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Postgraduate

MA Fine Art

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Image courtesy of UAL Sian Fan, Garden 3
College
Central Saint Martins
Start date
September 2023
Course length
Two years (60 weeks)
Extended full-time

On MA Fine Art, you will critically address what it means to practice as an artist today.

How does your work engage with wider social and cultural concerns? What is at stake in your practice? This course is part of the Art programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Studio community: The MA Fine Art studios are in an independent building at Archway. Our studio community mixes autonomous practice and collective responsibilities, individual workspaces and shared project space. You will have access to workshops and facilities both at Archway and at the King's Cross campus.
  • Exchange and collaboration: We encourage cross-course and transdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. Outside of the College, we have also worked with the Bilderfahrzeuge Research Project at the Warburg Institute, the British Museum, the Museum of London, Tate Modern, as well as galleries and artist-led spaces.
  • Postgraduate community: As a student on MA Fine Art you will also be part of the postgraduate community. This offers a wide range of opportunities to enrich your work on the course with input from across programmes, Colleges and disciplines.
  • Alumni network: Our graduates are an active community. They exhibit all over the world and participate in residency programmes, performance and film festivals. They practice in the community as well as pursuing careers as critics, writers, curators, teachers. Recent graduates of the course are regularly featured in exhibitions such as Bloomberg New Contemporaries and the Threadneedle Prize.

Open days

There are currently no open days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Tours:

If you're interested in checking out the facilities used by students on MA Fine Art, book your place for a Workshop Tour on Wednesday 7 December. Choose your preferred time and book your place:

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Course overview

MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins supports a broad range of experimental practices. It will test and challenge your practice, bringing it into a contemporary critical context. Our research-based teaching strategies actively seek to extend your experience and skills. We work responsively to your changing needs as individuals. We also encourage collaborative projects in relation to your work. 

The course is home to a wide range of international artists. Our students work in many media including painting, sculpture, print, installation, time-based and digital. The course offers an environment where complex social, cultural and artistic view-points are negotiated. Art-making in this context is a testing ground for ideas and media. Artists who study with us are open to change not just in expanding their practices but in creating new positions. Our focus is on student-centred learning, bringing your work and the way you make and imagine practice to critical scrutiny. You will develop your individual research into confident, sustained practice. 

We place an emphasis on the investigation of materials and processes of fabrication; the intelligence of the work is in the making and the approach to realisation. The MA Fine Art course itself has a track record of innovative teaching. There are opportunities to work with students from different disciplines and at different levels of qualification and this can happen through the extended, digital, campus as well as focused projects. Recent examples have investigated sound-based practices, archival work, virtual reality, photogrammetry, digital publication and animation. These projects strengthen critical engagement with contemporary technologies of making and dissemination. They also work as forums for cross-course and transdisciplinary exchange and collaboration. 

An intensive programme of study will develop your skills and knowledge of research methods in art-related fields. Your learning will extend across our postgraduate Art programme, offering opportunities to meet your peers and to become familiar with the College’s research community. On the course, we aim to provide you with a range of opportunities and learning experiences, giving you a broad skill-set to go out into professional life.

Course units

MA Fine Art supports the development of your thinking and practice. Teaching includes personal tutorials, group critique and external events. 

Unit 1: Enquiry and Process

In Unit 1, you will extend your technical vocabulary and will be introduced to workshops and online teaching events that will help you extend your own practice. Lectures and seminars will introduce research methodologies. You will also explore key theories and critical issues with a range of specialist staff and visiting speakers. Your work in this unit will lead to an agreed individual study programme for Unit 2.

Unit 2: Knowledge and Communication

The emphasis of Unit 2 is to develop your practical, conceptual and technological research. This is formulated through both practice or making  and your research paper. You will start with group sessions to facilitate discussion of shared ground and differing concerns. These sessions are designed to help you think through and formulate your ideas into a research paper proposal. The specific contexts and sources of your research will be presented as a focused, critical paper, helping to set the agenda for your work in Unit 3.

