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Fine Arts MA,PgDip,PgCert

MA Fine Arts

The Course Programme Structure Staff Profiles Why YSJ ? Student Voices


Why study MA Fine Arts?

  • Your own practice is at the centre of the programme - Your own practice is at the centre of the programme, and you will take practice-based modules throughout the degree, whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time.
  • Fluid interrelationship between theory and practice - Delivery of the degree programme will make use of workshop, studio, seminar and virtual environments, providing an opportunity to explore the interrelationships between practice, reflection and knowledge.
  • Opportunities for cross-disciplinary work - The existence of parallel MA Fine Arts and MA Performance programmes will provide you with opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary awareness and practices.
  • Focus on reflection and dissemination - The programme is designed to enhance the reflective strategies you employ in your creative decision making and your awareness of issues of dissemination within your present and future practice.


What will I study?

The curriculum, which also supports awards at Postgraduate Certificate and Postgraduate Diploma levels, is uniquely designed and focused on developing artists’ abilities and capacities for professional, vocational and academic innovation. We emphasise relationships between composition, reflection, practice and dissemination across a dynamic breadth of fine arts disciplines and discourses. Teaching, learning and research on the programme will enable discovery of the variety of ways in which composition, creation and dissemination in fine arts practice has evolved into its present media and forms.

This degree enables students who already have some experience of fine arts practice to expand their artistic horizons, develop their reflective abilities and expand their portfolio as thinking practitioners.

You will follow two strands of modules through the programme:


Reflective Practice

This strand, consisting of two 40 credit modules is designed to enhance students’ abilities as self-reflective practitioners. It recognises the deep interrelationship between reflection, documentation, dissemination and production, in terms of the development of an artist’s work and practice in terms of its function and operation within critical and public domains. Students will be introduced to the variety of ways in which composition, creation and dissemination in the production of fine arts practice has evolved into its present media and forms. This will be accompanied by investigation into the potential of strategies concerning documentation as useful modes of reflection and realisation. This module strand will be primarily focused around students’ own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or epistemologies.

Questions of Practice is a practice-based module that encourages students to think and reflect through development of studio practice and discovery of related questions of practice. It recognises critical and creative reflection on studio practice as an active and essential aspect of working processes. It aims also to guide students in development and enhancement of their conceptual, intellectual, practical and technical range of abilities, skills and knowledge in relation to models and strategies of making and reflecting upon current fine arts practice.

Practice in Context encourages students to develop a nascent body of practice-based work in response to issues of context. Where work in ‘Questions of Practice’ encourages speculative approaches to studio practice, this module asks students to identify and respond to any of a range of historical, social and cultural contexts. This could range from re-examining approaches to site-specific practice, the ‘white cube’ gallery space, or networked, online spaces. The module allows time and opportunity for students to develop and enhance their conceptual, intellectual, practical and technical range of abilities, skills and knowledge in relation to issues and opportunities of making/disseminating practice-based research in fine arts practice.


Creativity & Knowledge

This strand, consisting of two 20 credit modules, is designed to deepen students’ understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

Creativity and Knowledge 1 invites students to interrogate a range of key themes relating to the relationship between art and the wider cultural, social, economic circumstances of its production and reception. Creativity and Knowledge 2 consists of investigation into concepts of practice-based research in the arts and the examination of the epistemological and ideological implications of the widening of traditional concepts of research that such developments entail.

This strand of modules is taught cross-disciplinarily with students on the MA programmes within Creative Practice.


Masters Independent Project

Together these taught elements lead MA candidates into the final Independent Project module, where you will undertake an extended period of supervised practice-based research which is expected to draw together and implement the resources provided earlier in the programme.



The programme is offered in the following modes of study:

  • Full-time: One year
  • Part-time: Two year

The programme begins in September each year. The taught modules will normally consist of weekly sessions scheduled on one day a week. There may also be the occasional intensive weekend session.



Students would normally enrol onto the MA programme (180 credits). However there is the possibility of undertaking the Postgraduate Diploma (consisting of 120 credits of taught modules but not the Independent Project) or exiting with the Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits).

These routes may be attractive if you wish to update or consolidate your existing qualifications but do not wish to carry out extended research into fine arts.


Degree programme information

Programme specifications »