Photography Arts MA
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
Successful applicants usually will have a good BA or BFA degree in photography or fine art, art history, cultural and media studies. Applicants with a good professional experience of photography or related practices in television, film and the wider visual arts are also welcome. Applicants without these may be accepted in exceptional circumstances, provided the applicant can demonstrate their ability to meet the demands of the course. An interview is normally held and a portfolio of practical work, which demonstrates the applicant’s skills, passion and ambition for developing their own photographic work is essential. Evidence of written skills and research knowledge may also be requested. If English is your second language you will need IELTS 6.5 with 6.0 in each element.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
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