The MSc Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics and Creativity is the first postgraduate programme in the world for the scientific study of aesthetics and creativity.
At the intersection of the arts and the sciences, the programme introduces you to the psychology and the cognitive neuroscience of how humans generate new ideas, how we appreciate beauty, and how we form preferences.
Aesthetic and creative decisions are relevant in the visual and the performing arts, and in many applied and commercial contexts, ranging from clinical interventions to curating exhibitions, from dance choreography to marketing and advertising. Based in the Department of Psychology, in collaboration with Computing, Media and Communications and the Institute of Management Studies, the course builds critical knowledge, research and communication skills across the arts and the sciences, centred around two key topics: the psychological and brain mechanisms of making (Creativity) and appreciating (Neuroaesthetics) art. Conducting a research project with an interdisciplinary focus will prepare you for a research career in aesthetic or creative science, working in the creative industry, or to develop your artistic practice.
Goldsmiths is uniquely placed to offer this programme, with an internationally renowned reputation in the arts and the sciences. Existing courses combining art and psychology often have a largely therapeutic focus and rarely cover the psychology of aesthetic appreciation or creative cognition, in a broader profile. In contrast, business-oriented courses in marketing, advertising and consumer psychology often lack adequate scientific training in experimental psychology or cognitive neuroscience methods, which is required for a scientific approach to aesthetics and creativity. Optional modules based in the Departments of Media & Communications, Computing, and the Institute of Management Studies will complement and challenge the scientific perspective, acknowledging the richly diverse, unique and culturally-specific nature of human aesthetic and creative practice.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Rebecca Chamberlain (Programme Director) or Dr Guido Orgs (Programme Director) or Prof Joydeep Bhattacharya (Creativity Module Coordinator).
What you'll study
For 2020–21, we have made some changes to how the teaching and assessment of certain programmes are delivered. To check what changes affect this programme, please visit the Programme Changes page
On this programme, you will study the following compulsory modules.
|Compulsory modules||Module title||Credits|
|Aesthetic Science||15 credits|
|Statistical Methods||15 credits|
|Research Skills||15 credits|
|Research Design and Analysis||15 credits|
|Foundations of Neuroscience||15 credits|
|Research Project||60 Credits|
You will also take 30 credits of option modules from the following list.
|Option modules||Module title||Credits|
|Magic and the Mind||15 credits|
|Advanced Quantitative Methods||15 credits|
|Embodiment and Experience||30 credits or 15 credits|
|Politics of the Audiovisual||30 credits or 15 credits|
|Physical Computing 1||15 credits|
|Physical Computing 2||15 credits|
|Workshops in Creative Coding 1||15 credits|
|Psychology of Marketing and Advertising||15 credits|
|Consumer Behaviour||15 credits|
Please note: Physical Computing 1 is a prerequisite for Physical Computing 2, and the two modules must be taken together.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
You should have an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class in Psychology or a related subject (Cognitive Science, Neuroscience) with a research component. However, we explicitly encourage candidates with interdisciplinary and unusual biographies to apply. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in the visual or performing arts, design, humanities, business, or other non-scientific subjects will be required to demonstrate sufficient background knowledge and experience with psychological or cognitive neuroscience approaches, including statistics. Please contact the programme leader directly if you are unsure as to whether you would qualify for this programme.
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
Annual tuition fees
These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2021/2022 academic year.
- Home - full-time: £9700
- Home - part-time: £4850
- International - full-time: £16120
It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Student Visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. 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.
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.
Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.
How to apply
Acquainting yourself with some of the recommended reading below will equip you well for the interview and for the course in general.
Aesthetic Science and Creative Cognition
- Shimamura, A.P, Palmer S.E. (2012). Aesthetic Science: Connecting Minds, Brains and Experience. Oxford University Press.
- Huston, J. P., Nadal, M., Mora, F., Agnati, L. F., Cela-Conde, C. J. (2015). Art, Aesthetics and the Brain. Oxford University Press.
- Winner, Ellen (2018). How art works: a psychological exploration. Oxford University Press
- Chatterjee, Anjan (2014). The Aesthetic Brain. Oxford University Press
Neuroscience and Research Methods
Foundations of Neuroscience
- Ward, J. (2006). The Student's Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience. Psychology Press.
Experimental Design and Statistics
- Field, A. & Hole, G. (2007). How to Design and Report Experiments. Sage.
- Field, A. (2012). Discovering Statistics Using R (2nd ed). Sage.
The course provides a unique combination of scientific methods and psychological theory on the one hand, and principles of aesthetic and creative practice on the other. The course will equip you with a unique skill set that will allow you to bridge the arts and the sciences.
As a graduate of this course, you will be especially suitable for a career in advertising (planning and strategy), curating or arts management. Neuroscientific methods and theories of aesthetic or creative science are not normally taught in other courses on, for example, consumer psychology, arts management, curating or arts-based therapy. Based on the combination of scientific methods with interdisciplinary knowledge in aesthetic and creative practice, you will have a unique advantage in applying for jobs at the intersection of the arts and sciences.
- Doing a PhD in the growing international research field of creative science and (neuro)aesthetics
- Working in the creative industries. For example, advertising, market research, brand strategy and consulting
- Arts management and curating, arts education or even as research focussed preparation for art-based clinical interventions and therapy
Students from the course have created their own website where they're sharing examples of their work and their thoughts about the neural correlates of aesthetic experiences and creative actions. Read more about the work they're doing.