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Course content

The Photography Arts MA offers a dynamic mix of photography practice and research to support your development as an artist. In an open-minded educational environment you will expand the boundaries of your photography, advancing your own distinct visual and conceptual approach. Students are fully supported by our internationally renowned photography staff and inspired by an exciting range of prominent visiting photographic artists and thinkers. 

Situated in Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, you will have access to extensive photographic facilities and a wealth of inter-disciplinary expertise. You will be part of a world-famous centre for photography research. 

The Photography Arts MA is a recently revalidated course, which builds on the former Photographic Studies MA (1996-2016). The course champions a long, proud tradition of cutting-edge photography pioneered at the University.

The course has an open definition of photography, encompassing a wide range of approaches and forms. We encourage free experimentation in the development of ideas. You will advance your practical work choosing new or traditional techniques, digital or analogue forms, in work that may extend beyond the traditional boundaries of wall, page or screen into other modes including moving image, installation and performance.

The research components of the course are tailored for the needs of the contemporary artist photographer, and allow you to focus on the lines of inquiry that will be most productive for your own development. Your progress through the course will be supported with one-to-one tutorials with a personal tutor.

This is the right course if you are highly motivated and excited to develop your independent practice alongside critical research within a rapidly changing field. Working with our experienced staff and a group of peers drawn from all over the world, you can discover your own future working with the most contemporary approaches to photography.  

The course is structured to develop your practice, informed by research. Throughout the course, students make work with great attention to how it will be presented in a range of modes including exhibition, book and/or screen. The practice modules provide a framework for developing and testing new approaches and establish a foundation for your future independent work. Students write three short research essays during the course, each aimed at broadening knowledge of photography, contemporary art and related histories, theories and criticism. Content for these assignments is led by the student’s own research interests. The course is unusually flexible in that a dissertation is not required, but can form an optional part of the final master’s project.

The course enables students to become independent practitioners, generating up-to-date, informed work. You will be empowered with visual, critical and practical skills that culminate in the Masters Project, exhibited in a central London degree show at the end of the course. 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

Option modules

Option modules from Documentary Photography and Photojournalism MA

Career path

An MA in Photography Arts is an unusually versatile qualification that prepares you to be an artist/photographer working at the highest level of ambitious contemporary art, and also gives you a range of transferable skills vital to twenty-first century creative industries.

Graduates of the course work as independent artist/photographers and also as writers, educators, critics, publishers, curators, gallerists, picture editors and researchers. A number of graduates go on to pursue their research at doctoral level.

Alumni from the course (under the former title Photographic Studies MA) now work all over the world in a range of careers requiring creativity, research skills and critical analysis of visual images


Visit the Photography Arts (MA) page on the University of Westminster website for more details!

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