This course will engage you in the challenging task of making sense of the multitude of photographic images that shape the world today.
It is the first MA in the UK to combine the history and theory of photography with practice and curation in a genuinely interdisciplinary context.
You’ll explore the pivotal role of photography over the past two centuries across diverse global contexts – from the ways in which photography represents the complexities of 19th-century world views to the ubiquity and power of photography in our digital age.
You’ll also develop your practical skills, working with expert practitioners and leading photography curators.
Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.
For details about the part-time course, contact course co-ordinator Sophie Heath at [email protected]
You may choose to study this course full time over one year, or part time over two years to suit your work schedule or other commitments.
You’ll learn from our faculty and also external experts and professionals. Teaching is by lectures, seminar debates and visits to collections of photographic materials across the south of England.
The MA is structured for you to explore theoretical and practical aspects of photography in core modules during the autumn term(s). In the spring term(s), you choose from a range of options on topics such as:
During the summer, you choose to either write a dissertation or develop a practice-based project.
Assessment methods include essays and practice-based projects, encouraging you to develop a portfolio of practical and critical skills and expertise.
This course is currently subject to validation, in line with our procedures for assuring the quality of our degrees. This means that some course detail may change. The validation process will be concluded before the course starts.
Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.
Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work
You’ll gain academic and research skills as well as a crucial range of professional skills directed at working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors – an arena in which millions of people are employed worldwide.
This MA prepares you for a variety of exciting careers across:
It also provides an ideal foundation for doctoral research.
This unique MA programme is based in a university but run by leading film practitioners, ensuring that you not only receive the highest-quality practice-based learning, but you do so in a university research environment where you learn to understand the world we live in. You have your own camera equipment throughout and there are two dedicated Mac Editing suites for this degree.
Students will learn to devise a visual research project; to apply anthropological and social science approaches to documentary film work; to think critically about the relationship between form and content in ethnographic/documentary practice; using our professional level equipment, to master the technical skills needed to produce different kinds of films of different lengths for varied audiences; and to critically view and review film material.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of one core module (60 credits), two optional /elective modules (30 credits) and a project/diary (90 credits).
Students choose two of the following:
A major practical film project and diary allowing the students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills of documentary film-making in a film of 20–35 minutes.
Teaching and learning
The programme is delivered through a combination of practical tutorials, seminars and masterclasses and assessed by camera and editing exercises and a written piece.
We facilitate two types of placements. Firstly, we will enable short-term internships at the film companies with whom we already have relationships through Open City Docs. Secondly, as opportunities arise students can work on collaborative or other film-making projects, such as the Doc in a Day workshops or UCL film productions.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Ethnographic and Documentary Film (Practical) MA
The programme equips students for careers in:
The increasing demand for social and scientifically trained moving image specialists in the years ahead will continue, if not accelerate. Many of the graduates of our existing programmes now work in organisations such as Ipsos Mori film unit, independent production companies, BBC World Service and BBC Education.
This MA will allow you to benefit from UCL’s unique position in the heart of London, and from the many activities in film within UCL Anthropology. The programme is unique in using professional film-makers to teach within a truly pan-disciplinary university research environment. It provides outstanding access to camera and editing facilities.
UCL now houses London’s Global Documentary Film Festival, Open City Docs Fest, created by Professor Michael Stewart. You can participate in the curation and delivery of this festival; gain experience in the delivery of a major public arts event; and benefit from established partnerships with world-famous institutions such as the the Science Museum and the British Film Institute.
This degree provides three strands: non-fiction cinema and reportage based documentary; a 'Mixed Realities' strand (including VR, Augemented; and interactive documentary production).
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Anthropology
68% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
The MA Commercial Photography course offers you the opportunity to enhance your practice with the aim of becoming a photographer at the forefront of the industry.
This course is founded on the assertion that commercial photography is a powerful form of mass communication that can connect with an audience of millions.
What defines it as commercial is that it is conceived and created with a specific audience in mind, conscious of how meaning is affected by sociopolitical criteria. It can be utilised in a variety of ways: to stimulate commerce; promote new trends; deliver complex narratives; and inform and express opinions. In the process, opportunities arise for creative practitioners working in commercial contexts to produce innovative work.
The course is structured in such a way that learning develops systematically and with an emphasis on the independent learning abilities required for continuing professional development and the advancement of your career.
The course allows you to undertake advanced study in a wide range of areas including advertising, documentary, editorial, fashion and portrait photography. Through originality in the application of contemporary academic research and professional practices to the production of new complex work, you will challenge the accepted conventions of the genres.
By a combined approach of practice, theory and professionalism, the course will provide a challenging and stimulating environment in which you are able to develop your full potential, with the aim of becoming a practitioner at the forefront of the discipline.You will expand your commercial potential by applying genre practices across contexts; for example, the aesthetics of documentary can be applied to advertising, editorial, and fashion outcomes.
The course enables you to develop an in-depth and critically informed understanding of the commercial photography industry.You will engage with key themes in emerging and established critical analyses that underpin each professional genre. This will equip you with the theoretical understanding to progress your practice and effectively articulate your concepts through the production of advanced outcomes to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
You are encouraged to make industrial links across a broad range of organisations relevant to your chosen professional specialism. Using these links you will learn to manage and exceed client expectations through the application of your new academic understanding to the production of inventive commercial work.
The course is designed for ambitious photography graduates, or experienced photographers who wish to develop their knowledge and expertise in order to reach the very top of their field. We look for students with a passion for the subject and who are willing to take risks, and in doing so push themselves to new heights.
Whether you want to develop a strong commercial portfolio or test the boundaries of your creative practice, our photography postgraduate course offers a unique opportunity for talented practitioners to work with highly experienced award winning staff and to use state of the art facilities.
You can see examples of our student work on the course gallery page.
Our MFA Photography course offers you a rare opportunity for extended study and practice over two years at Masters level.
A distinctive feature of our course is the development of a high level of professional and research-based knowledge on the subject of photography. This gives you a unique perspective to enable you to be successful in this internationally expanding field.
You'll study units which provide inter-connected 'streams' of study, that serve to integrate theoretical and research methodologies with practice-based work. And you'll either take a visual or written approach to your studies, or a combination of both.
You're encouraged to explore the medium of photography and its related theoretical fields in an experimental manner and with an open mind. You should develop excellent technical skills, creative vision and academic understanding on our course.
As part of the MFA at UCA Farnham, you'll be introduced to a wide range of global photographic disciplines and will benefit from our unique relationship with the National Institute of Design in India, which you can visit as part of our exchange/work placement programme. The opportunity for work placements both in the UK and abroad will help you to develop a good understanding of the working world of photography.
Our course has a number of connections with similar institutions worldwide, including art and design institutes and universities in India, Pakistan, USA, Sweden, France and Spain.
Professional contacts and regular industry lectures are integral to this course, and enable you to learn from photographers and artists talking about their professional practice.
Recent guest lecturers include:
Graduates from this course work in a wide variety of related careers, including:
-Editorial, fashion, documentary and fine art photography
-Editing and curatorial posts
-Gallery and project management
Visit our Postgraduate Virtual Media Space to find out more about our courses, see what it's like to study at UCA and gain access to our campus virtual tours.