- Start dateSeptember 2018
- Course length1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)
MA Photography at London College of Communication offers a variety of conceptual approaches to thinking, writing and exhibiting photography. As a research-led course, it equips students for a wider inquiry into the interdisciplinary aspects of the photographic medium by developing a single exhibition project over the 15-months duration of the course.
About this course
While based in the still image, MA Photography at London College of Communication embraces cross-media and cross-genre practice. You'll develop a distinctive body of work, building a relationship between experimental practice, theoretical contextualisation and active research processes.
Graduates go on to work successfully across fine art, commerce and academia and have won a host of high profile international awards and prizes.
Reasons to apply
- MA Photography encourages active involvement with current photographic research including the Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC) and the Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub both based at LCC.
- Hear from high-profile artists, theorists and curators as part of our guest lecture series.
- You will have access to excellent analogue and digital facilities and specialist equipment that will help you to expand your creative vocabulary.
- For more than 15 years our graduates have developed distinctive practices that gain recognition across the creative industries as well as being respected as showing artists, inventive editors and critical writers.
Student films and profiles
- Spotlight on MA Photography and MA Photojournalism & Documentary Photography // LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016
Content and structure
MA Photography at London College of Communication offers a variety of conceptual approaches to thinking, writing and exhibiting photography.
It is a research-led course that equips students for a wider inquiry into the photographic medium, using a single exhibition project which students develop over the 15-months and gives students the chance to produce a distinctive body of work, by supporting their individual practice through encouraging visual experimentation, theoretical contextualisation, and active research processes.
Situated within the Media School, we understand photography as an interdisciplinary medium, that expands as an effect on, and of culture. As part of the respective project development, we interrogate the agency of a piece of work and its relationship with the viewer, in a post-documentary environment, alongside thinking about non-representational strategies in installation.
We encourage students to work experimentally and produce work that tests the boundaries of the medium, encompassing the still image, video, installation, performance and digital media, and culminating in a public exhibition.
The Media School offers a longstanding tradition of photography education with a highly regarded research culture, and the course has close ties with the Photography and the Archive Research Centre and The Stanley Kubrick Archive, both based at LCC. Located close to central London, the course has excellent links with galleries, museums and archives.
MA Photography attracts a broad range of practitioners, from backgrounds in fine art photography, documentary photography, commercial photography and other areas of media practice. They are united by a desire to develop a distinctive personal practice with a high level of conceptual resolution.
There are both analogue and digital photography facilities at LCC, including colour and black-and-white darkrooms, photographic studios and a Mac-based digital suite including Imacon scanners, as well as medium and large format analogue cameras, digital cameras, HD video cameras and lighting equipment. Students also have access to other technical facilities such as the 3D workshop or screenprinting.
The course runs for 45 weeks from September to December (15 months full time, across a four-term model) and attendance is 2 days per week. The course is demanding of time and commitment in addition to attendance, and you will need considerable capacity for self-directed study to fulfil the aims of the programme.
Please note: The course assumes that you are technically proficient and able to research and develop any further skills you require. Technical tuition is restricted to the tutorial support of individual projects. If you need to acquire a significant skill base, then you are advised to do so before you apply for the course.
Staff, current students, and alumni frequently post updates on the LCC MA Photography Facebook group.
The Sproxton Photography Award
The Sproxton Photography Award is given each year to one student in the MA Photography Final Show, as judged by a panel consisting of an industry professional and MA Photography Alumni. The winner receives £1000 to help them kickstart their photography career.
The prize was set up in memory of Andrew Sproxton, who together with Professor Val Williams, curator, historian and writer, and now Director of the Photography and the Archive Research Centre here at LCC, founded the Impressions Gallery in York in 1972.
Final Exhibition Catalogues
MA Photography at LCC has been running since 1997 with its first graduating cohort exhibiting in autumn 1998, MAP16 being the 18th MA Photography final show. The exhibition catalogues are produced by the graduating students, who also put together a final show website to showcase their work.
Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves four units, totalling 180 credits.
Autumn, Term One
- Exploring the Possibilities (60 credits)
Following an Induction Week, you will begin to develop a body of work with tutorial support. This is the practice that defines your assessment submissions and encompasses technical, theoretical and professional considerations. You will also receive a series of critical context seminars to help you start developing your critical context paper synopsis.
Spring, Term Two
- Taking an Idea Forward (40 credits)
- Collaborative Unit (20 credits)
Taking an Idea Forward builds on the experience of Exploring the Possibilities unit, allowing you to consolidate and develop your knowledge and experience. You will focus on and further develop one of your ideas for the body of work explored in the Exploring the Possibilities unit. You'll also continue to develop a critical framework for your work through critical context seminars and the submission of the critical context paper. Increasingly, students take responsibility for leading seminars and group tutorials with staff acting as facilitators.
