• CollegeCSM
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course lengthPG Cert: full time 15 weeks Masters: full time 2 years (60 weeks)

MA Photography

Applications closed 2017/18
Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course have now closed.

MA Photography is a contemporary fine art photography course that explores the possibilities of both visual and conceptual expression, merging research deeply with practice. The course is rooted in the idea that photography has no self-limiting identity or essence. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling you’ll develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice, defining, or redefining photography as the art form of the 21st century.

This course is part of the Art Programme.

Great reasons to apply

  • The opportunity to explore photography as an interlacing of fine art, technology, aesthetics and new media
  • Extensive visiting lecturer programme by leading artists, philosophers and curators
  • State of the art scanning, large format digital colour and chemical B/W printing
  • Open environment encouraging collaborations across other post-graduate programmes (MA Fine Art, MA Art and Science)
  • Emphasis on research as practice and on practice as research
  • Links with Arts and Humanities Research Council photography network and the journal Philosophy of Photography.
  • MA Photography enables you to pursue your studies whilst also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities. You are expected to commit 30 hours per week to your studies; your taught input will normally be scheduled over a maximum of two to three days per week during term time.

Course Leader Daniel Rubinstein on the ethos of the course and its approach to contemporary photography.

Ben Lansky – Orbit

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

Irene Dominguez
Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Irene Dominguez

Julia Wolf

Julia Wolf

Lucrezia de Fazio

Lucrezia de Fazio

Matilde Damele

Matilde Damele

Maximilien Labaudy

Maximilien Labaudy

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

MA Photography Degree Show 2017

Vishal Kumaraswamy

Vishal Kumaraswamy

<b>Dario Srbic, alum</b>

It is not about painting with light, but about practicing philosophy in photography. This course has a potential to turn upside down how one thinks about and practices photography.

Dario Srbic, alum

Course detail

MA Photography is a ground-breaking course that explores the possibilities of photography driven by artistic practice and practice-led research. Based in the world famous King Cross campus in central London, the course is making full use of the state-of-the-art facilities to redefine photography as central to 21st century art and culture. You will nurture your practice by working across a number of disciplines combining photography with performance, installation, new media, smart technology, fashion and site-specific work. In creating work that is visually exciting and intellectually compelling, you will develop as an international art practitioner ready for work in the cultural sector.

About the course

  • MA Photography is a two year (60 weeks) part-time course structured as two consecutive periods of 30 weeks each. Course attendance is three days in year one, and two days in year two. In year one we expect you to commit an average of 40 hours per week. In year two, your study is predominantly self-managed but we expect you to commit an average of 20 hours per week. Across the two years, you're expected to commit an average of 30 hours per week.
  • MA Photography is credit rated at 180 credits, and comprises two units: Unit one (60 credits) and Unit two (120 credits).
  • Students successfully achieving Unit one may exit at this point with the award of Postgraduate Certificate.
  • Both units must be passed in order to achieve the MA, but the classification of the award of MA derives from the mark for Unit two only.

Course rationale

MA Photography understands photography as plural, trans disciplinary and multimedial global language that is situated at the core of contemporary visual art practice. The deep integration of theory and practice offers supportive environment in which to explore photography as form of expression that interlaces fine art, technology, aesthetics, politics and new media. Opportunities to research photography as a central component of discursive practices within the arts, the sciences and the construction of personal identities, provide students with tools to work in fields related to artistic production and the extended creative industries.

Unlike many other photography courses, this course is not committed to one notion of what photography is or to one form of media specific practice. Instead of working from a predefined notion of photography, the course aims to provide students with the tools to locate their own practice within a broad range of contemporary visual forms. 

Course structure

The course is trans-disciplinary by design with emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ and developing individual but engaged practice that spans the fields of fine art, visual media, contemporary philosophy and online and offline techniques. Through an extensive program of mentoring by contemporary artists, curators and philosophers, students are continuously challenged to examine their work in light of the current developments in the medium and to bring it close to the real world uses of photography.

Members of the technical team are working alongside lecturers and tutors in delivering a rich program of study that does not separate technical and theoretical areas but emphasises the interdependence of production with conceptual study. Students are given opportunities to explore practice as a fusion of technical and philosophical concerns in workshops which follow up on issues raised in seminars.

Philosophy of the visual image and the understanding of photography as a melting pot of political, aesthetic and social concepts are embedded throughout the course.

In the first year the students attend a core weekly install and crit of their practical work, and a weekly critical seminar where contemporary philosophy is discussed in relation to their own practice. The seminar program feeds into practice and the final dissertation that is integral to practice and jointly taught. Specific emphasis is placed on exploring New Media and post-internet as the language of contemporary art practice through focused theory seminars and workshops in physical computing, metadata, augmented reality and social/networked media.

