- 240 credits
- 2 year programme
- Full-time study
School or Centre
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.
Senior Tutor, Reader and Acting Co-Head of Programme
Sarah’s photographic practice has examined the consulting space used for psychoanalysis, in particular ‘the couch’ as subject.
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.
- Becky Beasley
- Jonny Briggs
- Helen Cammock
- Ori Gersht
- Felicity Hammond
- Anne Hardy
- Dominic Hawgood
- Mustafa Hulusi
- Asa Johannesson
- Idris Khan
- Alix Marie
- Harold Offah
- Joanna Piotrowska
- Sophy Rickett
- Hannah Starkey
- Esther Teichmann
- Bettina Von Zwehl
- Carey Young
- Tereza Zelenekova
- O Zhang
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
During the first year of the programme, you undertake three units of study: Unit 1A, Unit 1B and CHS. These units are each worth 40 credits, and are assessed through a combination of continuous and summative assessment methods.
You are assigned a personal tutor with whom to discuss your work in tutorials five times per academic year and assist your progress though Units 1A and 1B..
Although working primarily on your own practice, you will also be invited throughout the year to attend group critiques, seminars, lectures, workshops and tutorials with other members of the course team. You will produce work for studio critiques that take place in term one and two.
At the beginning of the Spring term, you will contribute to the Work-in-Progress Show. This is a chance to take risks, try new materials and explore new ideas. Your practice is not expected to be resolved at this stage however as this is in a public context, it is an opportunity to consider the role of the viewer. This enables you to test the efficacy of the visual forms you have been using. Throughout the first year, you will also take part in regular Critical and Historical studies events and work on a dissertation which will help you to further develop your practice.
During the second year of the programme you undertake three units of study: Unit 2A (40 credits), Unit 2B (60 Credits) and SoAH School Unit (20 Credits). These units are assessed through a combination of continuous and summative assessment methods.
In the second year, you select a personal tutor who appraises your work. You produce a self-initiated body of work, which is evaluated and discussed in group critiques and tutorials during the year.
In the third term the work you exhibit in the graduating show is part of the examination of your final unit 2B - the Independent Research Project. 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 Masters 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 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 this 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
In your portfolio, we would like you to include at least one coherent project but you can add up to five . You can include multiple files in each linked asset (JPeg, PDF or mp4) and add captions including title, date and material.
In your written statement, introduce us to your practice and where it might sit in the context of contemporary art. This might include issues of representation, discourses on photography as an expanded practice and wider socio-political concerns that you would like your work to address. Finally, please speculate on how the course might help you to change and enhance your practice.
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 Student 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
Fees for September 2021 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
Overseas and EU
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.
Overseas 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 2021
The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.