BSc (Hons) Digital Arts Computing

This programme is designed to allow you to develop a distinctively computational fine arts practice. This will include technical skills enabling you to programme software that fulfills creative aims that are informed by a critical awareness of contemporary art.

Course length
3 years full-time
Entry requirements
A-level: ABB
IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including a number of distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
or equivalent; see find out more about our general entrance requirements.
Additional requirements

We request up to 12 items of work for portfolio submission, as .jpg image files, .mov video files or .mp3 audio files. These can be images or video of sculpture, painting, drawings, digital or any other work that gives us an understanding of your practice. We usually request an e-portfolio, for example via a website link or zip file download link. Please send your portfolio to

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.

If your first language is not English, please check our English Language requirements.

Fees and funding
Please see undergraduate tuition fees.

Computing Scholarships
The department has a number of scholarships worth up to £4,000 available to new students starting in 2015. Find out more about these scholarships.

Contact the departments
Contact the Admissions Tutor, Marco Gillies.
Visit us
Find out about how you can visit Goldsmiths at one of our open days or come on a campus tour.

A key element of this programme is that it integrates technical programming skills, theoretical and historical conceptions of art into a distinctively computational arts practice.

This requires you to work within and across the specialist intellectual styles of computational artistic work and to integrate these intellectual styles in your practice.

In order to achieve this integration the programme is taught in an integrated way, and in particular that the critical studies and computational arts practice elements are well integrated. As these elements are taught in different departments this requires a commitment to close cooperation across the departments. While some taught elements in these courses will be shared with other students in Art or Computing there will be, at all levels, seminars and labs dedicated to Arts Computing students in which you can explore interdisciplinary aspects of their thought and practice.

What you study

The programme is made up of three components:

  1. Core technical computing, with a particular focus on audio-visual technology. This will be taught in the Department of Computing.
  2. Critical studies of contemporary art. This will be taught in the Department of Art.
  3. Computational arts practice. This will combine technical and creative skills and will be taught by practising computational artists in the Department of Computing.

Please see the Modules and Structure tab for information on individual modules. 

Creative computing courses at Goldsmiths 

Video: Click to play

We are one of the top interdisciplinary computing departments in the country – working across art, music, journalism, gaming, and many other subject areas. This video features students and staff from our creative undergraduate and postgraduate programmes talking about how the culture of Goldsmiths makes us unique.

Equivalent qualifications

Scottish qualifications: BBBBB (Higher)
BBB (Advanced Higher)

European Baccalaureate: 77%

Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1

Modules and structure


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. As 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.

Level 4

Code Module title Credits
IS51008B Introduction to Programming 30 credits

This module teaches the basics of programming using a Java-based programming language called Processing. You will be introduced to programming to develop interactive graphical applications, including games. No previous programming knowledge is assumed. Topics include: drawing on screens, interaction with mice and keyboards, simple statements, variables and conditionals, for and while loops; loops within loops, arrays; functions, objects and classes, and inheritance.

Lecturer: Marco Gillies

IS51002C Mathematics for Problem Solving 15 credits

You will learn the basic mathematics required for the rest of the programme. Topics include:

1. Set theory

2. Boolean logic
3. Functions and relations
4. Lists and trees
5. Numbers in different bases
6. Probability

Lecturer: Lahcen Ouarbya

IS51019A Introduction to Digital Media 15 credits

In this module you will learn to work with and present a range of digital media (images, sound video) by working on two substantial projects. The first project is to develop a website. The second is to develop a mobile app for iOS, Android, Blackberry or Windows phone. These projects will look at developments from all points of view. As well as technical implementation you will need to think about who the users of your app are, what they need and how the visual design of the app should reflect their needs. 

Lecturer: Mick Grierson

IS51017A Audio-Visual Computing 15 credits

This module will cover the technical fundamentals of computing techniques used in digital media, with a particular focus on sound/music computing and computer graphics. We will introduce you to basic sound and graphics programming, covering a range of topics such as:

  • MIDI
  • sound waves and their properties
  • sound synthesis
  • mathematical methods (eg vectors, trigonometry, complex numbers)
  • 2D computer graphics
  • image processing
  • interactive graphics and sound

You will be expected to implement a number of small pieces of software that demonstrate audio processing and graphics, and to analyse the use of digital media and digital content pipelines in a business setting.

Lecturers: Brock Craft

IS51024A Critical Studies in Computational Arts I 30 credits

This lecture and seminar series aims to offer a space for exploring and examining the historical and critical context in which art is made, seen and understood. It will enable you to recognise how the critical debates about art can support opportunities for discussion in the studio. The seminars give you a platform for developing and articulating your own ideas and thoughts about art.

