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Course Content

Course content

The MA in Fine Art enables artists to evaluate and develop their creative practice to the highest of standards. It develops theoretical awareness, critical thinking and independent arts practice to a professional level.

The course facilitates critical debate between artists working both within and across media areas including painting, photography, digital imaging, printmaking, sculpture, installation and site-specific art. Alongside their studio-based enquiry, students undertake related research into the broader context of contemporary art practices and theoretical debates.

The course offers access to comprehensive specialist resources with technical instruction and support. Students are continually mentored by research-active staff to position their practice within professional cultural environments, arts-related employment or higher-level academic research.

Both full time and part time students benefit from spacious and well-equipped facilities and external links with galleries, which have included the Milton Keynes Gallery, NN Contemporary (Northampton), Corby Cube Gallery and Rugby Museum and Art Gallery. The course often offers international study trips, typically one European option (recent visits have been to France, Italy and Spain) and one long-haul destination (recent visits have been to India, Vietnam and the USA) each year.

In addition to the course having very good links with regional galleries and arts organisations, students are encouraged to engage with external activities and events, both national and international. A group of MA Fine Art students recently attended a printmaking residency at the world-renowned Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium.

Our teaching staff have a broad range of research interests reflecting the disciplines available on the course, and all staff are practicing artists who publish and exhibit both nationally and internationally. Visiting speakers have included the internationally known artists Richard Long, Marcus Harvey, Simon Callery, Ian Davenport, Mark Francis, Lisa Milroy, David Batchelor, Richard Deacon, Svetlana Fialova, Richard Patterson, Ian McKeever, Dan Hays and Richard Wilson along with innovative arts organisations such as Artangel.

Course content

Upon commencing the Masters programme, students undertake the module ‘Extended Fine Art Practice and Research Methodologies’ (20 credits). This provides a grounding in different research-based methods and methodologies in Fine Art.

During the first trimester students also undertake the 20 credit studio-based module ‘Fine Art Practice’ wherein students begin to critically re-appraise and position their creative practice. Full-time students will also be enrolled on ‘Interfacings,’ a 20 credit module that considers a set of theoretical debates, issues and contexts that are pertinent to an interdisciplinary approach to artistic practice.

During the second trimester students enrol on the 40 credit module ‘Fine Art Practice and Context.’ This module culminates in a public developmental exhibition of their work. Alongside this module, full-time students can opt to take either the project-based ‘Independent Study’ module or the 20 credit module ‘Creative Practice and Enterprise.’

The final stage of the MA Fine Art course entails the student producing and exhibiting a body of creative work or completing a 15-18,000 word dissertation.

Course modules (16/17)

-Fine Art Practice and Documentation
-Interfacings: Fine Art and Postmodern Practice
-Creative Practice and Enterprise
-Fine Art Practice and Context
-Independent Study in the Arts
-Research project
-Extended Fine Art Practice and Research Methodologies

Opportunities Abroad

International study trips, typically one European option (recent visits have been to France, Italy and Spain) and one long-haul destination (recent visits have been to India, Vietnam and the USA) each year.

Methods of Learning

The MA Fine Art course supports all learners’ experience and development through a breadth of regular tutorial approaches. Tutor and learner contact is additionally enriched through a host of visiting artists of international stature. Modes of teaching delivery encompass tutorials, group crits, research supervision, lectures and seminars.


During the first and second trimester specific modules are delivered usually on Mondays 9:30-12:30 and 13:00 – 16:00.


The course is assessed in both theory and practice by assignment, examination, portfolio submission and exhibition.

In addition to an ongoing series of formative assessment points, the MA Fine Art course has three formal assessment periods that occur at the end of each trimester in February, May and September respectively.

Facilities and Special Features

The Fine Art subject is enriched through a spectrum of professional specialist spaces including: Fine Art New Media Space, Photographic Studio, Photographic Dark Room, Wood Workshop, Metal Workshop, Plaster and Resin Workshop, Etching Printroom, Screen Printing Room (including laser cutting), The Drawing Lab (Drawing research space and life room), Canvas Preparation Room and bookable installation spaces.


The course prepares students for the professional cultural environment and higher research study. PhDs at the University of Northampton can be pursued through traditional or practice led methodologies and this course provides a comprehensive and relevant foundation.

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





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