Painting MA

Study level: Postgraduate
Student painting on a canvas with multiple canvasses on the wall behind them

This course aims to extend your knowledge of paint as a material and painting as a process. It’ll introduce you to a range of disparate approaches to painting – from realism to abstraction, material to conceptual.

Year of entry


Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode



1 year full-time
2 years part-time
16-24 months (with professional experience)

Course code


Start date

September 2023
January 2024
May 2024

Course overview

Coventry School of Art and Design has taught art and design for over 150 years. Outward looking in attitude, this master’s course will encourage you to learn first-hand about painting and the art world in major British, European and worldwide centres.

The course challenges you to imagine, and work with, new audiences, processes and professional futures in order to enter into a sustainable and flexible career working with images.

You will have the option to apply for a ‘professional experience’ opportunity2, designed to further develop your skills and knowledge with the aim of maximising your employability prospects. See modules for more information.

Hand selecting a user icon in a coloured circle.

Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

Five stars in a speech bubble.

5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

City buildings next to a tree.

Top 5 UK Student City (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2023

Why you should study this course

You’ll involve yourself with a substance, with physical making and manipulation, something which technology cannot yet replicate.

  • You’ll seek to redefine painting in the digital age as an important means of modern cultural production is becoming more pronounced.
  • You’ll benefit from research-informed teaching with expertise in areas such as representational and abstract painting.
  • Access our large, dedicated painting studios and specialist workshops to support your creative journey4.
  • Embracing various creative techniques and will share the diverse professional experience of our in-house team.

Collaborations with other organisations

The school actively encourages you to feel part of a postgraduate community of learners. We hold shared induction events and collaborative learning activities2 across courses and will seek your views on activities you would like to be involved with, both in school and across the faculty.

The course aims to engage you with the local community and often tutors develop ‘live projects’ with local organisations (e.g. bandstand project, JLR, Charterhouse) and try to arrange externally linked projects with local organisations, as part of the collaborative module and the specialism modules2.

In 2020 the Coventry Degree show postgraduate showcase went virtual. We were delighted to provide an online, immersive showcase of all our postgraduate students' work, building on the existing undergraduate online degree show. Our students worked hard to develop their creative endeavours in unprecedented circumstances. This video is all about Painting MA student Max Nichol’s work. View Max’s work and the rest of the postgraduate showcase.

What you'll study

Based around the development of your individual practice, the core ethos of this master’s is to enable you to harness your personal development and creative ambitions. We want to help you discover what kind of artist you want to be, so that you can flourish within the scope of contemporary painting and the broader cultural realm.

During semester 1 you will focus on collaborative learning experiences and the development of a community of postgraduate learning. In semester 2 you will critically develop your specialist practice/interests and start to question where personal boundaries and creative activities can be furthered or built upon at postgraduate level. During semester 3 you'll work on a self-directed specialist Final Project, this requires you to conduct an in-depth critical investigation which reflects on your own discipline.


  • This module explores the nature and definitions of research in art, architecture and design-based disciplines. You are introduced to interdisciplinary research methods and ethical practices from a range of perspectives. You may also have the opportunity to work with students across the postgraduate disciplines within the School of Art and Design and internationally to enable you to develop a broader understanding of the context for your practice2.


  • In this module you will be expected to develop a body of practical work based on a personal study proposal. The work should be developed within relevant theoretical and critical contexts and will seek to advance and challenge existing ideas and technical competencies.


  • This module asks you to consider the professional contexts of your discipline. It explores the ways in which creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship intersect in creative practice. It employs real-world examples to enable you to think about your professional practice, employability, portfolio development and approaches to communication.


  • During this module you will take responsibility for the overall direction of your work. You will be asked to determine its subject matter, content, style, scale, process and technical characteristics. This will be achieved through the study of the range of methodologies open to the contemporary painter, the development of your individual voice and concerns and your context within contemporary art.


  • The module is based on selecting a series of topics related to intercultural and transnational communication, professional development and management/leadership to provide you with both a theoretical and practical framework to help build key skills.


