Our MA Photography course approaches photography as an expanded visual discipline. You'll be encouraged to confidently produce complex and extended photographic projects and engage with experimental and speculative approaches to making.
We offer a dynamic and exciting environment for studying the critical theory of photography, and this course engages with practices of reading and writing about the image. MA Photography also pays close attention to the dissemination, exhibition and publication of photographic work.
We provide specialist digital and analogue facilities for large-format colour and black-and-white exhibition prints.
Our course offers a considered balance of support that develops practical skills and fosters a high standard of diverse critical approaches. You'll take risks, explore and develop your interest, and exchange, debate and discuss ideas. You'll respond to the diverse field of contemporary photography and explore practices of representation that engage with the still and the moving image, as well as performance and installation.
Your studies will be supported by a number of internationally renowned staff in a department that encourages experimentation. This will enable you to establish yourself as a rounded professional who can formulate ideas in a sophisticated framework whilst also being able to communicate to others, both visually and verbally.
We place a strong emphasis on publication, enabling you to find creative ways to disseminate your work beyond the academic context and into the public arena.
Our range of equipment and technical support at UCA Rochester enables specialist and professional-grade work, whilst also encouraging experimental and speculative approaches to making.
Our MA Photography course enjoys extensive links with a number of photographic, media and fine art professionals, curators, publishers, specialist printers and book designers. These connections enrich your experience through visiting lecturer and seminar programmes.
In the last three years, speakers on the course have included photographers and other creative practitioners such as:
Additionally, creative professionals and industry links for our course include:
-Benedict Burbridge, editor of Photoworks
-Stuart Smith, book designer at Smith-Design
-Sarah James, writer at Art Monthly and Frieze
-Lucy Soutter, writer at Source
-Clare Grafik, curator of The Photographer's Gallery
-Jennifer Thatcher, Folkestone Triennial
-Jean Wainwright, writer at Art Newspaper
-Terry King, specialist printer
-Emily Pethick, directs The Showroom
-Robert Shore, editor of Elephant Magazine
-Edward Dorrian, organiser of Five Years
-Joyce Cronin, manages the Cubitt Gallery.
Our postgraduate degree prepares you for your career through professional practice units, talks by visiting artists and portfolio reviews with figures from across the photographic industry. Career opportunities include:
-Advertising and editorial
-Post production/digital imaging
-Picture editing and research
-Image, arts and community arts management
Graduates of MA Photography have gone on to win the Jerwood Photography prize; to exhibit their work in The Photographers' Gallery, Photofusion, ArtSway and the Geffyre Museum as well as publishing their outputs in different venues ranging from The Sunday Times Magazine to monographs with Dewi Lewis Publishing.
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.
MA Contemporary Photography is a fine art photography course that explores the possibilities of both visual and conceptual expression, merging research deeply with practice. The course is rooted in the idea that photography has no self-limiting identity or essence. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling you’ll develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice, defining, or redefining photography as the art form of the 21st century.
MA Contemporary Photography understands photography as plural, trans disciplinary and multimedial global language that is situated at the core of contemporary visual art practice. The deep integration of theory and practice offers supportive environment in which to explore photography as form of expression that interlaces fine art, technology, aesthetics, politics and new media. Opportunities to research photography as a central component of discursive practices within the arts, the sciences and the construction of personal identities, provide students with tools to work in fields related to artistic production and the extended creative industries.
Unlike many other photography courses, this course is not committed to one notion of what photography is or to one form of media specific practice. Instead of working from a predefined notion of photography, the course aims to provide students with the tools to locate their own practice within a broad range of contemporary visual forms.
MA Contemporary Photography is a two year (60 weeks) part-time course structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each. Course attendance is three days in year one, and two days in year two. In year one we expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week. In year two, your study is predominantly self-managed but we expect you to commit an average of 20 hours per week. Across the two years, you're expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week.
MA Contemporary Photography is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises two units: Unit one (60 credits) and Unit two (120 credits).
Students successfully achieving Unit one may exit at this point with the award of Postgraduate Certificate.
Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit two only.
This distinctive programme allows you to think about the critical and creative relationships between film, photography and the media, while developing your skills to produce projects of your own.
A major independent project sits at the heart of the course, supported by modules that put your practice into the context of contemporary debates. You’ll explore the different critical approaches to the making and consumption of photography and film, allowing them to inform the short film and photography projects you’ll work on.
It’s a flexible programme which allows you to choose from a range of optional modules to focus on topics that suit your own creative and critical interests. You could study cultural policy, international film industries, film and TV writing, feminism in the media and more.
You’ll be taught by leading researchers and practitioners in the field, and our cutting edge research will inform all your teaching.
Our School has a range of fantastic facilities to support your studies. The 58-seat Phil Taylor Cinema is equipped with Dolby Digital sound and high-definition projection facilities, as well as projectors for 16mm and 35mm film.
