Course Overview

Attendance
UK/EU Fees £875 *
International Fees £1,675 *
Alumni Discount See details
Duration 2 years

* Price per 20-credit module

Course summary

The Photography Arts MA offers a dynamic mix of photography practice and research to support your development as an artist. In an open-minded educational environment you will expand the boundaries of your photography, advancing your own distinct visual and conceptual approach. Students are fully supported by our internationally renowned photography staff and inspired by an exciting range of prominent visiting photographic artists and thinkers. 

Situated in Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, you will have access to extensive photographic facilities and a wealth of inter-disciplinary expertise. You will be part of a world-famous centre for photography research. 

The Photography Arts MA is a recently revalidated course, which builds on the former Photographic Studies MA (1996-2016). The course champions a long, proud tradition of cutting-edge photography pioneered at the University.

The course has an open definition of photography, encompassing a wide range of approaches and forms. We encourage free experimentation in the development of ideas. You will advance your practical work choosing new or traditional techniques, digital or analogue forms, in work that may extend beyond the traditional boundaries of wall, page or screen into other modes including moving image, installation and performance.

The research components of the course are tailored for the needs of the contemporary artist photographer, and allow you to focus on the lines of inquiry that will be most productive for your own development. Your progress through the course will be supported with one-to-one tutorials with a personal tutor.

This is the right course if you are highly motivated and excited to develop your independent practice alongside critical research within a rapidly changing field. Working with our experienced staff and a group of peers drawn from all over the world, you can discover your own future working with the most contemporary approaches to photography.    

The course is structured to develop your practice, informed by research. Throughout the course, students make work with great attention to how it will be presented in a range of modes including exhibition, book and/or screen. The practice modules provide a framework for developing and testing new approaches and establish a foundation for your future independent work. Students write three short research essays during the course, each aimed at broadening knowledge of photography, contemporary art and related histories, theories and criticism. Content for these assignments is led by the student’s own research interests. The course is unusually flexible in that a dissertation is not required, but can form an optional part of the final master’s project.

The course enables students to become independent practitioners, generating up-to-date, informed work. You will be empowered with visual, critical and practical skills that culminate in the Masters Project, exhibited in a central London degree show at the end of the course. 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course.

Core modules

The Photography Practice module enables you to expand, develop and test photographic ideas and explore them in a photography project or projects, lasting up to one year. With an emphasis on formal, technical and conceptual experimentation, this module allows students to push the boundaries of their previous visual work and develop their ideas in new forms. Photography staff provide a clear framework of support with individual tutorials, group discussions and practical workshops.

In creative and critical play, students develop a practice-based research process to inform their Masters project. This module provides a strong foundation for your future working practice, allowing you to discover innovative ways to inform, develop and test self-generated projects. Group critique sessions, seminar discussions and tutorials also encourage students to explore new ideas for the presentation, contextualization and dissemination of their work.

You can choose either the Dissertation or the Masters Project:

Dissertation

The Dissertation module provides an extended space for a self-initiated investigation, which builds on theoretical and critical debates studied earlier in the course. This module requires substantial research and an advanced level of understanding and analysis. Students are encouraged to investigate a range of primary and secondary sources in the production of this intellectually challenging conclusion of their theoretical studies.

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 are supported to develop ambitious personal goals and advance them through your practice, culminating in the degree exhibition at a venue in Central 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 a platform for your future career.

Option modules

The course invites a range of international guest artists and theorists as part of a visiting speaker series. The issues, visual work and themes explored in these talks and related discussion inspire critical reflection. Students develop their own paths of research, culminating in a seminar presentation and piece of writing.

This module allows you to explore recent thinking around photography in contemporary art and culture. Topics may include digital aesthetics, performance and performativity, narrative, fiction, the real, selfie culture, the shifting role of curation and the translation of photographic ideas across cultures. Critically informed by lectures, seminar discussion and gallery visits, the module expands the intellectual framework for your practice.

Photography theory, first developed at this University, helps to develop a critical understanding of photography as a plural practice. You will develop a critical analysis of concepts relating to the image, and tools to reflect on photographs as they appear in various contexts. Group discussions give students a topical, relevant, practical mastery of terms and ideas. Theory and practice are brought together in this module to show their mutual relations.

Option modules from Documentary Photography and Photojournalism MA

The module aims to equip students with the historical and critical contexts that inform contemporary editorial photographic practice.

