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.
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.
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
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.
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
- 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 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’.
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).
This module currently runs:
- summer studies - Thursday afternoon
- summer studies - Thursday morning
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The Tate
- The Royal Academy
- Tom Dixon
- Arts Council England
- The Venice Biennale
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.
We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations 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 2018. 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
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
News and success stories
projection onto caravan man singing in centre
Top animator Richard Haynes to exhibit postgraduate project exploring nostalgia at The Cass Summer Show
display cabinet at loom showing words the brady club
25 May- 5 July
A selection of photographs and memorabilia from the Brady Clubs Archive exhibited at Aldgate gallery
sonic art performer wearing mask
First Thursday evening of experimental sound and vision curated by Fine Art student Raisa Watkiss returns to The Cass.
cass exhibition a connection is made
Student led curatorial group present exhibition exploring collaboration at The Cass.
Cass Fine art alumna participates in major exhibition exploring role of digital technologies in art.
hose at night with one window illuminated
New solo exhibition of night photography by The Cass alumnus David George.
Artist Jaykoe , an alumnus of MA Fine Art at The Cass has two imminent exhibitions
Nye Thompson with a wall of monitors
13 September – 16 December 2017
The Cass alumna takes part in new exhibition exploring the relationship between humans and machines.
Rosemarie McGoldrick, Head of Fine Art at The Cass, to present artist's talk at The Political Animal event
In celebration of its students, alumni, new home and London Design Festival, The Cass plays host to a series of exhibitions and workshops this September.
Open the doors to ‘Other Worlds’ and explore beyond the status quo with The Cass MA Show 2017.
Solo exhibition by Cass Fine Art alumna on memory, nostalgia, myth and narrative.
sonic art performer waering mask
4th May 2017
A First Thursday evening of experimental sound and vison curated by Cass Fine Art student, Raisa Watkiss.
10 - 14 November 2016
ENSEMB7E presents Hidden Layers, new exhibition by MA by Project Artists at The Strand Gallery, London.
Close up image of a web-like structure.
4 - 6 November 2016
A photographic show by Cass alumni that presents work somewhere between completely true and completely false.
Meet the team
Gwen Andersonfemale postgraduate student
Patrick BrillPatrick Brill
Ben CainImage of artwork: We Call This Work, Busan Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea, 2012
Richard DuckerRichard Ducker
Dr Pil and Dr Galia KollectivDr Pil and Dr Galia Kollectiv profile image
Patrick WardAn image of three screens by Patrick Ward