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Postgraduate

MA Photography

Close up shot of moulded shapes in a variety of pastel colours
Brian Bi, MA Photography, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2023
Course length
1 year 3 months full-time (45 weeks across a four-term model)

On MA Photography, you’ll be supported to engage with the ways in which photographic images are created, disseminated, received, studied and understood by following 1 of 3 pathways: Expanded Practice, Curation or Publishing.

Subject to re-approval

This course is undergoing re-approval. This is the process by which we ensure the course continues to provide a high-quality academic experience. During re-approval there may be some changes to the course content displayed on this page. Please contact us if you have any questions about the course.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be on Wednesday 8 February. Book your place.

Scholarships and awards

Course overview

On MA Photography, you’ll be supported to engage with the ways in which photographic images are created, disseminated, received, studied, and understood by following 1 of 3 pathways:

  • Expanded Practice: On this pathway, you’ll develop a contemporary photographic art practice through projects underpinned by research, visual experimentation and theoretical contextualisation. Photography will be taught as an expanded practice that includes approaches including still and moving image, CGI, 3D scanning, automated and algorithmic images, and photogrammetry, and have opportunities to develop work made for installation in a range of contexts such as galleries, public spaces, books, augmented and virtual reality, and the web.
    You’ll also engage with the impact of the world’s vast increase in photographic images on the ways in which images are disseminated, used and understood, exploring how this creates new theoretical frameworks through which to understand the photographic.
     
  • Curation: This pathway will enable you to study photographic curation as an expanded practice that ranges from the curation of historic and contemporary collections within museums and galleries to freelance curatorial practices that engage with material from physical works alongside digital, networked images.
    You’ll develop a self-reflective practice informed by decolonising initiatives that aim to identify and remedy existing bias with editorial practices while enhancing your skills through the staging of exhibitions and events. Situated across the physical and/or virtual, such opportunities may involve the work of students on other pathways, external practitioners, and existing archives. Previously, MA Photography has worked with such organisations including Turner Contemporary, The Photographers’ Gallery, Autograph ABP, Seen Fifteen and Peckham 24.
     
  • Publishing: With a focus on exploring and developing strategies for digital and physical publishing, this pathway will enable you to learn how to research, conceptualise, write about, edit, design, print and publish a range of expanded photographic practices.
    You’ll develop publishing practices across areas such as photobooks, zines, physical and online magazines, and social media, and have opportunities to publish your own work as well as the work of students on other pathways, external practitioners and from existing archives while learning how to build audiences for the innovative work you publish. You’ll also have access to a range of specialist printmaking facilities at the College, and be given opportunities to collaborate beyond the course.

What to expect

  • Creative focus: With making at the heart of all 3 pathways, you’ll be encouraged to take an experimental, playful approach to your practice throughout your time on the course.
  • Industry expansion: We consider photography, curation and publication as being in constant development. You’ll learn how the field responds to rapid technological innovation, along with significant changes in the way photographic images are used and understood socially, politically and culturally.
  • Contextual understanding: A rigorous approach to research and exploration of contemporary theory will advance both your practice and your understanding of the context in which it’s situated.
  • Professional development: In addition to your chosen creative practice, you’ll develop essential practical skills for writing about your work, applying for funding, and further postgraduate study.

Industry experience and opportunities

The course is focused on shaping your individual ambition and supporting future opportunities in the production, curation and publishing of photographic work. You will design and develop an individual project alongside those currently working within photography, curation and publishing.

An industry visiting speaker series will provide opportunity for in-year portfolio reviews, networking and mentoring. Our industry partners have included The Photographers’ Gallery, Autograph ABP, Turner Contemporary, Seen Fifteen and Peckham 24.

Mode of study

MA Photography is in Full Time mode which runs for 45 weeks over 15 months. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study..

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Autumn, Term 1

Experimental Photographic Practices (20 credits)

This unit will introduce you to the course through a series of practice-based workshops that aim to expand your approaches to creating, curating and publishing photographic images.

You’ll be introduced to key production facilities and challenged to respond creatively to a series of short briefs, resulting in the development of a portfolio and a presentation of your workshop responses.

Contemporary Photographic Debates (20 credits)

This unit will introduce you to contemporary theoretical debates and their relevance to your individual practice. You’ll engage with a wide range of source material including texts, books, podcasts, documentaries and film, and draw on primary source material in the form of exhibition visits, studio visits and insights from guest speakers.

This knowledge will enable you to take part in a student-run symposium and produce a piece of writing.

Spring, Term 2

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

The collaborative unit enables you to work with other students on the course, from across the College, and with external partners. You’ll focus on building the professional and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills needed for developing a sustainable practice on graduation.

