Fine Art

MFA or PGDip or PGCert

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Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Arts

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Our Fine Art master’s degree provides you with a supportive, critical environment, where you'll be able to develop key professional skills. You'll progress your independent practice, while building your theoretical awareness and understanding of fine art.

You'll learn from experienced tutors who are also practicing artists, curators, and researchers. You'll also get to work with our experienced team of technical specialists.

Our dedicated studio is open 24-hours a day during semester time. You'll share this facility with fellow students and a supportive community of artists. And through our established connections, you'll have the opportunity to go on professional placement at contemporary galleries and arts institutions.

This course will aid your progress to your chosen career in the arts. It can also help you move on to further study at PhD level.

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Abstract image of students' footwear while painting

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Focused attention

    You’ll work closely with a dedicated tutor, ensuring quality and consistent contact.

  • Enabling your practice

    Our teaching adapts to support your art practice, and to enable you to become an independent practitioner.

  • Creative spaces

    Your dedicated individual studio space is open 24 hours a day during term time.

  • Well connected 

    In addition to in-house lecturers, regular guest speakers provide contact with practicing artists and professionals from the creative industries.

  • State of the art equipment

    We are always investing in new technologies and equipment. Our workshops include traditional as well as the latest digital facilities: laser cutters, 3D printers, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).

Course details

Course structure

The 3 strands of this course – practice, theory, and professional experience – allow you to build the skills and expertise of a contemporary artist.

Choose to study full time for a year, or partner the course with other career or artistic commitments over 2 years.

You’ll learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Your extended essays will explore the theory behind some of today’s leading practices. And, you’ll learn how to write competently and theoretically about your own artistic pursuits.

With no house style to adopt you’ll be encouraged to develop your independent practice, and we’ll support you to develop your ideas. Specialise in video, photography, sound or one of multiple 3D artforms, sculpture, installation, or otherwise.

Workshops are run by highly skilled, creative technical specialists, able to support everything you do. With lectures given by curators, practising artists and scholars.

You’ll pick up plenty of professional skills and be able to contribute fully to local, national and international arts communities.

Student working on a drawing board

Learning and teaching

Teaching methods and approaches include:

  • formal lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops.

There are three main parts to the course. The largest of these develops your individual practice as a contemporary artist. The second develops your understanding of historical and theoretical frameworks and contexts. The third enables your development as a functioning and contributing member of broader local, national and international arts communities.

You will develop as a reflective, practising artist. And you will have a robust and critical understanding of your own work. You will apply current theoretical frameworks of contemporary art practice.

You’ll be informed by the diverse and often challenging practices of nationally and internationally recognised artists, collectives and movements. And pursue specific interests to a greater depth through a process of independent learning.

There is an optional field trip as part of the programme.


In the practice based modules, you will be assessed on:

  • conception
  • research
  • development production
  • and public dissemination of your work.

In Semester 1 you will take part in an interim exhibition. In Semester 3 you will present a major piece or body of work in a professional context through the MFA show.

Practical work is assessed alongside research and development materials. Theory modules are assessed with written work. Teaching includes some sessions on research and writing skills. You will develop the ability to rationalise theory within contemporary arts practices. You'll take part in a reflective process of articulation to produce a written evaluation. This replicates the expectations placed on professional artists when working with external agencies and stakeholders.

The professional module will support and formalize your career aspirations. You will practice identifying, ordering, prioritising and assessing personal goals within a dynamic work environment.

Field Trips

Field trips are an optional feature of the course and costs are not included in the fees. Please see the Additional costs section of this page for details.

Study modules

The modules listed below are for the master's award. For the PGDip and PGCert awards your module choices may be different. Please contact us for more details.

Taught modules

Compulsory modules

  • Professional Experience (30 credits)

    This professional experience module delivers preparation for a future career in the creative industries in a number of ways. The teaching, learning and assessment strategy is designed to build upon previous professional experience and expertise by providing opportunities in bridging the gap between practice and academia, or working in the creative industries through a placement, or exploring and implementing different modes of collaborative, social or participatory practices within a project, or increasing exhibition management and curatorial skills. Essentially, the module provides a platform of experiences that will support your understanding of development as an arts academic, creative industries employee or independent professional artist.

  • Fine Art Practice I: Outcomes of Research in Practice (40 credits)

    In this module you pursue rigorous and sustained research, exploring and investigating your own concerns out of which resolved outcomes emerge. The module provides a supportive context within which you initiate and establish a self-directed project. This process will enable you to re-evaluate, extend and challenge the strategies, techniques and motivations that underpin your existing practice, professional experience and prior learning. The emphasis is placed upon the generation of independent/collaborative/participatory practice-based work with materials, processes and contexts as well as engagement with theoretical ideas and concerns. This module gives you an opportunity to evolve a confident and intellectually stimulating working process as an artist and demands intensive, creative engagement coupled with sustained reflection. You will work with a nominated supervisor. Developed work in progress will be shown publicly at the end of this module.

