DMU logo

Photography MA

Closed for 2016 entry
This course focuses on the creation of original photographic work, through traditional, experimental or electronic means. It will see you taking a considered and purposeful approach to the art of photography.


Reasons to study Photography MA at De Montfort University:

  • One of the longest running degree programmes of its kind in the UK
  • Emphasis is on your own interests and creative development, with no house style or prescribed way of working with photography
  • You will gain specific and transferable skills, which can be used in both a professional or personal context, as well as in further postgraduate study at MPhil or PhD level
  • You will learn from guest lecturers and a team of experts, who are widely respected tutors that maintain links with the real world to ensure currency with contemporary practices
  • Whether you focus on landscapes, social issues or conceptual ideas, you will be part of a close-knit community of like-minded people creating both a supportive, challenging and exhilarating learning environment
  • 96.6% of DMU postgraduates are in full-time employment or further education within six months of completing their course

  • DMU postgraduates command an average salary of £41,129* within six months of completing their qualification*
  • DMU alumni Mandy Barker is one of seven finalists in the prestigious international WYNG Masters Award 2014/2015, a photography award that raises awareness and engages the public on socially relevant issues in Hong Kong

* Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2013/14 (Employability Performance Indicator)

Rather than simply taking photographs, you will be introduced to a structured way of working and thinking about photography. Throughout your studies at De Montfort University, you will build towards a major body of photographic work, through a series of self-defined practical assignments that will enhance your visual awareness and independent thinking.

Supported by in-depth written commentaries, which will ground your practice in a critical and contextual understanding of photographic image making, you will be encouraged to develop a personal philosophy with regards to your individual creative practice, expressed through your unique creative voice.


At DMU, we are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study. We are proud to currently offer two scholarships.

Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship
Up to 50 per cent of tuition fees offered to Home/EU DMU alumni for students who wish to continue their studies at DMU by enrolling on a Postgraduate taught course. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship page.

Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship
Up to £6,000 worth of support available to full-time UK and EU undergraduate and postgraduate students, starting in September 2016. For more information visit our Vice-Chancellor's Sports Scholarship page.

More courses like this:

Fine Art MA
Arts MA

  • UK/EU
  • International

Key facts for UK/EU students

Duration: One year full-time, two years part-time.

Fees and funding: UK/EU: £4,750 (full-time), £2,375 (part-time) per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Student loan information for EU students joining in September 2016.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

You can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal.

Key facts for international students

Duration: One year full-time

Start date: September 2016

Fees and funding: International: £12,200 per year

Find out more about course fees and available funding.

Additional costs: Here at DMU we provide excellent learning resources, including the Kimberlin Library and specialist workshops and studios. However, you should be aware that sometimes you may incur additional costs for this programme.

Contact us: For more information complete our online enquiry form or call us on +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70.

International students can apply to study at DMU directly using our online applications portal or direct application form.

Entry criteria

Typical entry requirements 

You should have the equivalent or above of a 2:2 UK Bachelor’s Honours degree in photography or a relevant subject.

If you have other professional qualifications and industry experience, we will consider your application on an individual basis.

Interview and Portfolio

Applicants with relevant qualifications should submit a portfolio of work (please see our Photography MA application portfolio advice for full details). Overseas applicants will be invited to send samples of their work..

International students

If English is not your first language an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent when you start the course is essential. English Language tuition, delivered by our British Council accredited Centre for English Language Learning, is available both before and throughout the course if you need it.

Structure and assessment


Course modules

Teaching and assessments




Research Methods for Creative Arts Practice
Introduces you to the nature and scope of research, the role that research plays in the creative process, and the ways in which you might seek to find creative solutions within your work. You will be supported in developing an understanding of the precedents, frameworks and debates that form the nature and context for photography. A series of structured learning activities provide a multi-disciplinary platform that supports you in extending and developing your portfolio of research skills as a key asset for your studies as a whole, and in your future career.

Photographic Context and Analysis
Introduces you to a rigorous and structured approach to writing critically about your own practice. Working through a number of stages, you will learn to develop written work that is informed, meaningful and relevant.

Practical Perspectives
Challenges your existing knowledge and experience of photographic image making. This module investigates how meaning can be shaped and communicated through photography. The module runs as a thirty-credit module in term one for full-time students, and as two fifteen-credit modules in terms one and two for part-time students.

Negotiated Photographic Assignment
Focuses on photographic production and forms the preliminary investigation for your Major Project. It will see you continue to develop your own practice within an environment of critical debate by extending your photographic imaging skills, independent judgement and visual sensibility as well as you aesthetic and technical self-sufficiency ability.

Professional Practice
Offers the opportunity to develop key professional skills. It has a particular emphasis on the way your work and ideas can be developed and promoted through the many opportunities within the creative industries.

Major Project
The final stage of your Photography MA provides the opportunity for advanced self-directed practice and research, in a self-identified specialised area of photographic production. You will develop the ability to use your own initiative when making decisions in complex, and sometimes unpredictable, situations, while gaining new insights in your field of study.