  • This module requires the management and implementation of an appropriate critical investigation. It will be based upon a project plan developed over semesters 1 and 2. This module will help you to gain specialist insight or a new knowledge base to support your Final Project Plan.


  • This module allows you to develop a Final Project Plan. Research itself is taken to be a wide-ranging activity that includes visual, social, cultural and factual information gathering, as well as investigating the potential practical outcome of your project.


With professional experience option

This opportunity2 enables you to apply for optional professional experience in semester 1, which, upon successfully securing a placement, will extend the duration of your master’s to either 16, 20 or 24 months. The professional experience provides an opportunity for you to develop expertise and experience in your chosen field with the aim of enhancing your employability.

Please note that the optional professional experience modules incur an additional tuition fee, which for 1 semester of professional experience is £1,333.33, for 2 semesters of professional experience is £2,666.67, and for 3 semesters of professional experience is £4,000.

Professional experience may also be subject to additional costs, visa requirements being met, subject to availability and/or competitive application. Professional experience opportunities are not guaranteed but you will benefit from the support of our Talent Team in trying to find and secure an opportunity. Find out more about the professional experience option.

We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.

How you'll learn

The School of Art and Design’s teaching and learning mirrors the needs of the creative industries ensuring that our graduates are equipped with the skills and attributes to become industry specialists, leaders and innovators, to drive social responsibility and design global change.

The creative industries’ ability to be entrepreneurial, innovative and embrace change underpins our Art and Design courses. Our studio and workshop culture ensures you are socially responsible in our creative community and develop critical thinking in research and ‘make’ processes. Our global initiatives are designed to give you skills to become collaborative communicators and make you culturally competent in the world of Art or Design.

This course can be offered on a part-time basis. Whilst we would like to give you all the information about our part-time offering here, it is tailored for each course each year depending on the number of part-time applicants. Therefore, the part-time teaching arrangements vary. Please request further information about part time study.

Teaching contact hours

The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 25 hours each week, depending on the demands of individual modules.

Part of university life is undertaking self-directed learning. Across the course of the week you will have non ‘taught’ time that allows you to work independently to apply the skills you have learnt in taught or facilitated sessions to your projects or assignment briefs. This is particularly important in the school of art and design as it allows you to engage and develop your practice.

This self-directed learning (SDL) allows you to monitor and self-evaluate your development and how to manage this time to best impact your creative work. SDL is key to designing and making as it is a process that takes discipline and repetition. This mode of learning underpins an art and design community of practice approach.

Approximately a third of your time will be taken up with scheduled taught sessions whether that is individual, seminar, group and in the remaining hours you will be applying that learning to your ongoing assignments. Every learner is different and will manage their learning journey to their strengths and aspirations.

The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.

As an innovative and enterprising institution, the university may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the university may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.

In response to COVID-19, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/24 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.

We design our assessment methods to replicate the creative industry ways of working. This ensures that you have the chance to learn skills for future career opportunities.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Reports
  • Practical coursework
  • Presentations
  • Individual assignments
  • Group work

The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards achieving the intended learning outcomes.

International experience opportunities

The course provides you with the creative, technical and professional skills to help you to explore global career options in painting upon successful completion of the course2. Painting is a truly global art form and artists from around the world will be studied, with staff drawing on their own experiences of having worked and exhibited throughout the world.

Our postgraduate courses in Art and Design typically have a high number of international students creating a rich and diverse learning environment where you can really begin to understand practice in its global context and develop cultural literacy.

You can expect to work in peer groups and have the opportunity to discuss experiences that influence creative practice, from different international perspectives.

Please note that all international experience opportunities may be subject to additional costs, competitive application, availability and meeting applicable visa and travel requirements are therefore not guaranteed2.

Entry requirements

Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.

Applicants should ideally hold an honours degree 2:2 or above in Fine Art or an equivalent visual arts course and be committed to the idea of Painting as a discrete discipline. Non-standard applications from candidates with relevant professional experience will also be considered on an individual basis. The course will require an interview or portfolio review.

We recognise a breadth of qualifications, speak to one of our advisers today to find out how we can help you.

