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Photography (MFA)

Course Description

UCA Farnham

MFA Photography offers you a rare opportunity for extended study and practice over two years at Masters level.

A distinctive feature of our course is the development of a high level of professional and research-based knowledge on the subject of photography. This gives you a unique perspective to enable you to be successful in this internationally expanding field.

You'll study units which provide inter-connected 'streams' of study, that serve to integrate theoretical and research methodologies with practice-based work. And you'll either take a visual or written approach to your studies, or a combination of both.

Have a question? Just ask us - http://www.uca.ac.uk/ask-uca/

Student work


Course overview

You're encouraged to explore the medium of photography and its related theoretical fields in an experimental manner and with an open mind. You should develop excellent technical skills, creative vision and academic understanding on our course.

As part of the MFA, you'll be introduced to a wide range of global photographic disciplines and will benefit from our unique relationship with the National Institute of Design in India, which you can visit as part of our exchange/work placement programme. The opportunity for work placements both in the UK and abroad will help you to develop a good understanding of the working world of photography.

Course content

Year 1, stage 1 -

Critical contexts: Aims to explore the contemporary and historical contexts of media production. Current theories about media, communication and digital cultures will be examined through questioning ideas around representation, time, technologies and storytelling.

Exploratory practice (photography): Focuses upon self-directed practice, in which you'll define and develop individual rationales and methods of working. Research and practice will be directed and guided by a project proposal, in which you negotiate and review your practice with your tutor.

Year 1, stage 2 -

Reflection and development:
- Task 1) Research into professional practice - to enable and empower you to operate within the field of photography, you're expected to undertake research into professional practice during this semester, establishing external links appropriate to your subject area as agreed with your tutor, and preparing you for stage 3 when you'll undertake a work placement/experience.

- Task 2) Practice as research - the work undertaken in this unit should build on the research questions you initiated and explored in the Exploratory practice unit. Although you won't have concluded your research project, the work completed for this unit should be considerably more resolved and establish a clear line of inquiry - through materials, concept or context.

Overseas exchange: Is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution.

Year 2, stage 1 -

Advanced practice (photography): Specific to the MFA programme, this gives you the opportunity to develop your practice during an additional semester of study before the Final project. The work undertaken in this unit should build upon the research questions you developed and the professional and theoretical frameworks you explored in the Reflection and development unit.

Overseas exchange: Is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution.

Year 2, stage 2 -

Final project (photography): Is the culmination of your studies and will form an exposition of the central ideas and concepts developed throughout your course. As such, it should achieve a resolution to previous project units and demonstrate evidence of advanced conceptual, theoretical and technical capability over an extended period of self-directed study.

Programme specification - http://webdocs.ucreative.ac.uk/Photography_MFA_%20F_PSpec_201314-1377256200012.pdf


Black and white darkroom - Colour and black and white darkrooms for traditional printing with the facility to print from small, medium and large-format negatives

Photography studios - Three fully-equipped photographic studios plus access to hire cameras, tripods and lighting equipment from the digital media stores

Dedicated digital area - Dedicated digital area with medium and large format printers and high specification digital scanners

Media stores - On campus media store with good supply of 16mm, super 16mm, digital HD video cameras and high-end sound recording equipment to hire

Course staff

Professor Anna Fox - http://www.uca.ac.uk/staff/professor-anna-fox/

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Studying in the UK - http://www.uca.ac.uk/international-study/

Studying abroad - http://www.uca.ac.uk/study/study-abroad/

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

::Industry partners::

Our course has a number of connections with similar institutions worldwide, including art and design institutes and universities in India, Pakistan, USA, Sweden, France and Spain.

Professional contacts and regular industry lectures are integral to this course, and enable you to learn from photographers and artists talking about their professional practice.

Recent guest lecturers include:

- Martin Parr
- Val Williams
- Iain Sinclair
- Sarah Pickering
- Helen Sear
- Joy Gregory
- David Dibosa
- Jeremy Akerman
- Joan Fontcuberta
- Joachim Schmid
- Susan Lipper
- Ewan Spencer
- Marius Hannsen
- Robert Wyatt
- Simon Watney.


Graduates from this course work in a wide variety of related careers, including:

- Editorial, fashion, documentary and fine art photography
- Advertising
- Editing and curatorial posts
- Gallery and project management
- Writing
- Teaching
- Technical support.

::Further study::

Some graduates choose further study by undertaking research degrees.

Your portfolio

For this course, we'll require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you've applied.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/student-regulations

School of Fine Art & Photography

This course is part of the School of Fine Art & Photography, which has it’s own website packed with information about the its areas of study, expert staff, news and research projects - http://schools.ucreative.ac.uk/fine-art-photography

Visit the Photography (MFA) page on the University for the Creative Arts website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Helen Goodin

"The environment at UCA was really nurturing and supportive which gave me the confidence to explore my ideas, no matter how abstract they were. The tutors were great and the course structure was very useful in making sure that I was progressing at a good rate but also devoting enough time and energy into developing each specific aspects"

(Student Profile)

Charan Singh

"The course was an extraordinary experience for a student like me, who did not come from a photography background. I achieved a distinction in my MFA, which was unbelievable to me, all credit goes to my tutors and mentors, they were wonderful."


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent qualification in your chosen subject or a related discipline and/or Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

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