An expanded and interdisciplinary art practice with no fixed identity.
The Photography programme provides an environment where you can develop as an artist with photography at the core of your practice. We offer a platform where students can articulate ideas through making work and can reflect critically upon what they have made.
The boundary between what is and what is not a photograph is dissolving. Whether still or moving, instantaneous or posed, digital or analogue, the photographic image is now a malleable cultural and aesthetic form of representation. An informed practice of photography is aware of the heterogeneous visual traditions of fine art as well as the specific traditions of photography. During your studies you’ll engage with practices of reading and writing about the still image, informed by theories of art, representation and culture.
All full-time students on fine or applied arts programmes are provided with studio and workshop space. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world.
- Jonny Briggs
- Anne Hardy
- Mustafa Hulusi
- Idris Khan
- Joanna Piotrowska
- Sophy Rickett
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
You will be assigned a personal tutor with whom you discuss your work in tutorials twice a term. Your tutor writes a critical report on your progress each term in response to a written statement of your own.
Although you will be working primarily on your own practice, there are also throughout the year group critiques, seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials with other members of the programme team. You will produce work for studio critiques that take place in term one and two.
As a first-year student, you’ll contribute to the Work-in-progress Show, held at the beginning of the spring term. Your work isn’t expected to be resolved at this stage, but it’s an opportunity to take risks and try new materials and ideas. As this is in a gallery context, it includes the question of spectatorship and enables you to reflect upon the efficacy of the visual forms and concepts with which you have been working.
In the second year, you’ll select your personal tutor, who will appraise your work twice a term. You’ll produce a self-initiated body of work, which will be evaluated and discussed in group critiques and tutorials during the year.
In the third term the work you exhibit in the graduating show will be part of your MA Examination. It consists of a major project undertaken in the second year of the programme. Your art practice should now demonstrate that you are able to make, develop and realise work at Master’s level.
Your work should now have a clear direction and resolution, demonstrating a level of conceptual and technical competence appropriate to your own aims and objectives. Your practice is expected to be self-initiated and thoroughly researched. You will be asked to articulate this process of producing work in the viva voce.
Critical & Historical Studies (CHS)
All studio-based MA students follow a weekly schedule of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS), a College-wide initiative that provides you with the intellectual framework to build a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
CHS delivers exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures by experts within the programme and high-profile visiting lecturers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the theoretical background and aspects of your chosen discipline through a tutored dissertation process, as well as receiving individual tutorial support from our team of expert tutors.
What you need to know before you apply
Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process considers creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.
You are generally expected to have a good BA degree from a photography or fine art course. You should be able to demonstrate an original and critical approach to photography as well as an ability to engage with current theories of art and culture that inform your practice.
What's needed from you
Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.
Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:
- Creativity, imagination and innovation
- Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
- Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
- Technical skills appropriate to the work
- Potential to benefit from the programme
Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio. Each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in the online application system. We advise you to consider these requirements carefully before submitting your application.
If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.
You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.
If you need a Tier 4 visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.
For this programme
Fees for new students
You'll find tuition fees for 2019/20 entry below. These are likely to go up roughly in line with inflation for 2020/21 entry. Fees will be confirmed by 1 December 2019.
Home and EU
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
New entrants to the College for MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees for the first year of study.
Home and EU
* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.
Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.
There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.
Change your life and be here in 2020
The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.