This degree develops your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. Over three years you will develop your artistic work and develop a series of projects for public exhibition which will explore the technological and cultural ramifications of computation.
What is computational art?
Computation consists of all the changes brought about by digital technology. Art is an open set of ways of acting inventively in culture. Mixing the two together in a systematic way gives us computational art.
This is a very open field, and one that is set to expand enormously in the coming years. It is where the most exciting developments in technology and in culture can already be found. This degree will place you in the middle of this fast-evolving context.
What will I learn?
Computational artworks don’t necessarily involve computers and screens, however, and we encourage students to produce works across a diverse range of media. Supported by studio technicians in state-of-the-art facilities, our students are producing works using tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, robotics, wearable technologies, paint, sculpture and textiles.
You will also study contextual modules on the history of art, computational art, and the socio-political effects of technology. Modules in the Art Department and the Centre for Cultural Studies provide students with the historical foundations, frameworks, critical skills and confidence to express their ideas effectively.
You will have the opportunity to learn the cultural histories of technology, to reflect on computation in terms of its wider cultural effects, and to understand the way in which art provides rigorous ways of thinking.
Through our masterclass series, we regularly invite world-class artists and curators to explain their work and engage in critical dialogue with the students. This allows you to develop a wider understanding of the contemporary art scene and how your work sits within the professional art world.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Theo Papatheodorou
Modules & structure
The programme is made up of three components:
- Core technical computing, with a particular focus on audio-visual technology. This will be taught in the Department of Computing
- Critical studies of contemporary art. This will be taught in the Department of Art
- Computational arts practice. This will combine technical and creative skills and will be taught by practising computational artists in the Department of Computing
|Introduction to Programming||30 credits|
|Numerical Maths||15 credits|
|Designing Digital Interactions||15 credits|
|Audio-Visual Computing||15 credits|
|Critical Studies in Computational Arts I||30 credits|
|Introduction to Computational Arts Practice||15 credits|
|Principles and Applications of Programming||15 credits|
|Perception and Multimedia Computing||30 credits|
|Computational Arts Practice||30 credits|
|Critical Studies in Computational Arts II||30 credits|
Level 6 consists of:
- two optional modules from a range of options, and a critical studies dissertation in term 1
- a major project in term 2
Modular: assignments, tests, laboratory exercises, exams, final year project. If you opt for an industrial placement year, your placement tutor will assess your work. If you complete the placement year successfully, you earn the endorsement 'with work experience' on your degree certificate.
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.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects
We request up to 12 items of work for portfolio, these can be images or video of sculpture, painting, drawings, digital or any other work that gives us an understanding of your practice. We will request to see a portfolio when invited for an in person interview.
You should ideally have Grade B or above in GCSE Maths. If your portfolio is particularly strong we may accept a slightly lower GCSE Maths grade.
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including a number of distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC (Higher) ABC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 77%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1
If your qualifications are from another country, 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 6.0 no element lower than 5.5
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
Read more about our general entrance requirements.
Computing at Goldsmiths is ranked: 2nd in London for this subject area** 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’. You’ll focus on practical work in real-world situations, carrying out projects in ways that mirror industry practice.
We also promote an interdisciplinary approach to the subject: from business to digital arts, and from games programming to learning Mandarin.
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.
**Guardian University League Tables 2017
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
We have a world-leading reputation that brings together
students and researchers from all over the globe
We specialise in making, curating and writing about contemporary art in a dynamic, critical and interdisciplinary environment.
And we work with a network of artists, curators, galleries and museums in both London and internationally to create an inspiring and dynamic place in which to study and develop an artistic practice.
Our alumni go on to do great things. Many of them are among the most recognised names working in art today, and since 1990 they’ve been nominated for the Turner Prize more than 30 times, winning the prize on seven occasions.
Find out more about the Department of Art.
Mick Grierson is a founding member of the Goldsmiths Digital Studios and the Embodied Audiovisual Interaction Group (EAVI). He runs Goldsmiths Digital, the consulting arm of the Computing department’s research activities, specialising in developing core technologies for the Creative Industries. He is also Director of the Daphne Oram Collection.