Exhibiting forms one of the core pedagogical tools. Experimental forms of exhibition are taking place throughout the course on a number of levels, including exhibiting on handheld devices, TV screens, site-specific installations, publication and performances.

Unit One: What is practice? (in photography)

We inhabit an age in which “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” – in the words of William Butler Yeats – but at the same ‘things’ also come back together to form new, previously unimagined configurations that are both the stuff of fantasy and of nightmares. It is an age in which dizzying advances in artificial intelligence and computer technologies are intertwined with cultural and economic extremes. The complex and challenging landscape of contemporary photography in all its aspects: post-internet, digital, networked, mediated, visual, performative, public, political is inextricably linked with this. Indeed, photography – in all its hybridised forms – is often found at the core of our understanding of ‘who we are’ in this challenging and mutable world: what we are made of; our relationship to other human and non-human entities; how we fight, play, find pleasure, take sides, make things ‘change’, make things ‘work’, make things heal or bleed, take on colour, find the beat.

This unit provides a detailed engagement with your practice through experimentation, questioning, play and dialogue.

It is organised around several key components that focus on different aspects of your developing practice. The main aim of these components is to provide you, the postgraduate student, with the tools necessary to exercise your curiosity and imagination about visual imaging. These tools will guide you in the task of finding your voice and your signature style in order to get to grips with the world of art, new media and technology, or in a word: photography.

Unit Two: Research and practice

Research and Practice is the second and final unit of the course. In this unit you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your own mastery of photography through developing an independent project as a fusion of your analytical study and practice.

The first 15 weeks focus on your developing practice according to questions raised in your project proposal and the aims of your research paper. Weekly seminars will help you to clarify your research interests and to formulate the key questions for the Research Paper. Experimental installs and crits will provide a space for re-negotiation of practice and for developing a proposal for the final exhibition.

During year two you’re supported in the production of a body of work for exhibition, and in the completion of your agreed written work. Support takes the form of tutorials, technical advice and bookable workshops.

By the end of Unit two your exhibited and written work reflects a synthesis of reflexive, conceptual, practical and professional abilities. Your mark for Unit two determines the classification of your MA award.

MA Contemporary Photography; Practices and Philosophies Programme Specification 2018/19 (PDF, 306KB)

Facilities

  • 3D Large: Wood

    Find out more about our wood workshops

  • Digital Access Print

    Find out more about our digital print facilities at King's Cross

  • Wood

    Find out more about the Wood facility at Archway.

Staff

Course Leader: Dr Daniel Rubinstein
Tutor: Suky Best
Research Paper Tutor: Dr Anke Hennig
Tutor: Dr Pat Naldi 
Visiting Lecturer: Jon Rafman – Canadian artist and filmmaker known for exhibiting found images from Google Street View. 
Visiting Lecturer: Dave Lewis – Photographic artist and curator.
Visiting Lecturer: Jo Longurst – Photographic artist and writer. Winner of the Grange Prize 2012.
Visiting Lecturer: Alexa Wright – Photographic artist working with digital and mixed media.

How to apply

2017/18 entry
Please note, applications for 2017/18 entry for this course are now closed.

2018/19 entry
Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level);
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details;
  • Employment history.

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Indicative project proposal

To apply for this MA we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your understanding of contemporary art practice and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course. Please write between 800 and 1,000 words.

MA Photography welcomes discussion with potential applicants about the appropriateness of their initial proposals. We encourage applicants to use every opportunity to make contact with us before applying.

Portfolio

You’ll need to submit a digital portfolio containing up to 20 images of your work and/or relevant documentary material. Please label your work carefully with your name, plus titles if appropriate. Your portfolio should evidence your current creative practice.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

What happens next

We read and consider all application forms.  Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview (either in person or by skype).

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

2017/18 entry
Please note, applications for 2017/18 entry for this course are now closed.

2018/19 entry
Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.

Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

You can apply for this course using our online application form – the link to this is below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level);

Current and/or previous education and qualification details;

Employment history.

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

Immigration History form (for international applications only)

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an Immigration History form.

We will email you an Immigration History form when we receive your application.

You will need to send this back to us, by email, with copies of the following documents:

  • Your passport photo page;
  • Your current visa (if you have one) and any previous UK study visas;
  • Your current English language certificate (if you have this);
  • Your academic qualifications (A2, IB, high school diploma, foundation etc. - if completed. Translated into English).

Please note: If you do not complete and return your Immigration History form we will not be able to proceed with your application.

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the online application form, we will send you a confirmation email.

