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Postgraduate

MA Photography

Image showing a series of photographs of a person.
Work by Ice Fang, London College of Communication, UAL.
College
London College of Communication
Start date
September 2024
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.

Applying for more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3. Find out more in the Apply Now section.

Why choose this course at London College of Communication

  • 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.
  • 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.

Open Evenings

The next Open Evening for this course will be announced soon.

Scholarships and awards

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@LCCphotolondon

Course overview

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

  • Expanded Practice: Develop a contemporary photographic art practice through projects underpinned by research, visual experimentation, and critical reflection in expansive areas such as still and moving image, CGI, 3D scanning and modelling, automated and algorithmic images. With opportunities to create work made for a range of contexts such as galleries, public spaces, books, augmented reality, virtual reality and the web, you’ll engage with the impact that the vast global increase of images has on the ways in which photography is disseminated, used and understood - exploring how this creates new theoretical frameworks for understanding the photographic. You’ll explore how photographic practices intersect and impact on social, racial and climate issues, and develop ethical approaches with the potential to make positive impact in these areas. You’ll also have opportunities to collaborate on exhibition and publishing projects with students on the collaboration and publishing pathways.
  • Curation: Develop a contemporary curatorial practice through projects underpinned by research, experimentation, and critical reflection. You’ll learn about curation within the institutional context of museums and galleries, and as a freelance practice, and will consider the curation of physical objects and digital artifacts in both the ‘real world’ and online. Throughout the course, you’ll explore how curatorial practices intersect and impact on social, racial and climate issues, and develop ethical approaches with the potential to make positive impact in these areas. You’ll also have opportunities to develop curatorial projects, with options to use your own work, work from students on the Expanded Photographic Practice pathway, UAL collections or external collections. You’ll identify and research audiences, developing strategies for communication and engagement; gain the visualisation skills to create a virtual exhibition; and learn how to write professional curatorial proposals that include budgets and identify potential funding streams.
  • Publishing: Develop a contemporary publishing practice through projects underpinned by research, visual experimentation, and critical reflection. Engaging in all stages of the publishing workflow - from the creation of a digital or physical publication through to audience dissemination  - you’ll have the option to create a publication of your own photographic work, or to collaborate with and publish work from students on the other pathways or courses, work drawn from UAL collections, or work by external collaborators. You’ll explore physical publishing such as photobooks, zines and magazines alongside digital publishing through online books and magazines, websites and social media. Throughout the course, you’ll explore how publishing intersects and impacts on social, racial and climate issues, and develop ethical practices with the potential to make positive impact in these areas. You’ll develop skills to engage with every stage of the publishing process, enabling you to research, conceptualise, write about, edit, design, print and produce publications for a range of expanded photographic practices. You’ll also learn how to identify audiences for the innovative work you’ve created, alongside publishing approaches including budgeting and funding strategies.

Students on all pathways will have access to a range of production facilities at LCC including analogue and digital darkrooms, printmaking and bookbinding facilities, the Digital Space, and the Creative Technology Lab.

What to expect

  • Creative focus: With making at the heart of all 3 pathways, you’ll be encouraged to take an experimental, innovative and ambitions approach to your practice.
  • Industry expansion: We consider photography, curation and publication to be in constant development. You’ll learn how these fields respond 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.
  • Collaboration: The course will both teach and give you the opportunity to develop effective strategies for collaborative working.
  • Professional development: To support your chosen creative practice, you’ll develop essential practical skills for writing about your work, applying for funding, identifying and developing opportunities to showcase your work. You’ll learn how to build meaningful professional networks and be introduced to options for further postgraduate study.
  • Ethical Practices: Committed to developing ethical photographic practices, UAL’s Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice are embedded throughout the course.

Industry experience and opportunities

MA Photography focuses on developing your individual practice by supporting you to identify and explore an area of enquiry through 1of 3 pathway options. Each unit assessment is aligned with industry-oriented artifacts, such as professional portfolios, curatorial proposals, and publishing plans.

Throughout the course, you’ll engage with industry professionals through study visits, guest speakers, and portfolio reviews, and have the opportunity to engage in collaborative projects with industry partners.

We also have strong links with many organisations and individuals including 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.

