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Photographic Arts (MFA)

Course Description

The MFA Photographic Arts offers you the opportunity to continue your postgraduate practice. Develop critically reflective practice and broad theoretical understanding of photography, then plan and negotiate an extension of your MA project. The professional perspective of this programme will nurture your awareness and outlook towards making, producing, publishing and exhibiting photographic work in a public context.

Key features

Extend your study – the MFA has been designed for MA alumni in arts, science and humanities, so if you want to expand your practice within a professional context, you'll have the opportunity to develop your project through our extensive professional practice network. MA progressing to MFA is two years full-time or three years part-time. If taken in addition to an MA, the MFA covers two terms and is a further six or seven months of study, resulting in an additional 60 credits.

Nurture a more professional awareness by following a curatorial model of teaching and learning – generating and facilitating industry contacts in the gallery and museum environment, publishing and education. Your project is likely to take place off campus either through placement or location visits.

Benefit from flexible learning approaches including distance learning, off campus tutorials and seminars, site and studio visits, field trips and research activities. You will be able to take part in group sessions and one-to-one tutorials, depending on your specific circumstances and the focus of your practice.

Engage in experimental practice and become part of a broad research environment, supported by our internationally renowned staff, including Professors David Chandler, Jem Southam and Liz Wells.

Experience a dynamic research environment which includes an extensive visiting speaker programme – a number of whom contribute to small, directed seminars, workshops and tutorials. Recent visiting speakers include Martin Barnes, Sian Bonnell and David Campany.

Special events that highlight the aspects of the taught programme are organised each semester including intensive study days and symposia. We have held study visits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate St Ives and the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
Interrogate the relationship between theory and practice, with opportunities for a residential field trip and study trips both in the UK and abroad.

Benefit from a city centre campus with excellent library and photographic facilities including a bespoke daylight studio, analogue and digital imaging and printing resources, C41 processing, letterpress, printmaking and silkscreen workshops.
Explore the rich urban and rural landscape offered by the South West peninsula – diverse towns and cities, industrial heritage and urban regeneration, coastal and marine environments, dramatic moorland and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Course details

The MFA is achieved by extending the 180 credits of an MA Photography programme by a further 60 credits, giving you the opportunity to reflect on, and significantly extend, your masters-level research and practice through developing a new body of work. The programme will also take a professional perspective and help you to consider and prepare for the external contexts in which your work may be subsequently placed and seen. This further study could work well as a point of focus from which to develop a proposal for a practice-based MPhil/PhD. This MFA award can be taken directly after completion of your masters or after a gap from study. It is designed as a progression from the Plymouth photographic practice awards however, if appropriate, it is open to you with awards from other institutions. By 'practice' we refer to a photographic practice that is inclusive of a wide range of making and working with photography: as photographers, curators, editors and writers.


You will be required to attend an interview, bringing a portfolio of work. This could cover evidence from a broad range of experience, including photographic projects, curatorial projects, or a collection of examples of the practice of writing. You will also need to write a 500-1,000 word MA project proposal to accompany your application form. Accredited Prior Learning (APL) will not normally be considered as the MA programme is designed as a coherent whole.

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email .

International Applicants

If you are an overseas applicant you will be required to attend an interview with a portfolio – a Skype interview and electronic portfolio are possible.

You can check the compatibility of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements.

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5.

For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office.

Visit the Photographic Arts (MFA) page on the Plymouth University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

For an MA progressing to an MFA, you will normally need a 2:1 degree or above in photography or a relevant subject. Appropriate professional experience or prior experiential learning will also be assessed on an individual basis. If you have an honours degree in other disciplines, you are welcome to apply with proposals that demonstrate an innovative approach to the use of your practice, in a critical context, within the field of your own specialism in relation to photography.

Course Fees

Full-time: UK/EU: £5,660, International: £13,250, Islands: £13,250; Part-time (per 10 credits): UK/EU: £314, International: £750, Islands: £750

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