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Photography MA/PG Dip/PG Cert

About the course

Book your place on our Postgraduate Coffee Morning –  Wednesday 2 March 2016, 10am - 1pm

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.

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 (DMU), 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.

Reasons to study Photography at DMU Leicester

  • One of the longest running and successful 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 expert, widely respected tutors who maintain links with the real world to ensure currency with contemporary practices
  • From day one, 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
  • DMU was rated highly for its creative scene in the Which? University Student Survey 2014
  • 96.6% of DMU postgraduates are in full-time employment or further education within six months of completing their course
  • 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
  • DMU postgraduates command an average salary of £39,499 within six months of completing their qualification, according to the latest figures available from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education report

Key facts

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

Location: Portland Building, De Montfort University

Start date: September 2016

Entry and admission criteria

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.


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.

Teaching and assessment

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.

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 

Part-time study is normally undertaken on a half-time basis.

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

Course modules

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.

Academic expertise

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.

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 De Montfort University’s Photography and Video Arts Practice Research Group, and the Fine Art and Photography Research Group who specialise in practice-based research.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding options for 2016/17 entry

Fees (Full time) £4,750
Fees (Part time) £2,375 per year
Postgraduate courses fees £12,200

For more information please take a look at our Funding 2016 section.

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, which for this programme could include the following:

  • Art and design materials: £500. These costs may vary depending on what materials you choose to work in.
  • Specialist printing: £500
  • Reading materials, research and study visits: As students pursue individual pathways of study these will vary for each student, but you are encouraged to consider any additional costs you may incur as you develop your projects and to discuss these with your tutors

Fees and funding are subject to change.



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

How to apply

Students can apply directly to study this postgraduate taught course at DMU by using our online applications portal.

You should give full details of your qualifications, relevant work experience and evidence of design work in a digital/portfolio format.

Contact details

For more information please contact:

Online enquiry form
UK Study enquiries: 0116 250 6070
International study enquiries: +44 (0)116 2 50 60 70

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