Masters degrees in Drawing offer advanced training in artistic techniques for producing images using a range of utensils such as ink, pencil, charcoal etc.
Taught MA and MFA degrees are typical for the field, though research oriented MRes and MPhil programmes may also be available at some institutions. Entry requirements normally include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Art or Design.
Courses in this field are highly diverse, and often intraciliary in nature. As well as advancing your techniques in methods for drawing, you will also enhance your knowledge of the development of drawing over centuries. Particularly, you will analyse its socio-political influences, its technological advances and its cultural variations.
You will experiment with a range of materials, genres and topics in your work, creating of original art pieces and understanding current methodologies in contemporary drawing practise. From life drawing to still life, nature to architecture, you may apply techniques from a range of styles. These could include Realism and surrealism, fauvism, cubism (and any other ‘isms’ you can think of!).
Aside from arts practice, professional drawers also apply their expertise to disciplines such as cartography, engineering, architecture and illustration.
Postgraduate study in illustration reflects the diversity of the subject and the opportunities that exist in areas such as publishing, advertising, graphic and web design, theatre, television, art galleries and museums. We welcome applicants with a variety of approaches to Illustration, from both academic and professional perspectives.
You will be encouraged to explore a range of methods with support from highly accomplished and respected staff, all of whom have understanding and expertise in the art of illustration.
Facilities include excellent individual working spaces with access to a drawing studio and extensive printmaking resources. There are life drawing classes, workshops and field trips. You will also have the chance to study bookbinding, book arts, digital technologies and web publishing.
The programme also includes working with writers, designers and publishers in collaboration and in live briefs. Many of our postgraduates have seen their work published and there are a small number of set projects, which evolve from year to year to reflect contemporary developments in Illustration. For example, students have made work for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Filmhouse and the ECA Bookmarks symposium.
You will be encouraged to take part in national and international competitions, with the aim of joining the ranks of those who have exhibited and won prizes in prestigious events, such as the V&A Student Illustration Awards, Folio Society, Penguin Book Awards, 3x3 and Image Nation.
This programme offers an excellent opportunity for independent, focused study. MA students produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed topic. MFA students produce an extended range of work, appropriate to the length of the course. Self-directed projects are connected to a number of set projects, workshops and collaborations throughout the academic year.
Your studies will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements in preparation for employment in the industry. There is a lecture/seminar series that will examine the wider context of your studies, presented by contemporary illustrators, designers and artists.
Graduates explore an exciting and diverse range of careers, including working as picture book illustrators, designers, freelance illustrators, artists and craftsmen, or in leading agencies.
Our MA Illustration course encourages you to question the nature of your practice and its context and position relative to the creative industries.
This course will appeal to you if you're open to participating in a broad range of creative strategies, utilising traditional and digital methods.
These include drawing and printmaking, lens and time-based media, with ideas and concepts that might be realised through exhibition, publication or exciting new hybrid forms.
The course encourages you to engage imaginatively with illustration, in relation to both the academic subject and practice of illustration. A selection of our student's work is available to view in our gallery.
Students’ practice is considered within a global context and with an awareness of the emergence of new and innovative approaches that interrogate, challenge and advance traditional practice.
Graduates from the MA programme will be able to carve their own niche in an evolving market for visual material.
Students studying on the course come from a number of diverse backgrounds including Illustration, Graphic Design, Printmaking, Drawing, Photography and Painting. Others come from outside of art and design, having had experience across other subject disciplines, but demonstrating a passion for illustration.
The course is structured and delivered in order to encourage and support you in developing your own distinct visual language, recognising an expansive understanding of contemporary illustration through the exploration of relationships between illustrator as author, audience and context.
Ideas are developed through specific individual approaches to research into practice and reflective enquiry.This deeper understanding and commitment to practice assists students in identifying, exploring and achieving your future career aspirations.
The Master of Fine Art in Fine Art (MFA) provides postgraduate studio-based arts practice, critical theory in fine arts and access to the professional skills and knowledge to succeed in a career in the fine arts. The programme will appeal to independent artists wanting to extend their practice within a critical research framework supported by practicing tutors. Artists looking to extend their career path into curatorial practice in the contemporary arts, collaborative projects with arts organisations, arts in socially engaged practices and/or further research will find support for this trajectory in this broad-based programme. Teaching involves lectures, seminars, and group and individual tutorials from active artists with research profiles. The programme will equip you with creative, interpretive, critical and analytical skills to develop an advanced understanding of contemporary art and its social, cultural and historical contexts.
The image above shows a close up of the work Nova by Saad Querishi, a former student of Fine Art at Oxford Brookes. Saad has been commissioned to produce a piece of work for the new areas of the campus and will be acting as a resource for the students on the programme.
Your artistic practice – An independent studio environment enables you to further your work within a supported critical framework. Through group and individual tutorials, staff/peer critique and presentations, an incremental approach is applied whereby you will confidently develop your work towards public exhibition/dissemination. There are two formal exhibitions during the MFA programme.
Flexible studio options – Students may select to locate their studio either at Oxford Brookes or elsewhere. Students working from their own studios will be eligible for a reduced tuition fee.
