Course information


1 year (full-time) or 2-5 years (part-time)

Course overview

This Masters gives artists, practitioners, teachers and educators, in informal and formal learning environments, the opportunity to extend, enrich and consolidate the overlapping practices and theories of contemporary art and learning and teaching through individual and collaborative research.

Why study MA Arts and Learning (MAAL) at Goldsmiths?

  • Engaging with practice and theory, you will create new work, develop innovative research approaches and outcomes, critically debate the changing nature of contemporary art, gallery/exhibition practices and art education, and sustain these practices and ideas as artist-teacher beyond the MAAL.
  • You’ll be taught by staff who are nationally and internationally renowned and published artist researcher teachers.
  • You’ll be part of a student community with a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences and have the opportunity to develop and maintain collaborative peer networks and support.
  • You’ll have access to an extensive programme of guest lectures, presentations and projects that has included: Grayson Perry, Yinka Shonibare, Sonia Boyce, Susan Pui San Lok, Danny Devenny, Mark Ervine, Marty Lyons and John Matthews, hosted through our Centre for Arts and Learning (CAL).
  • The MAAL can be a pathway before or after the completion of a UK QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) programme, such as the PGCE (Secondary): Art & Design.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Esther Sayers

What you'll study


The programme places a strong emphasis on student-centred and directed learning, where teaching sessions and personal tutorials draw on the critical reflection and development of your artist teacher practices: including artistic, theoretical, political and learning and teaching concerns.

The modules of the programme are all underpinned with theories of contemporary art, learning and critical and dialectical pedagogical theories and philosophies.

You'll attend all lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials where you'll engage in questioning the political, ideas, practices, theory and philosophy related to the specific topics of: contemporary art practice, teaching and learning, identity and place/space construction, dialectical pedagogical theories and practice, social-engagement, and research led practices where you'll be encouraged and expected to critically discuss and debate the issues raised.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. Independent learning/research (practice with theory) is expected throughout the MAAL, this typically involves critical reflection and development of your practices as artist teacher including: additional readings, preparing topics for discussion/presentations, working with fellow students, producing essays, artist teacher statements, research, planning, organising and producing practice-based work and/or projects, curating exhibitions and presentations, both individually and collaboratively.

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 deeply engaged with theory and practice to develop and sustain your own ideas and practices as artist teachers. 


To enable greater flexibility for you and a more equitable experience for full-time and part-time students, the MAAL programme has a modular structure, with the majority of teaching sessions usually conducted in the evenings.

This also enables part-time and full-time students to attend the same evening teaching sessions and therefore form a collaborative and supportive learning environment.

For you to obtain the postgraduate degree of MAAL you will need to complete 180 CATS at Masters level.

The MAAL comprises five core modules (150 CATS) and one option module (30 CATS).

Core modules

Module title Credits
  Revisiting Practice (RVP) 30 credits
  Spaces of Practice (in association with the Whitechapel, Showroom Galleries and the South London Gallery) 30 credits
  Critical Pedagogy and Contested Spaces (CP) (In association with Tate Modern) 30 credits
  Independent Studies (IS) 60 credits

Option modules

You choose one of the following options:

Full-time and part-time study options

The MAAL can be completed in 1 year (full-time) or between 2-5 years (part-time). Routes below:

1 year      
Autumn RVP, IS OR RVP, Elective, IS
Spring SP, CP, IS   CP, SP, IS
Summer Elective, IS   IS
2 years      
Year 1 RVP, SP, CP OR RVP, SP, CP, Elective
Year 2 Elective, IS    
3 years      
Year 1 RVP, SP OR RVP, Elective
Year 2 Elective, CP   SP, CP
Year 3 IS   IS
RP Revisiting Practice
SP Spaces of Practice
CP Critical Pedagogy and Contested Spaces
IS Independent Studies

Practitioners who already have existing M-level credits may apply to have these transferred to the MAAL.

You may also take advantage of two exit points:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Arts and Learning (60 Credits)
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Arts and Learning (120 Credits)


The MA Arts and Learning utilises a number of complementary assessment strategies. These have been devised to appropriately assess the range of learning outcomes and are underpinned by the ethos of the programme these include, exhibition/presentation/performance, essay, viva voce.

Download the programme specification for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

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

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least second class standard in an appropriate arts-based area with additional experience in learning contexts and a commitment to arts education.

International qualifications

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

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Additional costs

We produce reading packs electronically and in hard copy format. There’s a small charge for the hard copy reading packs. You may also be asked to contribute towards trips and some materials for your modules.


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.

Funding may be available from schools’ CPD budgets.

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

           Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • 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)

You'll be asked to upload/include up to 10 images of your practice/art work as part of your application. The images can be of present and/or past personal art work/performance/installation etc.

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.

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.

If you're invited to interview, you may be asked to bring a small portfolio of work (electronic or hard copy) as a starting point for discussion, comprising of either current or past practice.

Find out more about applying.


The Department is committed to research that is conceptually and intellectually rigorous, and which has the capacity to inform professional practice. Research is conducted in three main areas:

  • Bilingualism and biculturalism in education
  • Equity and social justice in education
  • The arts and education

We have the following research centres in the department: 

Find out more about research in the Department of Educational Studies.


Staff who teach on the programme include:

Find out more about staff in the Department of Educational Studies.



Through the programme, you’ll develop independent thinking, understand theoretical underpinning, and the ability to question and have confidence in your ideas and practice - skills that will benefit you throughout your chosen career. You'll also develop:

  • critical and analytical skills
  • creative and practical skills
  • ability to express complex and sophisticated ideas with clarity and confidence
  • the ability to work independently and collaboratively
  • IT skills

As a MAAL alumna, you’ll continue to research and engage in the presentation of your practices through practice, exhibitions, socially-engaged projects, international conferences and international journals.


Our graduates have an outstanding employment record in the fields of education, galleries/museums, social work/charity, health, public administration and welfare with the majority of graduates gaining full-time employment in a variety of careers including:

  • Teacher, lecturer, tutor
  • Heads of Faculties/Departments
  • Community artists
  • Gallery educators/curators
  • Practicing artists/photographers

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.


The Educational Studies Building offers a wide range of seminar and larger teaching rooms designed for flexibility and practical work, and two IT/ICT suites with state-of-the-art computer equipment. 

288 New Cross Road houses the Centre for Arts and Learning and is where most of MAAL teaching sessions and presentations are conducted. There are staff offices, three teaching/workshop spaces, and a suite of Mac computers.

All full-time MAAL students will be allocated an individual studio space at 288 NX Road for the duration of their study. 

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