Rebecca Fiebrink is a faculty member at Goldsmiths, and a member of the Embodied AudioVisual Interaction (EAVI) group. She also supervises research in the Soundlab at Princeton University. Her research work encompasses a variety of projects developing new technologies to enable new forms of human expression and creativity. Much of this combines techniques from human-computer interaction, machine learning and signal processing to allow people to apply machine learning more effectively to new problems such as the design of new digital musical instruments and gestural interfaces for gaming and health.
Professor of Media Computing at Goldsmiths, Atau Tanaka bridges the fields of media art, experimental music, and research. Active in the Tokyo noise music and media arts scenes, he moved to Paris with a residency at the Cité des Arts to work at IRCAM, was Artistic Ambassador for Apple France, and was researcher at Sony Computer Science Laboratory Paris. Atau creates sensor-based musical instruments for performance and exhibition, and is known for his work with biosignal interfaces. His recent work seeks to harness collective musical creativity in mobile environments, seeking out the continued place of the artist in democratised digital forms.
Simon Katan is a digital artist with a background in music and a strong preoccupation with games and play. His work incorporates hidden mechanisms, emergent behaviour, paradox, self-reference, inconsistency, abstract humour, absurdity and wonder. He completed a PhD in audio-visual co-dependency in music and won a Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention for his work ‘Cube with Magic Ribbons’. Simon has exhibited and performed in the UK and Europe at festivals and conferences including Imatronic (Germany), Beam Festival, Sonica, ICMC, Hide and Seek Fest, IG Fest, Spitalfields Festival, Sonorities, Green Man Festival, Secret Garden Party, and Borealis. Recent residencies include Pixel Palace at Tyneside Cinema and ZKM Karlsruhe. He is course leader of Goldsmiths’ BSc Creative Computing, and a researcher at Goldsmiths’ Embodied Audio Visual Interactions group.
Theodoros Papatheodorou is the course leader of the Digital Arts Computing course as well as the MA/MFA in Computational Arts. He completed his PhD in face recognition at Imperial College after which he returned to Greece where he started the premiere computational media course at the Athens School of Fine Arts. He is the founder of random quark www.randomquark.com a creative technology company building state of the art engaging experiences in large-format projections, interactive installations and the web. His work has been exhibited internationally and his interactive projections have been featured in live shows in some of the biggest theaters in Greece.
Marco Gillies is Director of Studies at Goldsmiths Computing. He is an expert on computer graphics, animation and new forms of interaction.
Phoenix Perry is an experienced developer, accidental public figure and general rebel rabble rouser. She teaches physical computing and games at Goldsmiths. Her research attempts to extend the human senses through augmenting the perception of emotion. You can find her in hacklabs burning herself on soldering irons or coffee shops caffeinating while punching code in chemically induced fits of brilliance before napping.
William Latham is a designer of computer games, a computer artist and entrepreneur. Expertise in evolutionary art, graphics, generative art, genetics, and the entertainment and video games industries.
Senior lecturer and senior tutor at Goldsmiths Computing, Kate Devlin and her research focuses on how we can apply knowledge of visual perception and cognition to areas such as Human-Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence to assess how people interact with, and react to, technology. She has a background in both archaeology, computer science and applied perception, her work focuses on digital cultural heritage. She is an active campaigner for mental health awareness and also for raising the profile of women in computing.
Matthew Fuller is an author and professor of Digital Media at Goldsmiths’ Centre for Cultural Studies. He is known for his writings in media theory, software studies, critical theory and cultural studies, and contemporary fiction.
Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, chair of the PhD programme at the Centre for Cultural Studies, and co-director of Goldsmiths’ Digital Culture Unit. She is interested in cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories. Her writing addresses the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, nanotechnology. She has written extensively within the field of Media Philosophy and Computational Design. In 2004, she published 'Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire' (Continuum Press). In 2013, she published 'Contagious Architecture. Computation, Aesthetics and Space' (MIT Press).