Technical resources – The School of Arts’ workshops offer supported working environments in a range of specialist areas including: sculpture, photography, video, sound, printmaking and book-works. All our workshops are staffed by highly skilled and creative Technical Specialists.
Extra-curricular activities – You will gain exposure to a range of contemporary artistic practice through the thriving creative student community in the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes. You will participate in the lectures and film screenings set up by the Fine Art Research (FAR) Group. These include visiting contemporary artists, critics, curators and notable alumni. Free life drawing classes extend your drawing skills and optional local, regional and international field trips provide further stimulus.
Theoretical framework – Your ability to articulate your own creative position is enabled through a critical engagement with a range of scholarship informed by diverse practices by nationally and internationally recognised artists, collectives and movements. An early theoretical module explores contemporary art discourse through seminars informed by selected readings and in a later module you develop a more intense involvement with theory related to your individual research interests.
Professional development – The programme enables you to identify a professional focus which is likely to inform your subsequent career trajectory. This might involve research preparation, a placement, a collaborative project or exhibition management/curatorial practice. With the guided experience in this module our graduates are better prepared for a successful career as a professional artist.
Careers and professional development
In addition to the support, teaching and development opportunities afforded by the curriculum, as a student you will be immersed in the active arts environment of the School. During your studies with us you will have access to the visiting speakers arranged for this and for other arts programmes, for the seminars and conferences in diverse fields, including publishing, film, music and digital production in the School. The field trips, visiting artists, PhD students and opportunities in the programme’s Professional Experience module offer a rich network of individuals and organisations that enable you to make useful contacts for your future career.
Graduates from this programme will be well equipped to pursue their practice as independent artists who have a well-developed understanding of the theoretical and professional contexts of the current and contemporary landscape of the arts and creative industries.
This programme is delivered within the School of Arts, which offers a vibrant environment for the creative industries including film, photography, music and publishing. Through the modules, which address practice, theory and professional experience, students are provided with links to engage with employment and further study opportunities, either as independent practitioners, facilitators or participants within a range of group and collaborative practices and contexts.
Free language courses for students - the Open Module
Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.
Please note that the free language courses are not available if you are:
The MA Animation Production sees observation, drawing and an understanding of the traditional principles of animation as fundamental, but these are critically contextualised in relation to technology, history, theory and professional/studio practice.
The overriding objective is to enable all of our Animation students to see yourselves as part of a ‘community of practice’ (that includes research and critique, and the building of a ‘production culture’), existing not as atomised students ‘doing their own thing’, but as part of a meaningful whole.
The overall aim of our course is to enable you to pursue your interests and specialism – whether 2D/drawn, CG, stop motion or other forms of animation – and produce excellent work that synthesises the ‘strands’ of theory, practice and professionalism.
AUB Animation has achieved alumni success with our graduates going on to work at Aardman, Framestore, Pixar, EA Games and the Moving Picture Company and many other companies. Our BA films have won awards and recognition in the British Animation Awards and Royal Television Society Awards and at festivals around the world. We are proud of the network of AUB graduates who are now employed in Animation – many of whom return to talk to current students.
A number of graduate films are linked to below or can be found on our course gallery
Our studios work in a way that mirrors industry with students working together in a high energy atmosphere.
Our state-of-the-art animation studios provide students with an individual workstation and light box. The course has its own computer suite with specialist software.
12 Field light boxes | Rostrum cameras | Dell Workstations | Stop Motion booths | Linetesting workstations | Wacom Intuos 4/5 | Wacom Cintiq workstation monitors | Professional lighting Set (Dedo/Kino Flo) | Canon 650D HD/SD Stills Cameras + sundries | Motion control rig | High Speed A3 sheet feed scanners integrated into Harmony | A3 Epson GT-2000 scanners | 24TB Isilon IQ 6000 Clustered Storage | Renderfarm running PipelineFx Qube 6.4 integrated into Maya
You’ll also have access to the following:
Online Avid Symphony Nitris DX Edit Suite | Avid Teaching Lab + 16 Workstations for Media Composer & ProTools | Avid Unity ISIS 32TB Server to all Edit Suites | 3 Avid ProTools Edit Suites + Audio Control Surfaces | Sound recording booths
Toon Boom Harmony | Adobe Creative Master Suite 6 | Autodesk Maya | Stop Motion Pro | Toon Boom Pencil Check Pro | Toon Boom Story Board Pro | Nuke | Mari | Zbrush | Extensive library of software tutorial DVDs | DVD/Blu-ray film library
Illustrators work within many disciplines, are able to visualise, elucidate and extend the meaning of a given field of knowledge or information and communicate ideas and narratives to specific audiences.
The contemporary practice of illustration is multidisciplinary, incorporating drawing, printmaking, traditional and digital media, model making, performance and collaborative, interactive practices.
Based in the heart of the School of Art, MA/MFA Design: Illustration is part of an innovative design network — a community of staff and students exploring design ideas in a discursive, cross-disciplinary studio environment. Critically informed practical designers, the group works experimentally, inspired by new insights and possibilities.
While studying towards a particular qualification at MA/MFA level, students experience their subject in the broader context of contemporary design practice.