You will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Indicative project proposal

To apply for this MA we require that you write an initial project proposal. This proposal should demonstrate your understanding of contemporary art practice and thinking. The course sets no boundaries to the fields of possible interest, and it is understood that proposals will evolve and change during the course. Please write between 800 and 1,000 words.

MA Photography welcomes discussion with potential applicants about the appropriateness of their initial proposals. We encourage applicants to use every opportunity to make contact with us before applying.

Portfolio

You’ll need to submit a digital portfolio containing up to 20 images of your work and/or relevant documentary material. Please label your work carefully with your name, plus titles if appropriate. Your portfolio should evidence your current creative practice.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience.

Start your application now

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form. 

What happens next

We read and consider all application forms.  Subject to your meeting the entry requirements and consideration of your application form, preliminary selection is based on your documentation of work and supporting information. You may then be invited to attend an interview (either in person or by skype). 

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online forms you should use to submit the extra information required.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

Entry requirements

Selection to MA Photography is determined by the quality of your application (including a written indicative project proposal and supporting material). You'll also need to meet the minimum entry requirements as indicated below, but please note that these qualifications alone won't be sufficient to secure entry to the course.

Minimum entry requirements

We consider applicants who by the start of the course will have achieved an educational level equivalent to an Honours degree. You can demonstrate this educational level by:

  • Having a relevant Honours degree or an equivalent academic qualification;
  • Having a professional qualification recognised as equivalent to an Honours degree;
  • Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
  • A combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning that, taken together, can be shown to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required. 

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The English language requirement for entry for this course is:

  • IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. 

For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

What we look for

We are seeking imaginative, resourceful individuals who are committed to exploring photography.

Selection criteria

Your application, indicative project proposal and supporting material will be assessed for:

  • The quality of the applicant's practice;
  • The appropriateness of the applicant's skills, experience and practice to the area of interest identified for development in the course;
  • Effective communication of intentions, purposes and issues;
  • The level of contextual awareness and expression of perspective;
  • The potential for realisation of the stated objectives within the timeframe of the course and envisaged resources;
  • Evidence that the applicant has the confidence and ability to benefit from and contribute to the learning environment at postgraduate level.

The interview (for applicants selected following submission of the application form, indicative project proposal and supporting work) is used to evaluate the extent to which a candidate demonstrates:

  • A thoughtful and responsible approach to practice;
  • The capacity for independent research;
  • Appropriate critical and reflective abilities;
  • An awareness of the cultural and social context within which they practice;
  • Appropriate communication skills;
  • A preparedness to participate collaboratively in debate, practice and presentation.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £4,500 per year. Please note that fees for second year of study will be subject to inflationary increase.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

International fee

Tuition fees for 2017/18: £11,510 per year.

£500 per annum discount for all students who have completed a PG Dip/Cert or an undergraduate course including Grad Dip/Cert, at UAL.

You can pay course tuition fees in instalments for this course.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.

Accommodation

Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

Our postgraduate Art Programme offers valuable opportunities to build transferable professional knowledge and skills. The exchange of perspectives with others through shared units, reading groups and debates helps establish stimulating and productive networks.

The focus on proposing and developing a major independent programme of study is supported by a shared professional practice lecture series featuring guest speakers plus opportunities to attend symposia and critique work in progress across subject areas. The Postgraduate Art Programme has wide-ranging links with professional organisations, collections and galleries, and includes opportunities for interaction and networking according to your personal career direction.

MA Photography explores photography as a visual language feeding into a wide range of professional arenas and related disciplines. MA Photography graduates are equipped to work in the gallery world, fine art publishing, book publishing and advertising, in London and beyond. They may also progress academically to research (PhD study) and teaching. Equipped with industry and cultural knowledge, you'll leave us knowing your worth in the art and business worlds, at home in international gallery or commercial contexts and able to initiate substantial cultural projects.

Recent postgraduate photography alumni activities and achievements range widely. Clarisse d'Arcimoles, Emer Gillespie and Ozant Kamaci were selected for freshfacedandwildeyed 2010 at the Photographers Gallery, London. Kristina Kostadinova won the non-pro architecture category at the International Photography Awards 2010 and was a finalist in the Discovery of the Year at the Lucie Awards. Ozant Kamaci won the AOP Student Photographer Award 2009 and was shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards 2010. Justina Burnett became the digital assistant to Alessandra Sanguinetti at Magnumphotos workshop NYC, 2010. Katherine Green was commissioned by 'The Road to 2012' project to work with community groups within London's five Olympic boroughs. Chloe Jafe was appointed Advertising and Corporate Assistant at Magnumphotos. Hester Jones is part of the Westminster Arts 'Resonate' programme using photography to work with people with mental health problems.