Study a degree which develops your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. The Masters provides you with the historical foundations, frameworks and critical skills to produce a series of projects for public exhibition.
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?
This degree develops your arts practice through the expressive world of creative computation. Over a 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 which will explore the technological and cultural ramifications of computation.
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. Modules 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.
Keep up to date with the department
Take a look at the MA/MFA Computational Arts blog for the latest course news.
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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, Dr. Theo Papatheodorou (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange a visit.
Should I study the MFA or MA Computational Arts?
As well as the MFA, we also offer an MA in Computational Arts. The MA is 1 year (full-time), the MFA 2 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 differences between the two courses is that in the MFA you get a 2nd year in which you take additional courses which help you develop your arts practice further. These courses mean that you get a space to work under a tutor's supervision.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Theo Papatheodorou
What you'll study
Year 1 shares the same core learning as our MA in Computational Arts programme:
The follwing are core modules:
|Core modules||Module title||Credits|
|Computational Arts-based Research and Theory||30 credits|
|Workshops in Creative Coding 1||15 credits|
|Workshops in Creative Coding 2||15 credits|
|Physical Computing||15 credits|
|Final Project in Computational Arts||60 credits|
You may then pick modules of your own choice from the indicative list of optional modules below:
|Programming for Artists and Designers||15 credits|
|Computational Form and Process||15 credits|
|Advanced Audio-visual Processing||15 credits|
|Physical Computing: Using Microcontrollers with Fabrication Techniques||30 credits|
|Data and Machine Learning for Artistic Practice||15 credits|
|Approaches to Play: Mechanics Dynamic, Aesthetics||30 credits|
|3D Virtual Environments and Animation||15 credits|
|Special Topics in Programming for Performance and Installation||15 credits|
Please note that the availability of optional modules depends on student demand and staff availability.
In year 2 you will study the following:
|Year 2 modules||Module title||Credits|
|Computational Arts Critical Studies||60 credits|
|Studio Practice - Computational Arts||120 credits|
In year two, you will also be encouraged to audit other classes offered by the department that fit your research interests and further develop your technical skills. Subject to agreement from the respective tutor, you can also audit other classes across Goldsmiths as well as classes across most Universities that form the University of London.
Subject to availability you will also have access to all the technical facilities in the department in order to further develop your practice.
In Year 2 you will be assessed by: self-evaluation report of 2,500 words; essay of up to 6,000 words; viva voce; exhibition of final work.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
You should have (or expect to be awarded) an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant/related subject.
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.
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 of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing 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
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
- A 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 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 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.
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.
The programme will equip you with a broad training in the use of creative computing systems that are currently most important in artistic, design and cultural practices and the creative industries, as well as technologies that are yet to emerge.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.