MFA Master of Fine Art

General

Program Description

Our Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme gives you the opportunity to enhance your creative profile by executing an ambitious, time-limited project that results in a significant body of creative work. 

The MFA is suitable for artists, designers and creative practitioners with a well-developed practice, who have usually completed an MA, and wish to refine and consolidate a professional body of work suitable for public dissemination.

As an MFA student, you will develop a robust research proposal into a substantial and resolved creative outcome that will be exhibited and assessed in a public venue. With the support of staff who are specialists in your area, and with access to regular group critique and lectures, you will hone your sense of your audience and disseminate your work in an appropriate form. 

The course lasts one academic year full-time, or two years part-time, and culminates in an exhibition of creative outcomes. The models of delivery and support that will apply to your work are built around the negotiated proposal that you will provide on the application, and that you will refine into a robust project plan during the first weeks of the course. 

You will work with your tutors to fashion a programme that is tailored to the needs of your project. We offer a dynamic study environment, with access to workshop areas across the college.

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Modules

The comprehensive Master structure, which is shared across our specialist programmes, enables our postgraduate students to focus on creative strategies and processes through three sequential modules which support you in investigating, testing and developing your ideas. The core tuition focuses on training, research methodology, critical thinking, design, practice-led research methods and professional and conceptual frameworks, with an opportunity for negotiated study under specialist supervision for MFA and MA by Research students. All of our programmes have access to outstanding workshop facilities in the college.

By combining modules with specialist assignments and personal project proposals, you will be able to achieve depth and specialisation within your subject area, while at the same time becoming equipped with robust approaches, methodologies and techniques that can be applied across the commercial, social and public sectors.

All students are asked to submit an initial statement on an application to the course. This sets out your ideas for the MA or MFA programme you have selected. Creative practice is about change and development, and this statement will form the starting point for a dialogue about your work.  The first module on the MA examines the role of research methods in creative disciplines, where the focus will be upon refining your emerging research proposal to ensure that it can act as a robust framework for your study. The second module supports you to identify the kinds of collaborations and public-facing opportunities that will strengthen your identity as a creative practitioner.  The final module of each programme may be submitted as a dissertation or as a practice-led research outcome and exhibition, depending on which pathway best suits your concerns as a creative practitioner.

Careers & alumni

Alumni of our Graduate School pursue careers in the fields of fine art, craft and design, as practising artists, teachers, curators, and as a gallery, theatre and technical professionals. Others go on to prepare for doctoral study, and set up viable projects as socially engaged and community-based practitioners.

Our programmes offer professional skills development to support our students as they progress within the industry, self-employment (in the Creative Industries sector) and further Level 7 and 8 studies. The second module offers an opportunity to test out the practices being investigated by individual students within an appropriate, live setting.

Entry requirements

Recent MA or 180 M level credits, or equivalent industry/professional experience.

You will also need a portfolio and personal statement, which can be used to outline the work you intend to develop on the MFA.

International students language requirements

All our students need to demonstrate that they have a good command of the English language.

From 6 April 2015, only IELTS and Trinity College London English language tests will be approved by the Home Office as secure English language tests (SELTS) for immigration purposes. 

  • Trinity College London
    Integrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grade required: Reading: Merit Listening: Merit Certificate valid for two years
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
    IELTS (Level B2), minimum grade required: IELTS overall score of 6.5, minimum of score Listening: 6.0, Speaking: 6.0, Reading: 6.0, Writing: 6.0 Certificate valid for two years

You don’t need to complete an additional English Language Test and you will be able to use your original degree certificate to prove you meet the English Language Requirement if you’ve recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree in:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

You also don’t need to complete an additional English Language Test if:

  • you’re a national of Canada  or any of the countries in the list above
  • you’ve successfully completed a course of 6 months or more as a Tier 4 (Child) student in the last 2 years

Visa Requirements

As an international student, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa which you can apply for online.

Resources

We continue to invest in our resources, workshops and studios, having spent over £12 million in the last five years on capital projects alone. We have recently invested £8 million in integrating 21st century and traditional creative techniques and processes within an outstanding craft, design and fabrication workshop complex. This new facility offers Computer-Aided Design and Manufacture (CAD/ CAM) within our Fab Lab, alongside Printing, Printed Textiles, Ceramics, Glass and Small Metals workshops.

In addition, computers campus-wide are installed with graphics, media and design software. We offer dedicated Painting, Drawing, Fashion, Photography, Film and Animation studios. We also house a public-facing Gallery on campus, with national and international exhibitions and a programme of visiting artists.

Our Library provides specialist Media, Art and Design and Fine Art materials, and our intranet-based Managed Learning Environment gives you access to online support and information.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boasts a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Last updated Jul 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less