  • Fine Art Theory I: Topics in Contemporary Fine Art Culture (20 credits)

    This module develops your theoretical understanding of fine art and encourages you to critically engage with key topics from modern and contemporary art and culture. It provides you with opportunities to develop knowledge and understanding of fine art, as well as an ability to analyse the range of critical discourses that frame and inform contemporary practice. In this module, you will attend seminars, with sessions dedicated to the introduction of selected topics in modern and contemporary art and culture. Emphasis will be placed on your close reading and analysis of texts and will examine a range of critical forms of engagement, and critical positions taken on these. You will work independently and in groups, contributing to discussion and making presentations where required.

  • Fine Art Theory II: Extended Critical Essay (30 credits)

    In this module, research and carry out independent critical investigation of a topic of your choice. This topic may relate directly or indirectly to your own practice. The module provides the opportunity to develop a sustained and critical theoretical position on any aspect of modern and contemporary art or visual culture, which may act to inform your subsequent practice-based work. The module spans the process of proposing an appropriate topic, researching it, developing and defending a position or argument in relation to the chosen subject and producing a critical essay. It is focused on your own learning throughout and is taught through seminars and individual tutorials.

Final project

Compulsory modules

  • Fine Art Practice II: Major Project (60 credits)

    This module represents the culmination of your learning throughout the course. You will work with a nominated supervisor to produce a work or body of work that is presented during the Fine Art Postgraduate Exhibition (MFA Show). The module extends the independent process of your development begun earlier in the programme and provides the opportunity to further develop and realise intellectually challenging and imaginative work through fine art practice to an advanced academic and professional standard. The module represents the culmination of your contemporary fine art practice at taught postgraduate level and provides a platform from which further career pathways can develop.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


The teaching staff for the Fine Arts programme contribute to the FAR (Fine Art Research) unit which forms a focus for their research. In addition, other active arts research occurs in the Sonic Art Research Unit.

Visit the School of Arts website for more information about the research groups.

More information about individual research by the teaching staff can be found on the School of Art staff pages.


MFA Fine Art is ideal for career starters or those looking to give your employability greater currency. Add to your first degree or embed the arts deeper into your working world. This course can be a path directly into the fine arts or a way to bring its practice and theory into another field of interest.  

You can expect to master plenty of skills that employers will find attractive. And you’ll gain confidence and knowledge to deliver your ideas and critique the creative output of others.

Student peers will provide valuable support during and after your studies. Student collaborations and creative collectives which began on the course often continue when studying is over.

You’ll leave this course with the confidence to comment on contemporary art, whatever the context. And feel equipped to claim your space within the art world. Alongside artist you could also consider the following roles:

  • curator
  • set designer
  • arts therapist
  • museum and gallery educator
  • gallery manager
  • researcher
  • arts journalist
  • university lecturer
  • art teacher.

Student discussing with a careers officer

Entry requirements

International qualifications and equivalences

How to apply

Application process

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support.

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Your studio practice space

The School of Arts recognises that at Masters level, studio provision on-campus is not always necessary nor appropriate for all students. Therefore, students may make their own arrangements for a UK-based studio space in which to develop their fine art practice. Students making their own arrangements for studio space will be offered a discount on their programme fees. International students are advised that while they may rent studio space in Oxford, or in a nearby locale, the cost of rental in this area is considerably higher than the discount in Brookes fees associated with locating your own space. We therefore recommend that unless you already have your own studio space set up and supporting your practice, that you use the studio space offered and supported by the university.

Should you wish to use your own space which is already set up and supporting your practice, the University requires that you meet the following conditions before we are able to agree to your use of this space as your named practice studio while you are attending the MFA programme:

You will be required to sign a disclaimer in which you agree to be responsible for your own safety. The disclaimer has been prepared by Brookes Legal Services and may not be amended.

You must attend safety training conducted by the University during the Induction period of the programme.

You recognise that if at any time during your attendance on the programme you are able to transfer to the University studio spaces if there is any question over the safety of your own equipment.

Due to the nature of the arrangements to ensure your safety, the timing of the signing of the disclaimer and the safety training required, students wishing to access this discount are required to pay the full fee when they enrol on the programme, attend the safety training, and sign the disclaimer before claiming a refund to access the discount.

Those students who prefer to work in their own dedicated space within a communal environment may apply for studio space on campus. A key-card access system allows card-holders access to buildings after hours. Each entry and exit is recorded electronically.

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.