Find a course

Expand

Fine Art

PGDip or PGCert or MFA

Key facts


Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 12 months

Part time: 24 months

Department

School of Arts

Overview


Our Master of Fine Art in Fine Art (MFA) equips you to succeed in a career in the fine arts. It is ideal for independent artists who want to extend their practice with support from practicing tutors. As well as artists looking to extend their career path into:

  • curatorial practice in the contemporary arts
  • collaborative projects with arts organisations
  • arts in socially engaged practices and/or further research.

The course provides:

  • postgraduate studio-based arts practice
  • critical theory in fine arts
  • development of your professional skills and knowledge.

Our School of Arts’ workshops are run by highly skilled, creative Technical Specialists. And offer supported working environments in a range of specialist areas including:

  • sculpture
  • photography
  • video
  • sound
  • printmaking
  • book-works.

You will finish the course with the creative, interpretive, critical and analytical skills to develop an advanced understanding of contemporary art and its social, cultural and historical contexts.

Student spray painting on a wall

How to apply


Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

The general entry requirements are:

  • a good honours degree, ie an upper second or first, in any subject
  • an internationally recognised qualification equivalent to a good British honours degree.

Applicants without a first degree, but with extensive experience in the arts or other disciplines relevant to our programmes may also be considered. Please contact the Admissions Office to discuss this.

Applicants will be asked to provide an online portfolio for consideration (see How to apply below) before we make any offer.

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

Selection process

Once we have received your application we will contact you to set up an interview, in person, or by Skype if you are not near Oxford.

At this point we will discuss further why you want to do this programme and will request to see previous practice.

If you are not an arts practitioner we will need to hear about other work and experience, and understand how it equips you for this programme.

English language requirements

If your first language is not English, or if you have not studied a higher education degree in English, then an English language level of IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each component is required

There is a fair amount of discussion on the programme - both in the feedback sessions and in the weekly seminar-meetings. It is therefore very important to be able to understand and speak English well enough to participate in a group conversation. 

Please also see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

We offer a range of courses to help you meet the entry requirements for your postgraduate course and also familiarise you with university life in the UK.

Take a Pre-Master's course to develop your subject knowledge, study skills and academic language level in preparation for your master's course.

If you need to improve your English language, we offer pre-sessional English language courses to help you meet the English language requirements of your chosen master’s course.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Application process

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£5,780

Home/EU part time
£2,950

International full time
£14,000

Home/EU full time
£7,500

Home/EU part time
£3,750

International full time
£14,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2019/20
Home/EU full time
£5,780

Home/EU part time
£2,950

International full time
£14,000

2020/21
Home/EU full time
£7,500

Home/EU part time
£3,750

International full time
£14,700

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

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.

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

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

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, if any, are detailed below.

Art Materials

The cost of art materials is not included in the programme fees. All students should expect some cost implications related to the production of their art. For at least one module there will be a minimal fee to cover the costs of materials used. There is no relationship whatsoever between the amount students pay for materials for their work and the final assessment achieved. The written self-evaluation that students hand in with each practice module can be used to enable a student to talk about cost restraints and alternatives used in the resolution of their art works. Where there are financial constraints on what a student can realistically spend on art materials, staff will take this into account. As students may choose their own media and modes of working, we cannot estimate how much a student may have to spend on materials.

Exhibition costs 

There are also costs associated with the exhibition of your work. The programme requires your work to be professionally displayed for public view at two exhibitions in the programme. The costs associated with exhibiting your work are not included in the programme fees. The amount will vary according to the type of work displayed and the means to transport and install the piece(s). While it is difficult to be precise about these amounts because they will vary with medium and practice, size, weight and complexity of the your work, it is likely that you should budget at least £350 as a minimum for this expense.

Field trips

Field trips are an optional feature of the course and costs are not included in the fees.

The estimated cost for an international field trip to a European location of approximately 4 days is £350 to £400.

There are also optional day field trips to London and other local venues. Fares on public transport cost approximately £30.

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.

Learning and assessment


All modules are compulsory, although there is considerable choice of topic for assessments in the theory modules. The practice modules are set out to extend your own work.

Student creating a water colour painting

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 that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

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.

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.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

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.

Research


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 and Social Sculpture 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.

After you graduate


Career prospects

Graduates from this programme will be well equipped to pursue their practice as independent artists who have a well-developed understanding of the theoretical and professional contexts of the current and contemporary landscape of the arts and creative industries. 

This programme is delivered within the School of Arts, which offers a vibrant environment for the creative industries including film, photography, music and publishing. Through the modules, which address practice, theory and professional experience, students are provided with links to engage with employment and further study opportunities, either as independent practitioners, facilitators or participants within a range of group and collaborative practices and contexts. 

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.