Unit 3: Communication and Realisation

During Unit 3 you will be supported in the production of a body of work for public dissemination and presentation. Throughout the unit, you will advance your professional and academic skills to a level that prepares you for post-graduation practices.

Collaborative projects

An important emphasis of the course is self-organisation and co-operative working. As you develop more independence over the course, you will have opportunities to engage with a variety of collaborative projects or practice that involves co-operation. These vary from year-to-year and have recently included international projects, external exhibitions and trans-disciplinary partnerships, publication and site-specific events; in both real and virtual environments. We have also worked across the Art programme, collaborating on projects with other MA and BA courses.

Lecture programme

There are a number of lectures to help contextualise and broaden your practice and its references. Postgraduate lectures offer the opportunity for all members of the MA-level Art programme to meet regularly for debate and engage with contemporary issues that touch all the disciplines. There are additionally, Art programme lectures  delivered by visiting artists. 

Interim exhibition

In the Spring term of Year 1 the interim exhibition/event brings together students from across the Central Saint Martins postgraduate Art programme. This initiative provides you with opportunities for directly sharing practice and experience with the broader post-graduate community across the art programme and test your ideas and approach to audience engagement with your work. 

Practice events

Units 2 and 3 include a series of practice events. These are an opportunity to curate and present finished work in a group context both online and in the studio project space. These events offer you practice and experience in the curation of work through collective endeavour and engage you in critical discussion with your peers. 

Postgraduate Online Art Auction

The auction happens in the Autumn term of Year 2, giving you a direct experience of a live commercial online auction. Alongside works donated by alumni and supporters, you will be asked to put up a piece for sale. All second-year students contribute to the preparation and running of the event. Proceeds contribute to the costs for the Interim event and  student Showcase activities.

Mode of study

MA Fine Art is offered in extended full-time mode which runs for 60 weeks over two academic years. You will be expected to commit 30 hours per week to study, which includes teaching time and independent study.

The course has been designed in this way to enable you to pursue studies, while also undertaking part-time employment, internships or care responsibilities.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 180 credits.

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Master of Arts (MA degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, an MA is Level 7. All units must be passed in order to achieve the MA but the classification of the award is derived from the mark for the final unit only.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Postgraduate Certificate (PG Cert) will normally be offered following the successful completion of 60 credits, or a Postgraduate Diploma (PG Dip) following the successful completion of 120 credits.

Learning and teaching methods

During your course you will engage with learning and teaching that includes both online and face-to-face modes. Typically, this will include:

  • Study statement 
  • Lecture programme 
  • Personal tutorials 
  • Collaborative and collective endeavour
  • Practice events 
  • Interim presentation and audience facing event
  • Postgraduate auction 
  • Research paper and concept groups 
  • Showcase

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • Fragile Place
    Fragile Place, Francesco Felletti, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • MA Fine Art CSM Graduate showcase.
    MA Fine Art CSM Graduate showcase., Donna Poingdestre, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • All of a Sudden I Held a Carcass in My Hands
    All of a Sudden I Held a Carcass in My Hands, Yulin Huang, 2022 MA Fine Art: Painting, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Recipe for Disaster
    Recipe for Disaster, Natasha Brown, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Upper/Lower
    Upper/Lower, Ruyi Ding, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Looking for willow blue chinas
    Looking for willow blue chinas, Shengjia Zhang, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Graduate Showcase: Sol Mussa
    Sol Mussa, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • 'Bapou's Bubbles: CLOSING DOWN SALE!'
    'Bapou's Bubbles: CLOSING DOWN SALE!', John Costi, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • MADLAB3
    MADLAB3, Sarah-Lou Sasha Maarek, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • A Universe
    A Universe, Eleni Maragaki, 2022 MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL

Student work

  • 160524_135.jpeg
    Alex Dipple
  • 160526_006.jpeg
    Kristaps Ancans
  • 160524_350.jpeg
    John Arnada
  • 160526_395.jpeg
    Imma
  • 160524_178.jpeg
    Christelle Viviers | Re[figuring]Dialectical Flatness_squaring the ground
  • degreeshow2016_204.jpeg
    Mustafa Boga | Army Time Memoir

