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Full time | Goldsmiths, University of London | 1 year | 25-SEP-23

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date


Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Art History & Criticism Modern Art Art Theory

Course type


Course Summary

The MA Contemporary Art Theory is for those with a special interest in contemporary art, and an aptitude for theoretical work in the subject.

Why study MA Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths?

  • This degree explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
  • You will be encouraged to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory interrelate.
  • You will expand your knowledge of contemporary artistic developments and deepen your understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual culture.
  • The programme draws from the fields of performance studies, art history, philosophy, museology, queer theory, postcolonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice, and you’ll be able to focus on an aspect that particularly interests you.
  • You will take part in an assessed symposium, which provides you with a chance to present your dissertation topic at an early stage in order to define and progress your final project.


Many of our MA students have gone on to MPhil/PhD study, not only in art history and visual cultures but also in related fields such as philosophy, the environmental humanities and literature. Careers obtained by recent graduates include artists, curators at mainstream galleries/museums, curators at independent organisations, editors in major publishing houses, lecturers, researchers, and roles in TV and film production.


The core module strands introduce you to the problematics that resides at the heart of the MA programme: how to explore the relations between critical theoretical enquiry and contemporary visual arts practices. You choose either A and C or B and D. They present differently articulated contemporary perspectives on 'art' and 'theory' drawn from a variety of traditions (e.g. The Frankfurt School, Post-structuralism, Performance Studies, Contemporary Continental Philosophy, Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, and Post-Colonial Studies and Ecology). The core module strands are supported by student-led Reading Groups.

Tuition fees

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Course fees for UK students

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International fees
Course fees for EU and international students

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Entry requirements

Students should normally have, or expect to gain, an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in art history, fine art, another studio-based practice, arts administration and related activities, or a humanities discipline other than art history which demonstrates their ability to undertake work at Masters Level. Students don’t necessarily need a formal academic qualification in art history: we welcome applications from prospective students who do not meet the standard entrance requirements but can demonstrate appropriate knowledge and experience from outside academia in the world of work. If they have little or no formal training in art history or a related humanities discipline, they may need to take a preparatory year of study on the Graduate Diploma in Contemporary Art History. Students may also be required to attend an interview.