Danielle Gardiner, MFA Photography, UCA Farnham

MFA Photography

Photography MFA


Course overview

With internationally-recognised teaching staff, UCA's two-year MFA Photography course gives you a unique opportunity to become a true expert in the field of photography.

Led by award-winning photographer Anna Fox and supported by an exceptional team - including photographer and video artist Ori Gersht, Professorial Fellow Sunil Gupta, award-winning photographer Karen Knorr and talented sessional staff – you will be given the tools, freedom and time to hone your skills and find your professional niche.

You will be free to discover the joy of photography, explore different methods, materials and theories, and hone your research skills. And, with extensive careers research, you will discover which field of photography you would like to work in, before going on relevant work placements to help you build vital experience and networking opportunities.

A unique feature of this MFA Photography course is the incredible global perspective on offer, thanks to the international nature of its student cohort, staff and industry connections. The course has close ties with renowned institutions around the world, including the National Institute of Design in India, and there are opportunities to study there, and at other institutions throughout Europe and China.

You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with students from around the world, and exhibit work internationally; previous graduates have shown work at photography festivals in China and India.

Our Farnham campus has a distinct and important history within the field of photography, and an international reputation. Its many renowned alumni include the late Jane Bown, as well as Paul Seawright, David Moore and Natasha Caruana. 

a two-year high-level and practice-based postgraduate degree, for those students wishing to further their creative practice or move into academia or research.

A year-long preparatory course of study to ready you for your Master’s, developing your specialist skills, research acumen and confidence in working autonomously.

A year-long preparatory course of study to ready you for your Master’s in the UK, developing your English speaking and writing together with your specialist skills, research acumen and confidence in working autonomously.

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Course details

Course details

Get ready for your chosen postgraduate course with this preparatory year of specialist study. With a mix of online and face-to-face learning, UCA’s Integrated Pre-Masters is designed to give you insight into the study skills required to complete a Master’s, within the context of your creative subject. You’ll build skills in autonomous learning, forming your own targets and goals, honing your research skills, time management and professional practice.

For our students coming from a non-UK educational background, UCA has launched an Integrated International Pre-Masters year. On this course you’ll prepare for postgraduate study with a mix of online and face-to-face learning that will give you the study skills required to complete a Master’s, and you’ll also improve your English for academic study.

Critical Perspectives
Through a series of lectures, discussions in seminar sessions and written pieces, you’ll examine the meaning of contemporary practice and methods of working, alongside students from the MA Fine Art course.

Together, you’ll learn about the range of theoretical and critical debates which have impacted significantly on recent contemporary practice. As well as understanding how these relate to political and social contexts, you’ll also consider the materials you use, and how they might be placed in wider culture.

Exploratory Practice
You’ll be testing out and trying ideas, methods and materials to expand your breadth of knowledge and fields of interest. We will be expecting you to show your curiosity, experiment, take risks and be daring.

You'll develop a true sense of what materials and tools you want to use, and why, and the enquiries you want to follow, and why. You will discover the joy of your craft, not only in the practice of photography and theory, but also in the conception and research of your ideas.

Research and Development
In order to truly understand how research is completely embedded in your practice, you’ll develop the skills to exhaustively research particular methods, approaches, theories and practices, to further your experimental work.

You'll also thoroughly explore the photography industry and its subsidiaries on a global scale, in order to better prepare you for professional practice or other careers.

International Exchange (optional)
Thanks to the course's connections with a range of world-leading international institutions – including in India, Sweden, Spain and the USA - you will have the opportunity to undertake a period of study abroad. This is ideally taken in term two of year one or term three of year two.



Advanced Practice
In a continuation from your study in Year one, you'll build upon your research and critically evaluate this as well as your own practice, honing your skills as you develop the concept for your Final Project. You’ll be expected to come up with a ground-breaking project concept, which will sustain you throughout the year.

You'll also complete a work placement, which you will have researched in Year One.

Final Project
The Final Project is the culmination of your studies and should fully demonstrate the skills and passions you’ve developed. You can choose to submit a practice-only Final Project, a theory-only piece, or a combination of both.

