Skip to main content
Kingston School of Art is an internationally regarded art school with a reputation for excellence and innovation in research across disciplines. The newly restructured MFA Fine Art course invites applicants to critically engage with contemporary art and identify what the urgent questions for contemporary practice are. Artists joining the course are asked to reflect on the historical, social, political, technological and intellectual conditions for artistic production. We believe students will then be equipped to understand and question contemporary art and lead rather than follow developments in the field.
Teaching on the course is designed to carefully nurture the core methods, ideas and approaches of its students. The course is studio based with world-class technical facilities and teaching that will consolidate and strengthen students' positions as practicing artists.
Professors in the Department of Fine Art include Turner Prize winner Elizabeth Price and Mike Nelson who represented Britain at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
Recent guest lecturers and speakers include Caroline Achaintre, Barby Asanti, Dexter Dalwood, Mark Leckey, Chooc Ly Tan, Amila Pica, Anahita Razmi, Grace Schwindt and Issy Wood.
The course also offers the option to take one module with our internationally renowned Philosophy department (CRMEP).
If you are planning to join this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021), please view the information about changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19.
Students who are continuing their studies with Kingston University in 2020/21 should refer to their Course Handbook for information about specific changes that have been, or may be, made to their course or modules being delivered in 2020/21. Course Handbooks are located within the Canvas Course page.
This course will help you to enhance your research and analytical skills as an integral aspect of your studio practice.
Your own research is augmented by collaborative work, seminars and talks. Within a diverse cohort of students, you'll challenge one another's world views, towards an in depth understanding of cultural production.
You will amass a substantial body of work, develop and apply highly attuned analytical skills, practice innovative exhibition strategies and hone your confidence as an artist.
Typically students must complete 120 credits at each level, totalling 240 credits by the end of the degree.
The teaching in the first year supports students in establishing their studio practice and critical skills. Sessions with key professionals in contemporary art then go on to assist students in developing the research and professional skills they need to sustain a career. This is then followed by a period in which students (in dialogue with their peers) explore their strengthened individual practice and research through making and reflecting on modes for disseminating art.
This module aims to enable you to develop a body of artwork with reference to artworks, art historical, theoretical, inter-disciplinary and wider cultural contexts. The module integrates theory and practice to allow you to develop and apply individually developed critical tools in order to make and analyse your own work and the work of your peers. You will become able to express your abilities to reflect and be critical through making, recording, documentation and evaluation of ideas from within your discipline and from the wider interdisciplinary environment. The Practice and Critique module introduces making, verbal and written communication skills to allow you to position your developing practice. This enables you to begin to understand the field of your practical research and your potential contribution to that field.
This module builds on the grounding work of the Practice and Critique Module by developing research skills alongside a range of professional skills. The module aims to provide you with comparative models of what research means in the context of a fine art practice alongside differing models of professional practice. To this end students will understand for example the difference between research-led practice and practice-based-research. You will be expected to understand how issues of funding, project management, institutional frameworks and organisation impact on the production and reception of artworks. You will learn the conceptual implications of these structures on your art as you further define the field of your research. The module will develop written, presentation, technical, artistic and communication skills as ways and means of expressing research. You will also begin to establish professional and organisational structures that are appropriate to your research and arts practice. These methods of organising and making your work public will enable you to successfully complete the course and sustain your research and art after graduating. The distinguishing feature of the larger credit version of this module (60 credits) is a fully costed project or exhibition proposal with documentation of current and past work.
This module builds on the grounding work of the Practice and Critique module by developing research skills alongside a range of professional skills. The module aims to provide you with comparative models of what research means in the context of a fine art practice alongside differing models of professional practice. To this end students will understand for example the difference between research-led practice and practice-based-research. You will be expected to understand how issues of funding, institutional frameworks and organisation impact on the production and reception of artworks. You will learn the conceptual implications of these structures on your art as you further define the field of your research. The module will develop written, presentation, technical, artistic and communication skills as ways and means of expressing research. You will also begin to establish professional and organisational structures that are appropriate to your research and arts practice. These methods of organising and making your work public will enable you to successfully complete the course and sustain your research and art after graduating.
Based on a study of artists' texts, art criticism, art history and philosophical writings on art, this module comprises a critical examination of the legacy and possibilities of modernist and avant-garde criticism in contemporary art theory. As well as introducing students to some of the major texts and ideas in these traditions of art theory and art criticism, the modules aims to enable students to reflect critically on works of contemporary art in the light of their study.
In the second year of the MFA you are given the time, teaching, support and discursive framework to consolidate their independent practice and research. You will work towards the completion of a final major exposition of work that signals a critical engagement with notions of dissemination and publication in the field of contemporary art. The final major exposition is the culmination of the technical, critical, professional and organisational skills learnt earlier in the course.