Pathway option unit (40 credits)

This unit will develop your specific interests in:

Expanded Photographic Practices

You’ll begin to develop a body of practice-based work for a work-in-progress exhibition at the end of the unit which will also be the foundation for your major project. Workshops, lectures, and tutorials will develop your understanding of photography as an expanded practice, and will also support your individual enquiry and project development.

OR

Curation Practices

You’ll begin to develop a curatorial project that will be the foundation for your major project. You’ll have the option to curate your own work, work from students on the Expanded Photographic Practice pathway, collections held by UAL, or with external collections. Workshops, lectures and tutorials will develop your understanding of curation within institutional and freelance frameworks, along with the creative, theoretical and practical skills needed to work as a curator.

OR

Publishing Practices

You’ll begin to develop a publishing project that will be the foundation for your major project. You’ll have the option to publish your own work, student work from the Expanded Photographic Practice pathway, collections held by UAL or external collections. Workshops, lectures and tutorials will develop your understanding of publishing within institutional frameworks and freelance self-publishing strategies, and you’ll develop the creative, theoretical and practical skills needed to work as a publisher.

Summer, Term 3

Dissertation (20 credits)

You’ll write a dissertation that provides the contextual and theoretical underpinning for your Major Project, evidencing your research within a chosen individual area of enquiry.

Throughout the unit, you’ll develop the writing skills needed for professional contexts such as funding applications; creative contexts such as writing about your work or the work of others; and academic contexts such as PhD study. You’ll then present your final research and dissertation in a student-led, public symposium.

Major Project (60 credits)

In this unit, you’ll develop the project initiated in your pathway option unit. After identifying an ambition for your project, you’ll be supported to consider how it will exist in the world beyond the College, with your degree show used as a staging post as you progress towards your final external outcome.

You’ll be able to work individually or collaboratively on your project, with opportuntiies for cross-pathway collaborations.

Autumn, Term 4

Major Project (60 credits – continued)

Learning and teaching methods

  • Workshops
  • Group seminars
  • Group and individual presentations/pitches
  • Critical peer review on work-in-progress
  • Industry visitor speaker in-year portfolio reviews
  • Online lectures and individual tutorials

MA Photography | Postgraduate Showcase

Virtual Collection at Turner Contemporary

As part of our 2021 Postgraduate Showcase, graduating students explored new possibilities in exhibitions and curatorial practice through a virtual collection devised with one of the UK’s leading art galleries, Turner Contemporary.

Graduate Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Graduate Showcase

  • Non-Conforming Bodies
    Non-Conforming Bodies, Liliana Zaharia, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • The Waste Land
    The Waste Land, Jiaqi Wu, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Under Everything
    Under Everything, Daniel Ginsburg, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Hiraeth
    Hiraeth, Xindi Li, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • 44 Beats per Minute
    44 Beats per Minute, Ruifeng Ding, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Electronic Pets
    Electronic Pets, Yanjie Xu, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Still in the Dark
    Still in the Dark, Robert Tucker, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL
  • Braintree: Past & Present
    Braintree: Past & Present, Johnathon 'JJ' Fenwick, 2021 MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL

Gallery

Student voices

Mary Morgan

Student voices

Mary talks through her immersive video installation in which she addresses her own experience of sexual assault.

Jessie McLaughlin

Graduate stories

Jessie is from London and graduated from LCC’s MA Photography. Jessie now lives and works in North London.

Course catalogues

Course stories

  • Winner of the 2020 Sproxton Award for Photography announced
    'Pressure', The Dressing of an Octopus by Nilu Nuthall. Sproxton Award for Photography Winner 2020

    Winner of the 2020 Sproxton Award for Photography announced

    We chat to graduating MA Photography student Nilufar Nuthal on her winning work, 'The Dressing of an Octopus', and reflections from her time at London College of Communication.

  • MA Photography collaborates with Turner Contemporary for Postgraduate Showcase 2021
    Image credit: Shihui Gao.

    MA Photography collaborates with Turner Contemporary for Postgraduate Showcase 2021

    We catch up with Exhibitions Manager Charlotte Reeves to explore how LCC students were able to overcome the barriers of the Covid-19 Pandemic and conceptualise a virtual exhibition.

  • Graduate Voices: Paloma Tendero
    Flawed Beauty, Series 2016. Digital C-Type Photograph. Image credit: Paloma Tendero.

    Graduate Voices: Paloma Tendero

    We chat to visual artist Paloma Tendero about the highlights of her time on MA Photography and her role as Alumni Ambassador.

