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Key information

Qualification type

MA - Master of Arts

Subject areas

Art Theory Modern Art Art History & Criticism

Course type


Course Summary

The MA in Contemporary Art Theory is for those with a special interest in contemporary art, and an aptitude for theoretical work in the subject. This programme offers a challenging and advanced scheme of study, which explores a range of theoretical perspectives that shape attitudes towards visual art in the late 20th/early 21st centuries. This course is invigorated by current research, the programme encourages them to explore conceptually and creatively the ways in which contemporary artistic practice and critical theory interrelate. It aims to expand their knowledge of contemporary artistic developments as well as to deepen their understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of academic discourses on visual culture. The programme draws variously upon the fields of performance studies, art history, philosophy, museology, queer theory, post-colonial studies and cultural studies in addressing the critical challenges posed by artistic practice.

Many of the 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, cultural studies and literature. Careers obtained by recent graduates include: artist, curator/collections manager, journal editor, lecturers, researcher, and roles in TV and production, public relations, and rights and marketing.

Different course options

Full time | Goldsmiths, University of London | 1 year | 01-OCT-19

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



The core module strands introduce you to the problematic that resides at the heart of the MA programme: how to explore the relations between critical theory 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). The core module strands are supported by student-led Reading Groups.

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


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.