Photography MA

Photography MA

Join a pioneering community and elevate your photographic practice

Key details
Penryn Campus
Course duration
1 year

Course overview

Driven by rich, experimental practice and with a focus on making images from day one, this Photography masters course supports you to re-imagine your work as a distinct, unique practitioner supported by award-winning staff at our Institute of Photography.  

Throughout the course you will be challenged to expand the context of your work and consider new and dynamic working methods. Grounded in an understanding of photography as a medium in constant flux, you will engage with what it means to be a contemporary practitioner today: building resilience and responsiveness in this time of great international innovation. 

Your development will be underpinned by the application of critical theory, where you will engage with global narratives surrounding contemporary photography.  

You will also build on your practical skills: covering new photographic technologies, portfolio curation, developing your unique voice in critical writing, and disseminating your work in a global contemporary context – all within our exceptional photography facilities.  

You’ll graduate having interrogated your practice, refined your voice and grown your specialist areas of interest, and own your place in our ever-changing visual culture. 

Why study Photography MA at Falmouth? 

  • Push the boundaries of the photographic medium within specialist digital and analogue photography facilities 
  • Benefit from Falmouth’s foundation of sustainable practice and 120 years of creative innovation to become a critical changemaker 
  • Build a critically informed and dynamic portfolio as a photographer, firmly grounded in contemporary visual culture with the help of Falmouth’s industry-active academics 
  • Explore what it means to be a contemporary practitioner, while building resilience and responsiveness to innovation and change 
  • Discover channels for the dissemination of your work considering the social, cultural and political impact 
  • Have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines with your postgraduate peers, such as those on MA Fine Art 
  • Graduate as part of our Institute of Photography: home to multi-award winning staff and alumni  

Course details

Re-examine your photographic practice and move into new media on this Photography MA. 

In the innovative Institute of Photography you’ll be taught by practicing academics whose passion lies in storytelling for change. They’re also pushing the medium of photography, using new technology and alternative techniques to make impactful work.  

With access to our multi-million pound professional-standard facilities, you’ll experiment, challenge and refine your practice, considering how to engage with an audience through a range of different methodologies 

Reflecting on how images are made, used, and disseminated with consideration for their social, cultural, and political importance, you’ll examine contemporary contexts for visual storytelling and place your voice among other creatives to make an impact.  

You’ll graduate with a portfolio of  work and a confidence in your practice, as well as a range of skills that set you up for a career in the creative industries. 

Photography MA
Photography MA

During Study Block 1 you’ll be challenged to open up your approach to photography. You’ll look critically at how you view contemporary visual culture and how you make as a photographic practitioner. By doing so, you’ll identify new creative avenues for your work. 

Experimental Practice 

The medium of photography is going through a period of great change. This module reflects this and sees it as an opportunity for creativity. Throughout the course, you are challenged to break down your practice and begin anew. This process starts here. 

You’ll experiment on individual and group projects, finding exciting ways of working, as well as gaining confidence in a new technical environment. 

You will also consider Photography as a broad creative practice. With this in mind you will have the opportunity to explore different techniques, including moving image, alternative processes, sculptural forms, AI, and more. 

Critical Contexts 

You will examine the myriad ways in which contemporary photography is enriched through critical and theoretical contextualisation. You will be encouraged to decolonize approaches to contemporary critical practice, considering societal and ethical viewpoints.  

You will consider the political nature of photography as a medium, and photography’s relation to current global issues.  

Throughout the module, you will be asked to consider your own practice in relation to these themes, with the aim of developing an appreciation of theories and concepts that are most relevant to your interests as a visual practitioner.   

In Study Block 2, you’ll begin to frame your new working methods through contextual and practice-based research. You will develop and refine your professional practice interests while exploring opportunities to collaborate with peers across other creative postgraduate disciplines to engage with audiences. 

Expanded Practice 

After pulling your practice apart in the first study block, it is now time to re-configure your ways of working in the lead up to the Extended Project. Building on the previous practical and critical exploration, this module aims to ground the working methodology of your practice.  

You will engage in a series of workshops that expand your approach to photography, whilst reflecting on audience and presentation methods. 

