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Fine Art MA

Course Description

This one-year programme will allow artists who have already achieved high production values in their studio work to combine this with contemporary critical theory.

You’ll develop your artistic practice in well-equipped studios and work towards an exhibition of your own. At the same time, you’ll explore contemporary art, theory and criticism to inform and contextualise your work – and you’ll specialise in one area of criticism or theory when you choose from a wide range of optional modules.

In a region full of cultural resources, from The Hepworth Wakefield to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Henry Moore Institute, you’ll learn from expert researchers and practitioners as well as a host of visiting artists and speakers.

You could explore aesthetics, feminist studies, deconstruction and museum practice – and you could even undertake a work placement in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution.

Specialist facilities

In 2016 the School moves to a new location on campus, offering a modern and well-equipped learning environment in a beautiful listed building. You’ll be able to develop your artistic practice in professionally laid out studio spaces and versatile exhibition spaces.

We have a printmaking workshop on campus with facilities for etching, relief and screen printing, as well as a wet darkroom. Our computer suite has dedicated workstations for offline video editing and other applications. A 3D workshop and fabrication area are also housed within the School, with a dedicated space for casting.

The University incorporates museums and galleries such as the Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and the History of Science, Technology and Medicine Museum, as well as other performance and exhibition spaces.

Course content

The course gives you the chance to take full responsibility for your own programme of work. At its core is your studio practice, where you’ll develop your portfolio of work and build towards your own exhibition at the end of Semester 2.

You’ll work with a range of materials and have the freedom to develop your creativity through the media that suit you best. The study of different cultural and critical theories will be integrated into your work, as you attend studio seminars focusing on the links between theory, practice and criticism.

At the same time, you’ll develop your understanding of research methods through separate compulsory modules. As you improve your own research skills, you’ll prepare to submit your dissertation – an independent project on a topic related to your practice – by the end of the academic year.

You’ll also have the chance to expand your studies when you choose from a wide range of optional modules. You could cover topics such as contemporary art, technology and the media, feminism and culture, remembering the First World War or anthropological approaches to art among many others.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

Course structure

Compulsory modules

  • MA Exhibition 50 credits
  • Advanced Research Skills 1 5 credits
  • Advanced Research Skills 2 5 credits
  • MA Fine Art Dissertation 30 credits
  • Studio Practice 60 credits

Optional modules

  • Derrida and Deconstruction 30 credits
  • Reading Sexual Difference 30 credits
  • Beyond the Trench: Collaborative Projects on the History, Remembrance and Critical Heritage of the First World War 30 credits
  • Making Sense of Sound 30 credits
  • The Margins of Medieval Art 30 credits
  • Capitalism-Criticism-Contemporary Art 30 credits
  • Feminism and Culture: Theoretical Perspectives 30 credits
  • Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust 30 credits
  • Aesthetics and Politics 30 credits
  • From Chagall to Kitaj and Beyond 30 credits
  • Critical and Curatorial Challenges in Contemporary Art: The Documenta Exhibitions at Kassel 1992-2012 30 credits
  • Encountering Things: Art and Entanglement in Anglo-Saxon England 30 credits
  • The Origins of Postcolonial England 30 credits
  • Anthropology, Art and Representation 30 credits
  • Humanity, Animality and Globality 30 credits
  • Technology, Media and Critical Culture 30 credits
  • Unmaking Things: Materials and Ideas in the European Renaissance 30 credits
  • Individual Directed Study 30 credits
  • Interpreting Cultures 30 credits
  • Assessing the French Revolution 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Fine Art MA Full Time in the course catalogue

For more information on typical modules, read Fine Art MA Part Time in the course catalogue

Learning and teaching

We use a variety of teaching and learning methods. These will vary, but generally include visits to museums and galleries, lectures, seminars, tutorials and online learning.

You’ll also benefit from our extensive programme of visiting artists and speakers. Independent study is vital to this programme – not only is this where you’ll work on your practice and develop your creativity, but it is also an opportunity to build your skills in research, analysis and interpretation.


The assessment methods you come across may vary depending on the modules you choose. However, they’re likely to include your exhibition and supporting written work, your portfolio of studio work, in-course assessment, essays and presentations.

Career opportunities

This programme will allow you to develop your practice as an artist and write thoughtfully about the practice and context of artistic work.

It will also give you the chance to gain skills in organising and curating events and exhibitions, researching, interpreting and analysing artistic work and cultural, visual and critical awareness.

All of these traits are valuable in a wide range of careers. Fine Art graduates have gone on to work in curatorial and educational roles around the world, both on a freelance basis and for major art institutions. Others have decided to develop their research interests through PhD study and academia, or pursued careers in teaching.

Careers support

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

Visit the Fine Art MA page on the University of Leeds website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (Hons) in a relevant subject. Professional experience will also be considered. IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in all components. We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Please contact us for more information.

Last Updated

04 August 2017

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