Master of Fine Arts - MFA

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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.

Hanasu series by Moe Sekiya
Moe Sekiya, MA Photography

After the rapture by Nye Thompson
after_the_rapture

Gabriel Atentado By Joao Prates
gabriel_atentado_detail

ABC on Broadway by Eric Boscia
lets_make_sense

The Dark Side of Fashion by Ozaan Guner
Ozaan Guner The Dark Side of Fashion

Saman Partovi Movahed
Saman Partovi Movahed

More about this course

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.

Fees and key information

Course type Postgraduate
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

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.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2018/19 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’.

    The module aims to:

    • establish within the cohort students’ critical awareness and understanding of professional networking contexts and communication practices from a range of backgrounds;
    • provide students with a context from which they can deepen their understanding of their practice as a cultural construct and understand the significance to their practice of the latest developments in online media;
    • enable students to make important connections between their own area of practice and wider concerns that cut across subject disciplines; students will be able to study alongside their peers on related courses and engage in productive discussion, debate and at times collaboration.

    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, if appropriate, 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 will be encouraged to understand their work in the contexts of contemporary networks and opportunities for a presentation and reception of research and practice outcomes. 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).

    The strategic aim of the module is to provide students with the opportunity to develop their personal practice, focusing on testing, development and planning.

    The module aims to:

    • develop students’ practice and enable them to question conventions and set their own agendas as artists or designers;
    • encourage dialogue, exchange, experimentation, heuristic learning and professional practice;
    • encourage a proactive approach to finding opportunities for and organising live projects and events;
    • support students to identify their ambitions and enable them to develop skills and ideas required to complete a significant research project, exhibition work or design proposal;
    • prepare students with the necessary self-reflective skills to tackle the challenges and demands of a contemporary practice;
    • develop students’ ability to reflect on process and contextualise practice in writing (MAbP)
    • encourage experimentation in form of reflective writing (MAbP);
    • provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and understand the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their developing practice;
    • prepare students fully for the conduct of the following major project module.

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

    The FA7P48 Project as Professional Practice 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 develops 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 Project as Professional Practice is intended be a significant body of work that will enable graduates successfully to progress their careers.

    The module aims to:

    • develop students’ independence and self-confidence, to enable them to question conventions and set their own agendas as resourceful and innovative practitioners;
    • encourage dialogue, exchange, experimentation, heuristic learning and professional practice;
    • enable students to achieve or exceed their ambitions and to develop and display the skills and confidence required to go on to further study and/or professional practice;
    • prepare students with the necessary reflective skills to tackle the challenges and demands of the changing nature of art and technology;
    • provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and understand the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their work.

    The overall aim of the module is, to provide students with the opportunity to expand their practice, to realise a major self-initiated and self-directed professional project. It aims to equip students with the knowledge and practical, theoretical and conceptual skills and competencies required for them to function effectively as professionals within the expanding sector. It is based on the preliminary project work undertaken in other modules and provides students with a focused period of time to pursue their professional project. The students will develop the relevant links with external bodies in order to achieve a sustainable practice.

    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.

    The module aims to:

    • prepare art, photography or design students with the necessary reflective and research skills to tackle the challenges and demands of their project work;
    • develop students’ sustainable independent and individual research-led working strategies;
    • provide students with an educational framework from which they can explore and interrogate the social, ethical and sustainable responsibilities associated with their field of practice;
    • enable students to test technical and material approaches to support their project work both individually and in collaboration;
    • provide students with the opportunity to develop subject-related theoretical understanding and professionalism in their practice facilitating their development as independent practitioners.

    The overall aim of the module is to support art, photography or design students to develop the necessary conceptual, research and practical skills to inform and frame their practice to support the development of an ambitious Project.

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

    FA7045 Sustainable Practice offers MFA 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.

    The main aim of the module is to enable students to make important connections between their own area of practice, wider concerns that cut across subject disciplines and audience or market.

    Students will be able to study alongside their peers on related courses and engage in productive discussion, debate and at times collaboration.

    The module aims to:

    • enable students to develop characteristics, legacies or assets to carry forward, enabling and sustaining a career in practice;
    • develop students’ critical awareness and understanding of contexts and practices from a range of backgrounds in relation to a specific theme;
    • provide students with a thematic context from which they can deepen their understanding of their practice as a cultural construct.

    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

After the course

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.

Additional costs

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

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.

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