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Program overview
1-2 years
Full time/part time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
Start dates
September 2022

September 2023

September 2024
University of Derby

About this program

MA Arts

  • We're looking for fine artists and photographers who are strongly motivated and independently minded. We will help you to shape your individual creative practice by encouraging reflection and re-evaluation, research and experimentation
  • Our academic team have a wide range of backgrounds with expertise in fine art, photography, film, public art, performance, curatorship, critical theory, art history, philosophy and criticism, residencies and commissions. We're sure you'll thrive in this diverse creative community
  • You will have access to outstanding facilities, including darkrooms, equipment and software that are the envy of most professional photographers, and recently refurbished Fine Art Studios in our historic Britannia Mill site.

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Admission requirements


We aim to attract well-motivated students who wish to further their study in a stimulating and professionally orientated learning environment.

All applicants will be expected to submit a portfolio of artwork and Creative Positioning Statement to the Program Leader in advance of the interview. The portfolio should be a thematic body of work that explores a range of approaches underpinned by a conceptual understanding of context - in short, a coherent range of work exploring a theme/issue/set of ideas etc. A Creative Positioning Statement in the form of a description of your practice and the themes, issues or concerns you would like to explore or develop through this MA Program will be required. The length of the document will be approximately 500 words. Send us your portfolio via email through to Rodger Brown. We understand that some of your work will not be in a digital format, for any physical pieces of work please take a photograph of it and submit the photograph.

For international students you will need to have qualifications and experience that are at the same level as for a UK student applying for the same course. If English is not your first language, you'll also need an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website

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Program content

Choose one module on the third and final stage of the Program:

  • Independent Scholarship and Critical Reflection in Photography or
  • Independent Scholarship and Critical Reflection in Fine Art or
  • Artistic Research and Critical Practice

Independent Scholarship and Critical Reflection

Alongside the major practice element of this module (the Degree show exhibition) you will be asked to ‘critically reflect’ and ‘analyse’ your practice; this is designed to develop and enhance your ability to critically discuss and evaluate work in order to contextualise, develop and propose plans for your future professional practice. In this module, practical and research skills acquired in preceding modules will be employed and developed to produce a coherent and sustained body of exhibition quality work to a professional standard.

Artistic Research: Theory and Practice

You will be able to conduct a major, extended, in-depth critical review of the theoretical and historical dimensions of your artistic or photographic research alongside the development of your practice. Forming the culmination of your Program of study, it will be appropriate to those who have discovered that their creative interests and strengths lie primarily in the theoretical and historical aspects of artistic research and who may be considering applying to undertake practice-based doctoral research.

Scholarships & funding

Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.

Program delivery

This MA Arts is a professionally taught Program delivered through seminars, tutorials, workshop, peer reviews and guest lectures. We also take part in UK and international study trips to galleries, arts centres and other cultural institutions and have good links with regional galleries such as QUAD and Derby Museum and Art Gallery.


Tuition Fees

Full time

  • UK - £6,550 for the full course or £730 per 20 credits*
  • International - £14,700 for the full course

Part time

  • UK - £730 per 20 credits


MA or MSc: 180 Credits

Career paths

We have strong links with employers and cultural institutions, which we encourage you to maximise throughout this Program. There are also many opportunities to showcase your work and build a following.

As a graduate from this Program, you will have developed a mature body of work in photography or fine art, as well as gaining the language and skills you need to locate and explain your practice in the professional art world. You will be well-placed to forge a career as an independent artist/photographer, or look for employment in sectors such as the creative industries, education, museums, libraries and archives, or publishing and broadcasting.

Derby University students have made a major contribution to our city’s vibrant arts culture. Many have been inspired by the area's rural and industrial heritage, and have established studios, start-up businesses or exhibited work locally. Students Sarah Blandford and Sofia Rodrigues were awarded the Banks Mill Student Residency 2021-22.

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About this institute

University of Derby

Here at the University of Derby we believe anything is possible. With a broad range of courses at foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate level, we can help you get your career off to a great start. We know how important it...

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Contact info

University of Derby

Kedleston Road
DE22 1GB Derby

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