This module offers the development of writing skills that will enable you to understand and put into practice the different models and conventions of writing with and about photographs, including; feature writing, critical analysis, appraisal, interviews, collaborative writing and captions. They include: studies of the novel and storytelling, the boundaries between fact and fiction, and exploration of critical understandings of the relationship between text and image.

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. 

View more information about our entry requirements and the application process.

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. 

More information

Careers

An MA in Photography Arts is an unusually versatile qualification that prepares you to be an artist/photographer working at the highest level of ambitious contemporary art, and also gives you a range of transferable skills vital to twenty-first century creative industries. Graduates of the course work as independent artist/photographers and also as writers, educators, critics, publishers, curators, gallerists, picture editors and researchers. A number of graduates go on to pursue their research at doctoral level. Alumni from the course (under the former title Photographic Studies MA) now work all over the world in a range of careers requiring creativity, research skills and critical analysis of visual images.

Many of our course graduates are successful international photographers. A selection of our former students is below:

  • Rut Blees Luxemburg , Photographic Artist, Lecturer at The Royal College of Art, London
  • Andrea Fernandes, Curator and Photographer, Mumbai
  • Stella Baraklianou, Photographic Artist 
  • David Maione, Photographic artist currently working in Berlin
  • Michelle Atherton, Photographer and writer
  • Mari Rustan, Art Historian and Arts Editor at SMUG magazine
  • Andrea Alves De Oliveira, Freelance Photographer, London
  • Leah Gordon, Artist and Curator specialising in Haiti’s Grand Rue, Senior Lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire
  • Assunta Del Buno, Documentary Photographer

Our Career Development Centre has just been shortlisted for the Best University Careers Service in the National Undergraduate Employability Awards for 2017.

With a growing network of over 3,000 employers around the world and a team of experienced careers consultants, we are here to help you succeed.

In 2015–16, we helped over 1,500 students find work placements across a range of sectors, with 250 employers attending 14 on-campus skills and careers fairs.

As a Westminster student, you’ll have access to our services throughout your studies and after you graduate.

We can help you:

  • find work placements related to your course
  • find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
  • find international opportunities to enhance your employability
  • market yourself effectively to employers
  • write better CVs and application forms
  • develop your interview and enterprise skills
  • plan your career with our careers consultants
  • meet employers and explore your career options at our employer fairs, careers presentations and networking events throughout the year

Find out more about the Career Development Centre.

Alumni

Ting-Ting Cheng, Alumni

Ting-Ting Cheng

Visual artist

"I enjoyed the well-structured modules of both theory and practice. And you can always find the connections with the tutors no matter what area you are interested in."

Wilf Speller, Alumni

Wilf Speller

Visual artist and filmmaker

“The course’s emphasis on research led practice provided me with a model through which to continue my practice long after graduating”

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon, Alumni

Anne Bourgeois-Vignon

Global Digital Director of Magnum Photos

“My time at Westminster University provided me with a space to think about why visual culture matters so much to me and the confidence to pursue a creative career.”

Facilities

The luxuriously appointed photography area, with its suite of studios, dark rooms, print and finishing facilities and its extensive range of equipment has just installed an expanded digital suite and has invested in new high end equipment for digital imaging.

Fees and Funding

UK and EU tuition fee: £875 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

As well as tuition fee loans, there is a range of funding available to help you fund your studies.

Find out about postgraduate student funding options.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

International tuition fee: £1,675 (Price per 20-credit module)

Find out how we set our tuition fees.

Alumni discount

This course is eligible for an alumni discount. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply by visiting our Alumni discounts page.

Funding

Find out about funding for international students.

Scholarships

The University is dedicated to supporting ambitious and outstanding students and we offer a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students, which cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Find out if you qualify for one of our scholarships.

Additional costs

See what you may need to pay for separately and what your tuition fees cover.

Course Location

The vibrant home of Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design, the Harrow Campus offers one of the richest portfolios of creative industry research and learning in Europe. The recent redevelopment of the campus has seen the creation of fluid, informal learning spaces, dedicated project and gallery spaces and a revamped library. For more details, visit our Harrow Campus page.

Contact us

Call our dedicated team on:

+44 (0)20 7915 5511

Opening hours (GMT): 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

[email protected]

More information

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