Photography MA

Study level: Postgraduate
Photography studio with a white background, coloured lights and equipment around

Our Photography MA offers emerging practitioners in the field of photography and its associated forms, the chance to develop their work via a series of key interrogations.

Year of entry

Location

Coventry University (Coventry)

Study mode

Full-time
Part-time

Duration

1 year full-time
2 years part-time

Course code

AHT055

Start date

September 2024
January 2025
May 2025


Course overview

In providing spaces for exploration and reflection in relation to publics, visual strategies and the contextual location of independent work, the course presents a distinctive way for you to explore the possibilities of your work alongside a longitudinal development of your core practice.

  • 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' section for more information.
  • 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.
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Joint Top Modern University for Career Prospects

Guardian University Guide 2021 and 2022

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5 QS Stars for Teaching and Facilities

QS Stars University Ratings

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Top 5 UK Student City in England (Coventry)

QS Best Student Cities Index 2024

Why you should study this course

The Photography MA course aims to offer you an exciting curriculum which emphasises support of your unique practice, and how it relates to our professional and social responsibilities as image-makers.

  • The course represents a freedom to experiment whilst also sharpening a specific and dedicated practice, standing you in great stead for a variety of roles after graduation.
  • The course will challenge traditional epistemologies of what both the photograph, and photography, is. It will ask you to question the interstices of photography and object, photography and space, as well as medium and genre boundaries.
  • Together, we will explore the connection between the making, and the making public, of photographic work and processes. With a foundation of investigation and accompanying theoretical analysis, you will have the opportunity2 to develop and test your own publishing models which seek to connect work to appropriate and defined readerships.
  • You can expect to interrogate the manner in which images perform different roles for different purposes and how they contribute to our understanding of the world, its geography, inhabitants and social structures.
  • All members of the course team have extensive pedagogical experience alongside research profiles that position them as experts in particular areas of photographic practice – spanning family photography and the role of the studio, through photobooks and their readers, to photography as a participatory practice and the materiality of the archive (staff are subject to change).

Collaborations with other organisations

We work in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion of the 'Creative Futures and Social Change' module, you will receive RSA digital badging.


What you'll study

The Photography MA course welcomes practitioners with diverse backgrounds and adopts an approach to photography which considers associated mediums and methodologies within an expanded field.

In this manner, you should expect to blur traditional genre and medium boundaries and take advantage of opportunities2 to work with archives, produce installation pieces, publish and run collaborative projects or manage photographic events and performances when they are offered.

The course has been constructed to provide essential places for experimentation and diversification of skills and knowledge, whilst also encouraging rigour in your practice leading to its robust situation within social, political, and visual contexts.

Modules

  • Objects, spaces and boundaries aim to challenge traditional epistemologies of what both the photograph and photography, is. It will ask you to question the interstices of photography and object, photography and space, as well as medium and genre boundaries.  

    Compulsory

  • This module aims to provide you with the theoretical, conceptual, investigative and practical tools needed to develop your own independent research and comprehend which methods will best support your response to a particular research project.

    Compulsory

  • This module explores the changing world of work which Arts and Humanities students enter after study. New technology and the changing global economy mean that jobs and skills are changing and evolving quickly and will continue to do so. This is an exciting and new world, and this module is designed to empower you to realise your potential in it.

    This module provides tools for you to develop into changemakers, thrive in a changing world of work and participate in creating a better future for society. You’ll be guided through a process of reflection that explores four possible futures for the world of work and how to situate your own professional identity as the future of work changes through your careers. This module is designed in collaboration with The RSA (Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), and upon successful completion students will receive RSA digital badging.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop your independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators2, you will develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by addressing and engaging with a social challenge.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is for you to develop a body of research-informed work in a specialism of your choosing, which demonstrates a critical awareness of current developments and trends in your area of practice/specialism. This work will form the basis of your final project.

    Compulsory

  • The aim of this module is for you to develop a body of research-informed work in a specialism of your choosing, which demonstrates a critical awareness of current developments and trends in your area of practice/specialism. This work will form the basis of your final project.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from within the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators, you will develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by engaging with a community issue with the support or guidance of a local group or organisation2.

    Compulsory

  • Photographic Situations presents and explores the myriad ways in which photography contributes to, and builds on, its contextual locations. The module takes as a starting point John Tagg’s notion that the history of photography is not singular, but instead intimately connected with its agents of employment and uses. You will look to interrogate the manner in which photography performs different roles for different purposes and how it contributes to our understanding of the world, its geography, inhabitants and social structures.

    Compulsory

  • In this module, you will manage to completion a substantial piece of independent research practice that is informed by the wider contexts of your discipline and is well-conceived, well-rounded, coherent and of a standard appropriate to master’s level.

    Compulsory

  • This project module aims to allow you to develop your independent and collaborative working skills through a focused application and response to a specific context. Working with peers from within the School of Media and Performing Arts MA courses and/or external collaborators, you will look to develop an interdisciplinary response to a live brief generated by exploring opportunities for enterprise within your practice2. You will explore potential routes to monetise your work and consider your role as a member of the future media and performing arts workforce.

    Compulsory

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

You will engage with a series of different learning activities and resources which include:

  • Group critiques
  • Artist talks and lectures (subject to availability)
  • Masterclasses
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

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. 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 eight contact hours per week in the first year. This will comprise seminars, talks and lectures, as well as workshops and skills training. As you develop your final major project these modules will become primarily tutorial-based. This course operates on a “flipped classroom” basis, and you will be expected to undertake guided reading and preparation tasks ahead of classroom sessions.

Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study of approximately 300 hours each semester, depending on the demands of individual modules, e.g. working on course assignments, group project activities, reading and maintaining your own public-facing digital profile. This will be supported by skills sessions. 

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.

Since COVID-19, we have delivered our courses in a variety of forms, in line with public authority guidance, decisions, or orders and we will continue to adapt our delivery as appropriate. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.


Assessment

A variety of assessment types are included on the course so as to facilitate your development into a professional world which may demand work to be presented, formatted, proposed or submitted in different forms. You will encounter a variety of coursework forms on the programme which may ask you to produce among other elements:

  • Bodies of work
  • Contextual documents
  • Portfolios
  • Proposals
  • Presentations
  • Research books

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.


Entry requirements

Applicants to this master’s degree should normally possess an honour's degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material (see below).

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying on the Photography MA course at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice. All applicants will be offered a videoconferencing conversation as part of the application where they will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the course team and ask questions about the programme of study. 

Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

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

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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 to this master’s degree should normally possess an honour's degree (2:1 or equivalent) in a relevant subject. If the degree is in an unrelated subject, applicants need to demonstrate appropriate industry knowledge and experience in their application documentation.

Each application will be considered on its merits and the final decision will be made by the course director. For information regarding what might amount to ‘a related subject’ or’ equivalent professional background’ please fill in our request information form.

Non-traditional entry students are welcome: applicants without formal qualifications but professional/industrial experience may be admitted on the basis of an interview and submission of supporting material (see below).

Each applicant will be required to include a short statement regarding their interest in studying on the Photography MA course at Coventry University (300-500 words) and are invited to include a link to an online portfolio in order that the course team can get to know their practice. All applicants will be offered a videoconferencing conversation as part of the application where they will have the opportunity to meet with a member of the course team and ask questions about the programme of study.  Candidates with professional/industrial experience, and/or other relevant training and experience may be admitted with lower qualifications.

English language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with no component lower than 5.5. 

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.

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Fees and funding

2024/25 tuition fees.

Student Full-time Part-time
UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man £11,200   Request fee information
EU £11,200 per year with EU support bursary**
£18,600 per year without EU support bursary**
Not available
International £18,600   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 fees3 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.


Facilities

You will benefit from studying on our well-equipped, modern campus. Our aim is to offer you sector-leading facilities in a dedicated environment4. We also have a well-stocked Media Loan Shop so you can borrow an extensive range of specialist, professional equipment, including digital medium format camera equipment, large format cameras, Bowens lighting, Canon and Nikon full-frame digital SLRs and a full range of film cameras4.

Two male students presenting in a TV studio to a camera in the foreground.

Television Studio

You’ll have access to our on-site television studio The Tank, offering specialist equipment such as large cameras, mixing facilities and fibre-optic wiring throughout.
 

Male student setting up a photography light in a studio.

Photography Suite

This specialist facility is available to media students to take and process photos in a professional environment. There is also support for printing, high-end scanning and film processing.

Exterior front of the Ellen Terry building.

Media Loan Shop

Our media loan shop provides you with access to the equipment and support you need to excel in your studies – from basic audio recorders to professional cameras and expert advice from our technicians.


Careers and opportunities

On successful completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • identify, define and propose a creative and original body of work which is supported by advanced research and contextual understanding
  • critically analyse photographs as well as their modes of production and display in socio-political contexts associated with a chosen field of photographic practice
  • engage with a robust critical-creative process and apply advanced technical and methodological skills specific to the creation of photographic work
  • experiment with, and critically evaluate, a variety of means by which photographic work can be communicated to identified audiences
  • demonstrate the ability to work with, and synthesize, complex themes across written, oral and visual outputs
  • collaborate with practitioners in associated fields to respond creatively to stimuli that relate to socio-political, technological and artistic environments
  • explore opportunities arising in the global cultural industries for their photographic practice, and integrate these into your project, business or career aims2.

Preparing our master's graduates for onward careers is central to our approach to learning and teaching on the course. This includes developing authentic assessment, collaborative opportunities, placements2, and advice and guidance for onward study on PhD programmes here and internationally. Our three collaborative modules provide opportunities to work with students in film and media production, VR/AR, as well as media management and media/communication studies. You will be able to take advantage of cross-school connections and collaborations, as well as placement and onward opportunities with the support of our Talent Team2.

Where our graduates work

Our students have gone on to work in digital music services in the Netherlands, as research posts at the Five College Women’s Centre, Massachusetts USA, in PR companies in Saudi Arabia, in government organisations and broadcasters in Africa and as producers in TV stations in China.

Recent cluster graduates have gone on to doctoral study in the UK, Africa, China and America.


How to apply

  • Coventry University together with Coventry University London, Coventry University Wrocław, 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.

    1Accreditations

    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 unpaid and/or 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, public authority guidance, decisions or orders and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand any 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.

    4Facilities

    Facilities are subject to availability. Access to some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) may vary from those advertised and/or may have reduced availability or restrictions where the university is following public authority guidance, decisions or orders.

    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 current 2023/2024 contract is available on the website for information purposes however the 2024/25 Contract is currently being updated so please revisit this page before submitting your application. 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.