Working towards a collaborative exhibition of work-in-progress, you will consider the scope, scale, and methodology of your work, with awareness of context in terms of contemporary photographic practice. 

Sustaining a Practice 

During this module you’ll grapple with the question: how can you sustain your practice as a contemporary photographer in the long-term, and ensure its positive impact?  

You’ll answer this by exploring ideas, methods and processes that can form a foundation for ongoing practice. You’ll deepen your awareness of theory, production tools and wider cultural issues to enable you to place your practice in contemporary culture. 

During your final study block, you’ll work towards the successful completion and delivery of an extended project. Drawing on your experimentation, collaborations and newfound working practices, you’ll produce a professional portfolio, exhibition and critical essay on your body of work. 

Extended Project 

You’ll build on the Expanded Practice and Sustaining Practice modules to produce a highly accomplished final portfolio.

Drawing on experimentation with photographic technologies, collaboration with peers, and the positioning of yourself within contemporary culture, you’ll develop a body of work to speak to our time and place in your own creative voice.  

You’ll accompany this portfolio with critical analysis writing that frames your practice within contemporary visual culture, and puts you at the forefront of photographic innovation. 

From module information to course aims and assessment criteria, discover the full course details.

As part of our process of continuous improvement, we routinely review course content to ensure that all our students benefit from a high-quality and rewarding academic experience. As such, there may be some changes made to your course which are not immediately reflected in the content displayed on our website. Any students affected will be informed of any changes made directly.

How you'll learn & be assessed

The Photography MA is studied over three semesters that run over a one-year, full-time period. Combining taught and independent study, you’ll engage with seminars, workshops, tutorials, collaborative practice and critical reviews. 

You’ll be encouraged to consider photography as a medium, explore and apply traditional as well as emerging technologies, collaborate with peers and across disciplines and use Falmouth’s specialist photography facilities to full advantage. You’ll be particularly focused on sustainable and sustaining practice to become a socially engaged practitioner.

The course is assessed through 100% coursework.  

Assessment methods 

  • Portfolios of work 
  • Written assessments 
  • Exhibitions 
  • Collaborative projects 
  • Major projects 

Formative assessment points happen throughout delivery while summative assessments mostly fall at the end of the three study blocks.  

Students receive regular tutorial feedback as well as feedback from summative assessments at the end of modules. 

Stories from our community

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Credit: Chris Finnegan

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Zenande, Sinawe, Zinathi and Buhle at Sea Point Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Michelle Sank

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'Naseema Begum' by Peter Flude 

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© Serena Brown

Serena Brown named as finalist for Taylor Wessing Photo Portrait Prize 2023

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  • Fully equipped professional-standard studios with industry standard flash and continuous light, infinity coves and a full range of backdrops  
  • State-of-the-art digital post-production suites with complete Adobe Creative Cloud Package and Capture One  
  • Fully equipped black and white darkrooms for printing from any format to almost any size  
  • Machine film processing for B&W, Colour C41 and E6 and hand processing facilities  
  • Colour darkrooms for RA4 printing from any format up to 5x4  
  • Alternative and sustainable photographic processes  
  • Photography rental store housing a vast range of analogue and digital camera equipment for stills and moving image plus lighting, specialist equipment and location shooting kits   
  • Professional standard print lab for producing high quality prints on industry standard equipment and on various media up to B0 
Falmouth Photography lecturer using camera equipment in a studio
Photography lecturer using camera equipment

Photography Facilities

Housing dark rooms, post-production suites, full professional studios and gallery, our Institute of ...

Photography Facilities
Library facilities
Library facilities

Library Facilities

Offering extensive collections, our two libraries provide a wealth of digital resources, magazines, ...

Library Facilities
Falmouth University Sports Centre building exterior with blue sky and a path
Sports Centre - Outside
Sports Centre

Sports Centre

Our Sports Centre, on Penryn Campus, includes a spacious gym with up to 90 of the latest, new statio...

Sports Centre


On this master’s in Photography you’ll be taught by a team of internationally exhibiting, environmentally pioneering and research-driven photographic artists.  

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.

Oliver Udy

Head of Photography

Oliver Udy is a photographer, publisher and general facilitator of things.Udy joined Falmouth Univer...