In the Collaborative Unit, you will develop an interim show of your work together with your peers and other input.
Summer, Term Three
- Taking an Idea Forward (continued)
- Resolving Outcomes (60 credits)
Autumn, Term Four
- Resolving Outcomes (continued)
In the Resolving Outcomes unit, you'll undertake the resolution, finalisation, and presentation of the body of work in an exhibition or any other outcomes you decide on, individually or as a group. Through both practice and your written submission of critical rationale, you will demonstrate a reflective understanding of the medium, the critical and professional context, and the position of your practice within it.
You will need a high level of commitment and self-management to achieve the course outcomes. In addition to formal teaching sessions, seminar work, presentations, and tutorial work you'll also be expected to engage in independent research, writing, coursework, and the origination, development and completion of the body of work, for which both tutor and peer support is provided through individual tutorials, group discussions, and peer review.
If you are unable to continue or decide to exit the course, there are two possible exit awards. A Postgraduate Certificate will be awarded on successful completion of the first 60 credits and a Postgraduate Diploma will be awarded on successful completion of the first 120 credits.
How to apply
We ask all applicants to complete an online application and upload additional digital items, via the Apply now link, below. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process and additional the items you would also need to supply.
All applications will be considered by the course team who will consider key elements when making a decision on your suitability to join the course:
- Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
- Secondly, they will review your personal statement, portfolio and study/project proposal
There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.
REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR ALL POSTGRADUATE COURSE APPLICATIONS
You will need to enter the following information in the online application:
- 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
- Personal statement
Before submitting your application, you will need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the application form. Once you have submitted the online application, we will send you a confirmation email.
Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will ask you for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).
EXTRA INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR APPLICATIONS TO THIS COURSE
You will be asked to supply:
- Study/project proposal
After you have submitted your application, the course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview or interview you via Skype, and will then make a decision on your application.
The admissions team will be in touch soon after that to let you know the outcome, and to guide you through the next steps.
START YOUR APPLICATION NOW
Applications are accepted and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.
The online application 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 press submit.
As you progress through the application process we will send you emails with important information, so do check your inbox regularly (and junk folder, just in case).
The course team welcomes applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. Applicants are expected to demonstrate sufficient prior knowledge of and/or potential in photography to be able to successfully complete the programme of study and/ or have an academic or professional background in a relevant subject.
MA Photography does not include technical teaching (although it does include technical advice and support) and if there are specific programmes or techniques that you need to acquire in order to realise your creative ideas on MA Photography then we would advise prior acquisition of these before applying to the course.
The course team also welcomes students with relevant experience or those who may have previously worked in industry.
Educational level may be demonstrated by:
- Honours degree (named above);
- Possession of equivalent qualifications;
- Prior experiential learning, the outcome of which can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required;
- Or a combination of formal qualifications and experiential learning which, taken together, can be demonstrated to be equivalent to formal qualifications otherwise required.
Language requirements (International/EU)
All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, we strongly recommend you let us know your English language test score in your application. If you have booked a test or are awaiting your results, please indicate this in your application. When asked to upload a CV as part of your application, please include any information about your English test score.
- IELTS 6.5, with 5.5 in each four skills is required.
- If your first language is not English, you can check you have achieved the correct IELTS level in English on the Language Requirements page.
For further details regarding international admissions and advice please visit the International Applications page.
Offers will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:
- Earlier experience of project-based visual inquiry
- A capacity for independent research-led study on PG level
- A strong project proposal ready to be explored on the course
- Knowledge of conceptual approaches to photography in contemporary exhibition context
- An understanding of the need for a critical and analytical approach to own area of practice
Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If English is not your first language it is important that you also include in your CV details of your most recent English language test score.
Personal statement advice
You will be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Photography. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate critical knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.
The personal statement is a very important part of your application and should demonstrate to the course team that you are interested in the subject and that you have thought very carefully about why you wish to study on the course.
Ensure that your personal statement it is well written, clear and free of any spelling mistakes. It is your chance to impress the course team by showing a strong interest in the subject, demonstrating what you feel you would bring to the course, your appreciation of what the course can offer you and how you feel it might help you in the future.
This can be demonstrated through work experience, previous studies and your personal experience.
Study Proposal/Project Proposal advice
Your project proposal should be no more than 300 words indicating your intended practice project. You should include accompanying research for a specific project that you plan to be developed on the course and how the MA is going to further your understanding of conceptual photographic practice.
Your proposal should be a feasible, researched outline of a specific project that you are going to photograph and the reasons why. Try to elaborate on your ideas for the project to give us a sense of subject, style, approach, concept, research, and how much you know about contemporary fine art photography.
