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This course will engage you in the challenging task of making sense of the multitude of photographic images that shape the world today.

It is the first MA in the UK to combine the history and theory of photography with practice and curation in a genuinely interdisciplinary context.

You’ll explore the pivotal role of photography over the past two centuries across diverse global contexts – from the ways in which photography represents the complexities of 19th-century world views to the ubiquity and power of photography in our digital age.

You’ll also develop your practical skills, working with expert practitioners and leading photography curators.

Why choose this course?

  • Learn from leading academics – in fields including Art History, English, Photography, Media, Film, History and Politics – and enjoy direct access to their cutting-edge work.
  • Benefit from our exceptional links with a range of the UK’s premier photography institutions – including Brighton Photo Biennial, Tate, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the photographic Archive of Modern Conflict and our partnership networks of museums and galleries across the South East.
  • Experience professional master classes by internationally recognised photographers and curators. You have the opportunity to take part in the programme of the Centre for Photography and Visual Culture, which attracts world-renowned artists, writers, filmmakers and curators.

Full-time and part-time study

Choose to study this course full time or part time, to fit around your work and family life. Modules for the full-time course are listed below.

For details about the part-time course, contact course co-ordinator Lisa Greening at  

How will I study?

You may choose to study this course full time over one year, or part time over two years to suit your work schedule or other commitments.

You’ll learn from our faculty and also external experts and professionals. Teaching is by lectures, seminar debates and visits to collections of photographic materials across the south of England.

The MA is structured for you to explore theoretical and practical aspects of photography in core modules during the autumn term(s). In the spring term(s), you choose from a range of options on topics such as: 

  • technologies of capture 
  • photography: documentary, politics, landscape 
  • photography and 20th-century visual culture 
  • the art and politics of contemporary image culture.

During the summer, you choose to either write a dissertation or develop a practice-based project.

Assessment methods include essays and practice-based projects, encouraging you to develop a portfolio of practical and critical skills and expertise.

This course is currently subject to validation, in line with our procedures for assuring the quality of our degrees. This means that some course detail may change. The validation process will be concluded before the course starts.


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work


You’ll gain academic and research skills as well as a crucial range of professional skills directed at working in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors – an arena in which millions of people are employed worldwide.

This MA prepares you for a variety of exciting careers across:

  • photography
  • the visual arts
  • curating
  • the media
  • the creative industries.

It also provides an ideal foundation for doctoral research.

Visit the Photography: History, Theory, Practice - MA page on the University of Sussex website for more details!




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Recipient: University of Sussex

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