School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Fine Art

Programme code 7656

1 year

Course type

Full-time, Part-time route available

Study location Plymouth

With the enrichment and advancement of your studio practice at its core, this programme welcomes highly motivated and independent thinkers. You will have the opportunity to advance your critical thinking, and will be encouraged to experiment and take risks. Develop your skills and expertise for transferrable professional knowledge, with access to extensive specialist workshops and realise your practice to the fullest extent on this challenging and inspiring MA.

Fine Art
Rubedo by Victoria McTavish, photograph by Simon Blackbourn

Careers with this subject

Recent graduates have established international careers as professional artists, and have received funding for public commissions, research and development and artist residencies. Many go on to develop artist-led initiatives, become curators, doctoral researchers, educators, or gallerists and museum professionals. See where a fine art degree could take you.

Key features

  • Multidisciplinary. A curriculum that balances a subject-specific project environment with broader and multidisciplinary student experiences through electives and common modules, allowing students to engage with cognate courses such as MA Photography, MA Filmmaking, or MDes Master in Design.
  • Collaboration. A course that provides continuity to the ethos of the BA Fine Arts course, including links with the cultural sector, public audiences, a diversity of professional specialisations, and live projects activated by visiting artists.
  • Research informed learning. Learn and engage with emerging areas of research and professional expertise through methodologies such as storytelling and socially engaged arts practices. 
  • State-of-the-art facilities. Engage with state-of-the-art facilities including our Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories, filmmaking studios and technical facilities in Scott building (ceramics, printing, textiles, letterpress, etc.) and studio spaces.
  • Increased employability. Participation in the Arts wide module 'Creative Collaborations' which will boost your employability while informing the identity of the course with our local creative and cultural industries.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Develop your practice through independent study projects in our Contemporary Art Practice modules. Further inform your practice by choosing elective courses available throughout the School of Art, Design and Architecture, including areas such as making and digital fabrication, immersive media, environmental futures or low carbon creative practice. Your projects will help you explore and understand a wide range of methods, media and approaches that might underpin your practice. You are encouraged the develop, question and critically reflect upon your art practice to the fullest extent. You will also focus on how contexts and conditions frame and inform contemporary art practice.

    Core modules

    • Research Project / Dissertation (ADA7300)

      This module supports students’ delivery of their final research project / dissertation through combinations of group and individual work. It includes broader disciplinary research skills, methods and ethical practices, as well as subject-specific supervisory arrangements for each students’ research interests. This can include practice-based, text-based or entrepreneurial research outputs.

    • Contemporary Art Practice 1 (MAFA7101)

      This module supports your practice and writing skills alongside the investigation of ideas, theories, topics, contextualisation of contemporary art, and awareness of the wider social, cultural, political and economic context in which you are making and presenting work. Here, artistic practice is developed, questioned, reflected on, and analysed through workshops, dialogues, presentations, seminars, and critiques.

    • Contemporary Art Practice 2 (MAFA7201)

      This module provides an opportunity to further develop practice through a self-directed artistic project that builds on and advances work undertaken in previous and/or concurrent module(s). Students receive tutorial support for their agreed research direction and theme, and further develop a project through appropriate methods and approaches. Artistic practice is developed, questioned, reflected on, and analysed through dialogues, presentations, seminars, and critiques. Critical writing enables students to contextualise their practice and explore conceptual and critical frameworks.

    • Creative Collaborations (MFAP7201)

      This outward-facing module allows students through research-informed collaborative art practice to strengthen their professional profile and increase their employability. Students creatively interpret their approach to collaborative practice (transdisciplinary interventions, partnerships with outside agencies, external audiences), and use appropriate methodologies and technologies to produce innovative outcomes and expand their range of practical and professional skills.

    Optional modules

    • Digital Fabrication (ADA7101E)

      This Module provides students with the advanced technical knowledge to develop their skills based on experimentation with novel materials, and cutting edge digital fabrication processes. Through a combination of technical inductions, lectures, and self-directed work in our Digital Fabrication Laboratory, students will be able to experiment with technologies such as advanced 3D printing and industrial CNC milling.