You can also work on your own projects in our 44 editing suites, equipped with Avid Media Composer editing software and Adobe Creative Cloud. The fully equipped TV studio also has a large green screen area, lighting and photo-flash facilities. We also have a track and dolly, sliders, Glidecam and various cranes, and you’ll have access to a new photographic dark room.
We also run a loans service where you can borrow a range of HD digital camcorders and various Canon stills cameras to help with your project work.
The whole programme is based around a major independent project. You can choose to complete a dissertation and take classes developing your knowledge of research methods to support your work. Alternatively, you can complete a short film or photography project that you’ll exhibit at the end of the programme.
The modules you study throughout the year give you the theoretical and contextual knowledge you need to inform your project, as well as developing your skills in filmmaking and photography.
You’ll study two core modules. One will explore the links between photographic creativity, optical science and the nature of cinema and allow you to work on a short film project. The other will look at the historical development of photographic practice, contemporary issues and debates.
Alongside these modules you’ll choose from a range of options to focus on topics that interest you, from film industries around the world to new media, cultural policy, communication and development, television narrative and more.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll complete the MA over two years, instead of one, taking fewer modules each year.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use learning methods that reflect the diversity of the programme, including workshops, lectures, seminars, group learning, tutorials and film screenings. Independent study is also a vital element of the programme, since it allows you to develop your skills and explore your creativity in practical work.
We also use different methods of assessment, some of which will depend on the modules you choose. These are likely to include portfolios of practical work, group and individual projects and reports, essays, literature reviews, case studies, presentations, scripts and commentaries.
This programme will give you a broad base of knowledge and skills across two important forms of communication. It will also equip you with cultural awareness and advanced skills in research, analysis, interpretation and oral and written communication.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers 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.
Explore the creative interplay between urban theory and the visual representation of urban cultures and places.
This programme has been developed by the Centre for Urban and Community Research to encourage creative interplay between practice and theory. You'll have the chance to consider cutting-edge debates in cultural and social theory in a research setting that actively encourages the development of photographic practice.
The programme offers working photographers, visual artists and media practitioners space to reflect critically on their practice.
It also offers those with a background in sociology, urban and cultural geography, cultural studies or anthropology the opportunity to combine visual forms of representation with standard forms of research techniques in investigating urban life and the physical environments of the city.
As well as these modules, you will complete a Dissertation and Major Visual Project (60 credits).
The Dissertation can comprise two parts: a portfolio and a 5-6,000-word Dissertation, or you may submit a 10-12,000-word written Dissertation. The Dissertation will consist of: an account of the rationale of the photographic project; a critical evaluation of photographic practice and issues of reflectivity and knowledge production. In combination with the written part you will be expected to provide evidence of a sustained and coherent body of photographic work focusing on an aspect of urban culture for assessment. Previously, work from Final Visual Projects has been shown on a virtual gallery space linked to the CUCR website.
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
This MA develops skills in urban photography, visual ethnography and urban research, communications for urban planning, community arts and visual arts practice.
Graduates of the programme have progressed to the following areas and careers:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
At the Belfast School of Art we strive to develop unique photographic voices, which sit firmly at the cutting-edge of a contemporary international context, while also mining the specifics of our unique geographical and cultural position.
We have been profiled by the British Journal of Photography as one of the most significant photography schools in Europe. Our graduates work internationally between the book, gallery, web and magazine, continually challenging photography’s place within contemporary society and the way we photograph now.
The teaching team is comprised of contemporary practising photographers, writers and thinkers who exhibit and publish internationally. These are Professor Paul Seawright, Ailbhe Greaney, Dr KayLynn Deveney, Ken Grant, Peter Neill and Clare Gallagher as well as two members of the prestigious Magnum agency, Martin Parr and Donovan Wylie. We have a progamme of Guest Lecturers, recently including Hannah Starkey, Liz Wells, and Louise Clements. Throughout the programme students develop an awareness of photography as it exists in a culture of evolving technologies. They are challenged to rethink their practice both visually, theoretically and contextually. Our close links with photographic galleries and photography festivals helps students to build networks and professional practice. The programme is complemented by a series of master classes and advanced skill workshops; an annual field trip to Paris and regular site visits to a variety of cultural institutions such as museums and galleries in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
The MFA Photography has an international reputation and is available for study on campus in Belfast (Thursday delivery) and fully online (eLearning) for students living and working outside Ireland. A Master of Fine Arts degree is a creative degree, which centers around practice in a particular field, in this case Photography. The qualification provides students with a high level of specialisation and allows graduates to teach at University level.
The MFA Photography degree exposes students to key critical debates in photography and offers a dynamic environment in which to develop a major body of photographic work for exhibition and publication. Staff are leaders in the field of photography. Internationally recognised photographers, artists and researchers regularly review student projects, give lectures and critique photographic work.
