MPhil/PhD
Art

Bahar Noorizadeh: Weird Economies’ Flows diagram (2023)

Why study MPhil/PhD Art at Goldsmiths

We support innovative art research in fine art, curating, art writing and across disciplines.

  • The MPhil/PhD Art is a 3-4 year (full-time) or 6-8 year (part-time) research project, the pursuit of which may involve your already established practice or may require the development of new modes of practice specific to the project.
  • Research degrees in this department have two elements: the research work that you carry out individually under supervision, and a programme of seminars and installations that bring you into dialogue with other research students and a wider community inside and outside Goldsmiths.
  • We welcome proposals for research in any area of fine art, curating and art writing. We give priority to those with proposals for research within the areas of interest of our staff.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Programme Director Dr Edgar Schmitz or pre-application adviser, Professor Michael Newman.

Length

3-4 years full-time or 6-8 years part-time

Fees

Home - full-time: £4786
Home - part-time: £2393
International - full-time: £TBC

Department

Art

You'll research

Programme pathways

Within the overarching programme of MPhil/PhD in Art, there are three different pathways for undertaking doctoral research:

Pathway 1: Thesis by Practice (with written critical account of research)

The thesis comprises a substantial body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice, presented as an integrated whole. This is accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project, and a written component of approximately 20,000-40,000 words for PhD (10,000-20,000 words for MPhil) offering a critical account of the research. Read the programme specification for more information.

Pathway 2: Thesis by Practice and Written Dissertation 

The thesis comprises a body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice and a written dissertation of 40,000-80,000 words for PhD (20,000-40,000 for MPhil), presented together as an integrated whole. The thesis will be accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project. Read the programme specification for more information.

Pathway 3: Thesis by Written Dissertation

The thesis comprises a written dissertation of 80,000-100,000 words for PhD (40,000-50,000 words for MPhil), presented as an integrated whole. Read the programme specification for more information.

Research students will start on one of these three pathways when they apply and may change to a different option only up until the time of Upgrade.

Supervision

Every research student has a supervisory team consisting of a Primary Supervisor and a Second Supervisor. As we encourage and support interdisciplinary research, many of our research students have Second Supervisors in another Department.

The exact structure of your supervision will be determined by the nature of your project and through discussion with your supervisory team. However, it is expected that you will maintain regular contact with your supervisors throughout the research project

Facilities and support

The Department of Art has 11 specialist art practice areas providing support for a wide variety of processes that complement and extend traditional disciplines, such as metalwork, casting, woodwork, ceramics, textiles, print, photography, 3D printing, graphics, video editing, animation and 3D modelling. Find out more about the art practice areas.

Full-time students have access to studio space and all MPhil/PhD students may make use of bookable spaces subject to availability, and we encourage regularly exhibiting practice-based work. A programme of installations acts as a means of public engagement with research projects.

Research degrees are supported by further courses and professional development provided by the Graduate School

Seven students working in the casting art practice area, surrounded by casting equipment and materials

The Department of Art has 11 specialist art practice areas including casting (above), metal, constructed textiles, and fine art print.

The textiles print and dye art practice area, featuring two long work tables with textiles art work on them, all in a huge white room with a high vaulted ceiling

The large textiles print and dye art practice area.

Programme activities

Induction Week

A series of events and activities for all incoming MPhil/PhD research students at Goldsmiths is organised by the Graduate School as part of Induction Week. The Department of Art hosts a specific induction session for all incoming art research students, who are also invited to attend a day of public presentations by current research students.

Research Presentation Seminars

The intention of the Research Presentation Seminars is to probe and develop your research project as it progresses through various stages. In this respect, the seminars can be formative and generative, open to questions, debates and problems, or they can be presentations of preliminary outputs or findings.

Academic Practice Workshops

Each of these workshops is dedicated to a key element of research and/or professional practice. Our training is responsive to the current concerns of postgraduate research in fine art, curating and art writing.

Subjects covered in previous years are indicative of the scope of these workshops:

  • The relationship of a ‘question’ to a research project – for example, can we understand practice as a mode of responding to questions?
  • The role of ethics in research
  • The relevance of interdisciplinary or ‘inventive’ methods for research
  • How to explore validity and sufficiency in practice-based research
  • The communication of research and the Contextual Review as part of doctoral research
  • Heterogeneity in research outputs – for example, the affordances of the exhibition, the website, the book, etc
  • Documentation and the importance of sequence, narrative, detail, speculation
  • The generation of publics in research dissemination

Installations

If you are a research student on one of the practice options, you are required to install your practice by means of a public-facing exhibition at least twice during your time on the programme. The installation is an opportunity to make public the practice component of the research in relation to the overarching claims and written components of your thesis, to test their boundaries, or to investigate how to productively disregard such categorisations.

Annual Review Panels

Scheduled in Term 3, the Annual Review Panels are an opportunity to monitor progress and support research students at formative stages throughout the project.

Postgraduate Talks Series

The Art Department Postgraduate Talks Series is geared toward the MFA and MPhil/PhD cohorts. The series is informed by and informs ongoing discussions within the PhD research environment.

Contemporary Artist Talks

The Contemporary Artist Talks series runs throughout the year, showcasing prominent national and international artists.

Student research projects and work

Find out more about the work above by exploring the research projects of some of our students:

You can also explore the work of other current MPhil and PhD students and that of our past research students.

Careers

Our researchers have been successful in many fields including galleries, museums, education, the media, the music business and academia. Many have continued to be successful, practising artists long after graduating, and have won major prizes and exhibited around the world.

