School of Art, Design and Architecture

MA Photography

Develop your creative practice, knowledge and understanding with our MA Photography. You'll gain a broad theoretical understanding of the medium of photography and establish a critically reflective practice through experimentation, creativity, risk-taking, research and authorship. Self-set projects and assignments, along with the collective breadth offered by our portfolio of exit awards, means you will graduate with an individually tailored award within a field of contemporary photography.

This programme is also available as a Research Masters (ResM). Further details are available on these pages.

Key features

  • Choose your exit award - the core MA Photography, or one of our specialist routes: MA Photography and the Land, MA Photography and the Book, or MA Photography and Writing. This programme is also available as a Research Masters (ResM). 
  • Engage in experimental practice and become part of a broad research environment, supported by our internationally renowned staff, including Professors David Chandler, Jem Southam and Liz Wells
  • Study the course one year full-time or two years part-time; you’ll attend the same sessions, collaborating and sharing skills and knowledge. 
  • Experience a dynamic research environment which includes an extensive visiting speaker programme – a number of whom contribute to small, directed seminars, workshops and tutorials. Recent visiting speakers include Martin Barnes, Kate Bush, Clare Grafik and Michael Mack, and Ron Jude. Upcoming speakers include Stephen Vaughan, Laura Pannack and Anna Fox.
  • Special events that highlight the aspects of the taught programme are organised each semester including intensive study days and symposia. We have held study visits at the Victoria and Albert Museum, at Martin Parr’s studio and at Garry Fabian Miller’s studio.
  • Interrogate the relationship between theory and practice, with opportunities for a residential field trip and study trips both in the UK and abroad - we have previously visited Paris, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
  • Benefit from a city centre campus with excellent library and photographic facilities including a bespoke daylight studio, analogue and digital imaging and printing resources, C41 processing, letterpress, printmaking and silkscreen workshops. 
  • Explore the rich urban and rural landscape offered by the South West peninsula – diverse towns and cities, industrial heritage and urban regeneration, coastal and marine environments, dramatic moorland and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • You'll enter the programme with an initial project proposal that you will continue to develop throughout your study. The theme will evolve through your engagement with, and understanding of, the scope of the nature and context of your project. This will be linked to an explorative approach to the use of the photographic medium, challenging you to develop a fluent dialogue between your ideas and practice. You are given the opportunity to graduate with an individually tailored award within a field of contemporary photography: MA Photography, MA Photography and the Book, MA Photography and the Land, and MA Photography and Writing. You will apply with a specific exit award in mind, from which you’ll develop your MA project. All awards allow you to develop your creative photographic practice. By ‘practice’ we refer to a photographic practice that is inclusive of a wide range of making and working with photography: as photographers, curators, editors and writers.
    Core modules
    • MAPY703 Experiment and Practice

      To explore mindful practice and experiment, responding to both self initiated and set tasks, to test, reflect and evaluate the scope and limitations to further develop the MA project.

    • MAPY704 Photography: Interdisciplinary Practices and Contexts

      Through the selection of themes, this module introduces models of interdisciplinary practice involving photographers/artists working with forms of mixed media, across diverse research contexts, with specific sites and with modes of collaboration; examples are critically examined. Students develop case studies to extend their understanding of such practices relevant to their own projects and interests.

    • MAPY701 The Practice of Research

      During this module students examine models of photographic practice-based research, enabling them to reflect on their own practices methodology. They begin to establish fields of visual enquiry and explore the conceptual frameworks of their initial proposal. Students will learn to critically reflect on their practice through the form of a workbook or journal. A small bookwork project provides them with the opportunity to critically examine their own practice.

    • MAPY702 Photography: Histories and Criticism

      Through critical examination of photographic practices, historically and now, students will familiarise themselves with and question ways in which photographers have deployed photographic and associated media to engage, question, investigate and respond to people and places, objects and scenarios, ideas and issues.

    • MAPY705 MA Project

      This module completes the journey of the MA Project including production and resolution. It provides the students with a context to consolidate and refine their practice for presentation whether in exhibition, book or other appropriate format. A report provides a critical commentary to their practice.

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 4706

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

UK / EU

For entry to postgraduate level, you will normally need a 2:1 degree or above in photography or a relevant subject. Appropriate professional experience or prior experiential learning will also be assessed on an individual basis. If you have an honours degree in other disciplines, you are welcome to apply with proposals that demonstrate an innovative approach to the use of your practice, in a critical context, within the field of your own specialism in relation to photography. 

You will be required to attend an interview, bringing a portfolio of work. This could cover evidence from a broad range of experience, including photographic projects, curatorial projects, or a collection of examples of the practice of writing. You will also need to write a 500-1,000 word MA project proposal to accompany your application form.

Accredited Prior Learning (APL) will not normally be considered as the MA programme is designed as a coherent whole.

INTERNATIONAL

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 NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements.

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. 

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

Postgraduate taught students 2016 - 17

Standard fees

Classroom-based programmes

Home/EU (full time) International (full time)​*  Islands**** (full time)
£5,660 £13,250 £13,250
Home/EU (part time per 10 credits) International (part time per 10 credits)*​  Islands**** (part time per 10 credits)
£314*** £750 £750

Lab-based programmes

Home/EU (full time) International (full time)​*  Islands**** (full time)
£5,660 £13,500 £13,500
Home/EU (part time per 10 credits) International (part time per 10 credits)*​  Islands**** (part time per 10 credits)
£314*** £750 £750

*Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees. All PU PSMD Postgraduate Taught programme International fees are not fixed at the point of entry and annual inflationary rises will apply.

***Part time study fees are not fixed at the year of entry and may be subject to increase each year.  

****‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Professional Doctorates

Please note all available Professional Doctorates can be found in the postgraduate research 2016 -17 student fees.

Postgraduate Loan (PGL) for masters study

The new Postgraduate Loan for masters degrees in the UK will be introduced for students commencing in the 2016-17 academic year.

As part of a new government funded masters loan scheme, masters students who are under the age of 60 can now access a loan of up to £10,000 as a contribution towards the cost of their study.

The loans will be available for both taught and research masters programmes across all disciplines and subject areas (excluding PGCE, PgCert, PgDip, MClinRes or ResM).

Find out more information on the new postgraduate loan.

How to apply

Applying for postgraduate taught study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are 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 have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

If you would like any further information please contact the Postgraduate and Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

 

Applying for postgraduate research study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. The Graduate School are available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.  If  you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

If you would like any further information please contact the Graduate School:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 587640

Email: graduateschool@plymouth.ac.uk


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Graduate profile

Through engaging in explorative practice and stimulating debate, the MA facilitated a rich environment for postgraduate study. This ultimately led me to working with a number of American short story writers on a series of collaborations and book works.

Brendan Barry – MA Photography and the Land graduate.

View Brendan Barry’s work

Research with the School of Art and Media

The Centre for Media, Art and Design research (MADr) forms a gateway to harness and attract opportunities; we invite proposals to work with partners locally and globally.

MADr - a platform to promote art and creativity.

Visit the MADr website

Meet the tutors

My teaching interests are mid-late nineteenth century, and contemporary, landscape photography. In particular early topographic, new topographic and post new-topographic landscape photography.

Professor Jem Southam is programme leader for MA Photography and the Book and MA Photography and the Land.

Learn more about Professor Southam

ResM Photography

You can also take this programme as a Research Masters (ResM). With the ResM, you'll have some taught elements and an extended research phase. This programme is offered only on a part-time basis over two years.

You may also have the opportunity to progress directly into a PhD programme.

Find out more about the ResM pathway

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