  • Graduate Voices: Magali Avezou
    'Between the Lines' at Roz Barr Gallery, designed.by Benedetta Rogers. Image credit: Magali Avezou.

    Graduate Voices: Magali Avezou

    We catch up with the founder of archipelago curatorial studio to explore the highlights of her time on MA Photography at London College of Communication.

Facilities

  • A vintage camera enclosed in a transparent box atop a plinth.
    Image © Lewis Bush
    Media Photography

    Photography students benefit from access to resources held in the Media Photography areas.

  • Red light indicating recording is taking place.
    Image © Vladimir Molico
    Lens-Based and Audio-Visual

    Find out about the workspaces and studios that support Lens-Based and Audio-Visual practice.

  • Student reading a book in between two bookshelves in the Library
    Students in the Digital Space. London College of Communication, UAL. Photograph: Alys Tomlinson
    The Digital Space

    The Digital Space is an open-plan, creative hub with computers set up with specialist software.

Visiting speakers

We have an extensive programme of visiting speakers and research events.

Fees and funding

Home fee

£12,700

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

£25,970

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 course would welcome applicants from a broad range of backgrounds, from all over the world. Applicants would be 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.

Educational level may be demonstrated by:

  • Honours degree (in photography or a photographic related area);
  • 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.

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

If you do not meet these entry requirements but your application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative relevant experience, you may still be considered. This could include:

  • 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. We cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

English language requirements

  • IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent) is required, with 5.5 in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.

All classes are taught in English. If English isn’t your first language, you will need to show evidence of your English language ability when you enrol. For further guidance, please check our English language requirements.

Selection criteria

For MA Photography this will be made based on the following selection criteria, which applicants are expected to demonstrate:

  • Earlier experience of photographic practice and/or project-based visual inquiry.
  • A capacity for independent study at Postgraduate level.
  • A strong personal statement indicating the applicant is ready to undertake the course.
  • Knowledge of conceptual and technical approaches to photography in a contemporary context.
  • An understanding of the need for a critical and analytical approach to own area of practice.

Apply now

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 and portfolio.

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio.
  • Video task.

Start your application 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.

Apply now

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.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, 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.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

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’ll be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Photography. 

Your personal statement should describe what you specialised in during your undergraduate course and/or your previous professional experience. Tell us why you now want to study on the MA Photography at LCC, which of the three pathways you are interested in studying and what you are hoping to do after the course.

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.

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 and portfolio.

There is no requirement for an academic or professional reference.

Required information for postgraduate course applications

Before you apply, please take time to read the guidance below. You will be asked to provide the following items and upload documents when completing 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
  • CV
  • Personal statement

Extra information required for applications to this course

  • Portfolio.
  • Video task.

Start your application now

There are 2 ways international students can apply to a postgraduate course:

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.

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.

Read our Admissions Policy for details, and request your deferral by contacting us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

External Student Transfer Policy

If you are currently studying at another institution and have successfully completed 60 credits in the equivalent units/modules on your current PG course and wish to continue your studies at London College of Communication, 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.

Further information about the external student transfer policy can be found on the Office for Students Information page.

CV

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’ll be asked to complete a personal statement describing why you want to study on MA Photography. 

Your personal statement should describe what you specialised in during your undergraduate course and/or your previous professional experience. Tell us why you now want to study on the MA Photography at LCC, which of the three pathways you are interested in studying and what you are hoping to do after the course.

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.

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

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application online, you will receive an email confirming your application and providing your login details for the UAL Applicant Portal. Please add @arts.ac.uk to your contacts to ensure that you do not miss any important updates re: your application to UAL.

Please log into the portal, as this is where we will send you important updates and requests, and you can contact us with any questions you may have about your application.

What happens next

Portfolio

You will be asked to upload an electronic portfolio which should demonstrate your understanding of self-initiated, project-based visual inquiry.

Your portfolio should consist of 2 completed bodies of photographic work (6-8 images per body of work, a maximum of 16 in total) along with a short artist statement of 50-70 words.

You should only include self-authored works rather than research materials, visual inspiration or process documentation.

Please note that we don’t support fashion, travel, commercial or journalistic projects on the course.

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 via PebblePad
  • Read our guidance for more information about how to submit your video task and the 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 which challenged you and your understanding of photography. Explain how this experience has inspired you to apply to MA Photography at London College of Communication.

Interview

Applicants are usually interviewed by the course team before a place can be offered. Interviews will be held online, and details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

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

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications. Unfortunately, we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf. If you would like to request feedback  please contact us through the UAL Portal using the Contact Us button in your My Application(s) tab.

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

Careers

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.

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.