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Postgraduate course

Fine Art MA

Develop as an artist and refine your fine art practice. Identify, explore and professionalise your approach.

Art materials on a desk

The Fine Art MA focuses on progressing your practice and developing you as a professional artist. You'll produce a rich body of work underpinned by theoretical understanding. The course emphasises creating, supported by technical knowledge. You will learn to research, develop and refine your ideas. The practical skills you establish will be supported by an academic understanding.

York campus

  • Duration – 1 year full-time | 2 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    Portfolio You will be required to submit a portfolio of visual work

    Interview You may be invited to attend an interview

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £6,500 full time

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

Course overview

Do you have a passion for fine art and a drive to progress your skills? Have you recently finished an undergraduate degree, or are returning to learning? If so, this is the postgraduate course for you.

As a student on our Fine Art MA you will develop a deeper knowledge of your fine art practice. Identify, develop and professionalise your personal approach to making art. Expand your knowledge and skill through a range of sessions. These include tutorials, critiques, briefs and live projects, field trips and participatory events. We'll encourage you to think globally, produce quality work and develop your professional networks.

Explore your own potential as you work on areas that are relevant to your interests. Build on your knowledge of fine art through material thinking and critical theory. Our lecturers and technicians will support your independent work. Your experience in professional and scholarly fields will inform your studio practice.

Special features of this course include guest speakers, masterclasses, access to specialist studios and workshop spaces, national and international field trips, group exhibitions, networking opportunities, and the chance to be involved with staff research and symposiums.

Special features of this course include:

  • Guest speakers
  • Masterclasses
  • Access to specialist studios and workshop spaces
  • National and international field trips
  • Group exhibitions
  • Networking opportunities
  • Engage with staff research
  • Present your work at student symposiums.

Course Structure

Level 1 


30 credits 


This module will help you to develop the self-direction, specialisation and originality required for master's level study. You will build on your prior experience and knowledge of creative practices. You will also be introduced to philosophical frameworks and receive research methods training which is essential for subsequent modules and independent study.

30 credits


This module provides a creative foundation for your level 7 study. From this foundation, you will develop self-direction, specialisation and originality. You will build on your experience, knowledge and skills over a range of creative practices. Use the knowledge gained from your Material Intelligence module to influence your making. We encourage you to experiment with your making to develop your specialism.

30 credits


This module allows you to develop your creative practice. You will focus on the historical, theoretical, social and cultural contexts of your art. Independent research will allow you to identify the context of your work. Class discussions will allow you to explore the relationship between practice and theory.

30 credits


On this module you will develop a critical awareness of practice-based research. Explore fine art as a research activity as you build on your research from semester one. This work has the potential to develop into a doctoral study. You will research and engage with potential collaborative opportunities outside the university. This gives you the opportunity to develop your professional engagement and employability.

60 credits


Apply what you have learnt as you complete your independent, practice-based research project. You will work with a supervisor throughout the module. They will help to guide your research and support its development. You will also have the opportunity to present your work at a peer-to-peer symposium. You will do this part-way through the module, presenting a work-in-progress. Peers can provide feedback to help with the development of your project.

Teaching and assessment

The teaching and learning environment includes workshop facilities, teaching spaces, technologies and exchanges between analogue and digital cultures.

You will take part in workshops and studio sessions, seminar discussions, supervised projects, critiques, professional experiences and project work.

Your creative development will progress through ongoing action, reflection and evaluation, supported by research and expanded through different modes of reflective practice. 

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the different methods of artistic production and will be able to situate your creative practice within the wider visual arts landscape.

Formative assessment will be employed throughout the course through a range of tasks, projects and presentations. Summative assessment will take a variety of forms including presentations, portfolios, exhibitions and written work.

Feedback is delivered in written or recorded verbal form within three weeks of the assessment.

Fees and funding

UK & EU 2020 - 21

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this postgraduate course is £6,500 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2020 entry to this postgraduate course is £3,250 per year.

Postgraduate loans are available to help you pay for your master’s course. Find out more about postgraduate funding opportunities.

International (non-EU) 2020 - 21

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,750 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Student Visa must be studying full-time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £6,500 full time

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

Alumni Scholarships

If you are an alumni of York St John University we have scholarships available to help you continue your studies.

Scholarships for Alumni

Additional costs and financial support


Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.


View our accommodation pages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

Entry Requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    Portfolio You will be required to submit a portfolio of visual work

    Interview You may be invited to attend an interview


Entry onto this postgraduate course requires a minimum of a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a related subject.

If your undergraduate degree is not in Fine Art or a related discipline but you can provide a strong portfolio of visual work, your application will be considered.

International Students

If you're an international student, you'll need to demonstrate experience, or qualifications equivalent to those above.

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent (with no skill below 5.5).


Applicants will be invited for interview.

  • Before the interview, successful applicants will be asked to submit a 1,000 word statement.
  • At your interview you will be asked to present a portfolio of visual work to discuss with the panel. This can be done digitally.
  • We are happy to arrange interviews via Skype for overseas students.

APEL policy

If you can't meet these minimum requirements it may be possible to take into account evidence of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as an alternative method of meeting the programme’s entry requirements. In such a case, appropriate references and records of employment might be presented to support the applicant’s case for admission.

Apply for this course

You can apply directly to the course via our Apply Now links. Please select the variant of the course that you intend to undertake (e.g. full-time or part-time) as the link will take you to a customised form for the specific course. You will need to create a login and password and complete the online form. Please contact two referees in advance of submitting your application as an automated request will go out as soon as you submit, and your application will not be reviewed until both references are in place.

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