Course units

We are committed to ensuring that your skills are set within an ethical framework and are embedding UAL’s Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into this course. 

The course is divided into units, which are credit weighted. The minimum size unit is 20 and the maximum is 60. Students study six units, totally 180 credits. Five are mandatory, and the sixth unit is chosen from three pathway option units.

Autumn, Term 1

Experimental Photographic Practices (20 credits)

This unit will introduce you to key production facilities at the College while supporting you to develop a working methodology that includes research, visual experimentation and critical reflection.

By engaging in a series of briefs, you’ll develop a foundation in approaches to working in Expanded Practice, Curation and Publishing.

Contemporary Photographic Debates (20 credits)

Introducing you to key theoretical debates relevant to the 3 course pathways, this unit will encourage you to identify and analyse research material relevant to an individual area of enquiry and to your own practice.

Towards the end of Term 1, you’ll decide on your chosen pathway.

Spring, Term 2

Collaborative Unit (20 credits)

All students study the Collaborative Unit, which provides the opportunity for you to develop collaborative working relationships with other students and a range of potential industry partners.

You’ll gain key professional practice skills, develop your understanding of collaborative working, and begin building your professional network.

Expanded Practice (Pathway Option - 40 credits)

In this unit, you’ll experiment with a range of imaging technologies, production methods and presentation strategies, and begin to develop a body of expanded photographic practice that will be the foundation for your Major Project.

After identifying an area of enquiry, you’ll start to explore different conceptual and visual approaches for developing work. Your practice will be supported through lectures, workshops, and tutorials to help you develop an individual project and working practice.

Curation (Pathway Option - 40 credits)

In this unit, you’ll begin to develop a curatorial project that will be the foundation for your Major Project. After identifying your area of interest, you’ll start to explore different conceptual and practical approaches to curation.

You will have the option to develop a curatorial project that uses your own work, work from students on the Expanded Photographic Practice pathway, collections held by UAL, or external collections, and be supported through lectures, workshops, and tutorials to develop a curatorial concept and working practice.

Publishing (Pathway Option - 40 credits)

In this unit, you’ll begin to develop a publishing project that will be the foundation for your Major Project. After identifying an area of interest, you’ll start to explore different conceptual and visual approaches to creating publications.

You’ll have the option to develop publications that use your own work or material from collections held by UAL; to collaborate with students on the other pathways or courses; or to use work from external collaborators.

Summer, Term 3

Research Project (20 credits)

The Research Project will provide the contextual and theoretical underpinning for your Major Project by evidencing an in-depth exploration of your chosen area of enquiry.

There are a range of possible outcomes for this unit, including a written Dissertation or an audio-visual output such as a podcast, screencast, or essay film.

Major Project (60 credits)

The Major Project draws together your prior research, visual experimentation, and reflection to build on the work started in your Pathway Option unit and the research from your Research Project.

Having identified an ambition for your project, you’ll be supported through the research, development, and production phases. You’ll work individually or collaboratively, with opportunities for cross-pathway collaborations within the course, and where appropriate, collaborations with partners outside the University.

Students on the Expanded Photographic Practice pathway will develop a significant body of practice-based work; those on the Curation pathway will develop a professional curatorial proposal and realise or visualise a curatorial output; and those on the Publication pathway will create a publication or publications accompanied by a professional publishing plan.

Autumn, Term 4

Major Project (60 credits – continued)

In your final term, you’ll continue working on your Major Project, with a particular focus on how the work you’re developing could exist in the world beyond the University.

The LCC Postgraduate Shows will offer a staging post as you work toward longer term professional outcomes after graduation.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Project work
  • Individual and group work
  • Self-directed learning
  • Critiques
  • Industry guest speakers
  • Study trips and visits as appropriate
  • Assessed assignments
  • Online learning
  • Peer learning

Student voices

Ziyu Wang

Ziyu’s project, ‘Go Get ‘Em Boy’, explores the pressures of masculinity and male stereotypes in Chinese patriarchal society, examining the expected image of manhood through playful photographs.

