MA by Dissertation in Art and Design

Writtle College

Program Description

MA by Dissertation in Art and Design

Writtle College


Why study an MA by Dissertation in Art & Design?

MA by Dissertation in Art & Design is designed to help students review, develop and progress their practice as an artist or designer. The course has been created to enhance the breadth and depth of students’ artistic abilities and capacities for self-direction and professionalism. It will allow students to develop an individual practice and engender the required excellence to successfully become a creative professional.

Who is the course for?

The MA by Dissertation in Art and Design is for those with art and/or design degrees or related Honours qualifications. These include, for example: fine art, graphic design, illustration, interactive media, networked media, architecture, interior, landscape and garden design, and art history. Students may choose to progress straight from their undergraduate studies or return to their studies after a period of work. As a non-taught postgraduate degree, the MA by Dissertation offers students the opportunity to identify and refine an area of research within an open studio culture of debate and practice led by established practicing artists, curators, theorists and art historians. A portfolio of work and CV are required, together with a letter addressing research interests and reasons for applying.

Course aims

Giving students an intellectually-stimulating and creative environment in which they can further develop their potential as an artist or designer.

Providing teaching and peer-group learning that is both challenging and responsive to student needs.

Providing a place for debate that aids students in becoming increasingly articulate and professional in questioning and improving their works and goals.

Providing practical support and the necessary technical resources for creating works in a range of different media.

Developing a range of transferable skills and the knowledge of how to apply them in the art and design industries.

Delivery and assessment

While the MA by Dissertation is a non-taught postgraduate degree, students benefit from, and contribute to, the dynamism of the studio-based Art and Design courses at Writtle School of Design. Students attend a weekly seminar in which they present their research findings and practice to tutors and fellow students.

Assessment is in three parts: a dissertation, portfolio of practice-based research and an exhibition or final major project that embodies the results of the research carried out.

The dissertation comprises a written thesis (of up to 10,000 words) which sets out the relationship between the student’s work and the wider field of knowledge/the subject area, addressing the theoretical, historical and critical context of their work.

The Portfolio of Research
The portfolio of research is a comprehensive body of developmental work that demonstrates an exploratory and reflective approach to an appropriate breadth of media, tools and techniques. The format of this portfolio is agreed with supervisors but may include a blog, journal, sketchbook and/or a collection of sketches and models.

The Final Exhibition
The public presentation of art and design work is an important aspect of creative professional life and students will be supported in planning, promoting and implementing a public presentation of their work to a professional standard at the end of the course.

Throughout the programme students will engage with the following activities:

Semester one:

  • Introduction to Research Methods
  • Discussion of texts
  • Exhibition visits
  • Exploration and reflection on tools, techniques, materials
  • Seminars

Semester two:

  • Development of work towards final exhibition or major project
  • Discussion of texts
  • Exhibition visits
  • Seminars


  • Dissertation – supported by seminars and tutorials

Career prospects

Career possibilities for art and design graduates have increased over recent years, reflecting the burgeoning opportunities within the cultural sector in the UK and internationally. Graduates work as professional artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, game designers, curators, and gallery professionals in public and private galleries. They also write for magazines, newspapers and journals on a whole variety of cultural topics. Other career opportunities for MA graduates include residency programmes, community-led outreach work and teaching art or design. Students who are on our MA programme may already be professional artists or designers who wish to reinvigorate and refocus their practice.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Cost & Fees

  • UK/EU (Home) Student Fees £5,500
  • Non-EU (International) Student Fees: £11,500

Last updated April 11, 2016
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date

1 - 2 years
Part time
Full time
5,500 GBP