MFA Photography (UCA Farnham)


Program Description

Course overview

With internationally-recognised and award-winning teaching staff, this rare two-year MFA Photography course gives you a unique opportunity to become true experts in the field of photography.

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

A unique feature of this MFA Photography course is the incredible global perspectives on offer, thanks to the international nature of its student cohort, its staff and its 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.

Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with students from around the world on certain projects, and exhibit their work internationally, with previous graduates exhibiting work at photography festivals in China and India.

The Farnham campus has a distinct and important history within the field of photography, and an international reputation with many renowned graduates over the years – from the late Jane Bown and Paul Seawright to David Moore and Natasha Caruana.

You’ll have more time to explore your craft and creative ideas, as well as investigating what you will do in your professional career, whether that’s practical, theoretical or a mix of the two.

The units within the course are designed to support you along the way, as you take a hands-on and self-directed approach to your practice.

You’ll be free to discover the joy of the practice, explore different methods, materials and theories and hone your research skills. And, with extensive careers research, you will discover which field of photography that you would like to work in – and then go on relevant work placements, helping you build vital experience and networking opportunities.

Course details

Year one

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 the 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.

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.

Fees and additional course costs

Tuition fees

The course fees for 2020 entry are:

UK and EU students (full-time):

  • Year one: £5,330
  • Year two: £4,610

International fees per year (full time):

  • International students - £10,830 (standard fee)
  • International students - £10,390 (full early payment fee)

Additional course costs

In addition to the tuition fees please see the additional course costs for 2020 entry.

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.

  • Read more about fee discounts


We have three fully-equipped photographic studios; colour and black and white darkrooms for traditional printing from small, medium and large-format negatives; a 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.

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. 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.

Further study

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

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 check our website.

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.

Last updated Mar 2020

About the School

Oscar-winning filmmakers, world-renowned fashion designers, television presenters, celebrity jewellers and Turner Prize nominees are just some of the high-profile graduates from the University for the ... Read More

Oscar-winning filmmakers, world-renowned fashion designers, television presenters, celebrity jewellers and Turner Prize nominees are just some of the high-profile graduates from the University for the Creative Arts. As a specialist creative arts university, we have created a unique community for our students, where like-minded people can share in the creative process and inspire one another. Collaboration between courses is encouraged, with fine artists studying with budding filmmakers and fashion designers working alongside architects. In this way, our students benefit from exposure to a range of disciplines. Choosing to study with us will give you the freedom to discover your own personal style through a winning combination of industry-focused courses, state-of-the-art facilities, and inspirational expert staff. Read less
Canterbury , Epsom , Farnham , Rochester , Maidstone , Molesey , Barnsley + 6 More Less