Two people looking at photographs on wall at exhibition
Mode of Study
Part-time, Full-time
Duration
1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start Date
September 2022

Overview

This MA Photography course will build upon your existing skills and passion for photography and visual arts, supporting you as you develop and refine your unique photographic practice and gain confidence in relevant research methodologies.

By extending your photographic work to postgraduate level, you’ll be encouraged to pursue an understanding of the contexts that situate your practice, engage with the debates informing and underpinning contemporary photographic practices, and hone your authorial voice.

This Master’s in photography degree course will provide you with the core knowledge and skills to work effectively across photography-related industries as an artist, educator or researcher, or in broader creative and artistic roles like writing, curating and picture editing. It will also equip you to pursue further study and research at PhD level.

With many opportunities to network, publicise and market your work publicly, you'll be better prepared to take your creative career to the next level once you graduate.

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

Course highlights

  • Utilise our extensive photographic studio facilities, including: flash and tungsten lighting set ups, digital and traditional darkrooms supporting colour and black and white photography, high-end negative scanners, ink jet printers and projection facilities
  • Optimise and fine tune your portfolio with our powerful PCs and Macs, loaded with the software used by professionals, high-spec printers, and film, video and photography editing facilities
  • Take part in study visits to galleries and photography festivals
  • Connect with internationally-renowned visiting speakers and practitioners – recent speakers have included: Anna Fox, Oliver Chanarin, Maisie Cousins, Faisal Abdu'Allah, Eric Kessels, Laura Pannack, Tom Hunter, Eva Stenram, Bettina von Zwehl, and Sunil Gupta

Joining us as an international student

You'll feel at home in our international community and our diverse city. You'll be joining over 5,000 international students from more than 150 countries who are studying with us.

Learn more about international student life and how we can help you with visas, applications, arrival and settling in. 

Information for international students

What you'll study on this MA Photography degree course

Full-time

Modules you'll study

All modules on this MA Photography degree course are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­led research.
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design.
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question.
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources.
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Systematically synthesise exploratory research and practice into a clearly focused project proposal
  • Utilise and critically evaluate techniques and processes by selecting and experimenting with a range of materials and a variety of methods and sources
  • Provide evidence of the theoretical, critical and historical contexts and knowledge frameworks, which inform the proposed research programme and identifies key questions in relation to the proposed research
  • Independently develop a project management strategy, that articulates in a systematic way the proposed research programme and its sources, contextual framework, methodologies and the basis upon which it may be innovative, challenging and extending knowledge

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design a research programme and its appropriated methodologies in order to demonstrate reflection, evaluation and independent judgement
  • Develop and produce a critical context paper that documents, evidences and articulates research, in relation to critical enquiry, evaluating theoretical texts and visual practice in contextualisation and with reference to own practice
  • Contextualise own practice within a critical and appropriate position
  • Define a relevant career path and extend interest and practice into the external world
  • Identify personal aims and action plans to enable and to move towards achieving the above
  • Engage and promote a personal online presence within the appropriate professional sphere

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Reflect and provide evidence of a development, concept and method at an advanced level, mindful of analytical and professional skills, producing a resolved self-directed body of work within the area of contemporary photographic practice
  • Engage in research, which demonstrates a maturity of interaction and application of theoretical texts, and related practices, to practice and relevant contemporary photographic debate
  • Produce and resolve an extended body of work, using photography or related media, to a high professional standard. Evidence advanced practical skills, together with innovative and creative conceptual interpretation
  • Exercise independent creative and aesthetic judgement and problem solving in production, editing and finalisation of the work demonstrating advanced specialist knowledge
  • Develop a confident understanding and contextual positioning of work both in intention and resolution within a clearly defined framework
  • Justify decisions taken in an informed manner identifying a clear understanding of how the work will be positioned in relation to an intended audience and the wider field of contemporary photographic practices within which it will be situated

Explore this module

Part-time

Year 1
Year 2

All modules on this MA Photography degree course are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Articulate key issues related to the debates about research methods for Art, Design and Media and practice­led research.
  • Critically evaluate and select appropriate research methods from a range of disciplinary and cross disciplinary models evidencing ethical awareness in research design.
  • Demonstrate individual research skills and techniques for developing, recording and analysing research enquiry through their application to a research question.
  • Demonstrate a high level of critical engagement with theoretical/historical/contemporary sources.
  • Make effective use of appropriate presentation tools for the communication of their research findings and offer personal reflection of the research journey.