    • Immersive Media and XR (ADA7102E)

      This module will provide students with the creative and technical skills to develop their projects based on experimentation with immersive media and extended reality (XR) technologies. Through a combination of technical inductions, workshops, lectures, and self-directed work in our Immersive Media Lab, students will be able to experiment with 360 Video, sonic environments, AR/VR, sensors, and game engines.

    • Spatial Storytelling (ADA7103E)

      Students will explore using narrative space to create emotionally engaging audience experiences by experimenting with a range of spatial storytelling methods and technologies. The development of skills as narrative architects and storytellers in immersive, interactive, locative, game, sound, art, film and/or performance-based experiences and installations will result in the creation of a spatial storytelling project.

    • Posthuman Environmental Futures (ADA7105E)

      Students will critically consider forms of creative and professional practices that engage with eco-critical debates around the environment. They will generate their own creative responses to these debates and will explore their effectiveness through experimentation and processual inquiry through critical creative responses within their own disciplines.

    • Innovations in Printmaking (MACD7102)

      Through a negotiated selective process, you will be able to explore and develop responses using the printmaking facilities available to you within the School of Art, Design & Architecture, including screenprinting, letterpress, relief printing, intaglio, risograph and digital printing methods.You critically evaluate and reflect upon the success or failure of various approaches as appropriate to your practice and ambitions, forming a positive plan of action for the future.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MA Fine Art programme specification_7656

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements

For entry to postgraduate level, you should normally possess:
  • a first or upper second (2:1) degree with honours or professional qualification, recognised as being equivalent to degree standard; or
  • an ordinary degree, foundation degree, higher national diploma, or university diploma, accompanied by substantial experience in an appropriate field.
  • Applicants with overseas qualifications can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.
  • English language requirements. We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary. 

Non-academic entry requirements

You will be expected to submit a portfolio of work, documented in an appropriate form, and a proposal for study, for discussion at interview.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,500 £9,500
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £530 £530
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the  Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship, worth £2000 off your tuition fees.

Tuition fee discount for University of Plymouth graduates

If you studied your undergraduate degree at Plymouth, you may be eligible for a fee discount if you complete your postgraduate studies here as well.
  • 10% or 20% discount on tuition fees for home students 
  • For 2024/2025 entry, a 20% discount on tuition fees for international students (International alumni who have applied to the University through an agent are not eligible to receive the discount)

How to apply

When to apply
Most of our taught programmes begin in September. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full.
Before you apply
Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements.
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language.
  • a personal statement of approximately 400–500 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and what you would like to achieve in the MA. How does your prior experience support this and what new things do you want to bring into your practice? You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document.
  • a portfolio of recent work.
  • a critical writing sample of no more than 1000 words – this can be an excerpt from an essay you have already written.
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance. 
Disability services
If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office
Submitting an application
Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page). 
What happens after I apply?
You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeksof us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.
We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. 
If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:
Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Admissions policy
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Your portfolio gives us an insight into you as an artist 

A portfolio is a collection of pieces of your work that gives you a chance to showcase your creativity and ideas, and make an impression. This collection tells us a lot about how you think and work as a practising artist. 
We've compiled some helpful tips on what we're looking for, portfolio advice and ways to avoid unnecessary stress before the interview. 
MA Contemporary Art Practice 2017

Facilities and resources

From sound workshops to dedicated photography darkrooms, you'll have access to all the professional and technical tools you need - including project spaces, workshop facilities and specialist equipment.
Our new Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Labs offer access to cutting-edge technology such as motion-capture, augmented and extended reality and a wide array of digital fabrication tools. 
Film & TV Studios

International applicants

Postgraduate scholarships for international students
We offer several scholarships for international students wishing to study on this programme, including the International Academic Excellence Scholarship worth 50% off your tuition fees and the Postgraduate Taught International Student Scholarship worth £2000 off tuition fees.
Study with us
At the University of Plymouth, we have a thriving international community made up of 2,000 students from over 100 different countries. 
International students at a welecome event at the University of Plymouth