Fine Arts MA, PgDip, PgCert

The MA Fine Arts degree programme will enable you to develop and locate your practice in relation to current bodies of knowledge and practice in the fine arts. You will build a strong and increasingly confident practice through awareness and interaction with current contexts of professional practice and research.

York St John University
Course fees
2018 - 2019 Full-time Home & EU students: £4,000, International (non EU) students: £12,500 per annum
Full-time & Part-time options available

Course overview

Why study MA Fine Arts?

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The existence of parallel MA Fine Arts and MA Performance programmes will provide you with opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary awareness and practices.
  • 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.

Course structure

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 your abilities as a self-reflective practitioner. 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. You 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 your own practice, contextualised by examination of various key practitioners, modes or epistemologies.

  • Questions of Practice is a practice-based module that encourages you 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 you in the development and enhancement of your 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 you 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 you 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 you to develop and enhance your 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 your understanding of key interdisciplinary questions, concepts and methodologies in the arts.

  • Creativity and Knowledge 1 invites you 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 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.

Programme specification

Further information on this course is available in the programme specification. Please note that the programme specification relates to course content that is currently being studied by students at the University. For new programmes, the programme specification will be made available online prior to the start of the course.

Learning support

York St John University works hard to create an inclusive environment for all our students. We offer a range of learning support services to assist students throughout their studies.

Entry requirements


Candidates for the MA programme are considered on the combination of all elements of their application, including existing arts practice, evidence of critical and reflective engagement and academic qualifications.

The criteria for this are as follows:

  • Demonstration of readiness for graduate level practice
  • Evidence of engagement with critical thinking

We are happy to arrange interviews by skype for overseas students.

Applications from candidates with disabilities are always considered and assessment of their abilities and needs are undertaken sensitively. The safety of the potential student and our ability to fulfil his/her learning needs and experiences are important in the decision to offer a place on the programme.

UK/EU Students

Candidates for entry to the MA programme fall into one of two categories:

  • Graduates with an honours degree at 2:1 or above in a related subject (eg Drama, Theatre, Live Art, Place/Space/Time Based Art) will normally register for the MA.
  • Graduates with an honours degree from another discipline and working in a professional arts environment or with extensive experience of arts practice will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants not meeting the above criteria may be considered for initial registration on the Postgraduate Certificate. If successful in work at postgraduate level, the student may be permitted to enrol for the Masters’ degree. In particular applicants with a 2:2 degree may be considered according to relevant practice based or professional experience.

International Students

International students will need to demonstrate that they have equivalent experience /qualifications as home students (ie the same entry criteria as above). If their first language is not English they must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.


For certain activities a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check may be required (for instance if working in schools or with young people). It is the responsibility of the student to obtain DBS checks as appropriate.


For all candidates there will be an interview and consideration of a portfolio of work; this is a central element of our consideration of applications and also an opportunity for you to find out more about the programme. In interviews, all candidates will be asked to give a presentation.

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

UK & EU 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £4,000 for full-time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For part-time options, see the Fees & Funding webpages for more information

Postgraduate Loan: A new Postgraduate Loan is now available to help you pay for your Master’s course for students commencing in the 2016/17 academic year. Find out more about the postgraduate loan.

Overseas 2016 / 17

The tuition fee for 2018 entry to this postgraduate course is £12,500 for international students.

Due to immigration laws, International Students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full-time. For more information about Visa requirements and Short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration webpages.

International Fees & Funding

How to Apply

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.

Applications for September 2018 entry must be submitted and completed by 5 October 2018.

Apply Now: Full-time

Apply Now: Part-time

Ask a question

Do you have a question about this course? Fill out our form to send a question to our Admissions team. Alternatively, you can call us on 01904 876922.