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Systematically synthesise exploratory research and practice into a clearly focused project proposal
  • Utilise and critically evaluate techniques and processes by selecting and experimenting with a range of materials and a variety of methods and sources
  • Provide evidence of the theoretical, critical and historical contexts and knowledge frameworks, which inform the proposed research programme and identifies key questions in relation to the proposed research
  • Independently develop a project management strategy, that articulates in a systematic way the proposed research programme and its sources, contextual framework, methodologies and the basis upon which it may be innovative, challenging and extending knowledge

Explore this module

All modules on this MA Photography degree course are core.

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Reflect and provide evidence of a development, concept and method at an advanced level, mindful of analytical and professional skills, producing a resolved self-directed body of work within the area of contemporary photographic practice
  • Engage in research, which demonstrates a maturity of interaction and application of theoretical texts, and related practices, to practice and relevant contemporary photographic debate
  • Produce and resolve an extended body of work, using photography or related media, to a high professional standard. Evidence advanced practical skills, together with innovative and creative conceptual interpretation
  • Exercise independent creative and aesthetic judgement and problem solving in production, editing and finalisation of the work demonstrating advanced specialist knowledge
  • Develop a confident understanding and contextual positioning of work both in intention and resolution within a clearly defined framework
  • Justify decisions taken in an informed manner identifying a clear understanding of how the work will be positioned in relation to an intended audience and the wider field of contemporary photographic practices within which it will be situated

Explore this module

The learning outcomes of this module are:
  • Design a research programme and its appropriated methodologies in order to demonstrate reflection, evaluation and independent judgement
  • Develop and produce a critical context paper that documents, evidences and articulates research, in relation to critical enquiry, evaluating theoretical texts and visual practice in contextualisation and with reference to own practice
  • Contextualise own practice within a critical and appropriate position
  • Define a relevant career path and extend interest and practice into the external world
  • Identify personal aims and action plans to enable and to move towards achieving the above
  • Engage and promote a personal online presence within the appropriate professional sphere

Explore this module

Changes to course content

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

A red-black duotone composition of blocks

Studying the MA in Photography has been highly beneficial for my practice and career of an artist. Since graduating, I’ve exhibited my work internationally including a solo show in Berlin, and have been part of numerous artist talks and panel discussions. I’ve also started teaching and delivering workshops at leading British universities and galleries around Europe.

Krasemira Butseva, MA Photography graduate

Facilities and specialist equipment

Two people developing film in a darkroom

Photography darkrooms

Develop your images in our digital darkrooms with calibrated display monitors, large format desktop inkjet printers, and virtual drum scanners for negative scanning.

Explore darkrooms

A man photographing a woman in a studio

Photography studios

We have three studios kitted out with flash and tungsten lighting, coloured backdrops and lighting accessories. You can edit on-the-fly at Mac stations with photo editing software.

Explore studios

A hand holding a camera with viewfinder on

Equipment loan stores

Whatever your work, you can borrow computers and professional-standard film, photography, lighting, and performance equipment from our loan stores in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. 

Television broadcasting hub

CCIXR

Create stunning works for film, TV, music, gaming and immersive reality in the UK's first integrated facility of its kind.

Explore CCIXR

A group of students on computers in a room

Open Access Suite

Our open-plan space includes PCs and Macs equipped with Adobe Creative Suite and other professional software.

