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Pursue your passion for Fine Art at an advanced level with professional support. Push the boundaries of your creativity, academic rigour and contextual research. Define your own creative identity, tackle key issues and boost your employability.

Course overview

This course is built around your personal interests and aspirations. We’ll encourage you to develop your personal practice through studio-led research, critiques, analysis and questioning. Given the strong practical element we invite applicants to share their portfolios and aspirations with us at interview stage.

At Masters level, the specialisms of tutors are an important factor. Sunderland’s staff research includes painting, printmaking, studio-based drawing and collage, sculpture, collaborative practice, art in architecture, video and digital art.

Why us?

  • This course is built around your personal interests and aspirations – it allows you to push the boundaries of creativity, within a framework of academic rigour and contextual research
  • You will be allocated an individual studio space and have access to university gallery spaces
  • Boost your professional skills as a Fine Art professional including exhibition planning and promotion
  • Get to work alongside other students from creative subjects and see how artists live, work and thrive in our ‘Creative Lives’ lecture series

Course Structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. The course aims to stretch your creativity and maximise your sense of personal fulfillment. If you choose to study the course full-time, you will complete six modules over one year. Taught sessions are normally on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.

Part-time students have around four hours of contact time a week. By studying this course part-time, you will complete six modules over two years. Taught sessions are normally on Tuesday afternoons or Wednesday mornings depending on selected modules.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods, which include tutorials, lectures, seminars, reviews, workshops and practical demonstrations. These are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. Tutors give regular feedback and support.

We organise visits to galleries and art events. Recent visits includes Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a trip to Berlin. Assessment methods include reports, essays, your portfolio of work and the final exhibition. You can see examples of student work from our 2018 Degree Show (.pdf).

Core Modules 

Contemporary Fine Art Studio Practice: Test it 

Advance your studio skills appropriate to current and new projects.

Critical and Professional Contexts in Art and Design

Develop your critical and analytical understanding of contemporary fine art practice and apply this to writing about your practice alongside other MA students.

Contemporary Fine Art Studio Practice: Do It

Build on previous studio-based research to realise and implement personal projects.

Contemporary Fine Art Professional Practice: Digital Document

Build confidence in professional practice and expand your ideas through a research project or appropriate placement. Work with other MA students on a degree publication.

Contemporary Fine Art Research Project: Reflect

Develop critical awareness and advanced knowledge of contexts relevant to your own fine art practice and write a report. 

Contemporary Fine Art: Exhibition

Develop skills for public exhibition and dissemination of art work.


Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for roles throughout the media and cultural industries, for example as a practitioner, curator or educator. Opportunities could include arts development, public arts projects, community art organisations, social and art therapy support units, galleries and festivals.

Employment opportunities

Recent Sunderland graduates have set up their own creative businesses, undertaken commissions and exhibited their work regionally and nationally. During the course we encourage you to gain industry experience which will enhance your skills, build up a valuable network of contacts and boost your employability.

In the past this has included exhibition work in a range of public contexts such as galleries, schools and hospitals. A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

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






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