Josephine Berry is a lecturer at Goldmiths’ Centre for Cultural Studies. She has worked since 1995 as an editor for Mute, a magazine that thinks through cultural and technological questions in the midst post-internet globalisation. Her PhD thesis was one of the first to address net art and considered the ways in which computer networks participate in art's redefinition after Duchamp and the demise of the artwork's aura, originality and sitting in gallery space.
Graham Harwood is an artist and lecturer at Goldmiths’ Centre for Cultural Studies. Graham is known for both his individual work Aluminium, Rehearsal-of-Memory, Lungs and his collaborative work with Mongrel, a celebrated artists group specialising in digital media.
Edgar Schmitz is senior lecturer in Fine Art (Critical Studies) at Goldsmiths. He is an artist and co-director of A Conversation in Many Parts, the international discursive platform for contemporary art and concepts. Recent exhibitions include British Art Show 7, Hayward Gallery, ICA London. His book on ambient attitudes is under negotiation with Sternberg Press, Berlin/ NY.
Tim Blackwell is a computer scientist and musician with an interest in swarms and advanced algorirthms.
Verina Gfader is a lecturer in Fine Art (Critical Studies) at Goldsmiths. She is co-editor/co-author of Adventure-Landing: A Compendium of Animation, A Brief History of Curating New Media Art, A Brief History of Working with New Media Art, and the open source book Collaborative Futures.
Learning & teaching
Courses are taught by a combination of lectures, tutorials, workshops and laboratory sessions. These will introduce you to ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, improve your communication skills, and enable you to develop high level practical and technical skills in computing.
But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out research, preparing topics for discussion, or producing project work.
This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to find out more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers.
Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent learning
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.
Skills & careers
Industrial placement year
Our degree programmes include an optional Industrial Placement Year between the second and third year of study. This offers you the invaluable opportunity to develop the practical skills and real world experience that is sought after by employers. You're supported throughout your placement year by a placement tutor, who provides you with guidance and liaises between you and your employer.
Some of the companies Creative Computing students have worked at during their work placement year recently include:
- All Of Us
- Disturb Media
- Smile Machine
- Sound and Music
This degree is designed to prepare you for a career as a technology-led creative in the media industries. The programme will develop you not just as a technical expert, but also as a creative thinker, allowing you to learn and explore through a combination of technology and imagination. Technical skills include:
- a strong understanding of how to design, develop and apply software in all areas of commerce and industry
- an awarenesss of the fundamentals of computing (hardware, software, architecture and operating systems)
- an understanding of programming languages
- a clear sense of the issues involved in building and maintaining reliable software for the sophisticated demands of today's market and for the software industry as it develops throughout the 21st century
- an understanding of the social context and visual design aspects of software development together with the technical skills of programming
Our degrees have a large proportion of practical work in which you must deliver software projects, both individually and in groups. This mirrors as closely as possible a real world work environment. These projects develop your technical skills but also require you to tackle the broader aspects of the software development process, such as understanding users' needs and requirements and the design of interfaces on a number of platforms – from web pages to touch screen phones.
You'll also gain skills in teamwork, creative thinking, report writing, time management and organisation, presenting reasoned arguments to a range of audiences, and retrieval of information – all of which are sought by graduate employers.
The explosive and ever-growing use of technology in business and commerce means that there's a whole range of different career possibilities for computing graduates. In terms of job opportunities and salaries, the IT sector is well ahead of most other industrial and commercial sectors.
Where do Goldsmiths computing graduates work?
Some of the recent graduate level careers for computing graduates have included:
- Film/TV special effects and post-production
- Visual interface designer
- Computer graphics designer
- Video game developer
- Music production
- Multimedia systems analyst
- Media and entertainment industries
- Mobile App developer
- Web developer
- Computer music/sound engineer
- Interface designer
- Database manager
- IT consultancies
- New media and advertising companies
- Computer games developers
- Software development firms
- Financial institutions
- Engineering companies
- Retail and service industries
- Tourism and leisure industries
- Entertainment industries
Fees & funding
Find out more about applying.