Explore Suite

Careers and opportunities

Careers this Master's in photography prepares you for

As a successful graduate of this course, you'll have developed and refined your individual photographic practice to a point where you will feel confident enough to exhibit your work within the context of professional art.

Through seminars, project work, training and work experience, the MA Photography course will help you to engage with the creative industries of photography and its ancillary industries to be better equipped for employment and further career progression.

9 reasons to do a Master's

Graduates of this course have gone onto roles in:

  • Freelance photography
  • Editorial photography
  • Picture editing
  • Publishing
  • Digital printing and retouching
  • News / Press industries
  • Picture agencies
  • Curation
  • Galleries and museums
  • Design
  • Teaching
  • PhD research / Research related careers

Career outcomes shown are sourced from the latest available graduate outcome surveys. The data shows career outcomes at 15 months after graduation.

Career planning

During your course you'll have expert career support from your tutors and from our Careers and Employability Centre, which you can access for 5 years after you graduate.

Female student standing at careers and employability help desk

You'll benefit from:

  • Networking events
  • 1-to-1 appointments
  • CV and cover letter advice
  • Interview preparation and practice
  • Workshops to enhance your employability skills
  • Recruitment events including the Student and Graduate Opportunities Fair
  • Support starting your own business

Learn more about your career support

How you'll spend your time

We recognise that you'll probably be juggling more demands when you do your Master's degree, as you may be working or you may have family responsibilities.

We'll give you as much indication here as we can of how much time you'll need to be on campus and how many hours you can expect to spend in self-directed study, but please note that these indications are always subject to change. You should receive your full timetable several weeks before you start with us.

It is our expectation that all international students will join us here on campus in Portsmouth.

Course structure

This Master's degree will take:

  • 12 months (full-time study)
  • 2 years (part-time study)

You can expect:

  • 1 day of teaching per week (pro rata for part time students). At the moment, teaching takes place on Tuesdays, leaving you the rest of the week for self-guided study. 
  • Around 30–35 hours of independent study and use of facilities each week (pro rata for part time students).

Teaching

Master's study is deeper and more specialised than an undergraduate degree. This means you'll focus on something that really matters to you and your career as you work closely with academics committed to the subject.

You'll spend more time in independent study and research than you did for your undergraduate degree, but the majority of your teaching time will be in-person and face-to-face.

Teaching on this course includes:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • project work

Assessment

You'll be assessed through:

  • written coursework
  • practical coursework
A pile of red and green apples strewn over an expanse of patchy grass

Undertaking an MA in Photography was an immensely rewarding experience. It provided me with the time, motivation and academic framework to research a subject thoroughly and then produce and exhibit a highly professional body of work.

John Farnhill, MA Photography graduate

Meet your course leader

Jonathan Baggaley

Dr Jonathan Baggaley

I am a visual artist, researcher and lecturer based in Hampshire. My photographic practice began in the 1980s whilst completing a studio based photography HND at Swansea Institute (then WGIHE).

My current research centres on the traditional photographic portrait studio as a space of modernity and desire and how this might offer insights into photography as a psychic apparatus.

Read my full profile

Term dates

September start

The Master’s academic year runs from September to the following September. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter. Over the summer you’ll be writing your project / dissertation.

See term dates

Supporting your learning

Master's study is more focused on independent learning than undergraduate study, but you'll get lots of support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to postgraduate study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

You'll have regular contact with your personal tutor in learning activities or scheduled meetings. You can also make an appointment with them if you need extra support.

In addition to the support you get from your personal tutor, you'll also have access to a Faculty student support advisor. They can give you confidential, impartial advice on anything to do with your studies and personal wellbeing and refer you to specialist support services.

If you need support with software and equipment or you want to learn additional skills (including skills not covered on your course), our creative skills tutors provide free workshops, activities and one-on-one tutorials. Skills you can learn include life drawing, film camera operation and video production.

