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Postgraduate Course

Photography MA

Explore new possibilities and applications for your photography within the contemporary visual arts landscape.

Whether your focus is digital, or traditional photography this course develops an advanced level of understanding across photographic processes, practice and theory, making it relevant to a range of professional, creative and research-based careers. Our Photography MA engages you thoughtfully and practically with the photographic medium and the wider professional industry.

York campus

  • Start date – September 2021
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in ar related subject

    Interview You'll be invited to attend an interview to discuss your portfolio

Tuition Fees

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

    International 2020-21 £12,750 full time

Course Overview

Our practice-led Photography MA will encourage you to expand and consolidate your interests, informing your creative direction and decision-making. Your growth as a photographer will be underpinned by work in the studio, and informed by specialist visual arts research.

You will work with others to inspire your own ideas.  This includes partnering with established external professionals and completing collaborative research with students from different artistic disciplines. Access to industry-standard technology and visiting professionals will further enhance your learning.

We support you to develop your own approaches to specialisms that could include landscape, social engagement, and studio photography. 

Practical and critical thinking skills are enhanced through opportunities to take part in live projects, alongside studio-based research.

The course structure allows a focus on your specific areas of interest. You will undertake core and specialist projects interwoven with a critical studies. These skills will cultivate you as a well-rounded, versatile, creative professional photographer.

The programme is designed to meet the needs both of students who have recently finished undergraduate programmes in the UK/EU and internationally, alongside those who are returning to learning to enhance their existing photography experience. 

Course structure

Level 1 


30 credits 

Compulsory module

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 

Compulsory module

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.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

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.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will develop a critical awareness of practice-based research. Explore photography 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 | Compulsory
This is your final project on the MA programme and an opportunity to develop your own independent practice-based research project, developing on from the taught content of the programme. You will be expected to synthesise the practical, reflective and conceptual developments in their work over the course of the programme.

This can take the form of either:

  • A significant body of practice based work, incorporating reflective and contextual analysis (written work must be a minimum of 3000 words)
  • A written dissertation (12000 words).


Teaching and assessment

Teaching is informed by our academics' in-depth knowledge of the subject and the application of best practice.

You will develop studio-based and experience-based learning, aimed at challenging the boundaries of your practice. You will have access industry standard facilities, teaching spaces, technologies and we encourage inter-disciplinary exchanges between analogue and digital cultures. 

A range of teaching and learning strategies are used across the modules including:

  • workshop
  • studio sessions 
  • seminar discussions
  • supervised projects
  • critical review 
  • professional experiences
  • project work.

Through an ongoing process of action, reflection and evaluation, and a collaborative approach to problem-solving you will expand your creative insight and confidence.

Formative assessment will be employed across 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.

Entry Requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 undergraduate degree in ar related subject

    Interview You'll be invited to attend an interview to discuss your portfolio


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

If your undergraduate degree is not in Photography 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.

At your interview you will be asked to:

  • Provide 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.

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.

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