline.

From developing computers that can compose music and paint pictures, to defining and implementing new social media tools and applications, we aim to invigorate computing and the world around it. 

Learn by doing

We place a great emphasis on creativity, independence and ‘learning by doing’. Students undertake practical work in real-world situations, carrying out projects in ways that mirror industry practice. 

Interdisciplinary approach

We also promote an interdisciplinary approach to the subject: from computational arts to games and entertainment, and from data science to digital journalism. 

Industry experts

You’ll be taught by industry experts – our academics are deeply engaged in current research, with many applying their knowledge and skills to developing cutting-edge technology. And we have close links with industry, too, regularly inviting leading professionals to deliver lectures and talks. 

Find out more about the Department of Computing.

**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Programme lecturers

Andrew Shoben

Andrew Shoben is the founder of greyworld, a world renowned artists' collective who create public art. Primarily, greyworld's work is about play, and allowing some form of creative expression in urban space.

greyworld has created works in some hugely coveted locations across the world, and they now have permanent installations in fourteen countries. In 2004 they launched The Source, a permanent installation for the London Stock Exchange which was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and was watched by millions everyday on television around the world.

In 2010, they unveiled "Paint," an installation allowing phones to paint on the city. and nominated Interactive artwork of the year by the
Design Museum. Last year, greyworld launched "Trafalgar Sun," a giant installation for Trafalgar Square, London along with Clockwork Forest, a permnent sound work for Grizedale forest, Cumbria.

Andrew is a regular contributor to television, radio and print, and lectures extensively around the world. Most recently he presented a
show on BBC Radio 4 entitled "Change of Art" and launched greyworld's new book entitled "In The City."

After lecturing at the Royal College of Art for four years, he became Professor of Public Art at Goldsmiths. University of London.

Video material

Jane Prophet

Jane Prophet is a visual artist who uses ‘old’ and ‘new’ media to produce objects and installations. Her works include the award-winning artificial life project, TechnoSphere (1995-2000) a website with over a 100,000 users who created over a million creatures.

She explores experiences of contemporary landscape, using digital technologies during research and production process. Site-specific light-based installations Conductor (2000), and Counterbalance (2007) use electro-luminescent cables to draw in space.

The animation Decoy (2001) and the The Landscape Room photographs (2001) combine images of realand computer-simulated landscapes, while Model Landscapes (2005) includes miniature trees 3D-printed from mathematical data.

Works-in-progress range from collaboration with neuroscientists to map brain activity during Buddhist death meditations, to developing ALife apps that link to 3D printers. Prophet’s commitment to the field of interdisciplinary and collaborative research was recognised in 2005 with a UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Dreamtime Fellowship.


Academic qualifications
BA(Hons) Fine Art, Sheffield Hallam University
MA Electronic Graphics, Coventry University
PhD Arts Education, Warwick University

Mick Grierson

Mick Grierson is a researcher working in the field audiovisual interaction technologies. Grierson's involvement is central in some of the most noteworthy creative technology installations of the past two years including Christian Marclay's internationally acclaimed “The Clock”, Heart n Soul's “Dean Rodney Singers” (Part of the Paralympics Unlimited Festival), and Science Museum's “From Oramics to Electronica”.

In addition, computer games that feature his research have been commissioned by technology companies including Sony Entertainment. Furthermore his audio and visual software has been downloaded is used by thousands of high profile artists and professionals including a large number of media artists and application developers.

He is currently principal investigator on a £300,000 three-year industry fellowship developing a range of interactive audiovisual software alongside disabled users, for platforms including iPhone, iPad and consoles. This work continues his previous fully-funded research in experimental audiovisual interaction within commercial gaming environments.

Mick is currently Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths Digital Studios, and Director of the Daphne Oram Collection.

Brock Craft

Brock's work is centred on interaction design and usability in a variety of domains, including Human-Computer Interaction, Product Design, Digital Art, and Learning. As a research fellow at the London Knowledge Lab, he focussed on Learning Design, tools for pedagogy design, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), and interactive artefacts.

Brock is the author of Arduino Projects for Dummies

His core research has been on on using traditional design methods such as design patterns and freehand sketching to support software engineering. His areas of specialist knowledge are Human-Computer Interaction, Information Visualisation, Physical Computing, and Design for Learning.

In 2007, He completed PhD research at UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC) in the area of Information Visualisation Design methodology. He earned his MS in Human-Computer Interaction at DePaul University in 2001.

Brock was was a Partner at the “Internet of Things” design firm TinkerLondon, where he worked on commercial projects bridging the digital and physical worlds with interactive technology. He also works as a consultant on a range of projects in both User Experience and Information Design/Analysis and has developed software for desktop, web, and mobile platforms.

Chris Kiefer

Chris Kiefer is a computer musician, and a researcher in electronic music and human-computer interaction. His background is in the NIME (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) field; he designs and performs with new musical controllers, specialising in malleable interfaces and multiparametric control.

He is a researcher on the ‘Sound, Image and Brain’ project at Goldsmiths, which focuses on brain-computer interfacing, audiovisual computer gaming, and the design of assistive music technology.

As a composer and performer, Chris is particularly interested in improvisation in electronic music. He currently performs as ‘Luuma’, using custom built hardware and software, with sound synthesis based on machine learning and dynamical systems.

Tim Blackwell

  • Course Leader for Object and Internet Programming in Java (2003-8) and Physical Computing (2009)
  • Research interests include Swarm Intelligence, Live Algorithms for Music, Woven Sound, Texture
  • Personal website

Janis Jefferies

  • Teaches on the MSc AC, 2006-07, and on the MFA-CSA since 2007
  • Research interests include Fibre and feminist practices post 1960s, Visual Arts
  • Main focus: text and textiles, gender, identity and subjectivity, digital studio and sonic arts and curatorship and audience with a focus on cultural access to museums through haptic technology

Robert Zimmer

  • Research interests include arts computing, AI
  • Culture Mining: Time-based cultural document and online audio/video (re)search tools; with the Tate
  • Personal web page

Programme Associate Lecturers

Karl Aspelund

  • Research interests include design, sculpting
  • Author of 'The Design Process', Fairchild Books, 2006
  • Personal website 

Thibaud De Souza

Jasper Speicher

  • Research interest include design, sculpting, music instruments
  • Personal website

Yanna Vogiazou

  • Research interests include interaction design, ubiquitous and social computing, design research methods, user experience
  • EC research project: PASION: Psychologically Augmented Social Interaction Over Networks

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject and a portfolio of work (supplied either as a DVD or a URL directing to a relevant web page).

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.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • A portfolio of work (supplied either as a DVD or a URL directing to a relevant web page)

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

When to apply

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.

If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.

Selection process

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.


Due to the popularity of this programme, successful applicants will be required to pay a deposit of £500 to secure any offer of a place on the programme. The deposit will be credited against your tuition fees when you enrol. Please note: you'll only be required to provide a deposit if you are offered a place, you don't need to pay a deposit in order to apply.

Find out more about applying.

Fees & funding

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

Find out more about tuition fees.

Related content links