MFA
Computational Arts

Why study MFA Computational Arts at Goldsmiths

Study a degree that develops your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. This Masters provides you with the historical foundations, frameworks and critical skills to produce a series of projects for public exhibition.

  • This degree develops your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. Over two years (full-time) or four years (part-time) you will develop your artistic work and thinking through the challenge of developing a series of projects for public exhibition that will explore the technological and cultural ramifications of computation.
  • You will learn the fundamentals of programming and how to apply this knowledge expressively. You will work with popular open source programming environments such as Processing, OpenFrameworks, P5.js and Arduino, and will learn how to program in languages such as Python and C++. 
  • Since computational artworks don’t necessarily involve computers and screens, we also 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 computational art and the socio-political effects of technology. These modules provide you with the historical foundations, frameworks, critical skills and confidence to express your 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.
  • The Department of Computing has a wealth of specialist facilities and equipment for students to use. From digital studios to motion capture, and games labs to sonic media.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Jesse Wolpert.

Length

2 years full-time, or 4 years part-time, or 3 years combined full-time and part-time

Entry requirements

You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least 2:1 standard in a relevant/related subject. You might also be considered if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but you have relevant experience and can show you can work at postgraduate level.

Fees

Home - full-time: £12520
Home - part-time: £6260
International - full-time: £18560

Department

Computing

Our Computational Arts Masters

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.

MA or MFA

As well as the MFA, we also offer an MA Computational Arts

The MA is one year (full-time), the MFA is two years (full-time).

The first year of the MFA is identical to the MA — you take the same classes and you learn the same things. The difference between the two courses is that in the MFA you get a second year in which you take additional courses that help you develop your arts practice further. These courses mean that you get a space to work under a tutor's supervision.

What you'll study

Year 1 shares the same compulsory modules as our MA in Computational Arts programme.

Module title Credits
Workshops in Creative Coding 1 15 credits
Workshops in Creative Coding 2 15 credits
Computational Arts-based Research and Theory 30 credits

You'll then take 60 credits worth of option modules from the indicative list of optional modules below.

Module title Credits
Programming for Artists and Designers 15 credits
Computational Form and Process 15 credits
Physical Computing 1 15 credits
Physical Computing 2 15 credits
Hacking your creative practice 15 credits
Extended Reality for Creative Practice 15 credits
Visual Game Development 15 credits
Game Development 15 credits
Motion Capture Techniques and Digital Embodiment 15 credits
Pervasive Gaming and Immersive Theatre 15 credits

You may be able to take appropriate modules offered by other departments, in aggrement with the programme leader.

Note about optional modules (if available): The above is indicative of the typical modules offered, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. The module content and availability is subject to change.

Teaching and assessment

Taught sessions and lectures provide overviews of themes, which students are encouraged to complement with intensive reading for presentation and discussion with peers at seminars.

Assessments build on lectures and seminars so students are expected to attend all taught sessions to build knowledge and their own understanding of their chosen discipline.

All assessed work is accompanied by some form of feedback to ensure that students’ work is on the right track. It may come in a variety of forms ranging from written comments on a marked essay to oral and written feedback on developing projects and practice as they attend workshops.

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.

Do I need to know how to program in order to join this course?

Having a creative/art background is what we require and not necessarily a technical one. We want to work with people that have some arts practice and want to introduce computation in their work. In the past, we have had performers, film-makers, architects, musicians, painters and some computer scientists join the course. The majority of people on the course don't know how to program when they join us.

When people join us we try to assess their level of skill in order to offer them a challenging learning environment. People that have previous coding experience are encouraged to take more advanced modules and are given assignments in lab and to take home that push their technical and creative skills further.

We feel that this diversity of skills and backgrounds contributes to the course’s great success over the years.

Do I need a strong maths background?

We do not require a maths background nor do we expect people to be strong in maths to do well. Basic arithmetic (addition/subtraction/division etc) is all you need. We'll remind you in class of any new concepts you'll need. We currently have in the class dancers, writers, film-makers, photographers as well as architects, computer scientists, etc. We take pride in the diversity of backgrounds the students have and this contributes to the course's success.

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 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.

How to apply

Apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system

Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:

  • Details of your academic qualifications
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively a copy of your academic reference
  • Copies of your educational transcripts or certificates
  • 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
  • A portfolio of work (supplied as a pdf or a URL linking directly to a relevant web page). The portfolio can be in whatever form you feel is most appropriate (dance, painting, photography, digital art, music, film 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 will consider applications received before the end of March. After this date, applications will only be considered if there are spaces remaining on the programme. As the programme attracts a very large number of applicants, we may be unable to provide feedback on your application if it arrives after the 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.

Find out more about applying.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

These are the PG fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £12520
  • Home - part-time: £6260
  • International - full-time: £18560

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Funding opportunities

Computational Arts scholarships

There are six scholarships for full-time MA/MFA Computational Arts students. These are to encourage students with exceptional creative practices who are struggling to fund their studies but would benefit greatly from the programmes.

Explore the Goldsmiths scholarships finder to find out what other funding you may be eligible for.

Paying your fees

Find out about paying your tuition fees.

If you are a UK student you may be eligible for a postgraduate loan.

Meanwhile our Careers Service can also offer advice on finding work during your studies.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Careers

Where this degree can take you

Our programme opens multiple career options including:

  • Solo artists/performers working independently and responding to commissions
  • Creative technologist in digital/creative agencies
  • Software developer in creative industries
  • Educator in creative computing at all levels
  • Technicians in arts/computing/digital fabrication environments
  • Postgraduate researchers

Students are supported from the start to the finish of this programme in order to understand the different potential career journeys they can follow and to build a portfolio of work to demonstrate their capability to gain employment or freelance work in that area.

Skills you'll gain

All programmes are designed in consultation with employers to make sure you develop transferable skills to improve your career opportunities and you will be applying your skills to real-world problems through live project briefs and group projects.

The board and other employers attend showcase events where you can present your ideas, get feedback and build important connections.

We have dedicated employability resource within the department to build employer relations and manage additional initiatives to support your future career opportunities, including regular communication of external opportunities for mentoring and work experience and an annual Career week (a focused week of career support in the department where you can access alumni panels and a range of industry talks).

Highlights of the 2023 degree show

Keep up to date with the department

​If you would like to attend an online or in-person Open Day please fill in this form.

Open Days give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have, and to learn more about the programme, the individual modules, our Makerspace, and life as a computational arts student.

Take a look at some projects from previous graduates on the Computational Arts Wall of Fame.

For news straight to your inbox, why not subscribe to the course’s newsletter? 

We are also happy to show people around our facilities, discuss the course in more detail and even give a taster of a class. Contact the course leader, Jesse Wolpert

Similar programmes

MA Computational Arts

Develop your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. This Masters provides you with the historical foundations, frameworks and critical skills to produce a series of projects for public exhibition.

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