Goldsmiths, University of London

Course Introduction

We support innovative art research across a range of modes and practices that seek to contribute to wider cultural and artistic fields through original, critical work.

The Department of Art at Goldsmiths has an international reputation for creativity, innovation, and cultural diversity. Our aim is to facilitate artists, curators and writers to make work and to reflect upon, debate and disseminate individual and collaborative practices, thus contributing to wider artistic culture and debate.

As an MPhil/PhD researcher, you will be contributing to the Department's research culture as well as to the wider Goldsmiths tradition: one that values interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge and understanding, supports inventive new practice and critical work, and contributes to the creation of a dynamic research environment both nationally and internationally.

**MPhil/PhD Research**

The Department of Art supports the development of art research in and through Fine Art, Curating, Art Writing and across disciplines. We consider all elements of the MPhil/PhD to be sites of rigorous experimentation and encourage you to develop your research through processes of making, collaboration, investigation, study, inquiry, trial and error, analysis and speculation.

We understand that your research may change shape and subject matter as you make intertextual and interdisciplinary connections and as relevant modes of artistic, cultural, social, scientific and philosophical production become important to you throughout the course of your research. We work with you as you find the appropriate practice for pursuing your research and related form for consolidating and disseminating your findings.

It is important to note that the MPhil/PhD is not an extension of the MFA. The MFA is a professional degree geared specifically at the development of your art practice. Distinct from this, the MPhil/PhD is a 3'4 year (full'time) or 6'8 year (part'time) research project, the pursuit of which may involve your already'established practice, or require the development new modes of practice specific to the research project.

The PhD is also distinct from ongoing studio practice or a residency in that it asks you to place your work in relation to that of other practitioners, be they artists and other cultural workers, philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, or others; be they in a contemporary and/or historical context. In this respect, the model of the PhD encourages you to follow your curiosity for – and make connections with and between – the thought and action of others.

Another major distinguishing quality of art research is the need to document process. For this, our researchers are encouraged to think expansively about how to do so. How might a process of documentation become a space for reflecting on decisions, however intuitive they are in the first instance? How might this process communicate something of the mode of enquiry that is pursued, as much as of the findings? How might this process, as much as the outcome of the research, reflect the complexity inherent in thinking, making, questioning and communicating art?


Based in the Department of Art, and linked to the MPhil/PhD Programme, is the Mountain of Art Research (MARs). MARs supports and promotes the development of innovative art research across a range of art practices including ' but not limited to ' studio, performance, film and video, curatorial, critical, art'writing, situated, participatory and interdisciplinary practice.

Course Modules

Within the overarching programme of MPhil/PhD in Art there are three different pathways for undertaking doctoral research, including:

Pathway 1: Thesis by Practice

The thesis comprises a substantial body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice, presented as an integrated whole. This is accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project, and a written component of approximately 20,000'40,000 words for PhD (10,000'20,000 words for MPhil) offering a critical account of the research.

Pathway 2: Thesis by Practice and Written Dissertation

The thesis comprises a body of studio practice, curatorial practice and/or art writing practice AND a written dissertation of 40,000'80,000 words for PhD (20,000'40,000 for MPhil), presented together as an integrated whole. The thesis will be accompanied by a considered form of documentation, as appropriate to the project.

Pathway 3: Thesis by written dissertation

The thesis comprises a written dissertation of 80,000'100,000 words for PhD (40,000'50,000 words for MPhil), presented as an integrated whole.

Researchers will start on one of these three pathways when they apply and may change to a different option only up until the time of Upgrade.

Start Date:


Duration & Attendance Qualification Tuition fees Fee type
3 years
Full Time
Master of Philosophy - MPhil Other Fees
4 years
Part Time
Master of Philosophy - MPhil Other Fees
4 years
Full Time
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD Other Fees
8 years
Part Time Day
Doctor of Philosophy - PhD Other Fees

Qualifications required:

  • You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. You might also be considered 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. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements of IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in
  • writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study with us.