Study a Master's in Painting in the Netherlands

You are keen to gain more insight into the innovative potential of painting in a rapidly changing world. You are aware of the forces of physicality and materiality in artwork, and you take a painterly approach to conducting your experimental research into the functioning of perception psychology, cognition and imagination. A painting both reveals how ideas are imagined and shows how a material is edited and used. Taking a painterly and critical approach means harnessing materiality to create new links and associations. By combining ideation and materiality, transforming your ideas into unexpected, meaningful and powerful images, you determine the meaning and significance of your work in contemporary society.

Past, present and future

All over the world, painting has been reinvented as a result of political changes, the digitisation of society, demand a postcolonial perspective and the current runaway art market. Alongside its emphasis on materiality and ideation, the Painting programme responds to these developments by continually seeking a dialogue between different viewpoints on the past, present and future: between perception and cognition, image and language, stable and unstable media, old and new technologies and, in a broader sense, between art and science and both local and global forms of society.

This allows us to collectively explore charted and uncharted territories whilst sharing our views and ideas, working in groups and learning from each other. At the same time, you will also embark on your own path, improving your knowledge and skills, and learning to reflect critically on your own position, role and work and on the world around you.

Hybrid practice

Students come to the Painting programme from a range of different areas, including art and design, but all share a fascination for painting. The mix of disciplines enables you to hone your artistic vision, working in a hybrid practice as a critical and engaged artist. As your art increasingly engages with the world, you will grow both as an individual and in your artistic practice, reinforcing the power of your imagination and exploring your own relationship to a transforming, technologically charged society.

First year: exploring possibilities

The first year of this study programme is mostly about exploring your chosen field. You will carry out your own research and studio work in our Hybrid Arts Lab. We will challenge you to explore how you can innovate and renew the art of painting, looking beyond the boundaries of traditional approaches and investigating new artistic possibilities. At the same time, you will reflect critically on your own work and artistic practice. You will learn how a painting is intertwined with other media, technology and disciplines and how you can tap into these innovations in your own artistic practice. This will allow you to improve your knowledge and skills, get to know the international field of practice, forge new concepts and discover avenues of artistic research.

First-year highlights

  • Development of your skills through studio work.

  • Research and media theory courses on the relationship between visual perception psychology and media theory and between perception and cognition, current developments in media theory, and links between the arts, visual communication and visual culture.

  • Option to attend lectures on relevant topics at the University of Groningen, including the history of art, psychology of art and art philosophy.

  • A joint research course on Art and/as Research: Media, Materials and Makers together with master’s students from the University of Groningen.

  • Regular sessions in which you and your fellow students present and discuss the results of experiments, workshops, research projects and your progress to each other, to experts and to the public.

  • Individual and group visits to relevant institutions, festivals and research centres.

Preparing for the second year

During your first year, you will gradually start to focus on the area you want to concentrate on in your second year, gathering ideas, improving your skills and gaining new knowledge to prepare for your practical research. This will help you to develop and refine the research plan that you will carry out in the second year and which will form the basis for your master’s thesis. At the end of your first year, your work will be assessed to determine whether you are ready to start the second year.

Second year: achieving your artistic goals

At the start of your second year, you will begin to work on your graduation project. Most of your time will be devoted to working on this project. You will still attend classes, but fewer than in the first year. Supervisors will advise and guide you and stimulate your progress. Your goal in this year is to complete your research project and write your master’s thesis. There will be plenty of opportunities throughout the year to share what you have learned and experienced with others during group sessions, discussions and presentations.

Depending on your needs, one or more guest lecturers may also be asked to contribute to the supervision of your research project. Second-year students also take part in a series of public dialogues to discuss their work with guest lecturers and others, which will help you to enhance your work and take it to the next level.

Grants and awards

As a second-year master’s student, you can apply for excellence awards such as the George Verberg Grant, a prestigious annual award in the amount of €10,000, enabling the winner to spend a year in one of the Baltic States, Germany, Poland or Scandinavia to work there as an artist.

Second-year highlights

  • Independent or collaborative studio work focusing on your project and research.

  • Option to attend lectures on relevant topics at the University of Groningen, including the history of art, psychology of art and art philosophy.

  • Independent study, supervised by your lecturers.

  • Project work, collaborating with the Centre of Applied Research and other Hanze UAS partners.

  • Visits to international exhibitions, biennials and triennials and an intensive study trip to New York.

  • Regular sessions in which you and your fellow students present and discuss the results of experiments, workshops, research projects and work relating to your final project.

  • Presentation and discussion of your work at public events, exhibitions and lectures.

Graduation work and master’s thesis

Towards the end of your second year, you will create your graduation work and write a master’s thesis in which you demonstrate your analytical skills, critical view, ability to reflect on your own work and overall research abilities. Your thesis should set out how you envisage your future position in the art world. You will present both your artistic work and your master’s thesis during your public graduation ceremony. Upon graduation, you will be awarded a Master of Arts degree in Fine Art and Design with a specialisation in Painting.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted you must hold a bachelor’s degree in art (visual art or design) or an equivalent university degree or qualifications in a related area. In addition, you are expected to be proficient in English. You must be able to read specialist publications in English, follow instructions in English and articulate your ideas well in English. English proficiency is to be demonstrated by submission of an official international IELTS or TOEFL test certificate. The minimum requirements are:

  • International IELTS test score: 6.5
  • International TOEFL test scores:
  • Internet-based: 90
  • Computer-based: 232
  • Paper-based: 575

Our admission procedure consists of two rounds. First, we assess your submitted documentation and completed application form. After this, we invite you for a half-hour interview, possibly followed by a second interview. If you live abroad and cannot come to Groningen for this, we can conduct the interview by telephone or Skype.

To be admitted to this master’s degree programme, you have to show us what you wish to get out of the programme. We, therefore, ask you to submit a broad outline of the kind of artistic research that matters to you. What is it that fascinates you about painting? What kind of research would you like to carry out, how far do you want to advance and what type of progress do you want to make? During the admissions interview, you will discuss your ideas with us. Once admitted, your ideas will form the basis for your next two years.

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
2 years
2,060 EUR
EU/EEA €2,006/year, NON-EU € 7,500/year
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