Two people looking at photographs on wall at exhibition

Photography MA

Develop your photographic approach and your self-marketing strategy on this Masters. Acquire the skills to work in photography, curating, picture editing or education.

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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.

Number 6 in the UK for student satisfaction

We're ranked sixth in the UK for student satisfaction in creative arts and design in the 2024 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES)


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

Graduation Class of 2021

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

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements


This course accepts UK, EU, and International students.

September 2024 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, you’ll need to show you meet the UK entry requirements listed above.

To find out if your non-UK degree or other qualification is accepted, please visit our page for your country and view the UK equivalent of your qualification.

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 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.

All applicants will be invited to attend an interview or be asked to submit a online portfolio in support of their application.

For more information on how to put together a portfolio for your application, read our MA Photography portfolio guide.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees (September 2024 start)

  • Full-time: £8,900 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £2,970 for Year 1; £5,930 for Year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

(Including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £8,900 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £2,970 for Year 1; £5,930 for Year 2 (may be subject to annual increase)

  • Full-time: £17,200 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time: £5,840 for Year 1; £11,360 for Year 2 (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.

Loans, scholarships and bursaries

Browse funding such as the Government Postgraduate Loan, our scholarships for new and returning students, and subject specific loans.

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Funding for international students

Learn more about sponsorships, scholarships and loans for students applying from outside of the UK.

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Fees and funding for Master's courses

Explore Master's funding options, including loans, scholarships, bursaries and more.

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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 as 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.


What you'll study (full-time)

Core modules

We'll help you navigate discussions on different research methods and selecting the right one, be it qualitative or quantitative. Dive into a topic that matters to you, following ethical rules. You’ll get to share what you find using presentations and reflective writing, which will help you figure out who you are as a researcher. By the end, you’ll be familiar with the best research strategies—from practical projects to working with other fields—to support your Master’s study.

Become an agile and thoughtful researcher, prepared to explore exciting questions.

You'll reflect on learnings to conceive innovative ways of working and create an ambitious project proposal to push your practice forward. This module boosts your experimentation skills. You'll select and test a range of materials, methods and sources, evaluating techniques to refine your approach. Enjoy this opportunity to question photographic conventions and propose something that challenges perceptions. You'll articulate the contexts framing your research in a clear, focused proposal that demonstrates independent thinking and a systematic plan to achieve your vision. This module helps you formulate ideas that advance photographic knowledge. revealing your potential as an original practitioner.

You'll analyse your practice within the wider context of contemporary photography, comparing your output to current styles, theories and debates. You'll gain invaluable perspective on where your work fits into the photographic landscape: this module boosts your contextual awareness. You'll research relevant critical texts and visual culture, documenting it all in a critical paper that articulates your learning. You'll understand how to relate your practice to the work of others and where you can push boundaries.

The module also focuses on next steps - you'll define a career path that aligns with your skills and passions and build an online presence to promote your work. By the end, you'll have new direction both creatively and professionally. This experience gives your photography renewed focus and meaning.

Use what you’ve already learnt to create unique work that shows your creativity, technical skill, and understanding of the context. By experimenting and getting into academic work, you’ll fine-tune a style that shares your distinct view.

This module will help you produce photography that’s up to industry standards. This proves that you’re a creative visual storyteller ready to succeed in creative jobs.

What you'll study (part-time)

Core modules

You’ll explore different strategies and methods for impactful arts, design, and media research. Our lecturers will help you form an engaging research question. You’ll then choose and use the right critical methods to answer it. By doing hands-on projects, you'll get better at analysing, taking notes, gathering information from different sources, and sharing your findings.

By the end, you’ll know how to research on your own and have the critical thinking skills and confidence to do it well.

Follow your curiosity to new discoveries that will change the creative world.

You’ll reflect on learnings to conceive innovative ways of working and create an ambitious project proposal.

This is an opportunity to question conventions and propose something that challenges perceptions. Demonstrating independent thinking and systematic planning to achieve your vision. This module helps formulate ideas that advance photographic knowledge.

Core modules

Analyse your work within the wider contemporary photo context and compare your visual language and concepts to current styles, theories and debates. Gain vital perspective on where you fit into the photographic landscape. You'll research relevant critical texts and visual culture, articulating your findings in a paper. What's more, you'll understand how to position your practice in relation to others and learn where you can push creative boundaries.

The module also focuses on future planning, defining a career pathway aligned to your skills and interests and building an online presence to promote your work. By the end, you'll have new direction and meaning both creatively and professionally. This reflective module gives your photography renewed focus.

Use what you’ve learnt to put together photos that show your creativity, technical skills, and contextual understanding. By diving into academic work and trying new things, you’ll develop a style that really shows your unique way of seeing things.

This module shines in helping you create industry-standard photos. This shows you have what it takes to be a creative visual storyteller who can succeed in creative careers.

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

Photography studios and darkrooms

Our extensive photography facilities allow students to put learning into practice and get creative using high-end professional equipment.

17/05/2021.B-Roll - day 3 ..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.
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Device loans library

Find out more about the equipment available for our students to borrow from our device loans library – from smart watches to Raspberry Pi devices.

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Centre for Creative and Immersive Extended Reality (CCIXR)

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

AED - Feb 23
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CCI Open Access Suite

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

CCI Facilities; June 2019
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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).


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


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 Portrait

Dr Jonathan Baggaley

Senior Lecturer

School of Art, Design, and Performance

Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries

PhD Supervisor

Read more

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 key dates

Career development

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.

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.

9 reasons to do a Master's

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

Supporting you

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 independent 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 5.00pm 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

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

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.

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.

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?

Start this course in September 2024

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 2023, 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.