Oliver Udy
Dr Catarina Fontoura

Dr Catarina Fontoura

Course Leader, Photography BA(Hons) (Online)

Catarina Fontoura is an artist, educator and writer. She has submitted her PhD thesis in History of ...

Dr Catarina Fontoura

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones

Associate Professor of Environment and Culture

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones is an environmental historian and expedition leader.  Huw ...

Dr Huw Lewis-Jones
Oli Udy

Got a question about this course?

If you want to know more about the course structure, our application requirements or what our graduates have gone on to achieve, our friendly course team is here to help.

Chat to Oli


The course offers an internationally recognised postgraduate qualification enabling you to innovate your current practice and open up new professional opportunities, or pursue postgraduate research at doctoral level. 

Graduates from the MA in Photography could work as: 

  • Self-employed photographic practitioner (e.g. social, commercial, editorial)  
  • Employed photographic practitioner and/or management (press, studio, industrial, retouching)  
  • Senior technical roles in industry (e.g. technical instruction, laboratory, retail)  
  • Senior roles within publishing (e.g. picture research and editing, management)  
  • Senior roles in arts administration, arts management, heritage and outreach  
  • Curatorship, art direction, gallerists  
  • Teaching and educational development roles  
  • Writing, criticism and arts communication 

How to apply

Have a question?

To find out more about this course, how you'll learn and what funding is available, get in touch with our friendly Course Advisors using our online form:

Ask us a question

Apply now

Ready to apply for postgraduate study? You can apply online by clicking the button below. 

Apply now

We welcome applications from those with relevant equivalent Level 6 qualifications, or relevant equivalent experience, and a demonstrable interest in the subject. 

We’ll also welcome your application if you have formal or 'certified' learning (such as training courses not run by universities or colleges) and learning from work experience or self-study. This is called Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), and should have been gained within the last five years, and be equivalent to the learning outcomes of our minimum entry qualifications. 

APL applicants using experience to apply should note there is an application fee for entry with advanced standing or with exemption from specific modules or credit. 

If English isn’t your first language, you'll need to demonstrate English language skills that are sufficiently developed for successful completion of your studies. We accept a range of recognised English language qualifications that are equivalent to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic minimum score of 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. 

International applicants who require a student visa to study in the UK must take a recognised language test that is approved and vouched for by the University. Our Applicant Services Team can help with any questions you may have about study visas or suitable language tests. 

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees for September 2024 entry

£9,200 per year - full-time UK (£250 acceptance fee payable. This is deducted from tuition fees.)

£17,950 - full-time EU/international (£500-£2,500 acceptance fee payable depending upon your status. This is deducted from tuition fees)

Tuition fees for September 2025 will be confirmed in summer 2024.

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

Typical course costs

Recurring annual costs 

  • c.£500 - annual cost for equipment and materials: printing portfolios / film / paper / optional trips. This will vary depending upon your practice. 

One-off costs for the duration of the course 

As a medium, photography is constantly developing so the following figures are intended as a rough guide of anticipated expenditure on the course. 

  • You will need to have your own laptop, PC or MAC or tablet, on which you can access online learning materials and can process high resolution digital images. This should be capable of running Photoshop as a minimum. 
  • Ideally, a basic digital camera and a standard lens (either DSLR or a Mirrorless System) capable of shooting in RAW and Moving Image and it should have a fully manual mode (approx. £200 - £900). The Institute of Photography supports Canon, Sony and Nikon so these may be the best choices for compatibility with our lenses and accessories. Remember that you will be able to borrow all the equipment in the IoP stores for free 
  • You may prefer to work with analogue film. 35mm SLR cameras by Canon or Nikon will be most compatible with our loan equipment 
  • SD card(s), minimum 16Gb 
  • USB card reader for the above 
  • USB hard drive, minimum 250Gb recommended. Approx. overall cost £50 – £100

Optional study trips 

Study trips change year on year and are optional on the course. As a guide, here are some examples of previous trips and approximate costs: 

  • Iceland - £1,800 
  • Amsterdam - £500 

If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter. 

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Speak to an advisor

Do you have questions about the course or studying at Falmouth? Fill in our simple online form and we'll get in touch to support your application journey.

Submit form
Student funding staff at a table with palm trees

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