Guest Lecturers include: Hannah Starkey, Brian Griffin, Mark Power, Anna Fox, Wendy McMurdo, Doug DuBois, Simon Roberts, Chloe Dewe Mathews, Léonie Hampton, Gareth McConnell, Raphaël Dallaporta, WassinkLundgren, Rob Hornstra, Raimond Wouda, Lotte Sprengers, Corinne Noordenbos, Stephen Bull, Gerry Badger, Louise Clements, Pete James, Tim Clark, Adam Murray and Liz Wells.
The course looks to recruit photographers that are serious about challenging their working methods and extending their visual vocabulary. The course has excellent links with galleries and museums and draws on an exemplary network of artists to create a study environment that is stimulating and encourages experimentation.
The programme is delivered through a range of learning methods, including seminars, presentations, tutorials and group critiques, to enable students to acquire the cognitive skills of a self-reflexive independent learner. There are optional exit points for students to exit with a PGDip or MA.
Optional Exit Award - PGDip (120 credit points)
Optional Exit Award - MA (180 credit points)
Final Award MFA (240 credit points)
Full-time 4 Semesters - Belfast Campus or Online: September - January; January - June; September - January; January - June;
All the core teaching takes place on Thursdays and you should expect to be on campus from 10am - 7pm. During this time you will engage in one-to-one tutorials, a lecture programme delivered by staff and visiting guest speakers, group seminars, group critiques and technical workshops. The rest of the week is spent attending optional tutorials/workshops and engaging in independent study.
The primary assessment method is the evaluation of photographic work in progress. Students work over the duration of the course on a major body of work that is subjected to regular and rigorous critique by staff and internationally renowned visiting photographers. Other assessment methods are visual presentations, seminar presentations, essays and a final year dissertation. There is an interim exhibition which is assessed at the end of the first year, usually in a public gallery.
The programme is complemented by a series of master classes and advanced skill workshops; an annual field trip to Paris and regular site visits to a variety of cultural institutions such as museums and galleries in Ireland, the UK and Europe.
Graduates are prepared for advanced careers in the field of photography. Graduates work as photographers in the fine art and commercial sector, as well as industry professionals. An MFA develops the ability to perform research related to the photographic arts, while also building communication skills and introducing students to new aesthetics and new technology. Such key skills enable graduates to work as photographic curators, editors and critics, within museums, galleries and in publishing. MFA graduates may also pursue a career in education.
This MA gives practitioners and theorists the opportunity to research and develop the new boundaries of image-making made possible by technological change within the context of post-industrial culture.
This programme joins theory and practice, equipping you to develop and achieve highly effectively in the new image media culture. Practice uses both digital and analogue technology, still and durational as well as the study and production of interactivity.
The programme allows for specialisation in photography and/or electronic arts – which, in addition to still photography, can include interactive, durational and internet work – but encompasses a broader interpretation of practice.
You'll look at the meaning, production and distribution of images, and the relationship between theory and practice in the context of debates about post-modernism and beyond.
You also participate in enabling sessions in photography:
and/or in electronic arts:
There is an MRes which follows the MA into a second year, in order to develop your work/voice. This will count as the first year of a PhD. Find out more about the MRes.
This programme uniquely joins theory and practice in a way that will equip you with the tools and the vision to develop and achieve highly effectively in the new image media culture. Practice uses both digital and analogue technology, still and durational as well as the study and production of interactivity.
You will study
The programme draws on a broad range of cultural references and technical practices. It offers the opportunity to take stock of evolving practices and developments in image media culture, and is structured to develop the intellectual imagination within each individual student. This is achieved through a combined study of practice and theory, with extensive instruction through ‘enabling sessions’ which engage technical familiarity; core tutorials; secondary tutorials; Issues in Media and Culture and additional theory course options.
Recognising the rapidly changing definitions and context of these practice areas,and the value/positioning of traditional practices, these categories may also be understood through a variety of practices which involve image construction and presentation both still and durational, including: film/video, animation, interactivity, installations, motion graphics, and hyperspace constructs, as well as evolving new exploratory categories.
The programme provides an opportunity to develop and/or research aspects of visual style, and draw on a broad range of cultural references as well as aesthetic and technical approaches engaged through ‘Practice Theory Sessions’, visiting lectures and the Issues in Media and Culture course. Fundamental to the programme is the space that it creates to make it possible for you to explore, question, change and consolidate your work and your ideas.
Original portfolio submission; coursework and essays.
This course is interested in the development of the individual voice. To this end, there are two types of tutorial:
You'll develop specific practice skills to a high level, and the articulation/understanding of the pleasures of media consumption.
Graduates from the programme are extremely successful, with finalists working commercially, developing as artists or continuing to enlarge their academic knowledge. During the course particular attention is given to the development of the individual voice. This, plus students' exposure to a range of technologies, means that our graduates can step into the arena of their choice, or sometimes of their making.
Here are just some examples of the sorts of careers graduates have gone onto:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.