We will examine some of the key concepts underpinning 20th century and contemporary art production. This part of the programme enables you:

  • to expand your knowledge and understanding of key artists;
  • to encourage a critical awareness and appreciation of contemporary art practice;
  • to develop your knowledge of contemporary art production;
  • to develop your historical knowledge of 20th century art production and reception;
  • to emphasise the purpose and function of different forms of writing relevant to the analysis of art.

You attend a core lecture and seminar series spread over two terms. These lectures and seminars are designed to introduce you to significant moments in art practice and theory. The full details of each term’s lectures and seminars will be posted on the VLE. Core reading material set for each session will also be posted on the VLE. You will be assigned to a seminar group. You are expected to read the set material for each session.

IS51025A Introduction to Computational Arts Practice 15 credits

This module gives you the opportunity to develop your own creative computing practices. It enables you to combine specialist technical skills acquired in other Computing modules with industry-standard software, and to relate your learning in Critical Studies to your own practice. This module has a strong focus on fine arts practice and an emphasis on relating the theoretical and contextual material learned in Critical Studies to your practice.

Level 5

Code Module title Credits
IS52028A Principles and Applications of Programming 30 credits

This module covers:

  • Program development on a primary (Java) and secondary platform (Android)
  • Fundamental data structures and algorithms
  • Computational complexity, run-time efficiency
  • OO design and implementation
  • General features of programming languages eg type, abstract data types, the memory model, virtual machines, scope
  • Libraries
  • Specific language features: primitive and reference types, class and instance variables, overloading, string manipulation, input and output streams, serialisation, internet connectivity, error handling, generics, threads, memory management
  • Advanced software techniques: concurrency, internet programming, GUI and event driven programming
  • Android application development

Lecturer: Tim Blackwell

IS52020B Perception and Multimedia Computing 30 credits

This module aims both to build on the skills and competences developed in the technical modules in the Creative Computing Programme at Level 4, and on the critical and creative awareness fostered in the Introduction to Creative Practice module; and to provide knowledge and skills to be used in exploratory fashion in the Creative Projects, and in the students own creative practice in general. It will provide you with a detailed appreciation of human visual and audio perception, allowing you to explain the limitations of your own sensory gamut, and to be able to exploit similarities and differences between observers perceptual systems.

You will learn the fundamentals of signal processing and systems, including a programming language suited to the signal processing domain, and how they are applied in typical multimedia applications; and will then be shown how to combine these signal processing techniques with an understanding of perception to produce multimedia information retrieval systems.

Topics include:

  • Visual perception: cones, rods and the eye; optical illusions; colour vision; colour spaces and profiles; motion perception and Gestalt psychology.
  • Animation: approaches to animation; perception in video and film; making animations; visualisation.
  • Sound, hearing and music: sound and the ear; frequency, pitch and harmony; melody; rhythm; digital audio formats and compression.
  • Signals: the nature of signals; special signals; audio signals and sampling; frequency, amplitudend phase; the Fourier representation.
  • Systems: linearity and time-invariance; impulse responses and convolution; spectral analysis; convolution by spectrum multiplication.
  • Audio and image filtering: EQ; filter design; subtractive synthesis; echo and reverberation; resampling; image representation; two-dimensional convolution and image effects.
  • Multimedia information retrieval: retrieval, fingerprinting

Lecturer: Christophe Rhodes

IS52029A Computational Arts Practice 30 credits

Computing technology has had a significant impact on the way creative projects are conceived, designed, funded and delivered. The fields of software development, digital art and design and e-commerce have been noted for the predominance of independent thinkers, often self-employed, who have had major impact on both the development of groundbreaking technologies and the production of cutting-edge cultural products. Although the mathematical and programming skills necessary to deliver such innovation is predominantly the subject of other modules, this module provides you with the opportunity to develop your own digital arts practice through a variety of means including your own software development, by focusing on a particular approach, task, concept and platform. You will be encouraged to relate your practice to the historical and theoretical models studied in the Critical Studies section of the programme. This will re-enforce your abilities in project management, planning, critical awareness and design that you need to develop in order to create better software.

This module is closely related to Introduction to Creative Computing Practice, and may share some teaching. However, there a stronger focus on fine arts practice and a greater emphasis on relating the theoretical and contextual material learned in Critical Studies to your practice. A key element will be the integration of artistic and technological modes of thought and problem solving.

IS52034A Critical Studies in Computational Arts II 30 credits

This part of the degree seeks to engage and extend your critical faculties and to enable you to develop your ability to analyse, judge and write about contemporary art. The aim of this module is to support and develop your studio practice, and help you to make informed critical and independent judgments about your own work and the work of others in the field of contemporary fine art.

Level 6

Level 6 consists of two optional modules from a range of options and a critical studies dissertation in the Term 1, and a major project in Term 2.

