This MFA, described as one of the most influential MFA programmes in the world, subjects art-making to critical scrutiny. Artists on the programme strengthen the motivation, self-reflection and ambition of their practice and its leading ideas. http://www.gold.ac.uk/pg/mfa-fine-art/
While on the programme you will continually engage with what it means to practise as an artist today and the position taken by an art-practice in relation to art's complex history and its currency in wider social and cultural processes.
Given the wide international breadth of artists on the programme and the open range of media welcomed in it, a primary concern in discussion is how a particular artist's work and ideas are understood in and across different social, artistic and intellectual contexts.
Our primary emphasis is on how artists look to shift prevalent expectations and whether their work does so – perhaps then transforming what art might be. We place a strong emphasis on student-centred learning, particularly in the studio seminars and personal tutorials based on your art-making, its key concerns and ideas and their mutual interdevelopment. A lecture programme will in addition contribute to your understanding of concerns relating to contemporary art in broader contexts.
The degree has been described as one of the most influential MFA programmes in the world.
Why not visit one of our Postgraduate Art Open Days? You can also explore our exhibitions and events archive.
You can also view our programme activities and projects on art.gold, follow staff, student and alumni activity on Facebook, and get course announcements on Twitter.
Guest Research Student
If you are an international student and would like to study a 'tailor-made' programme (for up to a year), you may be interested in applying as a Guest Research Student.
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Sadie Murdoch.
The programme is divided into two parts:
Year One (Diploma stage) can be taken either full-time for one year (until late July) or part-time for two years (until late July in both years). This year seeks to establish the core conecerns and ambitions of your art.
Year Two (MFA stage) can be taken either full-time for one year (until late August) or part-time for two years (until late July, and then until late August in the final year). This stage of the programme enables you to address your ambitions for your art with an awareness of how it is situated.
Applicants who are already in possession of 120 grade credits for postgraduate study from another programme are able to apply for direct entry into Year Two of the programme on either a full or part-time basis. You may also take advantage of an exit point at the end of Year One of the programme and graduate with the Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art.
What you study
This two-stage programme is designed to subject the making of art work, the ideas and concepts involved, and the works of art themselves, to artistic and critical scrutiny. This will include individually directed research to review, consolidate and strengthen your individual position as an artist. Students accepted onto the programme work in media areas including painting, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, art writing, textiles, digital media and video. The programme places a strong emphasis on student-centred learning – especially on your individual response to the divergent views you will experience in relation to your practice.
Among other qualities, you are expected to: contribute actively in tutorial and seminar discussions; to welcome and encourage sustained analysis of your practice by tutors and fellow students; to understand that the production of contemporary art takes place in a demanding and testing environment; and to take an independent path in developing your practice and its concerns.
Learning on the programme is primarily achieved through an appropriate combination of self-initiated and directed work in studio-practice and Critical Studies. Individual tutorials, seminars, lectures, workshops and research laboratories support this work. All parts of the programme are mandatory for all students. There are no optional modules on the programme. Modules and assessments are structured similarly on both parts of the programme.
Seminars help you develop the confidence and ability to discuss your own work and the work of others, and to use the combined knowledge and experience of the group to assist in understanding and developing your own practice. This element of the programme is student-led with tutors responding to the needs and concerns of the participants. Studio seminars are organised by groups and take place weekly. Each student presents work for a seminar once in each term.
Tutorials and group tutorials
These develop your practice within contemporary art and current debate. You receive scheduled one-to-one tutorials with your Group Tutors and other staff from the study area. Two tutorials a term are scheduled with the core studio staff. In addition, you are expected to select a number of visiting tutors relevant to your practice for tutorials. These tutors are chosen in consultation with your Group Tutor, and cover a wide range of specialisms – discussion with them should further your understanding of your work in terms of the development of your practice. You are expected to write a report immediately after each tutorial summarising what took place and recording your considered responses to it.
You are expected to identify and initiate the discussion of the critical concerns and interests of your practice. These concerns are developed through studio-based teaching and in discussions with your Critical Studies tutors, and developed further through the Critical Studies seminar and essay. For this reason, and in contrast to many other programmes, Critical Studies for the MFA Fine Art at Goldsmiths does not offer a series of subjects taught and learnt through seminars, group reading and discussion, but bases the teaching and learning of Critical Studies primarily in relation to your own practice.
These introduce and develop issues of critical significance in contemporary culture and fine art by presenting arguments and discursive frameworks for contemporary practice. Lectures run through the first two terms on a weekly basis. They provide an opportunity for you to critically engage with your own practice in terms of wider cultural debates with which they may be unfamiliar. The lectures also provide an occasion for all members of the postgraduate programmes to meet on a regular basis.
Each workshop will comprise four staff-led discussion-based sessions on a philosophical, theoretical or historical topic relevant to contemporary art practice, and will involve texts to be read in advance. Each student takes two workshops during the first year (students may apply to substitute part of this requirement with structured independent study).
Student-led collaborative seminars, supported by staff and teaching assistants around a topic of mutual interest, are held during the second year. These will involve engagement with the professional art community, may take place outside the college in collaboration with other institutions such as museums and galleries, and may culminate in an open event or publication.
The three examination elements for both Year One and Year Two are: Collection of Tutorial Reports, Exhibition, and Critical Studies Essay. All three elements must be passed to successfully complete each part of the programme. Each element of examination has both progression and final points of assessment.
Skills & Careers
Graduates from the MFA in Fine Art Goldsmiths go on to success in a range of fields. As well as the many internationally reknown artists who have studied at Goldsmiths, others have gone onto become gallerists or curators or have entered the fields of art administration, education and other cultural industries.
The course at Goldsmiths enables you to focus on the development of your own skills and aspirations and to equip you with the resources to succeed in your chosen profession.
Other entry requirements
Requirement for part-time study: you need to have your own studio space in which to work over the four years of the programme.
You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.