Course information

Entry requirements

UCAS code



3 years full-time


Visual Cultures

Course overview

This distinctive degree supports your individual concerns and development and enables you to navigate your way through theory and practice, various fine art media, and thematic strands within the study of art history and visual cultures.

Why study BA Fine Art & History of Art at Goldsmiths

  • You’ll gain the expertise that will help you develop independent thought and confidence in your practice, as well as transferable skills suitable for employment in the creative industries.
  • Studying both the theory and practice of fine art means you’ll be able to take a critical approach to your work and think about it in the wider context of art history.
  • We're renowned for our strengths in the creative and visual arts, as well as humanities subjects, so you'll be able to benefit from this wide-ranging expertise.
  • We're ranked 18th in the world for art and design (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022).
  • Staff on the programme are practising artists, curators, academics and writers, here to help you develop your practice, focus your research and respond to the work that you make.
  • Our teaching takes advantage of the many galleries, art spaces, museums, cultural facilities and specialist libraries in London and on campus you'll have access to a studio space and excellent facilities including specialist art practice areas, as well as the newly opened Goldsmiths Centre of Contemporary Art.
  • Invited artists, curators, gallerists, administrators and funders will provide you with specialist advice and further information to complement your studies and prepare you for professional life after graduation.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Saskia Olde Wolbers.

Watch videos about your course

What you'll study


This programme allows you to integrate both fine art practice and the study of history of art in the context of contemporary visual culture. Throughout the programme, you'll be required to participate actively in seminars, discussing your own work and that of other students.

The programme is made up of:

  • Fine art studio practice, taught in the Department of Art, develops your work through experimentation, with the aim of achieving a thorough understanding of your chosen media and their relevance within contemporary culture. Three years of intensive studio and workshop practice culminate in the final year exhibition which is assessed and then opened to the public.
  • History of art modules taught through lectures, seminars and tutorials in the Department of Visual Cultures.
  • An interdisciplinary Link Seminar taught across both departments, which explores the dynamic relationships between art history, theory and practice in large seminar and small workshop formats.

Year 1 (credit level 4)

Studio Practice focuses on the acquisition of fundamental knowledge and gives you the basic practical skills necessary to initiate your research. You will gain experience of making art independently and an awareness of the interaction between the history of art and theory as it relates to your studio practice.

Your tutors assess your Studio Practice coursework continuously and your work is also assessed through an end-of-year presentation.

In Art History, you will develop an independent critical involvement with works of art and visual culture. Our first-year modules enable you to examine changing conceptions of art and the artist, historically and also in terms of context, ideas, and kinds of practice. 

Each of our first-year modules is taught by a team of four or five different teachers from the permanent faculty. In this way, first-year students soon get to know many of the Department’s core academic staff. You will therefore begin your second year with both rich insights from and a comprehensive overview of Department life as a whole.

All students take a compulsory compulsory Art History module:

Module title Credits
Modernities 30 credits

Plus one of the following modules:

Module title Credits
Space and Time 30 credits
Beyond Boundaries 30 credits

Your first year will introduce you to history of art as a discipline and engage you in discussion of key aspects of contemporary visual culture – including not just artefacts in museums and art galleries, but also architecture, cityscape and landscape, adverts, TV and film, websites, the body, and street style.

You must pass all components to progress to the following year.

Year 2 (credit level 5)

Studio Practice in Year 2 begins to deal with more complex issues and a selective application of acquired knowledge and practical skills. It is a period of experimentation and synthesis, expanding and deepening your practice.

Your tutors assess your Studio Practice coursework continuously and you make a presentation of selected work for a viva voce in the third term, where you will be asked to discuss your work in depth.

History of Art in Year 2 will involve you taking two option modules. These currently include: 

  • Beckett & Aesthetics
  • Cohabitations/Inhbitations
  • Art and Technologies of the Image
  • The Fact of Blackness
  • Fashion as a Dialectical image
  • Ornamentation & Materiality
  • Museums, Galleries, Exhibitions
  • Popular Modernism
  • Patterns of Perception
  • Postmodernities
  • Radical Imagination & Speculative Voyages

You will also take the following compulsory module.

Module title Credits
The Link 15

Year 3 (credit level 6)

Studio Practice at this level reflects an independent, self-motivated practice and your potential to work as an artist. You will demonstrate a high degree of understanding, critical awareness and independent judgement. At this level, you will have consolidated your practical and critical skills in preparation for the Final Exhibition and further independent practice.

Your tutors assess your Studio Practice coursework continuously and at the end of the year you mount an exhibition of your Studio Practice for assessment, which is then open to the public.

In History of Art you take 45 credits from a list of Special Subjects and option modules, or 15 credits from the list of Special Subjects and option modules, plus a dissertation of 8,000–10,000 words (30 credits).

You will also take the following compulsory module.

Module title Credits
The Link 15

Special Subjects and option modules include:

Module title Credits
Animating Architecture 15 credits
Archive and Spectacle 15 credits
Film Fables 15 credits
Documentary Lives 15 credits
Landscape and Power 30 credits
Philosophy and... 30 credits
Sexual Poetics 15 credits
The Truth in Painting 30 credits
Research Architecture 15 credits
Counter Forensics 15 credits

Invited artists, curators, gallerists, administrators and funders will provide you with specialist advice and further information to complement your studies and prepare you for professional life after graduation.

Teaching style

This programme is taught through intensive studio and research art practice, tutorials and mixed-year studio practice presentations. You'll also attend weekly art history lectures and seminars.