Student work

  • Fion-Hung-Ching,-The-Skeletons-In-The-Closet-.png
    Fion Hung Ching, The Skeletons In The Closet, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Fion-Hung-Ching,-The-Skeletons-In-The-Closet,-Book.png
    Fion Hung Ching, The Skeletons In The Closet - book, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Hanieh-Yavari,-Brutal-Resilience,-Install.png
    Hanieh Yavari, Brutal Resilience, install, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Hanieh-Yavari,-Brutal-Resilience.png
    Hanieh Yavari, Brutal Resilience, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Ice-Fang,-Ilusive-Lover,-Install.png
    Ice Fang, Illusive Lover, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Margarita-Galandina,-OVOO.png
    Margarita Galandina, OVOO, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Will-Adams,-Radiance,-Book.png
    Will Adams, Radiance, MA Photography, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Yizhuo-Du,-Inside-the-Power-Temple.png
    Yizhuo Du, Inside the Power Temple, London College of Communication, UAL.
  • Ziyu-Wang,-Go-Get-Em,-Boy.png
    Ziyu Wang, Go Get 'Em, Boy, London College of Communication, UAL.

Course catalogues

Course stories

410 Gone

410 Gone


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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.

Staff

Visiting speakers

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

Fees and funding

Home fee

£13,330

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 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.

International fee

£28,570

This fee is correct for 2024/25 entry and is subject to change for 2025/26 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

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply now

Application deadline

Deadline

Round 1:

13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)

Round 2:

3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)

Digital portfolio and video task deadline

Round 1:

16 January 2024

Round 2:

16 April 2024

Decision outcome

Round 1:

End of March 2024

Round 2:

End of June 2024

Round 1
Round 2
Deadline
13 December 2023 at 1pm (UK time)
3 April 2024 at 1pm (UK time)
Digital portfolio and video task deadline
16 January 2024
16 April 2024
Decision outcome
End of March 2024
End of June 2024

All applications received by 3 April will be treated equally. If there are places available after this date, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

Read more about deadlines

Apply to UAL

Start your application
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Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement and CV.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 500 words and include:

  • your reasons for choosing the course
  • your current creative practice and how this course will help you achieve your future plans
  • any relevant education and experience, especially if you do not have any formal academic qualifications.

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

CV advice

Please provide a CV detailing your education, qualifications and any relevant work or voluntary experience. If you have any web projects or other media that you would like to share, please include links in your CV. If English is not your first language, please also include your most recent English language test score.

Step 2: Video task and digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a video task and digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit these via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool. Please submit your video task on the first page followed by your portfolio.

Video task advice

We would like you to submit a 2-3 minute video to help us learn more about you. When recording your task, please face the camera and speak in English.

What to include in your video task

  • Choose 1 project from your portfolio and explain how it challenged you and your understanding of photography.
  • Tell us how this experience inspired you to apply to MA Photography at London College of Communication.

Read our guidance for how to submit your video task and which file types we accept.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • consist of 2 completed bodies of photographic work (8-10 images per body, a maximum of 20 in total). Please note, we do not support fashion, travel, commercial or journalistic projects on this course.
  • include a concise artist/ curatorial/ publisher statement (100-150 words). This should provide a clear perspective on your practice and the conceptual framework that guides it
  • be clearly captioned, ensuring any curatorial or publishing projects featuring other artists’ work is credited.
  • demonstrate your understanding of self-initiated, project-based visual inquiry in either photographic practice, curation or publishing.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Applying to more than 1 course

You can apply for more than 1 postgraduate course at UAL but we recommend that you apply for no more than 3 courses. You need to tailor your application, supporting documents and portfolio to each course, so applying for many different courses could risk the overall quality of your application. If you receive offers for multiple courses, you'll only be able to accept 1 offer. UAL doesn't accept repeat applications to the same course in the same academic year.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

We do not accept any deferral requests for our postgraduate courses. This means that you must apply in the year that you plan to start your course and you will not be able to defer your place to start at a later date.

Application deadlines

For postgraduate courses at UAL there are 2 equal consideration deadlines to ensure fairness for all our applicants. If you apply ahead of either of these deadlines, your application will be considered on an equal basis with all other applications in that round. If there are places available after the second deadline, the course will remain open to applications until places have been filled.

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.