Dedicated spaces for the postgraduate community have been developed to enable the postgraduate community to flourish. These spaces, for thinking and practice, are located centrally within the School of Art, allowing easy access to an extensive range of workshops where the combination of traditional and state of the art equipment opens up a world of exciting possibilities.
The MA Design: Illustration is made up of four units totalling 180 credits.
The programme is designed to help you acclimatise to the challenges of MA level research and practice, enabling you to identify and describe a clear direction for your postgraduate design study.
You will be encouraged to develop design propositions that encompass key design issues and have complexity and ambition, taking full consideration of the relative contextual drivers.
You will also be encouraged and supported to extend your experience in the professional sphere either through a practical project, research context, exchange, work experience, or other negotiated professional set of interactions with an external partner, groups of students and creative industry.
Towards the end of the programme you will undertake a major project to consolidate your past research and practice into fully realised collections, pieces, proposals, business plans, or exhibitions – whatever means is appropriate to the work. You will also have developed a strategy for the continuation of your practice located and contextualised to the profession or discipline.
If you choose to progress to MFA Design: Illustration award you will study a further two units of 60 credits each.
This route is focused on the continuation of your practice aligned to the research and selection of appropriate public or professional venues and platforms to disseminate a significant body of work. You will be required to produce work for a public audience in the most relevant and appropriate form along with any implicit publicity and dissemination material.
MA Fine Art is an opportunity to look at the familiar with a fresh, perhaps oblique perspective in order to explore how “detour” permits “access”(Jullien 2004) to more subtle yet more complex interpretations. What constitutes a meaningful and useful research methodology in one culture may be considered unknown, unnecessary or redundant in another. These differences are at the very fabric of the Fine Art course; establishing deliberate cross-cultural dialogues with students from International and UK backgrounds and providing a vehicle for highlighting differences in working practices and methodologies.
Recognising the individual and their aspirations, and celebrating ideas and risk-taking, our approach and experience of encouraging inter-disciplinary and collaborative activity lies with the provision of a meaningful journey for our students beyond the obvious.
They meet the fresh, often unpredictable and certainly challenging possibilities that are offered as they test, develop, progress, interrogate, ‘make’ and confidently reflect on their practice.
Our guiding principle is to offer distinctive and exciting opportunities for students to engage in their respective subject discipline in order to redefine their particular individual approach to their practice and position it within their chosen external creative economic and cultural environment.
Crucial to the course is that each student demonstrates a passion for their practice within their chosen medium and subject discipline.
See our online student gallery for examples of our student's work.
The MA in Fine Art combines studio work with a theory-based programme of lectures and seminars led by internationally renowned practising artists and history of art scholars. Students are admitted into one of three areas on the research-centred programme: Painting, Sculpture or Fine Art Media, which includes electronic media, photography, print, film and video.
The MA programme provides an intellectual and creative environment in which talented fine art graduates develop their individual potential as professional artists and pursue independent research. The History and Theory of Art component enables students to develop in depth the relationship between theory and practice in their own work.
The Fine Art MA is an integrated degree programme and does not have a modular structure.
The programme consists of studio work (75%) and History and Theory of Art (25%).
All students undertake an individual research project in their second year as a component of the History and Theory of Art course, which culminates in a substantial report.
Teaching and learning
A studio-based programme, students develop their work with tutorial/technical assistance according to need. The taught component is delivered through lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops, but primarily demands individual investigation. Year two prioritises supervised individual research. Assessment is by exhibition of final studio-work and history and theory coursework including a dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Fine Art MA
The programme aims to develop students' individual potential in the field of fine art. It also provides an excellent foundation for further doctoral research. The Graduate Degree Shows are attended by artists, gallerists, curators, critics and collectors, and provide a high-profile entrance to the professional art world. Recent graduates have established international careers as professional artists, receiving important commissions, gaining gallery representation, winning major prizes and residencies, as well as developing new artist-led initiatives. Others have roles in related careers including curation, museum and gallery management and teaching worldwide.
News and achievements of alumni including recent graduates are detailed on the news section of the Slade School website.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Professional development opportunities are actively encouraged with graduate students recently working as research assistants on UCL CHIRP's Pigment Timeline project and the Pigments to Solar Power project, part of the Sustainable Cities focus of UCL's Grand Challenges.
Partnerships outside of UCL include one with Camden Arts Centre whilst the Slade is a founder member of the Junction: North London Cultural Consortium; all of which offers students the opportunity to experience working with galleries and other professional art bodies. In addition, there are several studio residency awards to help launch completing graduate students including the annual Red Mansion Art Prize of a residency in China and an annual competition for residencies at the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, China
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
The Slade School of Fine Art at UCL is one of the UK's leading university departments for research in Fine Art, approaching the study and practice of art in an enquiring, investigative, experimental and research-minded way.
All academic staff are practising artists, actively involved in research as well as teaching, and have a diverse range of interests and expertise. Students benefit from excellent studio space and technical facilities, including a large research centre in Woburn Square.
The Slade's central London location enables easy access to a wide range of learning resources including major galleries, museums, libraries, cultural institutions and theatres.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Slade School of Fine Art
79% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.