You'll be allocated a studio space that will be the focal point of your activities. Students from all three levels share the studio spaces, providing valuable peer support. You will determine the nature of your practice and, with guidance from the tutorial staff, be encouraged to work in any medium that you choose.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 16% scheduled learning, 84% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 16% scheduled learning, 84% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 4% scheduled learning, 81% independent learning, 5% placement

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework, examinations, group work and projects.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 50% coursework, 50% practical
  • Year 2 - 90% coursework, 10% practical
  • Year 3 - 75% coursework, 25% practical

*Please note that these averages are based on enrolments for 2022/23. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices.

Download the programme specification.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

What our students say

Colin Humphrey

My peers and tutors were all really committed and provided diverse insights into art practice and history.

Studying at Goldsmiths

I really enjoyed studying at Goldsmiths and it would be hard to put my finger on one thing!

My peers and tutors were all really committed and provided diverse insights into art practice and history.

The courses I took in the second year on 'Patterns of Perception' with Andrew Fisher were really engaging. I also enjoyed the post modernities with Kodwo and Edgar.

There was always something new and interesting to read and do. The seminars, discussions and debates definitely appealed to me to.

There were nice facilities like the library, video library, the digital department in Ben Pimlott. I spent a lot of time in the lab and the photographic studio.

Engineering Career after Goldsmiths

Right now I'm working in engineering and in my spare time I put my coding and engneering skills into creative art and digital projects.

Opportunities and Collabrations

I would say open your mind to opportunities, really collaborate and don't try and do everything yourself. You probably have at least 1-3 years maybe more. A lot can be done in that time. Have fun doing it!

Student community at Goldsmiths

I would say my favourite part of studying in New Cross and South East London was the student community there!

Yuqin (Casey)

Studying in Goldsmiths was a really special experience for me.

Yuqin (Casey's) time at Goldsmiths

Studying in Goldsmiths was a really special experience for me. It was my first time staying abroad by myself, my first time fully committing to an education in art, and of course my first time experiencing university.

I think what I enjoyed most was just being in a space where my ideas and creative ambitions were respected and encouraged, and where I could meet amazing friends and mentors who shared similar dreams. Having a dedicated studio space and the opportunities to flexibly explore my ideas, whatever direction they led me in, is something so rare and that I am forever grateful for. I also got exposure to some books, aspects of culture, and entire systems of radical thinking that I had never had the resources for prior to this experience.

Yuqin (Casey's) experience as an international student

I found the culture shock really hard at the start. But it did get exponentially easier after finding my footing, and I feel that at the end of it all I found new ways to love aspects of both London's culture and my own.

What Yuqin (Casey) is doing now

Currently, I'm working locally in the field of alternative art education. I am also a freelance fiction editor and proofreader, while also (slowly) working on a book of my own, and trying to continue my art practice in or out of an "official" setting. In the near future, I hope to pursue further education locally and continue my research in the areas of alternative systems of knowledge, communication, and otherworldliness.

Advice for future students

Academically speaking, I think it's helpful to remember that things are a lot more flexible than they seem - don't be afraid to email tutors, talk to people, or seek out resources you're interested in.

Life in South East London

The banana bread at this little coffee stall at Deptford Market (if it's still around). Best ever. I also really loved the library, and Greenwich park.


Entry requirements

Please note: It is not possible to transfer onto year two of this degree from another Higher Education provider. This programme also does not accept applications for deferred entry.

Our entry requirements for this programme are usually:

  • Successful completion of three A-levels, International Baccalaureate or an equivalent qualification
  • PLUS successful completion of an Art and Design Foundation diploma
  • Portfolio of work 


  • Successful completion of a Foundation Diploma, BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design (completed by the end of the academic year preceding entry)
  • Portfolio of work

Please note, students applying directly from A-Levels who have not completed an Art and Design Foundation or BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design will not be eligible for this programme.

Mature students without formal qualifications who have relevant experience are also welcomed.

International qualifications

We also 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 degree-level study.

Selection process

After submitting your application you'll be asked to upload a portfolio online. If selected for interview, you'll be asked to bring along a portfolio of recent work and an essay.

Find out more about the portfolio requirements.

Alternative qualifications

See our full list of undergraduate entry qualifications.

Fees & funding

Annual tuition fees

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

From August 2021 EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for 'Home' fee status. EU/EEA/Swiss nationals will be classified as 'International' for fee purposes, more information can be found on our fees page.

  • Home - full-time: £9250
  • International - full-time: £27500

If your fees are not listed here, please check our undergraduate 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.

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

We offer a wide range of scholarships and bursaries, and our careers service can also offer advice on finding work during your studies. Find out more about funding your studies with us.



All undergraduate programmes in the aim to equip you with the necessary skills to develop independent thought and confidence in your practice. These skills will also be of use in other career paths you may wish to follow. You'll develop the following transferable skills:

  • critical and analytical skills
  • creative and practical skills
  • ability to express ideas clearly
  • IT skills

We provide you with a series of opportunities for specialist advice and further information to complement your studies and prepare you for professional life after graduation. Our students actively seek opportunities to exhibit their work beyond Goldsmiths through external networks while they are here. 


Many graduates have continued to be successful, practising artists long after graduating, winning major prizes and exhibiting around the world. The Turner Prize shortlist has consistently included at least one of our former undergraduates, including Angela de la Cruz in 2010. Six of the prize-winners have studied here: Grenville Davey, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen and Mark Wallinger.

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme will enable you to work in a variety of fields (eg media, museums, education, the music business, and academia) and progress to a variety of careers, including:

  • practising artist
  • art historian
  • arts administrator
  • gallery curator
  • arts journalist
  • teacher
  • lecturer
  • writer
  • conservationist
  • designer

You can find out more about the career paths open to you after gradaution on our Department of Art careers page.

Student work

BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art
BA Fine Art and History of Art