Highly ranked
Goldsmiths is ranked 4th in the UK and top 25 in the world for art (QS WUR by Subject 2024).
Top facilities
You'll have access to fantastic facilities including 11 specialist Art Practice Areas and studio or bookable spaces.
Vibrant community
You'll join an international community of artists and researchers on the programme.

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: £4786
  • Home - part-time: £2393
  • International - full-time: £TBC

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

CHASE/AHRC Doctoral Studentships 

Fully-funded studentships are available to research students via the CHASE Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Find out more more about the CHASE/AHRC Doctoral Studentship competition

Generation Delta Studentships 

Fully-funded studentships are available to research students via the Generation Delta studentship scheme. Find out more more about the Generation Delta Studentship competition.

ESRC/SENSS Doctoral Studentships

Fully-funded ESRC studentships are available to research students via this Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). Find out more about the ESRC/SENSS Doctoral Studentships.

Goldsmiths scholarships and studentships

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

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.

Paying your fees

Find out about paying your tuition fees.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (pr expect to be awared) the following qualifications:

  • A 2:1 or 1:1 honours degree (or equivalent)
  • Usually a Masters degree in a relevant discipline (or equivalent research experience)

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.

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 study.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.

Across the three recruitment strands, we recommend you follow these steps for the application process:

Check staff research interests

Firstly you should check our staff research interests to see if the Department of Art is the right one for you and whether a member of staff matches your research interests. You should then contact appropriate staff members who you think match your area of research to enquire whether or not they are interested in supervising your research. The University of London requires that students have two supervisors and we prefer applicants to have identified two supervisors in advance.

If you are unable to do this, please indicate an appropriate supervisor from the Department’s staff list. Nominating supervisors indicates that you have a good grasp of your research and helps us to direct your application to appropriate members of staff and in determining a good match between your research and the Department.

Please note that some staff may not be available if they have reached a maximum number of MPhil/PhD students.

Develop and write a research proposal

Next you should start to develop a research proposal and determine which pathway is right for your project.

The proposal should describe the programme of enquiry and investigation you anticipate pursuing with us. We recognise that your research direction is likely to change and become more detailed as you progress, so the proposal should be considered a starting point. Nonetheless, it should demonstrate that you are capable of framing your own agenda for research and that you have a sense of the larger field to which you wish to make a creative and critical contribution.

The research proposal should be no more than 3,000 words, and must include all the following information:

  • Title of project – Be as clear and concise as you can (we know this is provisional)
  • Keywords – Three or four words relating to your project
  • Thesis option – Indicate whether you will be applying for Thesis by Practice, Thesis by Practice and Written Dissertation, or Thesis by Dissertation
  • Names of intended supervisors
  • Background and research questions – You should identify the broad field of study, your intervention into this, and how your proposal will offer an original contribution. Identify any deep concern or problem driving your research and why it is important to pursue this. Typically, applicants highlight the research questions by way of three or four bullet points.
  • Role of writing and research methods – You should indicate how the written component of your chosen pathway will enable you to address your research questions. Please state why the chosen pathway is suitable for this project and what research methods you will use.
  • Stages of research and schedule – This should include an indicative timetable for the completion of artworks, exhibitions, written works, etc.
  • References – Include a list of works cited, in a standard format such as Harvard, listing any books and articles to which you refer in the proposal as well as other sources, such as artworks. This is indicative, not exhaustive.

In addition, if you are applying for practice-based pathways you must include:

  • Approach to practice-led research – You should describe how you understand the ways in which the methods/forms of your current practice function as research, and how the planned methods/forms will function to answer your research questions (no more than 700 words)

Read our general advice on writing a research proposal.

Write a personal statement

In addition to your research proposal, you will be asked to submit a personal statement at the time of your application. This should be no more than 1,500 words. The personal statement must include all of the following information:

  • Brief biography – A short biographical statement
  • Research background – Identify how your professional or other experience has prepared you for this research
  • Motivations and capacity – Provide a brief statement about your motivations for embarking on an MPhil/PhD, and your capacity to undertake a long-term research project

Read our general advice on writing a personal statement.

Make a formal application

If the member(s) of staff you have contacted is interested in supervising you then the next step is to make a formal application via the Goldsmiths online application system. On your application, you should name the supervisors who have indicated their willingness to supervise you.

You should upload the following materials under 'Other documents':

  • Research proposal (3,000 words) – including your approach to practice-led research, if required
  • Personal statement (1,500 words)
  • Writing sample (2,000-5,000 words) – A sample of academic writing, such as an essay, an extract from your MA dissertation, or a piece of published writing
  • Practice portfolio – If your research involves practice, you should include examples of your recent work in an appropriately documented form; we would prefer an annotated portfolio in the form of a PDF (10 pages maximum)
  • CV – A full CV, which includes the classes of your educational degrees
  • Transcript – 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)

Once you submit your application it goes to Goldsmiths' central Admissions Office and is subsequently sent out to the Department of Art’s admissions group for a first-pass review before it gets sent to the nominated supervisors.

We will email you a decision as to whether or not you have been selected for interview or if you have been accepted or rejected. Unfortunately, due to the number of applications we receive, we are not able to offer feedback on unsuccessful applications.

Find out more about applying for a postgraduate research degree.

Core team

We have a dedicated team of staff who work on the PhD Programme, including Dr Edgar Schmitz and Professor Michael Newman, above.

Supervision

All members of staff in the Department of Art are available to supervise PhDs. Please see our staff page for more information about individual staff and their research interests.

Other involvement

Members of staff in the Department of Art as well as from other departments at Goldsmiths are involved in many of the programme activities. External guests are also invited to participate, including running the Skills Workshops.

Throughout the course of your research, it may be possible to have ‘ad-hoc tutorials’ with members of Goldsmiths staff and external artists and academics in order to key into particular expertise and support your research.

 

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