For information regarding specific requirements, please fill in our request further information form.

Chat with us

p>Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.

Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.

Typical entry requirements

Applicants should ideally hold an honours degree 2:2 or above in Fine Art or an equivalent visual arts course and be committed to the idea of Painting as a discrete discipline. Non-standard applications from candidates with relevant professional experience will also be considered on an individual basis. The course will require an interview or portfolio review which for international students can be held online.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with at least 5.5 in each component area
  • If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
  • For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.

Chat with us

Fees and funding

2023/24 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience)   Request fee information
EU £11,200 | £15,200 (with prof. experience) per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience) per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600 | £22,600 (with prof. experience)   Not available

For advice and guidance on tuition fees3 and student loans visit our Postgraduate Finance page.

We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them.

The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:

  • Any optional overseas field trips or visits: £400+ per trip.
  • Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).

*Irish student fees

The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.

**EU support bursary

Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in-line with that of UK students. Students studying a Degree with a Foundation Year with us are not eligible for the bursary.

  • We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.

    If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.


Coventry University is home to superb facilities4 and our new Arts and Humanities building is planned to fully open in 2023. Facilities will include a hyper studio designed for cross-disciplinary projects, extensive exhibition space and immersive studios, with cutting-edge virtual reality and mixed-reality technologies.

Student using the facilities in the digital design workshop

Design workshops

Our digital and printing workshops bring your ideas to life through different media. You’ll find a high-powered laser cutter, 3D printers, scanners and traditional print-making and making workshops for etching, silk-screen printing, relief printing, ceramics, metalwork and woodwork, as well as a generously stocked letterpress room.

Student in a Mac studio

PC and Mac suites

Maximise your learning in our cutting-edge computer suites. You'll have access to PCs and Macs running the latest industry-standard software needed for your course, including graphic design packages such as Adobe Creative Suite.


Student and lecturer working in studio

Studio-centric working

In the School of Art and Design, we structure our teaching and assessment methods to replicate the creative industry's ways of working, as we aim to create a studio-centric working environment.



Careers and opportunities

Upon successful completion, you will be able to:

  • Undertake research and evaluative reflection in order to synthesise and articulate an advanced knowledge of the theoretical and thematic concerns within your chosen area of contemporary painting practice.
  • Deploy skills, techniques and technologies with originality and imagination in relation to a defined discipline for continued painting practice at an advanced level.
  • Realise complex and ambitious artefacts/projects for identified and diverse audiences and contexts.
  • Contribute to the shaping of a global contemporary discourse by engaging with innovative, experimental, hybrid and creative approaches to painting practice.
  • Demonstrate advanced personal skills, judgement and critical awareness enabling problem-solving and innovation applicable to a wide range of creative, professional, social and collaborative contexts.
  • Operate as a contemporary creative in the field of painting as an artist-producer, arts educator, curator, or professional in arts-related industries.

We aim to offer opportunities on the course to engage with professional skills development; the Talent Team work directly with courses and students and can support you in the event of an internship or placement opportunity, as well as giving CV advice and portfolio guidance2.

Semester 2 helps you to explore the ways in which creativity, innovation, problem-solving and entrepreneurship intersect in creative practice. Throughout the course and in relevance to discipline focus you will have the chance to engage in ‘live’ projects with industry or external organisations2, in the past these have included BMW, SAIC, CADCAM, and you will be required to produce work that can be presented to external audiences and stakeholders.

Successful graduates may find careers as self-employed artists exhibiting in a wide range of galleries and artist-led spaces, or in the growing field of gallery and exhibition curating.

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates have gone on to residencies, PhD study, exhibiting in a range of venues, teaching and community work.

How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University. 


    The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.

    2UK and international opportunities

    Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.

    3Tuition fees

    The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.

    For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.


    Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.

    Student Contract

    By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.

You may also like

Coventry University (Coventry) Water painting of a castle surrounded by tall green trees and a moat

Illustration and Animation MA

Coventry University (Coventry) Close up a printing press with paint smudges on a drum

Graphic Design MA