Course information




1 year full time 2 years part time

Course overview

We will be making some changes to the way our programmes will be delivered in 2021-22 to ensure we continue to respond to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. All programmes will be delivered in-person on campus with some specific sessions within each programme being delivered online in a pre-recorded format. Where necessary, changes will also be made to assessment formats.

All changes will be considered through the College's established processes to assure the quality of each programme. Approved changes to programmes will be published to the programme changes page.

If government guidelines change, it may mean we need to make further adjustments to teaching arrangements. If this is the case, you will be notified of any further changes.

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

Compulsory modules

On this programme, you will study the following compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Aesthetic Science 15 credits
  Creativity 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

Option modules

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.

Download the programme specification. 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.

For 2021-22 and 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.

Entry requirements

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.

Aside from an undergraduate degree with a result equivalent to a 2:1 or above, it is necessary to have sufficient knowledge of statistics and experimental design to apply for our programme. Many applicants for this course would arrive with a Psychology undergaduate degree where the statistics topics would have been covered extensively across three years. Students entering the MSc programme are assumed to have a good knowledge of experimental design, sampling, descriptive statistics, t-tests, ANOVA, correlation, and regression. These fundamental topics won’t be covered in our statisticss and experimental design lectures. This leaves room to cover more advanced topics which you will need for writing lab reports across the year and your final project. For candidates with little or no statistical knowledge, we do offer a boot-camp that covers more basic statistical tests. This intensive course takes place in the summer. However, students with little experience in neuroscience/statistical methods should engage with the books listed below and/or complete a basic statistics course on a platform such as Coursera prior to applying so that they can demonstrate sufficient statistical background to enter the programme. 
Applications from overseas students are welcome. Students whose first language is not English will be asked to provide evidence of their English language skills. 

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

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

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 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.

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.

Funding opportunities

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

Suggested reading

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.

Examples include:

  • 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


Do artists perceive the world differently? - Dr Rebecca Chamberlain
Why do we feel good when we watch dance? - Dr Guido Orgs

Student work

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

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