Learning and teaching at Goldsmiths

We have an international reputation for our quality teaching in the creative disciplines.

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We're known for our openness to discuss new ideas, and for looking at things from different, unusual angles. And we’ve been part of the University of London – internationally recognised for academic distinction – for over a century.

Teaching and learning on undergraduate degrees happens in a number of distinctive ways at Goldsmiths. You'll develop skills in both formal and informal situations during your time here.

Informal learning could include chats and debates with staff and fellow students that will bring you into contact with new ideas and issues. You'll also experience a mixture of the following formal teaching and learning approaches on your degree, although this will differ depending on the programme you're taking. You can find out which approaches are relevant to you on related undergraduate programme pages.

The main way that we'll convey information, ideas and concepts. Lectures are delivered by experts in their field who'll introduce you to theories and arguments that will build your knowledge of a specific topic within your subject. Lectures are normally delivered to a large group of students that then split into smaller groups for follow-up seminars.

Following a lecture you'll have the opportunity to discuss and debate the issues raised with a smaller group of students from your programme. Seminars are led by experienced staff members, but the emphasis is on generating a lively discussion of the topic. Seminars enhance your academic knowledge of a subject, and also help you develop vital communication skills.

This method of teaching involves small groups being led directly through a subject area, skill, process or activity. This ensures that you are provided with the core skills and knowledge to successfully complete the degree.

For each hour of taught learning (eg lectures, seminars, tutorials) you'll be expected to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically consists of completing required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, carrying out revision, or producing work (eg projects or essays). Independent study requires excellent motivation and will develop your time management skills.

In certain subject areas you'll be expected to conduct experiments individually or in groups. You'll be encouraged to propose the nature and scope of your experiments, document what you expect to happen, assess the data gathered, and report on your findings. A version of this process is used in many industries, and you'll find the technical and transferable skills you develop through lab sessions are sought after by employers.

If there is a practical or expressive arts element to your degree you'll spend time in a studio or workshop being guided through the creative process by professional practitioners. This will be a safe space to develop your ideas and work using the facilities, resources and expertise available. 

Planned workshop time is often used to enable individuals or groups of students to generate ideas or themes relating to a specific project or performance. The important difference is that workshops can often be student-driven, and therefore help develop your skills in project management, teamwork and leadership.

In many academic disciplines you'll be expected to present the findings or your research, project work or an experiment to your fellow students. The ability to effectively articulate your ideas and to persuade your audience are important life skills.

Your subject knowledge, learning style and aptitude will be regularly assessed. This may take the form of a mixture of the following types of coursework:

  • Essays
  • Projects
  • Portfolio reviews
  • Experiment reports
  • Exams
  • Dissertation