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MA by Project - MA

Why study this course?

This unique research degree is tailored to opening new opportunities in creative practice, professional and academic fields. The course provides unparalleled access to a range of resources within a stimulating and creative environment. You can choose from a number of subject areas, which you can browse in the carousel below. In the most recent (2014-15) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

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The MA by Project is an innovative degree that gives you the opportunity to set your own agenda as a practitioner / researcher. You will be supported to develop and explore your practice through a self-directed research project, making your own work central to your programme of study throughout the duration of the course.

A core programme of research seminars are designed to open up a range of approaches to research and foster critical, analytical, reflective and evaluative skills. The course team and subject specialists will support you throughout the development and execution of your project. Workshops, presentations and seminars foster discussion and feedback from a multi-disciplinary community.

Projects are supported in the following subject areas: architecture and rapid change, architectural history and theory, cities, interiors, fine art, film and animation, furniture and product design, music, photography, silversmithing and jewellery, textiles and visual communication.

Outputs may take many forms, such as:

  • made objects in a variety of media (for example, painting, photography, printmaking, film, animation, silversmithing and jewellery, musical instruments, furniture, textiles)
  • documented actions such as performance art, live art, exhibitions, installations or events
  • a design portfolio allied to one of our many design studios in architecture, cities, interiors, graphic design and illustration
  • a written thesis investigating a theoretical or historical topic. This may take the form of a published output, an exhibition text, a case study or a PhD proposal.


The Cass offers unparalleled facilities for designing and making. You will have access to specialist workshops, equipment and facilities all run by highly skilled staff.

Facilities include rapid prototyping, CNC routing, waterjet cutting, 3D printing, woodmill, furniture making workshops, musical instrument workshops, upholstery workshops, soft furnishing, finishing area, metal fabrication workshop, plastic and model making workshop, ceramics, silversmithing and jewellery workshops, restoration and conservation, AV/TV hire shop, recording studios, audio laboratories,editing suites, darkrooms, printroom, textiles workshop.

As well as a dedicated art and design library you will have access to libraries across the University. Our London location means that students are within reach of The National Art Library at the V&A, The British Architectural Library at RIBA, the British Library plus innumerable national and specialist collections.

Degree award

Graduating students are able to nominate a specialism to be included within their degree award title to reflect either their project discipline or specific topic, eg MA by Project (Fine Art).


At the end of each semester work is submitted for assessment.

You will be required to have:

  • an honours degree in the subject of the project

Applications are also considered from those with degrees in related disciplines and those with related professional or BTEC qualifications.

Consideration will be given to those without standard entry qualifications who have gained non-certified experience through prior learning, provided evidence is given that this is commensurate with entry qualifications for a postgraduate course.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2016/17 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    This module provides an introduction to research methods, and is particularly suitable as an introduction to practice-based and practice-led research in creative practice. It offers research training that can be used as preparation and foundation for MA, MPhil and PhD research.

    The module explores the nature and definitions of research in art, architecture and design based disciplines. It provides practical advice on the conduct of research practice and offers a ‘step by step’ guide to the development of a research proposal that can be developed as an MA, MPhil, or PhD. Understanding of research is demonstrated through the development of a research proposal, and through practical exploration and experimentation related to the methods under consideration.

    Empirical research and testing will be undertaken within the module to support the understanding of research methods, and the project being proposed, through practical exploration of, and experimentation with methods related to the research project under development.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • spring semester - Thursday afternoon

    This module supports the development of the research project, proposed in the Research Methods module, contextualized in the Contextual Studies module, in relation to methods that are explored and tested in the related Practice module/s. It focuses on the early development stage of the Research Project and involves practice-based and practice-led research, as well as research involving a range of other qualitative and quantitative methods.

    This module sets out the groundwork for the process of reflection upon practice and review in relation to research questions, aims and methods. Work will be developed towards an assessment that will function as a formal review point of the project.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon
    • all year (January start) - Thursday afternoon
    • summer studies - Thursday afternoon

    This module supports the completion of the research project, commenced in the Research Project Development Module. It builds towards the completion of a body of work for final submission. It is suitable for carrying out practice-based and practice-led research, as well as research involving a range of qualitative and quantitative methods.

    This module supports the completion of project work across the final phase of full-time and part-time study. Reflection upon practice and review of the overall direction of project work, research questions, aims and methods are important aspects of this stage of the course. The project will be completed to an appropriate standard and presented in a manner consistent with the project aims, agreed by the appropriate course team and subject supervisor.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Thursday morning

    In this module, students are invited to engage in reflection and theoretical development related to their project/dissertation. A series of seminars explores an approach to theoretical frameworks and provides a forum for debate. The module culminates in the production of a theoretical essay on themes and issues, identified as relevant to the project/dissertation through negotiation with the student’s supervisor.

    This module is a core module for MA by Project students and suitable as a designate for ‘M’ level students from the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design wishing to deepen their understanding of theoretical issues and debates relative to their practice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday afternoon

    The purpose of this module is to develop a review of work related to the student’s own research territory. This includes a literature review and an object/ image review related to the research project, live project or, studio/ workshop project in art, architecture, design and visual/ material culture.

    The module will examine notions of ‘context’ and the different frames in relation to which research can be contextualized: social, historical, cultural, methodological, material, technological, etc. It will present material related to the academic skills required: description and analysis of objects, images, and texts; critical thinking; forms and functions of bibliographies.

    After an initial block of seminar-workshop presentations, students will be encouraged to develop an independent perspective through scrutiny and appraisal of key and seminal works. This is a core module for MA By Project and integral for research training for MPhil, and PhD research within the Faculty.

    Read full details.

This 180 credit award can be taken in both full time and part time mode over 12 or 24 months. The programme is composed of four core modules:

  • Research Methods in Art, Architecture and Design (40 credits)
  • Contextual Studies (20 credits)
  • Research Project Development in Art, Architecture, and Design (40 credits)
  • Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and Design (20 credits)
  • Research Project in Art, Architecture and Design (60 credits)

The MA by Project can help you further your practice and develop new skills, extend your expertise and cultivate your professional profile, explore new avenues of thought and creative potential. You will be encouraged and supported in building a network of opportunities and developing external links that will help formulate the next stage in your career.

Past students have used the MA to launch new businesses as well as further their careers in a variety of professions. The MA by Project provides the opportunity to progress the theoretical development of your practice to a higher level and is therefore a suitable base for the development of a PhD.

Information on previous MA By Project students can be found in the links below:

Between 2016 and 2020 we're investing £125 million in the London Metropolitan University campus, moving all of our activity to our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching location of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2017. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

How to apply

Initial enquiries can be made to the Course Organiser, Danielle Hewitt, at

Please submit the application form, which is available online, with a portfolio of work related to the proposed project if this is appropriate, and a brief outline of the project.

When to apply

You are advised to apply as early as possible as applications will only be considered if there are places available on the course.

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