Signed Steve McQueen canvas propped against a banister.

MA/Postgraduate Diploma/Postgraduate Certificate


This course is open for applications.

Please note that new student recruitment to the part time route of this course has been suspended for the September 2019 intake while we review our postgraduate provision. Information on programmes available for 2020 entry will be published in due course

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Film and Journalism
City Campus
15 months full-time
Programme leader:
Dr Shawn Sobers
Aaron Schuman
Key fact:
Art and industry combine on this innovative, practice-based postgraduate course, designed to deepen your experience of still and moving image, and optimise your potential for creative employment.

Page last updated 4 July 2019


Taught by award-winning professional photographers and leading academics in the field, our distinctive, practice-based MA in Photography will allow you to explore the diverse applications of the medium and to deepen your understanding of photography as a discipline.

Through a course of intense study, creative practice, and professional partnerships, you will develop the passion that brought you to photography in the first place and be supported to produce innovative work, whilst also building skills to maximise and contextualise your creative outputs.

Collaborative opportunities

The course includes intense practice-led study weeks and the chance to work with creative industry partners, with professional practitioners running lectures, workshops and mentoring activities.

By taking advantage of a specially designed collective agency featuring a publishing imprint, editing bureaux and exhibiting forum, you will gain hands-on experience of collaborative practice.

These skills will allow you to channel both project based personal work and your response to live briefs, initiated by a range of sources such as business clients, curators, picture editors and design agencies, to successful outcomes.

You will also benefit from the practice-led research within the department, with links to the Photography Research Group, the Centre for Fine Print Research, and the Digital Cultures Research Centre.

Contextualise your practise

This course will enable you to contextualise your practice within relevant professional environments, such as research, education, exhibition, curation, project management, marketing, art direction, publishing and design.

It is relevant for graduates wishing to progress from BA study in an arts or humanities subject, who want to focus their practice in the medium of photography as well as for professionals already working in the field, looking to develop and underpin their practice in an academic, theoretical context.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



The content of the course reflects the ethos of the photography department, which seeks to produce photographic art as well as develop the necessary knowledge and skills in this field.

You will study:

  • Enquiry and Context - this module covers the theoretical, critical and contextual underpinning of creative practice.
  • Developing Practices - you will learn how to develop lines of enquiry through practical exploration and research.
  • Consolidating Practices I - you will produce a body of photographic work to a self-directed theme building on the outcomes of the first semester.
  • Consolidating Practices II
  • Dissemination in Professional Contexts - you will explore how to develop and resolve your practical outputs from the previous module into a bespoke professional context.

This structure is for full-time students only. Part-time students study the same modules but the delivery pattern will be different.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Through a series of lectures, seminars, tutorials and presentations, you will explore relevant concepts underpinning the theoretical and contextual basis of the photography work you will undertake on the course.

Through location orientated workshops and studio based sessions, you will develop lines of enquiry through practical exploration and research, and test out your ideas and techniques in a highly supportive academic and technically excellent environment.

You will undertake active research, to critically engage with your chosen practice and produce a body of photographic work on a self-directed theme. You will also learn how disseminate this work via outward facing networks and events, with the help of focused tutorials and workshops.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Study time

The course includes 10 hours of contact time a week, which incorporates all the academic teaching and learning, technical workshops and engagement with industry partners. In addition to this, you are encouraged to spend around 30 hours of individual study time a week, to include the time you spend on your practical photography work.


We will make use of different types of assessment, including project reviews, essays, reflective diaries, presentations and reports, as well as assessing your portfolio of work. Your portfolio can take a diverse range of forms, including a photo-book, film, installation or commercial photography portfolio.

For more detail, see our full glossary of assessment terms.


Professional accreditation

The course is affiliated to and accredited by the Association of Photographers who are the leading professional organisation representing photographers both nationally and internationally.

Study facilities

While studying with us, you will have access to state-of-the-art photography studios and equipment, including colour, and black and white darkrooms and professional standard digital and analogue workflow facilities.

Our industry standard digital darkrooms feature Adobe Creative Suite and Capture One software, plus film scanning and large format printing capabilities.

We also have an extensive range of camera kit including medium format digital cameras, full frame DSLRs, a large stock of medium and large format analogue equipment and location lighting kits.

Bower Ashton offers an excellent base within our City Campus, linking you with some of the city's most influential creative and cultural organisations.

You will also have access to our other facilities at Bower Ashton, including our main library and student support services.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.

Guest Speakers

Currency of practice is a feature of this course and it is crucial that your visual vocabulary and knowledge of contemporary practice is excellent.

In recent years the department has invited an array of photographers and creative industry professionals to conduct lectures, workshops and portfolio reviews with students.

Our blog 'Over Here Please' has an extensive list of practitioners who have contributed to the department.

Alongside practitioners other significant professionals such as picture editors, art buyers, photography writers and bloggers, art directors, curators, photographers agents, publishers, book designers, stylists and prop designers have all contributed to the course in this way.

You will also be given the opportunity to travel abroad to photography fairs and festivals and to visit professional studios, labs and galleries as part of this engagement with current international practices.


Careers / Further study

This MA Photography course will enable you to contextualise your practice within relevant professional environments, such as research, education, exhibition, curation, project management, marketing, art direction, publishing and design.

You will be ready to work professionally and independently, using the experience, networks and opportunities offered by the course to act as a springboard to obtain commissions.

You will also be equipped to go on to work in other fields such as studio production, publishing, art direction, curating or picture editing.


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Award Fee7000
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583
International-Full Time-Award Fee13000
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1083

Further information

The MA is eligible for the post graduate loan

SLC course code: 717072

Part Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Part Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)583

Supplementary fee information

The additional costs listed are those that students could reasonably expect to incur during their studies and are for items not covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, text books, travel, clothing, software or printing.

See our funding pages for more information.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2019. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Entry requirements

We are looking for highly motivated students with skills and experience in photography or related subjects. Candidates will normally be expected to have a good honours degree but applicants with other qualifications or professional experience are also encouraged to apply.  All applications are carefully considered and prospective candidates invited for interview, which consists of a portfolio review and discussions of future projects with members of staff.  The emphasis of your portfolio should be on current work, quality rather than quantity and you should be able to show evidence of a depth of practice through images and research. The course is looking for practitioners with ability and passion who will benefit from our combined focus on personal work, professional practice and critical research.

Overseas Applicants
A representative from the University makes regular visits to Brunei, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan and is able to view portfolios and interview students.

The University also has representatives in a number of other countries. Please contact Admissions and International Recruitment for further details: or +44 (0)117 328 4716.

If you are unable to meet up with a UWE Bristol visiting representative then please send us your application in the normal way. We will then contact you and advise you where and how to send us your professional digital portfolio.

English language support

If you meet the academic requirements but require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend one of our pre-sessional English courses. Students who successfully complete the pre-sessional course can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking an IELTS or equivalent.

Read more about our Pre-Sessional English Programme.

How to apply

There is no official closing date and we accept applications throughout the year.

If you are applying to organisations for funding, they may have application deadlines by which time you will need to know if you have a place on a course. You should build this deadline into your application process and if you are working to a funding deadline then please let us know.

Read more about postgraduate applications.  

For further information

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