MSc in Psychology of the Arts, Neuroaesthetics and Creativity


Program Description

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 (Creativity) 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 the human aesthetic and creative practice.

Modules & structure

On this programme you will study the following modules:

  • Neuroaesthetics (15 Credits): This module provides an in-depth introduction to the cognitive neuroscience of art appreciation, aesthetic perception and judgment from basic science and an applied perspective.
  • Creativity (15 credits): This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the science of creative cognition.
  • 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.
  • Statistical Methods and Experimental Design (30 credits): This module covers experimental design and the theory and practice of quantitative data analysis.
  • 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.
  • Research Project with an interdisciplinary focus (60 credits): You will conduct a quantitative research project in relation to aesthetics or creativity.
  • 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).

Please note that not all modules will be available and may change subject to approval.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

You should have an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class in Psychology or a related subject (Cognitive Science, Neuroscience) with a research component. However, we explicitly encourage candidates with interdisciplinary and unusual biographies to apply. Applicants with undergraduate degrees in the visual or performing arts, design, humanities, business or other non-scientific subjects will be required to demonstrate sufficient background knowledge and experience with psychological or cognitive neuroscience approaches, including statistics. Please contact the programme leader directly if you are unsure as to whether you would qualify for this programme.

Applications from overseas students are welcome. Students whose first language is not English will be asked to provide evidence of their English language skills.

Equivalent qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

  • IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0.

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

We're a world-class university, ranked in the world's top 350 universities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17, and the world's elite by the QS World University Rankings 20 ... Read More

We're a world-class university, ranked in the world's top 350 universities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2016-17, and the world's elite by the QS World University Rankings 2016-17 Read less