School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Fine Art

With the enrichment and advancement of your studio practice at its core, this course 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.

A top 5 UK young university for subjects of art, design and architecture

Times Higher Education Young University Rankings 2022

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

You may now be eligible for a government loan of over £11,000 to help towards the cost of your masters degree.

Find out more about your eligibility for a postgraduate loan

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.

Key features

  • Develop your studio practice and related research through a range of approaches. Undertake single, multi- or inter-disciplinary study within interactive and digital technologies, film and video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography, drawing and sculpture.
  • Advance your practical skills with our high-specification workshops. You’ll have access to fully equipped digital production, sound recording and editing, film, photography, video, ceramics and print facilities and excellent technical support.
  • Direct your studies through four independent study modules underpinned by critical frameworks and research methodologies and a substantial MA project in year 3.
  • Connect with contemporary artists and curators through our visiting artists programme. Participate in stimulating debates and shared dialogue with diverse research groups across the faculty with our interdisciplinary seminars series.
  • Integrate any external projects, internship possibilities or client commissions you are awarded into your course. We embed professional practice into our academic framework, facilitating transferrable knowledge and skills in the workplace.
  • The option to study part-time allows you to balance your work and external commitments with postgraduate education.
  • Benefit from the knowledge and experience of a teaching staff of artists and researchers with substantial expertise with international exhibition, residency and research profiles.

Course details
  • Year 1 and 2

  • You’ll develop your practice through independent study projects (ISPs) and specialist workshops. The ISPs will help you explore and understand the wide range of methods, media and approaches that might underpin your practice. You'll to be encouraged to 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

    • Contemporary Art Practice 1 (MAC707)

      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.

  • Year 2

  • You'll further develop your artistic practice through an individual or collaborative project, building on and advancing work undertaken in the previous module. You'll develop a portfolio of writing that will inform your practice and help you to negotiate different ways artists present themselves through writing.  

    Core modules

    • Contemporary Art Practice 2 (MAC708)

      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.

  • Final year

  • Building on the insights and skills gained in your first two years, you’ll develop a proposal for, and carry out, a substantial MA Project. You will develop a written work, the form of which is negotiated and relates to your practice, that will inform the research stage of your MA project. The MA Project culminates in a public exhibition of your work.

    Core modules

    • MA Project (MAC709)

      This module provides an opportunity to undertake a period of focused individual or collaborative artistic practice which will include a written component. Within the framework of defined programme outcomes participants use relevant methods, approaches, material processes, research, analysis, theoretical framing, and critical reflection to develop a body of work for public presentation.

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 Sep22 7081

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.

For assistance, please view our interview and portfolio guidance page.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home N/A N/A
International N/A N/A
Part time (Home) £500 £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 who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

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 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • 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 website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

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 weeks of 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 by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Interview and portfolio advice

A portfolio is a collection of pieces of work that give us an insight into you as an artist. Your portfolio tells us a lot about about how you think and work as a practising artist. We've compiled some helpful tips, portfolio advice and ways to avoid unnecessary stress before the interview.

Follow our interview tips and portfolio advice

Our facilities

From sound workshops to dedicated photography darkrooms, you’ll have access to all the professional tools you need. Find out more about our facilities.

"There was great access to facilities; having studio and library access 24 hours a day, 7 days per week was great … The staff were very supportive too, and I never felt like an outsider – even though I wasn’t the classic twenty something student."

Rebecca Harris, MA Contemporary Art Practice graduate

Since graduating Rebecca has produced work for the Eden Project and taken her artwork around the country.

View up-to-date images of our studios, workshops and exhibition spaces by visiting our fine art Instagram channel.

Visit #MACAPPLYM to follow our MA students and their work.

Graduate insights

Follow in the footsteps of our graduates, some of whom have gone on to secure rewarding work opportunities that push the boundaries of their art practice. 

Our graduates have engaged in award-winning research projects, travelling artist book shows and inspiring TED talks – all of these opportunities are testament to our challenging and diverse programme. 

Find out more about our graduates' experiences

Graduate insights with MA Contemporary Art Practice

Then, at last: MA Contemporary Art Practice Graduates 2020–2021

The Levinsky Gallery, 18–27 June 2021

Embarking on a postgraduate programme in Contemporary Art is an act of revision, of reflecting on and examining practice. This is both a challenge and an opportunity to shift direction. These works are the outcome of this process of questioning and the encounters with each other as a cohort. After a year of disruption, dispersal, disappointment, an exhibition emerges.

Then, at last is testament to the strategies the artists have developed to sustain their art making, and the resilience they have found in their studios, in their networks, and in the resources they have learnt to draw on. The exhibition presents the objects, sounds, images and texts that evidence the sustaining of practice through adversity.

<p>Andy Cluer, Play (me), audio tape, photography, sculpture.<br></p>
These texts were produced over the past year by students on the MA Contemporary Arts Practice and the MA Fine Art at the University of Plymouth. Bringing these texts together in a magazine puts them into conversation with each other. They were written in response to various prompts, and range in style and manner, from personal poetic contemplations to disruptive storytelling, speculation and fantasy, analysis and collage. The different pieces have disparate relations to the writers’ practices, some of the texts existing as part of or extensions of making projects, some of them operating as reflection or commentary, and some developing into resources and stimulation for further work. They involve research in different modes, from autobiographical and autoethnographic, to the compilation of related elements in contiguity, to etymological and encyclopaedia searches. The publication offers the reader a sense of the importance of writing as part of practice on these MA courses, and the diversity of writing around and within contemporary art practice.

Any questions?

Please contact Dr Anya Lewin, Programme Lead: