Taught course


University of Derby · School of Arts

Entry requirements

All applicants will be expected to submit a portfolio of artwork and Creative Positioning Statement to the Programme 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 programme will be required. The length of the document will be approximately 500 words. Send us your portfolio via email through to Rodger Brown r.g.brown@derby.ac.uk. 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.

You will normally be expected to have an appropriate fine art, or other first degree appropriate to apply for the MA (Minimum 2:2 or above), or a professional qualification of equal standing, or significant practical or professional experience gained following your initial qualification that would support your application. You should bring your portfolio to the interview normally arranged at the University. You will also be asked to provide a plan of how you intend to use the time on the MA to further your practice.

Months of entry


Course content

This new MA is for both photographers and fine artists and you will choose to work towards either an MA Arts (Photography) or MA Arts (Fine Art) award.

This programme will bring together a community of photographers and artists in a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary environment, to explore the interface between media (both traditional and digital) in a stimulating and creatively enabling way. This will provide a unique and exciting opportunity for those who wish to specialise in the interpretation of time and space working creatively, practically and intellectually across disciplines. Discussions and debates around the differences and commonalities of the subject areas will both critically inform and support individual creative practice, including the relevance of the written word through narrative form and theoretical studies.

You will undertake taught studio-based research, while gaining a strong theoretical awareness of contemporary practice. There will be lots of lively debates involving students and staff from a range of disciplines, giving you the opportunity to hear a rich range of voices and contribute your own.

You will also become part of our thriving research culture and be able to attend the staff research seminar series, where colleagues discuss their latest projects.

Why choose this course?

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.

This MA Arts is a professionally taught programme 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.

We'll assess you at the end of each module and provide written and verbal feedback on your progress. We use a range of assessment approaches, including the presentation of practical work, essays, reports including reflective journals, proposals and presentations. In between assessments, we will also give you regular feedback on your work.


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

As a graduate from this programme, 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.

Information for international students

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.

Fees and funding

UK students
£6,550 for the full course
International students
£14,700 for the full course

Learn more at the funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

+44 (0)1332 591044