If you are submitting a practice-only Final Project, it should achieve a resolution to previous project units and demonstrate evidence of advanced conceptual, theoretical and technical capability over an extended period of self-directed study. A theory-only Final Project provides you with the opportunity to undertake a sustained piece of research which demonstrates your intellectual and theoretical grasp of your enquiry, while the combination enables you to submit a body of practice work in conjunction with a shorter written piece.

International Exchange (optional)
Thanks to the course’s connections with a range of world-leading international institutions – including in India, Sweden, Spain and the USA - you will have the opportunity to undertake a period of study abroad. This is ideally taken in term two of year one or term three of year two.




Tuition fees
The course fees for 2021 entry are:

UK students (full-time):

- Year one: £5,600
- Year two: £5,330

EU students, year 1 (full-time):

- Year one: £5,600 (see fee discount information)

International fees, year 1 (full time):

- International students - £11,670 (standard fee)
- International students - £11,200 (full early payment fee)

The course fees for 2022 entry will be available here shortly. 

Additional course costs
In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2021 entry. The details for 2022 entry will be available here in due course.

Further information
Find out more about our course fees and any financial support you may be entitled to:

These fees are correct for the stated academic year only. Costs may increase each year during a student’s period of continued registration on course in line with inflation (subject to any maximum regulated tuition fee limit). Any adjustment for continuing students will be at or below the RPI-X forecast rate.

To support our students and alumni to progress to the next level of study, we have developed a new range of fee discounts across a range of courses.

Course specifications

Please note, syllabus content indicated is provided as a guide. The content of the course may be subject to change in line with our Student Terms and Conditions for example, as required by external professional bodies or to improve the quality of the course.


We have three fully-equipped photographic studios; colour and black and white darkrooms for traditional printing from small, medium and large-format negatives; dedicated digital area with medium and large format printers and high specification digital scanners. Our on-campus media store has both analogue and digital cameras and lighting for hire.


Photography studios, UCA Farnham


Photography studios, UCA Farnham


Darkrooms, UCA Farnham


Photography studio, UCA Farnham

Course connections

Course connections

Our course has a number of connections with similar institutions worldwide, including art and design institutes and universities in India, Pakistan, USA, Sweden, France and Spain.

Professional contacts and regular industry lectures are integral to this course, and enable you to learn from photographers and artists talking about their professional practice. Our photographic industry links include: Metro Imaging; Genesis; Simon Roberts Studio; Association of Photography; The Royal Photographic Society; The Martin Parr Foundation; Fotofusion Gallery; Finnish Museum of Photography; Lagos Photo Festival; Dillon + Lee Gallery, NY; Impressions Gallery; Photography and the Archive Research Centre; Tate Modern; Fotogallery Cardiff, and Autograph ABP.

Recent guest lecturers include:

  • Martin Parr
  • Val Williams
  • Sarah Pickering
  • Helen Sear
  • Joy Gregory
  • Susan Lipper
  • Ewan Spencer
  • Eileen Perrier.


Graduates from this course work in a wide variety of related careers, including:

  • PhD and research
  • Editorial, fashion, documentary and fine art photography
  • Advertising
  • Editing and curatorial posts
  • Gallery and project management
  • Writing
  • Teaching
  • Technical support.

You may want to undertake further study or a research degree to specialise even more.

Explore our Gradshow

Visit our 2021 grad show site to see the incredible work created by our graduating students

Visit the 2021 Gradshow
Charan Singh
Charan Singh

"The course was an extraordinary experience for a student like me, who did not come from a photography background. I achieved a distinction in my MFA, which was unbelievable to me, all credit goes to my tutors and mentors, they were wonderful."

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • An honours degree or equivalent qualification in the subject or a related discipline


  • Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

Consideration will also be given to applicants who can make a strong case for admission in relation to a particular project and can demonstrate their potential to satisfactorily complete the course.

To view the equivalent entry requirements for your country please select it in the list below.

Don't meet the international entry requirements or English language requirements?

You may be able to enter the course through the following entry courses:

Pre-sessional English courses in the UK or China

UCA International Foundation courses

The UCA International College

For this course, you’ll be required to submit an online portfolio via your UCA Applicant Portal. Further information on how to compile and upload your portfolio will be provided once you have applied. If you receive an offer, you’ll be invited to attend an Offer Holder Webinar where you can meet the course team and learn more about the course.

More portfolio advice

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