You'll have help from a team of faculty academic skills tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • Understanding and using assignment feedback
  • Managing your time and workload
  • Revision and exam techniques

Computing support staff are always available to give technical support in the Faculty's computer suites during normal working hours. There's also some support available from 5pm to midnight at busy times of the year.

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University's Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • Academic writing
  • Note taking
  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Presentation skills
  • Referencing
  • Working in groups
  • Revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1-2-1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University's library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

​Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2022 start)

  • Full-time: £8,100 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £2,700 for Year 1; £5,400 for Year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

  • Full-time: £8,100 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £2,700 for Year 1; £5,400 for Year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

These figures both include the Transition Scholarship for EU students.

  • Full-time: £18,300 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

University of Portsmouth graduates may receive a 20% alumni tuition fee discount

Fees are subject to annual increase. Read our tuition fees terms and conditions.

You'll be able to pay your fees in instalments. Find out how to pay your tuition fees.

Funding your studies

Explore how to fund your studies, including available scholarships and bursaries.

If you're a UK student, you may be eligible for a Government Postgraduate Master's Loan, which you can use to help with course fees and living costs.

If you're a UK student who achieved a first in your undergraduate degree you may be eligible for a £3,000 University of Portsmouth scholarship.

Additional costs

These course-related costs aren't included in the tuition fees so you'll need to budget for them when you plan your spending. Additional costs could include:

  • Accommodation: Accommodation options and costs can be found on our accommodation pages
  • Recommended reading: You can borrow key texts from the library and if you choose to purchase these texts they may cost up to £60 each.
  • General costs: such photocopying, memory sticks, printing charges, binding and specialist printing. We suggest budgeting £75 per year.
  • Final project transport or accommodation: where necessary, which related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

Read more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Entry requirements​

Eligibility

This course accepts UK, EU, and international students.

September 2022 start

A minimum of a second-class honours degree in a related subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.

Please get in touch if you're not sure if your undergraduate subject is relevant to this degree.

Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will also be considered, such as previous study, employment, voluntary work and training courses, including courses and qualifications you didn't complete. Learn more about our Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

If you're applying as an international student with a non-UK degree, view the equivalent entry requirements we accept for your country.

You'll need to either attend an interview or provide a portfolio as part of the selection process.

Read our MA Photography portfolio guidance to learn more about what you need for a portfolio.

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 (or equivalent) with no component score below 6.0.

You do not need an IELTS or equivalent certification if:

  • you have a UK degree
  • you have a degree from a majority English speaking country (not taught by Distance Learning)
  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country

Degrees taught solely in English from non-majority English speaking countries will be considered on a case by case basis. Find out more about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

How to apply

Unlike undergraduate applications, which go through UCAS, applications for this Master's course are made directly to us.

There's no deadline for applications to this course. We accept applications right up until the start date in September, as long as there are places available. If you wait until September to apply, you may find that the course is full.

If you're applying as an international student, remember that you'll need to leave plenty of time to get your visa organised.

You can find more advice about applying in our Master's application checklist. International students and current students and recent graduates of the University of Portsmouth also have some different application options, which are detailed below.;

Extra information for international students

If you're an international student, you can apply directly to us using the same application form as UK students.

You could also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region. To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.

If you don’t meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Ready to apply?

Standard applications

Start this course in September 2022

Apply now (Full-time)

Apply now (Part-time)

I'm a current Portsmouth student, or a recent Portsmouth graduate

If you're currently in your final year of study at Portsmouth, or you graduated since July 2021, you're eligible to make a fast track application. You'll have:

  • a shorter application form to complete
  • access to the 20% Alumni fee discount
  • a guaranteed conditional offer, for most Master's courses 

Learn more about fast track

After you apply

Once we receive your application, we may ask you for further information. We will then either make you an offer or suggest alternatives if your application is unsuccessful.

You'll usually get a decision within 10 working days, so you shouldn't have to wait too long. Some courses have an interview stage – we'll let you know if you need to prepare for one.

Learn more about how we assess your application.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.