Masters degrees in Art, Design, Performance & Media
Your guide to postgraduate degrees in music, dance, drama, film studies, art, design & media studies.
If you are naturally creative you will no doubt go far in the subjects covered by this discipline. Visual artists, musicians, actors, film-makers, theatre directors, fashion designers, choreographers and dancers can all hone their skills here. And if you are happy to be creative with the truth, courses in media, advertising and public relations will give you plenty of scope to use this talent to build a career as a journalist, publicist, spin doctor or advertising executive. The subjects included here are aimed both at artists of all varieties and the behind-the-scenes people who clothe, record and direct them, as well as those who write about, manage, promote and publicise them.
The creative industries can be a wonderful area in which to work, but there is phenomenal competition and the glamour and salaries of Jude Law, Darcey Bussell or Sam Taylor-Wood are only available to the very few. Most people working in theatre, film, television, fashion and the art world earn very little. They do it because they are passionate about their art and would be working for free if they weren't being paid. This is also the case with a lot of media jobs: for every famous TV presenter, BBC1 radio DJ or national newspaper columnist, there are thousands of local journalists working for minimum wage and writing up stories about cats that got stuck in trees or acting as a runner for a film crew in the hope that one day they will be allowed to do something more interesting. That said, doing something for a job that you would be doing in your spare time anyway is really the holy grail of employment, so go for it. There’s no reason why your name shouldn't be up in lights, even if it is just you writing it in the air with a sparkler at first.
This enormous subject area offers a rainbow of courses from academic subjects like Fine Art and Art History, through a myriad of vocationally- orientated MAs such as Conservation of Wall Painting, Theatre Design or Curating Contemporary Art, to highly specific areas such as Yacht Design and Construction and the rather wonderful-sounding Coolhunting and Fashion Trends summer course in Barcelona. Whatever aspect of art or design you are interested in, there is likely to be a course just right for you.
Both taught (MA/MSc/MDes) and research (MPhil) masters are offered, as well as various postgraduate diplomas and certificates. You will need an undergraduate degree in Fine Art, Design or the most relevant related field for the more niche vocational courses. Possible career paths include book illustrator, fashion designer, art gallery curator, photographer, graphic designer, or Head Catalan Coolhunter.
The subject area will be of interest to anyone hoping to break into the creative industries, or work in marketing, public relations or advertising. Those with their sights set on Hollywood will be interested in the screenwriting and filmmaking courses. Budding tabloid hacks can chose from a number of courses in print, broadcast and magazine journalism, some accredited by the National Council of Training for Journalists. Other courses titles include Games Design, Sound Engineering, Corporate Communications and International Creative Advertising. There is even an MA in Cult Film and TV.
The overwhelming majority of the masters are taught and result in an MA or MSc qualification, although postgraduate certificates and diplomas are also available. You will need a degree in a relevant subject and, for some courses, professional experience. Potential career paths are rather glamorous. You could become a government spin doctor; journalist; music video director; Hollywood scriptwriter; or perhaps a computer games designer. However, please be aware that there may be one or two other people competing for these jobs.
Calling all drama and dancing queens, this is your area. This subject section pretty much does what it says on the tin, offering practical training and theoretical study of all aspects of film, theatre, dance, TV and radio. If you love drama, film and dance but don’t actually want to be on the stage yourself, there are plenty of courses in behind the scenes roles, such as screenwriting, post-production film editing, costume design and theatre directing. If you are happier up front there are also MAs in Acting for Stage, Screen and Radio and Performance: Dance.
As well as various taught and research masters and postgraduate certificates and diplomas, you can also study for a PGCE specialising in drama. Not all courses will expect you to have a directly relevant first degree, for some relevant professional experience will be enough and for others you may have to audition. Possible career paths are many and exciting: how about becoming an animator for Aardman, a West End choreographer, a drama teacher or just settling for Hollywood superstardom.
Whether you’re planning on becoming the next Kylie, Beethoven, Paul Nordoff or Carl Dahlhaus (no, us neither), these courses are for you. For those hoping to work in the music industry, either behind the scenes or as a performer, why not try an MMus in Composition, Performance, Music and Entertainment Management or perhaps a diploma in Intellectual Property Law for the Creative Industries? If music production is your thing, studio skills can be brushed up with a masters in Creative Sound and Media Technology or Digital Music and Audio Production. Alternative careers include training as a music therapist, or examining the history and philosophy of music via an MMus in Musicology.
Both taught and research masters are available, as well as postgraduate certificate and diplomas. You will need to audition for some courses and may need clinical experience and performance experience for music therapy. Career paths from here could see you working for the Nordoff-Robbins Trust as a therapist, writing hits for Lady GaGa, working as a classical accompanist, or following in the footsteps of Mark Ronson as a much in demand record producer. Or you could become the first musicologist in Britain to be famous outside of their academic field.