The MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology is a full-time taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Psychology and Neuroscience. This distinctive programme tackles fundamental issues associated with the origins of human cognition via a wide range of
Over two semesters, students take four compulsory modules and 30 credits of optional module(s). The modules are taught through lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Assessment comprises entirely of coursework; there are no exams. On average, class sizes range up to 80 students for lectures and 20 students for seminars.
The final three months of your course will be dedicated to a 15,000-word research project dissertation.
The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry
The MSc in 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 (Creativitiy) 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 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.
On this programme you will study the following modules:
Neuroaesthetics (15 Credits): This module provides an in-depth introduction into the cognitive neuroscience of art appreciation, aesthetic perception and judgement from a basic science and an applied perspective. Topics include: psychological theories of aesthetic appreciation, aesthetic evolution, brain mechanisms of pleasure and reward, face and body attractiveness, and aesthetic science across the visual and performing arts, in laboratory and real-world settings.
Creativity (15 credits): This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the science of creative cognition. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, this module covers latest research findings from various disciplines within cognitive psychology, social psychology, comparative and developmental psychology, creative arts and media, and neuroscience
Foundations of Neuroscience (15 credits): This module covers brain anatomy and function as well as an introduction to the available techniques to study the neural basis of behaviour. Topics range from single neuron architecture to the functional organization of brain systems. Neuroimaging methods covered include: fMRI, EEG, MEG and TMS.
Statistical Methods and Experimental Design (30 credits): This module covers experimental design and the theory and practice of quantitative data analysis. You will cover statistical techniques in the lectures, and learn to implement these techniques using statistical software in computer-based tutorials and workshops.
Research Skills/ Invited Speaker Series (15 credits): This module covers fundamental research skills: seminars on bibliographic searching, essay writing, research report writing, oral presentation skills, career planning and lab sessions. The second strand exposes students to cutting edge research in the field of aesthetic and creative cognition by means of an invited speaker series from a variety of academic disciplines, the creative industry and arts organizations. This module will be shared with students on the MSc in Music, Mind and Brain.
Research Project with an interdisciplinary focus (60 credits): You will conduct a quantitative research project in relation to aesthetics or creativity. The course encourages interdisciplinary and collaborative projects with other departments at Goldsmiths, or with external partners such as arts organizations or the creative industry.
Optional Modules (2 x 15 credits): You will choose two optional modules from within the Psychology Department (Advanced Quantitative Methods, Magic and the Mind) or collaborating Departments including Computing (Physical Computing and Workshops in Creative Coding), Media and Communications (Embodiment and Experience, Politics of the Audio-visual) and the Institute of Management Studies (Psychology of Marketing and Advertising, Consumer Behaviour). Optional modules will complement the scientific perspective with alternative views, approaches and extend your knowledge and skill base.
Please note that not all modules will be available and may change subject to approval
Our Evolution and Human Behaviour MRes is a research-based course with a taught component that is equivalent to an MSc. It provides a springboard into a career that involves a working knowledge of scientific research.
The course is designed for graduates with a BSc in the life sciences, psychology or anthropology. Fully qualified or intercalating MBBS or BDS students can also apply. It can be taken either as a stand-alone qualification or as an entry route onto a PhD or MD.
The taught component of the course includes training in research approaches relevant to the area of Evolution and Human Behaviour. You have the flexibility to develop your own bespoke course by selecting a set of three complementary modules. Recommended modules, include:
-Comparative Cognition (MMB8043)
-Sensory Systems (MMB8019)
-The Biological Basis of Psychiatric Illness and its Treatment (MMB8010)
You will also participate in training in general research principles, and other professional and key skills.
The core module on the biological study of behaviour introduces the central questions related to Evolution and Human Behaviour research (adaptive consequences, proximate mechanisms, development, and evolutionary history) and the research methods associated with each. Other relevant modules focus on:
-Psychiatric disorders and their treatment
Research-led seminars delivered by members of the Centre for Behaviour and Evolution cover evolutionary psychology areas such as:
-Human mate choice
-Altruism and cooperation
-Food choices and obesity
-Comparative and developmental psychology of cognition
Your research project comprises the major element of the course. This project will involve 24 weeks of research in an area of Evolution and Human Behaviour under the supervision of an expert academic researcher in the field.
The course allows you to experience an internationally competitive research area, predominantly in academia but also potentially in industry. Graduates from our programme have gone on to competitive PhD studentships, as well as jobs in psychology and in research.
Evolution and Human Behaviour MRes is one of a suite of MRes courses that you may also be interested in. See Programme information in our online Prospectus for full details.
Our Medical Sciences Graduate School is dedicated to providing you with information, support and advice throughout your research degree studies. We can help and advise you on a variety of queries relating to your studies, funding or welfare.
Our Research Student Development Programme supports and complements your research whilst developing your professional skills and confidence.
You will make an on-going assessment of your own development and training needs through personal development planning (PDP) in the ePortfolio system. Our organised external events and development programme have been mapped against the Vitae Researcher Development Framework to help you identify how best to meet your training and development needs.