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Master of Fine Arts - MFA

Why study this course?

With the global art city of London and its hundreds of galleries on your doorstep, this professional practice Master of Fine Arts course will provide you with your own art studio space and access to a wide range of specialist art facilities and equipment. You’ll have the opportunity to pursue professional projects in video art, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, painting or any other art or design practice. As well as raising your public profile by creating your own online and social media presence, you’ll have the opportunity to exhibit your work and to work in a group on a final, professionally commissioned brief from an arts organisation or design company. The MFA course is designed to give you the professional skills needed to pursue the vocation you have chosen in art or design and make a living from your practice.


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The structure of our MFA postgraduate course is simple and effective. It focuses on improving your practice within specialised studios where you'll work on projects over the academic year.

A supportive environment

You’ll study in well-equipped workshops, specialist studios and informative tutorials and seminars. Unlike many other university postgraduate art and design courses in London, we’ll support your studies by providing you with your own studio space at no extra cost.

Modern facilities

The Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design provides you with access to outstanding facilities and equipment through Cass Works. We’re famous for our specialist workshops including:

  • photography darkrooms
  • metalwork and woodwork workshops
  • 2D and 3D art spaces
  • printmaking studios
  • digital imaging equipment
  • textiles workshops
  • 3D printing and laser-cutting
  • video and film editing facilities
  • sound recording studios and many more

Effective learning

Throughout the year, you’ll gain insights into the art and design worlds via guest lecturers from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. There will also be case study reviews, workshops, exhibitions, events and site visits across London and further afield.

The modules on this postgraduate degree will develop your professional practice and collaborative working skills. You’ll also heighten your public profile through the creation of a website and social media profiles that will publicise your work.

Becoming a professional

We’ll show you how to establish a professional framework for your practice that will guide your organisational skills, build your reputation and increase your chances of future commercial success. This includes learning how to propose, research, develop and execute your master’s level project to the highest level of professional standards.

There will be opportunities to exhibit your work at different points throughout the year including The Cass Summer Show. Each module contributes to the creation of your final major project to be exhibited in June. This is followed by a summer spent entirely on a collaborative professional commission, briefed by an arts organisation or design company and undertaken in a group.

Assessment

If you’re a full-time student then you’ll be assessed at up to three points in a year. Assessment is through coursework only.

Assessment components will include:

  • subject knowledge
  • analysis
  • problem-solving and experimentation
  • management of own learning and personal professional development
  • skills in professional practice (CV, website, social media and communications)
  • exhibition skills, production and installation
  • project skills
  • the production of online project documentation (including an online evaluative report, online project proposal and annotated research material)
  • two finished projects (Major Project and Collaborative Commission)

Your assessors will provide written online feedback on each assessment component at each assessment point.

The marking criteria will be made available to you to ensure you understand the reasons behind the assessment you have been given.

You will be required to have:

  • an upper second-class (2:1) honours degree in an art or design subject

If your application passes all requirements, the University will invite you to choose from a series of interview dates at which interviewers assess your portfolio before making an offer.

Upon receipt of an invitation to choose an interview date, applicants who live too far away for the interview may request submission of a digital portfolio.

Relevant professional qualifications or extensive professional experience will also be considered.

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 2017/18 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:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    The module offers MFA students an opportunity for wider peer group interaction and collaboration.

    The module provides students with the opportunity to develop tools to promote and interrogate their area of study within the expanded fields of digital interaction and social media – all forms of professional networking for practice.

    Students will be encouraged to explore interaction between current ideas regarding the market, curating, communication and publishing with reference to their personal practice. This module will utilise current developments in online publishing platforms to publish to and reach new audiences. Students will develop new etiquette and innovative ways to ‘connect’.

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

    The main focus of this module is the development of personal practice that establishes the basis for the student’s output in their major project, which will be developed into a substantial body of work, including that for public presentation

    Through the thematic context set by the studios (Master of Fine Arts (MFA)) or individual student (MA by Project (MAbP)) at the start of the year, students will be expected to propose and test out a range of propositions to identify and develop their practice. They will explore approaches to work through technical and conceptual explorations, contextualising their practice in group presentations, seminars and discussions. Students will be encouraged to participate in outward facing activities, such as, exhibitions, blogs, workshops and live projects, which will enable them to understand through direct experience some of the complexities of the social and cultural functions related to their field of study.

    Students’ work will be contextualised in relation to contemporary technologies, networking strategies and practices. The development undertaken in this module will make use of the learning achieved in the concurrent (or prior for part-time students), module ‘Research for Practice’ (MFA) or ‘Research Methods in Art, Architecture and Design’ (MAbP).

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • summer studies - Thursday morning
    • summer studies - Thursday afternoon

    This module frames the culmination of the students’ output on the MFA, enabling students to balance creative and intellectual ambition with the rigours of professional practice and academic research expectations. The module builds upon and extends skills and knowledge developed through the ‘Project Development’ and ‘Research for Practice’ modules.

    The main focus of the module is the production of a major body of work that has evolved from their proposal. It is based upon a programme of research and contextually informed practice and practice-based enquiry at an advanced level.

    This module supports the evolution of the students’ subject specific and professional expertise and to develop a sustainable practice in the light of external fields of research and engagement. Students build upon previous projects, processes and explorations and continue to contextualise their work through presentations, tutorials and group critiques.

    The outcome of the Major Project is intended be a significant body of work that will enable graduates successfully to progress their careers.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning

    The module is delivered in the context of a thematic studio, related to key themes associated with areas of art, photography or design practice that are varied annually. These establish the professional, creative and intellectual framework through which students’ projects develop.

    There is a heuristic and practice-based approach to research, where postgraduate students are supported to interrogate and discuss the research processes and methodologies involved in their field of practice through seminars, lectures and tutorials. The research for and testing of practice, undertaken during the module, is intended as both preparation for and complementary to work on the project modules and will explore connections between research, thinking and making with an emphasis on study through practice.

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

    Sustainable Practice will offer MFA and MA by Project students an opportunity for wider peer group interaction and collaboration. The module provides students with the opportunity to:

    • acquire agility and adaptability with a core underlying personal philosophy
    • diversify or draw upon their practice to generate professional opportunities
    • work towards establishing and communicating a sustainable characteristic, asset or legacy that enables them to sustain their practice after degree award
    • explore themes and practices that are complimentary to their main area of study and/ or investigate a specific aspect of their field of practice in more depth.

    Studio themes will be proposed by the course at the start of each year.

    Read full details.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 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:

  • Professional Practice and Networking
  • Major Project and Exhibition                             
  • Group work to Professional Brief

The MFA qualification helps you establish yourself as an artist or designer, either self-employed or working professional. You can use the experience gained to self-organise and network to win contracts, commissions and shows. Our professional practice and networking module will help you learn how to do this.

You can also use the MFA qualification to help you to find work with major employers in the art and design sector such as:

  • Artsadmin
  • Pentagram
  • The Tate
  • The Royal Academy
  • Tom Dixon
  • Arts Council England
  • Heatherwick’s
  • The Venice Biennale
  • Sotheby’s
  • Conrans

You can also use the MFA to go on to study for an art and design PhD. A PhD can help you get into a higher education art or design career to teach or research at art universities all over the world.

How to apply

Use the apply button to begin your application.

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.

Fees and key information

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