• CollegeLCC
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length1 year 3 months full time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

MA Photography

Applications closed
Applications for 2017/18 entry to this course are now closed and will re-open in Autumn 2017 for 2018/19 entry.

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. 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

Student films and profiles

Student Voices: Jacqueline Taylor – MA Photography

Student Voices: Stephen Rusk – MA Photography

Student Voices: Ana Maria Guerra – MA Photography

Student Voices: Ana Escobar – MA Photography

Student Voices: Rosie Holtom – MA Photography

Postgraduate Shows 2016: Media School

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.

Course units

Each course is divided into units, which are credit-rated. The minimum unit size is 20 credits. The MA course structure involves six units, totalling 180 credits.

Autumn, Term One

Unit summary:

  • Unit 1: 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

Unit summary:

  • Unit 2: Taking an Idea Forward (40 credits)
  • Unit 3: Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

Unit 2 builds on the experience of Unit 1 allowing you to consolidate and develop your knowledge and experience. In it you will focus on and further develop one of your ideas for the body of work explored in Unit 1. 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

Unit summary:

  • Unit 2: Taking an Idea Forward (continued)
  • Unit 4: Resolving Outcomes (60 credits)

Autumn, Term Four

Unit summary:

  • Unit 4: Resolving Outcomes (continued)

In Unit 4 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, course work, 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.

Staff

Teaching Staff 

Dr Wiebke LeisterPaul Tebbs

Lecturers 

Sophy Rickett, Dr Nicky CouttsAndy Marsh

Visiting Speakers

There is also an extensive programme of visiting speakers and research events.

How to apply

2017/18 entry
Please note, this course has places available for UK and EU applicants only for 2017/18 entry.

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

You can begin your application 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 course Entry Requirements section to learn about the application process, including detailed guidance on the extra information we will ask you to provide later in the process. 

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.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask 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

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

From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

  • Personal statement
  • CV
  • Portfolio
  • Project Proposal

The course leader will then review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application, from January 2017.

The admissions team will be in touch after that to let you know the outcome and to guide you through the next steps.z

Start your application now

Applications are accepted, and offers made, throughout the year. Early application is advised.

Apply 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.

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.

Entry requirements

Recruitment and admissions

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 suggest that you acquire these before joining the course.

Language requirements (International/EU)

Please provide a CV detailing your education and 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.

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 5.5 in each of the four skills is required for this course.
  • 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.

Selection criteria

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:

  1. Firstly they will look at your qualifications and transcript (or projected results)
  2. Then they will scrutinise your personal statement, portfolio, project proposal, and any previous work experience

Academic or professional reference are not required for this course.

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

Personal statement

In the application form 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 photography, and a well-articulated rationale for joining the course.

All applicants will be expected to submit a portfolio and project proposal with their application.

CV

Please provide a CV detailing your education and 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.

Portfolio advice

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 may be accompanied by an explanatory statement about the projects of no more than 300 words. Your portfolio should indicate that you have an understanding of project-based visual inquiry.

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 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 surgeries

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.

Interview advice

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will take place at LCC, or via Skype/telephone.

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£8,500 (Full-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£17,920 (Full-time)

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount
Course fees may be paid in instalments

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

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:

Scholarships search

Career paths

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.