MFA - UCA Farnham - 2019, 2020

MFA Photography offers you a rare opportunity for extended study and practice over two years at Masters level. 

A distinctive feature of our course is the development of a high level of professional and research-based knowledge on the subject of photography. This gives you a unique perspective to enable you to be successful in this internationally expanding field.

You'll study units which provide inter-connected 'streams' of study, that serve to integrate theoretical and research methodologies with practice-based work. You can either take a visual or written approach to your studies or a combination of both.

On our MFA Photography course, you're encouraged to explore the medium of photography and its related theoretical fields in an experimental manner and with an open mind. You should develop excellent technical skills, creative vision and academic understanding on our course.

As part of the MFA, you'll be introduced to a wide range of global photographic disciplines and benefit from our unique relationship with the National Institute of Design in India. You can even take the opportunity to visit the Institute as part of our exchange/work placement programme. The availability of our work placements both in the UK and abroad will help you to develop a good understanding of the working world of photography.

Length of study:

Two year full-time


UCA Farnham

Start month:


View term dates

Entry year(s):

2019, 2020

Entry requirements:

Honours degree, normally 2.1 or above, and/or relevant work experience

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Course details

  • Year 1

    Critical Perspectives
    This theory unit is shared with MA Fine Art and provides an intensive critical framework for examining a range of theoretical positions. It places a strong emphasis on the acquisition of independent study skills required at Postgraduate level, giving students the opportunity to investigate and clarify key motivations within their practice and its wider critical context. You'll also be introduced to a range of research methods relevant to postgraduate study to aid the formation of individual research concerns that can be investigated more closely.

    Exploratory Practice (Photography)
    This unit focuses on self-directed practice where you'll define and develop individual rationales and methods of working. Research and practice will be directed and guided by a project proposal, in which you'll negotiate and review your practice with your tutor.

    Research and Development
    - Task 1) Research into professional practice - to enable and empower you to operate within the field of photography, you're expected to undertake research into professional practice during this semester, establishing external links appropriate to your subject area as agreed with your tutor, and preparing you for later in the course when you'll undertake a work placement/experience. 

    - Task 2) Practice as research - the work undertaken in this unit should build on the research questions you initiated and explored in the Exploratory Practice unit. Although you won't have concluded your research project, the work completed for this unit should be considerably more resolved and establish a clear line of inquiry - through materials, concept or context.

    International Exchange (optional)
    This is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution, this can be completed in either Year 1 or Year 2.

  • Year 2

    Advanced Practice (Photography)
    Advanced Practice gives you the opportunity to develop your practice during an additional semester of study before the Final Project. The work undertaken in this unit should build upon the research questions you developed and the professional and theoretical frameworks you explored in the Research and Development unit. This unit allows you to advance your skills through high-level research and advanced creative practice; additionally you have the opportunity to further develop your relationship and experience of professional practice if this is appropriate to your personal practice. The work completed for this unit should be considerably more resolved than in previous units.

    Final Project (Practice)
    The Final Project is the culmination of your studies and will form an exposition of the central ideas and concepts developed throughout your MFA. As such 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. The outcome should draw upon your supporting work developed in earlier units to give an overview of your MFA project from inception to conclusion.

    OR Final Project (Practice and Written)
    This optional unit provides a framework for those who wish to produce a body of practice work in conjunction with a written piece related to their practice. It is expected that you will divide your study time equally between the written piece of work and the practice (300 hours each).

    OR Final Project (Dissertation)
    This option provides you with the opportunity to undertake a sustained piece of research that demonstrates an intellectual and theoretical grasp of the subject of your MFA project.

    International Exchange (optional)
    This is an optional unit that will allow you to spend a period of time in an overseas education institution, this can be completed in either Year 1 or Year 2.

  • Fees and additional course costs

    Tuition fees
    The course fees for 2019 entry are:

    UK and EU students (full-time):

    - Year one: £4,480
    - Year two: £3,620

    International fees per year (full time):

    - International students - £15,500 (standard fee)
    - International students - £14,880 (full early payment fee)

    The fees for 2020 entry have not been confirmed but will be listed here as soon as possible.

    Additional course costs
    In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2019 entry.

    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.

  • Fee discounts and scholarships

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


We have three fully-equipped photographic studios; colour and black and white darkrooms for traditional printing with the facility to print 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 a good supply of 16mm, super 16mm, digital HD video cameras and high-end sound recording equipment to hire.

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Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

  • Industry links

    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.

    Recent guest lecturers include:

    • Martin Parr
    • Val Williams
    • Iain Sinclair
    • Sarah Pickering
    • Helen Sear
    • Joy Gregory
    • David Dibosa
    • Jeremy Akerman
    • Joan Fontcuberta
    • Joachim Schmid
    • Susan Lipper
    • Ewan Spencer
    • Marius Hannsen
    • Robert Wyatt
    • Simon Watney.
  • Careers

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

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

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

UK/EU applications

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for part-time study - starting September 2020:

International applications

If you are applying for more than one course in the UK please apply via UCAS, to apply direct to UCA please use the links below:

Apply for full-time study - Year 1 - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - Year 2 - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2019:

Apply for full-time study - starting September 2020:

Apply for full-time study - starting January 2020:

Apply for this course and other courses in the UK - full-time study - starting September 2019:

Due to visa requirements, this course is not available to students that require a Tier 4 (General) visa

If you have another category of visa please contact us: to find out if you are eligible to study.

If you're interested in joining Year 3 of this course, please contact our Admissions Team on +44 (0) 1252 892 960 or

When to apply:

You can apply throughout the year but we recommend you try and apply as early as possible so you have time to arrange accommodation and visas, if required.

For more information visit our how to apply pages

Entry requirements

UK 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.

International entry requirements

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

Pick Your Country

Non-UK equivalent qualifications

English language requirements

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

You may be able to enter the course through the UCA International College

Learn more about the UCA International College

Your portfolio

For this course, we'll require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you've applied.

More portfolio advice

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