School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Photography

Programme code 7659

1 year

Course type

Full-time, Part-time route available

Study location Plymouth

Our innovative transdisciplinary programme explores contemporary practices in image-making, curating and writing through eco-critical and posthumanist perspectives. Cutting-edge research methods, situated modes of practice and creative uses of technology combine in ethical and activist practices encouraging social and environmental responsibility and preparing you for your future career.


Careers with this subject

You will graduate with a sophisticated level of skill as a creative photographic image-maker, writer, critic or curator allowing you to establish a platform of self-sustained practice and support your progress within industry, self-employment or further academic study.

Key features

  • Collaborate. Inform your individual photography practice with modules shared across other disciplines within the school. 
  • Specialise. Grow and develop your artistic profile by choosing an elective module relevant to your career goals. Elective modules are available in areas such as storytelling, printmaking and environmental futures.
  • Experiment. Rigorous training in innovative art methodologies, which encourage experimentation, openness, originality and risk-taking, and encourages new conceptual and theoretical articulations that respond to our complex social and cultural world.
  • State-of-the-art facilities. Make the most of our cutting edge Digital Fabrication and Immersive Media Laboratories, photography studios and darkrooms, Media Hub and digital print facilities. 
  • Professional network. Grow your professional profile by establishing professional and creative links with the city and wider creative sector. We will foster connections with other international centres of photography and extensive networks of individuals and organisations around Europe and globally to provide professional opportunities in the fields of exhibition, curation, teaching and publication.
  • Research informed teaching. Photography staff inform your learning with research in areas such as ecologies and the nonhuman, landscape and climate change, activist photography, place and community, and built environment.

Course details

  • Year 1

  • Develop an ethical and sustainable practice that responds to the challenges of the contemporary world through participation in lectures, visiting specialist talks, seminars, presentations, workshops and through the completion of set tasks and independent projects. You will be curious, rigorous and experimental in your approach and will engage with environmental and identity politics to develop your own unique response to the challenges ahead.

    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.

    • 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.

    • Methodologies for Photographic Research (MPHO7101)

      Students are introduced to experimental art research methodologies, including Diffractive and Affective, and consider how they are used in a range of research contexts before integrating them into their own personal practice. Through innovative uses of sketchbooking and journalling, students will expand their notions of practice to include making, feeling and thinking, in a processual unfolding of research-creation.

    • Activist Photography (MPHO7201)

      Students are introduced to a variety of theoretical and creative interpretations of the term ‘activism’ and will become familiar with, and evaluate, a diverse range of activist photographic, textual and filmic practices that respond to issues of social and environmental justice. They will develop their own activist practice in response to these issues.

    Optional modules

    • 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 Photography programme specification_7659

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

For entry to postgraduate level, you will normally need a 2:2 degree or above and evidence of a sustained engagement with fields such as photography, visual communication, film, journalism or environmental sciences, among others). 
The University also has substantial experience in supporting mature students and welcomes applicants in this category. Applicants with Accredited Prior Learning (APL) will be considered on an individual basis according to the University Regulations Framework. Students interested in transferring postgraduate credits will be considered on merit and current University regulations regarding transfer of credits from other institutions will apply.
Applicants will be required to submit a portfolio with their application.
If you are an overseas applicant you will be required to attend an interview with a portfolio – a Skype interview and electronic portfolio are possible.
You can check the compatibility of your qualifications with the UK equivalent through UK ECCTIS, who provide an advisory service.
If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5, with a minimum 5.5 in all four components.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office. 

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,500
International £16,500 £17,600
Part time (Home) £510 £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 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 Inclusion Services
If you have an impairment, health condition or disability, learn about the additional support the University provides.
International students
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office. Take a look at our how to apply information 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 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.

Learn from research-active experts

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