Portfolio and interview advice
All applicants will be expected to submit an electronic portfolio as part of their application. Applicants will be asked to upload a digital portfolio of 10-20 images, with prints digitised (from A4 size).
Your portfolio should indicate an understanding of project-based visual inquiry. It is preferable to show projects rather than individual images.
Applicants from a commercial background are encouraged to develop personal projects before they apply. Your portfolio should indicate that you have an understanding of project-based visual inquiry.
Your portfolio may be accompanied by an explanatory statement about the projects of no more than 300 words. (Please upload this statement as one of your images, or alternatively paste the statement text into the ‘title’ of one of your images.)
If you have links to web projects or media assets, please note these in your CV.
For help and advice about what to include in your portfolio or project proposal we offer MA Photography portfolio surgeries. Dates are available to book when available on the course page under the Open Days aside.
Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.
Deferring an offer
If you are offered a place for 2018/19 but wish to defer to 2019/20, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit and meet any offer conditions in order to defer. In all cases, deferred places will be held for one year.
Making a deferred application (during 2018/19 for entry in 2019/20)
Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. Immigration rules prevent International applicants from making a deferred application.
What happens next?
Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.
Fees and funding
Home / EU fee
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.
Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.
Scholarships and awards
A range of scholarships, bursaries and awards are available to postgraduate students at UAL.
Postgraduate loans of up to £10,000 are now available for eligible UK and EU students. A full list of eligibility criteria and information on applying can be found on the postgraduate loans webpage.
Home / EU and International students
Funding opportunities available for this course:
MA Photography prepares graduates to research, develop and produce an individual fine art project to a high exhibition standard. They will also have developed the practical, critical and conceptual skills needed to work at a high level in related areas of photography and media practice. The course also provides graduates with a critical and professional understanding of the contemporary photography and fine art sectors which will prepare them for a number of career directions within the arts and media.
Graduates of the course go on to be successful exhibiting fine artists as well as documentary and commercial photographers, gallerists, curators and writers. Many prefer to find ways of supporting their art practice through combining it with teaching, commercial photography or other related activities.
Graduate destinations include; organisational roles in independent and publicly funded photography bodies, curators, archivists and gallerists, art buyers, journal editors, academics at secondary, FE and university level, and PhD studies to develop their practice as research.
Students are also encouraged to join the MA Photography Alumni Group to share the future development of their practice.
Alumni achievements include:
- Winners of awards and competitions such as the Sony World Photography Awards, Deutsche Bank Photography Awards, Jerwood Photography Prize, Nikon Endframe Awards, Magenta Foundation Emerging Photographer Awards, Pavilion Commissions and the Arts Council and Rhubarb-Rhubarb Bursaries.
- Peter Ainsworth, alumnus from MA Photography 2008 won the Dazed/Converse Emerging Artist of the Year Award 2010. Renhui Zhao of MAP 10 won the Sony World Photography Award for Constructed and Conceptual Photography 2010.
- Alumna Alicja Dobrucka and Renhui Zhao won the Deutsche Bank Photography Award, in 2010 and 2011.
- MA Photography alumni have been selected for major exhibitions such as Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Fresh Faced & Wild Eyed, Kay Saatchi’s Anticipation, the Prix Pictet and ReGeneration2 at the Musee de l’Elysee at Lausanne.
- Our graduates have exhibited in galleries such as Yossi Milo Gallery (New York), Impressions Gallery (Bradford), National Media Museum (Bradford) and Tate Britain.
- Alumni have had books accepted by major photographic publishers such as Dewi Lewis.
- Alumni have been included in leading photography collections such as the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
- Graduates have gained posts as freelance curators and in-curatorial posts at places including Autograph ABP and the Whitechapel Gallery.
- We have produced alumni who have become co-founders and editors of academic journals Philosophy of Photography and the Journal for Artistic Research.
- Graduates have been taken on as assistants to the painter Anselm Kiefer in the production of a new body of work for a major exhibition in 2012.
- Some of our graduates have gone on to study academic and practice-led PhDs at the RCA, Goldsmiths and UAL.
- A significant number of our graduates teach on HE photography and fine art courses.
The course has an active relationship with the art and photography world. Curators and critics regularly take part in tutorials, crits and workshops. In addition, we have strong links with photographers' agents, photographic agencies and art buyers in areas of the commercial sector which are interested in fine art photography.
UAL Jobs and Careers
UAL has a number of services and networks that hold regular workshops and careers fairs developed to help you establish and promote your career in the arts, design, or media. These include:
Careers and Employability are the University's dedicated careers and professional practice service. We help UAL students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries, find jobs, set up a business, and sell their work. We run events throughout the year on all aspects of the career journey.
Creative Opportunities jobs board helps graduates and students find job and internship opportunities and connect with organisations and companies in the creative sector. We post jobs and paid internships, part-time work, freelance contracts and full-time opportunities.