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MA Photography

Start date
September 2019
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

Course summary

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.

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 Work

Interview with Rosie Holtom

Rosie talks us through her work in the London College of Communication Postgraduate Shows 2016

Interview with Ana Maria Guerra

Ana talks us through her work in the LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016.

Interview with Jacqueline Taylor

Jacqueline talks us through her work at the MA Photography Postgraduate Shows 2016

Interview with Ana Escobar

Ana talks us through her work at the MA Photography Postgraduate Shows 2016

Interview with Stephen Rusk

Stephen talks about his project True Events are Clean at the LCC Postgraduate Shows 2016

MA Photography Alumni Group

MA Photography Alumni Group at LCC is designed to consolidate the relationship between MA Photography graduating students and its alumni, providing a network and a space to develop projects and exchange ideas.

Photography and the Contemporary Imaginary Research Hub

Research hub that brings together practitioners and theorists to explore and promote photography as a mode of imaginary thought and its relation to a collective imaginary.

Latest news

Course details

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.

What can you expect?

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 screen-printing.

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 a 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 exhibitions catalogues

MA Photography at LCC has been running since 1997 with its first graduating cohort exhibiting in autumn 1998, MAP17 being the 19th MA Photography final show. The exhibition catalogues are produced by the graduating students, who also put together a final show website MA Photography 2017 to showcase their work.

MAP17 Catalogue (PDF - 2.6MB)

MAP16 Catalogue (PDF - 3.7MB)

MAP15 Catalogue (PDF - 6.4MB)

MAP14 Catalogue (PDF - 930KB)

MAP13 Catalogue (PDF - 2.7MB)

MAP12 Catalogue (PDF - 5.6MB)

Course units

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

Unit summary:

  • 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:

  • 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

Unit summary:

  • Taking an Idea Forward (continued)
  • Resolving Outcomes (60 credits)

Autumn, term four

Unit summary:

  • 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.

Learning and teaching methods

This is developed through:

  • Lectures and seminars, student-led seminars and tutorials, visiting speakers and study visits.
  • Critical context seminars explore and build your knowledge and understanding of contemporary practice and theoretical models.
  • The development of a critical framework for the body of work is supported through the critical context seminars
  • During Unit Two there is a shift towards group tutorials with visiting tutors such as curators, critics, writers and editors as well as photographers and artists.
  • Professional support is also provided through visiting speakers and services provided by SEE (Student Enterprise and Employability), including portfolio and business start-up advice.
  • You are encouraged to develop the research/practice or theory/practice model most appropriate to your own body of work.
  • The inter-relationship of theory and practice is central to the programme. The development of a critical framework and research base for the body of work is supported through the critical context seminars and tutorials.
  • Whatever the chosen research/practice model, a continuing process of critical reflection is central to the development of the work, and is embodied in the submission of a written self-evaluation at the end of each Unit.
  • Technical support is provided through tutorials and inductions.
  • The emphasis in all of the course learning and teaching methods is on your active participation in the learning process, and you are expected to contribute to individual or group sessions and to share insights from your studies and, where relevant, your own professional experience. In some cases, you will be asked to present an aspect of your work to other course members in either a formal or informal context. Interaction with peers and group learning are central to the programme of study.

Assessment methods

In the critical context paper you establish the research basis and conceptual foundations for the body of work. After an initial proposal; it is developed throughout the course and submitted in two stages for the unit one and unit two assessments.

Your project proposal is written in three stages – initial project proposal, intermediate project proposal, and final project proposal – and submitted at the beginning of the course as well as for every assessment in order to propose the development for the next unit.

The critical rationale is a contextualising statement presented with the final exhibition. It may take a variety of forms from the descriptive to the elliptical, but must provide the final version of the critical framework for the body of work;

The processes of research and the production of the body of work, provide the opportunity for you to engage in periods of significant independent, self-directed study based on systematic creative and contextual research into an area of personal interest. You are required to keep a research dossier to map your research process;

Unit Three, the Collaborative Unit, will give you the chance to work with others on the production of an interim show.

You are expected to present the required work in a way which satisfies the relevant assessment criteria and demonstrates and develops your own professional interests;

Assessment of the body of work is holistic. The separate elements within that unit – research, practice, and critical writing – are all used to come to a view as to the standard of work overall in relation to the unit learning outcomes, and in particular the degree of resolution in the relationship between practice, research and critical stance;

In the last Unit Four you undertake the resolution and finalisation of your body of work and its appropriate presentation in the public domain through an exhibition or other outcomes you decide on, individually or as a group. You will be expected to 5 contribute fully to the process of organisation, production and promotion of the overall presentation.

Changes to courses

Information provided by the University is accurate at the time of first publication. Courses, however, remain subject to change. Changes may be necessary to improve the quality of educational services; in order to meet the latest requirements of a commissioning or accrediting body, bring course content in line with best practice activities across the Higher Education sector, respond to student feedback, and/or due to a lack of student demand for certain units or options.
Events may arise outside of the reasonable control of the University which leads to changes to courses. Such events may include industrial action, civil disorder, severe weather, and changes in applicable laws and/or safety requirements. If you have accepted a place on a course, we shall notify you of any changes as soon as reasonably practicable.

Webpage updates

We will update this webpage from time to time with new information as it becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact a member of the course team.


Lee  Mackinnon

Lee Mackinnon

Joint Acting Course Leader, MA Photography

Paul  Tebbs

Paul Tebbs

Joint Acting Course Leader, MA Photography


Jananne Al-Ani, Douglas Fishbone, Claire Hiscock, Dr David Mollin, Dallas Seitz, Val Williams.

Visiting speakers

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

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

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 (or equivalent) is required, with 5.5 in each of the four skills.
  • 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

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.

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.


Deferring an offer

If you are offered a place for 2019/20 but wish to defer to 2020/21, information on how to do this and who to contact can be found in your offer letter. Additionally, International applicants should pay the deposit 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 2020/21)

Home/EU applicants are permitted to make a deferred application. International applicants are not permitted to make a deferred application.

Making your application

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.
  • CV.
  • 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:

  • Portfolio.
  • 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.

Apply now

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).

After you apply

Successful applicants will be guided through the rest of our admissions stages and towards enrolment on the course.

Fees & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,890 (2018/19).

UAL alumni receive a £1,000 discount

Course fees may be paid in instalments

International fee

£19,930 (2018/19).

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.


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:

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

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.

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