Programme specification

To find out more about this degree, including details about the ways you'll be assessed and information about our marking criteria, you can download the programme specification.

Learning and 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 transferable skills that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.

Skills and careers

Our degrees aim to equip you with a wide range of skills to meet the current demands of the industry and increase your career prospects.

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:


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

Employers include:

  • 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

Further information

The Department of Computing


Video: Click to play
It’s the perfect time to get into computing. And at Goldsmiths we’re offering our own particular brand. From prototyping becoming policy to the role of video in interactive media, computing here is interdisciplinary; we want to develop the discipline and the world around it.

As a department we’re interested in a certain kind of study: one that's founded on creativity, independence and learning by doing. So as a student here you'll really get to create the software you want to create – it’s why you’ll be working on your own projects from the start of your degree. You’ll work individually and in teams in ways that mirror industry practice.

To develop the skills you’ll need within today's creative industries you have to be using the latest technologies, so we have up-to-date lab facilities, equipped with the latest software development environments. Everything you learn is backed up by a rich base of knowledge.

We want you to graduate with a computing degree that has weight in the real world so you'll be taught to apply computing to a whole range of real-life situations and to many industries within the creative arts and business sectors. And, because you apply computing to other subjects such as music and media when you’re here, you’ll be able to think on your feet and adapt within this evolving field.

At Goldsmiths you can:

  • Choose from a range of undergraduate degrees that have been designed to suit your specific interests
  • Hear from guest speakers within the industry and graduates already working in the field through our Employability Lecture Series
  • Be part of an exciting, hands-on department – one of the leading departments for computing in music and the arts in Europe – allowing you to develop your own software and discover your own specialism
  • Take your skills straight into industry – our graduates have been employed by Atkins, Disturb Media and Sony
  • Gain the software engineering skills crucial to today’s industries by taking an optional work placement year – this ensures your degree title includes the statement ‘with Work Experience’
  • Learn through small group tutorials where you can get personalised help from experts who are active researchers developing cutting-edge technology
  • Live and learn within a diverse community in a dynamic global city and access major cultural venues including Tate Modern and the British Museum


We have excellent computing facilities for teaching and laboratory work. There are four department laboratories containing 90 Macs and PCs equipped with a substantial amount of the latest software used in the IT and creative industries.


The staff who teach you are all actively engaged in quality research, and this means that you'll be taught by experts who apply their skills to developing cutting edge technology. Our teaching is strongly focused on applying academically rigorous concepts to real world situations. 

Find out more about staff in the Department of Computing.

About the Department of Art

We specialise in making, curating and writing about contemporary art in a dynamic, critical and interdisciplinary environment. We have a world-leading reputation that brings together students and researchers from all over the world.

We work with a network of artists, curators, galleries and museums both in London and internationally to create an inspiring and dynamic place in which to study and develop an artistic practice. Many graduates of Goldsmiths Art Department are among the most recognised names working in art today.

The Turner Prize shortlist has consistently included at least one of our former undergraduates, including Angela de la Cruz in 2010. Six of the prize-winners have studied here – Grenville Davey, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen and Mark Wallinger. See the full list of Alumni Turner Prize winners.

The latest Research Assessment Exercise (2008) confirmed that Goldsmiths’ Department of Art has retained its position as one of the top Fine Art research departments in the country.

Goldsmiths’ Art students form an important part of the stimulating environment that is the London art scene. The Department’s international reputation enables it to establish and maintain links with many of the world’s most prestigious institutions and university Art departments. This, together with the cosmopolitan nature of the student body, provides unique opportunities to develop cross-cultural collaborative projects.

More information about the department can be found on the Department of Art's pages.


Our spectacular Ben Pimlott Building provides purpose-built teaching space on campus, including some of the art studios, lecture theatres, and digital media labs. The studios benefit from generous floor-to-ceiling windows. The department provides space for:

  • art studios
  • performance work
  • installations
  • temporary projects and exhibitions
  • a range of research laboratories

You also have access to College-wide facilities.


All students have their own studio space. This is a place in which to work, to meet and spend time with other students, and to have tutorials. It's also a base from which to organise your work in other parts of the college – such as the various research laboratories, the workshops, and the library – as well as your research visits to galleries and exhibitions in London.

The studios are occupied by students from all three years of the course. This arrangement maximises opportunities for conversation and exchange, and helps to encourage sharing of knowledge, interest and experience between students.

Further details on our Department of Art facilities and laboratories.


The Department of Art has 47 academic staff. We also have 19 technical staff providing a service from our research laboratories. See a full list of our Art academic staff and their research interests.

Annual Degree shows

Our annual undergraduate degree shows take place in June and are held at Goldsmiths. Admission is free.

Open Days

Find out more about the Department of Art Open Days.

Find out more about Goldsmiths

Content last modified: 06 Mar 2015

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