MA Fine Art stories

Facilities

  • A large wooden construction on display in a workshop at Central Saint Martins
    Credit: Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • Close up image of a pink and wide oval 3D object
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • People working inside the digital print workshop at Central Saint Martins
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,
  • Printmaking at Kings Cross
    Image courtesy of Central Saint Martins,

Lecturer in Critical Studies Fine Art: Dr Owen Parry
Associate Lecturer: Marc Hulson
Associate Lecturer: Esi Eshun
Associate Lecturer: Candice Jacobs

Fees and funding

Home fee

£6,650 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£16,680 per year

This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students on courses lasting more than one year. For this course, you can pay tuition fees in instalments.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

  • An honours degree
  • Or an equivalent EU/international qualification.

AP(E)L – Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

  • Related academic or work experience
  • The quality of the personal statement
  • A strong academic or other professional reference

Or a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants according to potential and current ability in the following areas: 

  • The quality of your practice 
  • Ability to devise and develop a self-directed programme of study 
  • The ability to develop and contextualise work in written form 
  • The ability to analyse and evaluate in both visual and oral terms 
  • Eagerness to contribute to the learning environment at postgraduate level.

What we are looking for 

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

Apply now

You should apply by clicking on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • What is your relevant experience?
  • Do you have any relevant skills?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Study Proposal

Briefly describe the project that you are interested in undertaking and developing, including the following:

  • Overall aims, objectives and rationale:
    • Personal relevance of work proposed: refer to your skills / experimental / experiential background and plan for continuing professional / educational development
    • What areas of fine art will your work investigate, contribute to and/or challenge?
    • Briefly explain your proposed approach, demonstrating an awareness of planning and timescales, including any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them, and what resources will be involved, for example materials, processes, archives, collections etc.
    • Indicate the importance and relevance of previous related studies by providing evidence of key texts, (theories / approaches / sources)
    • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your project intentions.
  • Methods and resources
  • Sources and references
  • Any final points.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

The round 1 deadline has been changed to 19 December to give you more time to make your application.

When you'll hear from us

If this course requires a digital portfolio as part of the application process, we will contact you to invite you to submit this through UAL’s online submission tool, PebblePad. For Round 1 applications, you will need to submit your portfolio by 9 January 2023 at the latest and by 20 April 2023 for Round 2.

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in 2 rounds, after each application deadline date. This means you won’t hear from us about the outcome of your application until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by (at the latest) end of March and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by end of June 2023.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

There are two ways international students can apply:

You can only apply to the same course once per year.

If you are applying directly you click on the link to the direct form below. The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you do not 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.

Transfers

If you are currently studying at another institution and if you have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units and modules on your current postgraduate course and wish to continue your studies at Central Saint Martins, you can apply to transfer. The Admissions Tutor will consider applications on a case by case basis, subject to places being available. You must apply directly to the course via the course webpage as early as possible.

Please check our Student Transfer Policy for more important information and be ready to provide us with your current course handbook and unit transcripts.

You will need to provide an official document (translated into English) from your current university, explaining the learning outcomes of the units you have completed.

Deferred entry

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Visas

Read our visit our immigration and visa advice page to find out whether you need a visa to study.

Start your application now

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following information when completing the online application form:

General information

  • Personal details (including legal full name, preferred name, date of birth, nationality, addresses)
  • Current English language level
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Personal statement

Your personal statement should give us information about yourself and why you want to join the course (between 300-500 words) and should include:

  • What are you doing at the moment educationally, professionally, personally?
  • Why do you wish to study on this course?
  • What is your relevant experience?
  • Do you have any relevant skills?
  • Why do you think you are a suitable candidate for acceptance?

