Photography Arts MA

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UKPASS code: 004432 | Institution code: W50 | Attendance mode: Full-time
Start: 15 September 2016
Duration: 1 year
Location: North-West London
Campus: Harrow

Important tuition fee information – please read.

Alumni discount.

Home/EU: £7,250.00
Overseas: £14,000.00

The Photography Arts MA is a new revalidated course, which replaces the former Photographic Studies MA (1996-2016). This exciting and highly successful Photography Arts programme will allow you to develop your own distinct individual photographic practice and visual research. The programme is orientated towards photography as an independent visual practice, within the context of a modern global media environment, photography history and art criticism. 

You will develop your own independent photographic research and studies, informed by new knowledge and skills acquired during the course. You will be able to explore the dynamic range of photographic practice, and develop innovative thinking, cultivating new independent creative strategies for your practice. Students can draw on the extensive photographic facilities and our wealth of expertise in traditional inter-disciplinary photographic practices. Students are fully supported by our internationally renowned photography staff.

Different modes of practice may be developed and pursued on the course, and we encourage a wide range of methods and techniques: conceptualism, expanded documentary, video, archival, fine art, experimental, installation, fictional realism, and performative modes of photographic practice. 

The course promotes open experimentation in the development of ideas, new processes and types of work. Students advance practical work in new or traditional techniques and forms (digital or analogue) and mixtures of approaches. The course champions a long and proud tradition of new and challenging photography at the University and among its extensive alumni. 

Course content

The course aims to develop your practice, informed by research. The course sets out to stimulate thinking through practice as a way to generate new innovative work. 

Students make and actively present their visual work in book, exhibition, and/or screen modes of presentation, testing and exploring ideas and experiments in new methods of practice and representation. Critical research modules help inform and elaborate the contemporary situation of photography as cultural practice, whether considered in the arts or the wider popular media environment. 

Excellent facilities and technical workshops support the research and practice. Students write three short research essays during the course, each aimed at broadening knowledge of photography and its related histories and criticism. (There is no dissertation on this course except as an option.)

The course enables students to become independent practitioners, generating new and informed work. You will be empowered with new visual, practical and critical skills that culminate in the Masters Project, which you will show at the end of the course in the degree show. The final degree show is in our fabulous Ambika P3 exhibition venue in Marylebone, London. 


The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.

Contemporary Debates

The course invites a range of international guest speakers (e.g artists, photographers, critics, philosophers), to give dedicated talks about contemporary culture and image debates. The issues, visual work and themes explored in talks and the critical discussions afterwards are a means to inspire questions and debate. Students are then encouraged to develop their own paths of research and explore new topics of visual research.

Masters Project

The Masters Project is the major body of work developed on the course and forms the key work in your photography portfolio. You be able to direct your personal goals and advance them through your practice. The Masters Project is usually exhibited in the final degree show at Ambika P3, our fabulous exhibition venue near Baker Street in Marylebone, London. Students are supported with individual tutorials, group reviews of work, exhibition presentation and professional career support. The framework of the course and its research modules all help to inform this Masters project, which provides the future orientated career path of its producer.

Photography and Aesthetics

The module explores the question of photography in relation to aesthetic issues. Questions of affect, the real, and modes of production of photographic meaning are explored in contemporary culture and the histories of photography. Critically informed by lectures and seminars, the module enables a broader knowledge and experience of the theory and practice of questioning cultural and aesthetic functions of the photographic image and process.

Photography Practice

The Photography Practice module enables you to expand, develop and test photographic ideas and explore them in a longer photography project, lasting up to one year. Your photographic project work will help to develop a visual form of project work through exploring different methods and modes of working process. The module offers a supportive environment, providing an important context for advancing the photographic work. Photography staff help to stimulate new directions for the work, with individual tutorials, group discussions and practical workshops providing a clear curriculum.

Research Methods

In creative and critical play, students develop a research process to inform their Master’s project. Research Methods explores new methods, photographic techniques and visual strategies and provides the basis for research and development of this major project, its subject matter and contextual knowledge. Students acquire new critical tools and research paths alongside practical techniques and new intellectual ideas. ‘Doing and thinking’ is a key part of the development process for new work.

Theories of the Image

Photography theory, first developed at this University, helps to develop a critical understanding of photography as a plural practice, and to introduce current theoretical debates on photography. The various uses of photography in art and media environments offer a challenge in constructing a view of what photography is and does. Theory and practice are brought together in this module to show their mutual relations. 

Associated careers

The course prepares graduates for a range of career paths in the arts, media and photography. Many successful graduates work as artists/photographers and also develop careers in related work within the creative industries. Graduate opportunities range from picture agency work, curators and as innovators of independent projects. Many also pursue careers in lecturing and teaching of photography. Graduates have a high success in developing their research work at doctoral level and the MA also has a very high international reputation amongst potential employers within the sector.

Related courses

Course team

David Bate
Roshini Kempadoo
Allan Parker
Mitra Tabrizian
Frank Watson
Lucy Soutter 

Length of course

One-year, full-time or two-year, part-time



Additional costs information

To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.


Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.

We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.

During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.

In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.

For more details, visit the employability section on our site.

Career Development Centre

Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.

We can help you to:

  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
  • plan your career development
  • identify your career options
  • market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
  • develop your enterprise skills

We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Work Placements

Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.

More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.

Career options in your subject area

Our team of careers consultants work closely with Faculty departments to deliver tailored employability support, including subject-specific workshops, employer events and careers information, advice and guidance.

You can also browse the career options available to you after you graduate on the Career Development Centre's Finding work in your subject area pages and on the Prospects website.

Study in the city

If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.

Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.


After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.

Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships

In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.

Personal tutoring

All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.

Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.

Language support

Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.

Personal advice and counselling

While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.

International Westminster

With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.

Study Abroad and Summer School programmes

Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.

If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.

Sport and recreation

The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.

Students' Union

University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.

Upcoming postgraduate information evenings

16 November 2016Postgraduate Information EveningHarrow, Little Titchfield Street, Marylebone, Regent Street
View subject-specific information evenings

Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

We are one of Europe's leading centres for higher education for the creative industries.

Find out more about the school

Postgraduate student funding

Group of students seated around a table

Find out about new student loans of up to £10,000 for postgraduate master’s study.

Westminster Photography

Find out more about the course and see the work of our students on the Westminster Photography website.

Degree Shows

Check out student work from the MA Photographic Studies Degree Shows.

News & Events

Visit the Westminster Photography website to read more about exhibitions, talks, publications and awards.


Read more about Photography graduates from the University of Westminster.



Research Excellence Framework 2014 logo

52% and 45% of the work submitted to the Research Excellence Framework REF2014 by CAMRI and CREAM was assessed as world leading, respectively; both were ranked in the top 5 in the UK.