You will be expected to show originality in the application of knowledge alongside an ability to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively. Being able to make sound judgments in the absence of complete data and demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems are also important as is the ability to act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks. Finally, you need to demonstrate the essential skills for employment as well as for continuing professional and personal development.

The Major Project normally builds on the practical investigations undertaken in previous practical modules and runs over one term for full-time students and two terms for part-time students.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current


Recognising this course attracts students from a range of different backgrounds, all with different experiences, the teaching and learning strategy uses this diversity to enrich the student experience, but also maximises the potential for peer-to-peer learning at an advanced level.

Full-time students have taught sessions twice a week in the first term, once a week in term two, with occasional contact sessions in the third term. Part-time students have taught sessions, once a week in the first year and then every other week in the second year. Taught sessions consist of lectures, seminars, critiques, workshops and tutorials.

There are assessments at the end of each term. A pass grade for each module must be achieved to proceed through the course.

The course team comprises experienced practitioners and researchers, who draw on their extensive professional skill and expertise in education, research, exhibiting and publishing.

Visiting lectures by internationally acknowledged photographers, artists, curators, publishers and critics provide valuable insights into aspects of professional practice within the creative industries. Our visiting lecture programme has been filmed since the course began in 1996, forming a unique and comprehensive archive for all students.

Contact hours
In your first two terms you will normally attend around 6 hours of timetabled taught sessions including lectures, tutorials and workshop and studio sessions each week, and be expected to undertake at least 29 hours of independent study each week. Your third term will be pre-dominantly self-directed (including meetings with your supervisor), during which you can expect to undertake 35 hours of independent study each week.



Facilities and features


The course is based in well-equipped facilities with excellent technical support. It includes photographic and video studios, traditional darkrooms, computer suites with flat bed and film scanners and large format inkjet printing as well as equipment hire.


We have 1,500 study places and 650 computer workstations across four sites on campus. These give access to more than half a million publications, an extensive range of DVDs, e-resources and thousands of electronic journals. 

During standard term time (October to June) the main Kimberlin Library is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Outside of this period, and during university holidays, the library will remain open but with reduced opening hours.

Award-winning staff are on hand to help and there is a café for study breaks. We offer a range of workshops, drop-in and one-to-one sessions, and our Just Ask service provides email and telephone support.


Learning zones

Our comfortable and well-equipped study areas provide a range of environments to suit your needs.

Originally set up in our main Kimberlin Library, the learning zones proved so popular that more were created in the Eric Wood building and Greenhouse. These flexible spaces are ideal whether you are working as a group, practising a presentation or working quietly on your own.

They feature workstations with power supplies for laptops, plus bookable syndicate rooms with interactive whiteboards and DVD players. Eduroam wi-fi is available across all campus locations.


Opportunities and careers



Starting a business
If you are thinking of starting your own business or working for yourself, the Enterprise Team can help provide you with the right advice and guidance to get your business off the ground.




This is our innovative international experience programme which aims to enrich your studies and expand your cultural horizons – helping you to become a global graduate, equipped to meet the needs of employers across the world.

Through #DMUglobal, we offer a wide range of opportunities including on-campus and UK activities, overseas study, internships, faculty-led field trips and volunteering, as well as Erasmus+ and international exchanges.



Graduate careers

The Photography MA enables you to develop a significant body of work that can be exploited in a range of external contexts. Our graduates have an exceptionally strong record of achievement including exhibitions at leading national and international venues, publications, commissions, residencies and PhD research. The course content hones skills in criticism and analysis, which are invaluable in professions such as publishing, broadcasting, journalism, public relations and related areas.

Those interested in pursuing further study for a research degree, at either MPhil or PhD level, will benefit from the expertise offered by DMU’s Photography and Video Arts Practice Research Group, and the Fine Art and Photography Research Group who specialise in practice-based research.

Order a prospectus

Our prospectus will give you a clearer idea of what it's like to live and study at DMU and a snapshot of the courses we offer.

Order now

How to apply 

We welcome applications from UK and international students with a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Find out more

More about your DMU

Vijay Patel Building
Leicester guide


We are committed to helping our graduates enhance their careers and personal development through further study, which is why we offer the Vice-Chancellor’s 2020 Scholarship. This gives DMU graduates a tuition fee discount of up to 50 per cent on selected full-time and part-time postgraduate courses, based on academic achievement and merit. Find out more.


Vijay Patel Building

The new Vijay Patel Building at the heart of DMU will offer sector leading facilities to students on our Art and Design courses.



The Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities is home to research staff with international reputations in a wide range of creative and scholarly fields, blending traditional disciplines of critical enquiry and analysis with practice-based research and creative work employing cutting-edge technology. Find out more


Leicester guide

Studying here gives easy access to the vibrant hub of entertainment, shopping and culture that is Leicester. There are clubs, bars and pubs, as well as festivals, live music, theatres and cinemas. Leicester City Football Club play in the Premier League while Leicester Tigers are one of Europe’s biggest rugby clubs. Find out more.

Events target area image

At DMU there is always something to do or see, check out our events for yourself.

News target area image

DMU is a dynamic university, read about what we have been up to in our latest news section.

Mission and vision target area image
Mission and vision

Read about our mission and vision and how these create a supportive and exciting learning environment.