Study Proposal

Briefly describe the project that you are interested in undertaking and developing, including the following:

  • Overall aims, objectives and rationale:
    • Personal relevance of work proposed: refer to your skills / experimental / experiential background and plan for continuing professional / educational development
    • What areas of fine art will your work investigate, contribute to and/or challenge?
    • Briefly explain your proposed approach, demonstrating an awareness of planning and timescales, including any problems you may encounter and how you hope to solve them, and what resources will be involved, for example materials, processes, archives, collections etc.
    • Indicate the importance and relevance of previous related studies by providing evidence of key texts, (theories / approaches / sources)
    • Please briefly indicate any particular questions or further points in relation to your project intentions.
  • Methods and resources
  • Sources and references
  • Any final points.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online or through a UAL representative you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

We cannot consider your application if you do not provide all the information above.

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / portfolio / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

Application deadline

19 December 2022 and 3 April 2023

We are no longer accepting applications for 2022/23 entry to this course. Applications for 2023/24 entry will open in Autumn 2022.

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 rounds of applications. This is to ensure equal consideration and fairness for all of our applicants. You must apply for 19 December 2022 for Round 1 or by 3 April 2023 for Round 2.

We recommend you submit your application as early as possible before these deadlines to allow the Admissions team to resolve any initial queries about your application as quickly as possible.

When you'll hear from us

This course receives a high volume of applications. We need to make sure that we give all applications equal consideration, so the course team will review them in two rounds. This means that offers won’t be sent to successful applicants until after the relevant application deadline date. Outcomes for Round 1 will be released by 31 March 2022 and outcomes for Round 2 will be released by 30 June 2022.

Remember to check the outcome of your application in the UAL Portal. If you apply in Round 1 and don’t hear back from us, we will consider your application within Round 2.

Find out more about what happens after you apply.

After you apply

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you do, you will be invited to submit a portfolio through the UAL Portal.

Digital Portfolio

The portfolio should be no more than 25 pages comprising your work which should contain:

  • Your Video Task (details below) – the first page of your portfolio
  • Selected images/documentation of your work/research evidencing your current creative practice
  • Those working in film and video should submit a compilation show reel lasting not more than ten minutes, evidencing your current creative practice.

For more portfolio advice please visit our portfolio advice page.

Video task

We'd like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you:

  • Please speak clearly in English and face the camera
  • Your video task is submitted along with your portfolio
  • Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept

As part of your video task please respond to the following direction:

  • We would like you to identify one project from your portfolio that exemplifies your interest in Fine Art.  Describe the project and your role in creating it. Explain how this experience inspired you to apply to MA Fine Art at CSM.

Interview

Following the review of the portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process.  These applicants will be invited to an online interview.  The interview typically lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes and 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.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the outcome of your application through the UAL Portal.

Feedback

This course receives a high number of applications, and unfortunately we cannot provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you have had an interview.

If you would like to request feedback, please contact us via your portal.

Each and every application is carefully considered by a member(s) of our academic team. With so many strong applicants to choose from, it is often a very difficult decision to make. If you are unsuccessful, you are welcome to apply to us again in the future.

Deferring your place

This course accepts requests from offer holders to defer their place for one academic year. Deferral requests are granted on a first-come, first served basis until all deferral places are filled, or a deadline has been reached, whichever is sooner.

Careers

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.

Career possibilities for fine art graduates have expanded in recent years in line with increased opportunities in contemporary arts generally, in London and internationally. Alternative pathways for MA Fine Art graduates include residency programmes, performance festivals, teaching, and practising in the community. There are also opportunities in critical writing, curating and further research degree study.

Recent MA Fine Art alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject, with many of our fine art graduates prominent in galleries, competitions and events.

In 2007 Mark Melvin won the Nationwide Mercury Art Prize, Gemma Pardo was selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries, and Ayan Farrah founded Front Room Projects. In 2008 Sachiyo Nishimura was selected for New Contemporaries. In 2009 Maurice Citron was part of the Saatchi New Sensations show with his work being seen on Channel 4, and New Contemporaries showcased work by students Johanna Piesniewski and Hannes Ribarits. In 2010 graduates exhibited widely - shows included Bibi Katholm at 2 Taekker Space, Berlin, and the Vegas Gallery, London, and Filipo Caramazza at Hayles Gallery, London. Students Francesca Simon and Gwen Yip were shortlisted for the John Moores Painting Prize 2010.