This module aims to enable you to develop your practice with reference to individually identified cultural and social contexts and begins to examine in more depth the relation of artworks to audience. You will be encouraged to apply developed critical tools in order to make and analyse your own work and the work of your peers. You will consider a wider interdisciplinary environment, working individually and collaboratively to investigate and disseminate your work inside and outside of the studio. During the module you will be expected to present your work in the public arena and may work together or individually to test the most appropriate platform for the dissemination of your work. The Extended Practice module allows you time to focus on your strengthened individual positions through making and testing and reflection on appropriate modes for disseminating work.
This module is the bringing together and culmination of the strands of learning from earlier modules. This includes but is not limited to a consolidation of your skills with regard to critique, professional frameworks and organisation, research and studio practice. Having tested strategies for disseminating work in the previous module this module focuses on the realisation of an ambitious project with an accompanying publication. It is expected that your final project and publication will fully realise and expresses the conceptual terrain that your current research and art has mapped out and take a form appropriate to the enquiry you are making. The publication will take a form pertinent to your art and research and is understood as a visual and written culmination of the thinking carried out in the previous modules. The Final Major Exposition module allows students enough time to achieve an ambitious final project and publication that signals a critical engagement with notions of dissemination and publication in the field of contemporary art.
The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.
Applicants should have a good BA (Hons) degree in fine art or an equivalent British or overseas qualification.
We will also consider applicants with relevant work experience. Your application might also be considered if you aren't a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but you must have relevant experience of the visual arts and can demonstrate you have the capacity to work at postgraduate level.
Applicants will be asked to upload an online portfolio as part of the application process.
All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.
Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.
Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.
The course employs a range of approaches to teaching and learning. Lectures, seminars, group critiques, individual tutorials, optional study visits, presentations, workshops and assessed expositions of work support the development of your practice and research.
When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy documents and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.
Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.
At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.
3 - 5 days a week; the main teaching days for students are Monday and Wednesday.
MFA Fine Art is a two-year, full-time course. The timetable is carefully designed to facilitate progression.
Your full attendance is expected in timetabled sessions and at all other times we expect you to be engaged in self-directed study within the university.
We would normally expect you to be in attendance 3-5 days per week. Key teaching days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Missing key sessions will inevitably affect your marks. Similarly, non-submission of work at assessment will impact on results.
Whilst we recognise the necessity for some students to take employment to support studies, we strongly advise that this should not exceed 16 hours per week or you will find it difficult to keep up.
Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.
Assessment typically comprises a presentation of practical work (eg exhibitions, performance) and supporting coursework (eg contextual written documents, research folders, evaluative reports, portfolios, presentations).
The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:
Type of assessment
We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.
Ongoing feedback is provided at group and individual tutorials, module sessions and at tutorials with departmental professors and visiting artists and professionals. Summative feedback is given after each assessment point and we aim for your individual tutor to provide feedback within 20 working days of your work being assessed. These are occasions when the strengths and weaknesses of the work are highlighted and discussed in order to progress the work.
To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 12 students and lecture sizes are normally 25-150.
However this can vary by module and academic year.
This course is delivered by academics at Kingston School of Art, all of whom are professional artists, curators or writers. Their specialisms include but are not limited to: artist's film and video; painting; performance; sculpture; art and urbanism; art and informatics; art and political philosophy; art and questions of pedagogy.
Alongside core teaching, there are opportunities for tutorials with Professors Elizabeth Price and Mike Nelson. Invited artists, curators, gallerists, writers and critics offer further input into the teaching and the opportunity for students to compare and discuss differing models for the production and dissemination of art.
A highly distinctive aspect of the course is that one option module is delivered by the internationally renowned Kingston University Philosophy Department, the Centre for Research into Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP). CRMEP is internationally recognised as the leading centre for postgraduate level study and doctoral research in continental philosophy in the UK and its work is characterised by an emphasis on broad cultural and intellectual contexts, including contemporary art and a distinctive sense of social and political engagement. Fine Art students are also welcome to attend the CRMEP talks programme.
The Fine Art Department has within it a highly innovative practice-based Fine Art PhD programme. Artist researchers give presentations to the MFA on their research projects allowing students who are considering developing a PhD proposal in the future, exposure to practice based research.
Staff teach between all the programmes within the Fine Art Department including the undergraduate programme that ranks amongst the top ten of undergraduate Fine Art courses in the UK. This means that an enormous range of expertise, research and art practices are available to students.
A regular artist's talks programme takes place on site and has included artists Grace Schwindt, Dexter Dalwood, Hannah Catherine Jones, Steve Claydon, Caroline Achaintre and Travis Alabanza. This year's programme includes Mark Leckey, Patrick Staff, Issy Wood and Leslie Thornton. The department also collaborates with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Central London on a public talks programme that has recently included artist Steven Warwick and literary critic and author of How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics, N. Katherine Hayles.
Part of your tuition fee covers basic course materials, workshop and studio provision and technical support, however, over and above this you may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for.
However, if students elect to use materials that are not supplied as standard via their workshop or course, they will bear these costs. Spending extra money in this way will not have any bearing on your marks.
Field trips are paid for by students, but these are optional. Optional study trips to London are also encouraged the cost of which will also be borne by students. Fees do not include travel to and from the University. Students who need to resit a module may be subject to extra costs.
Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:
If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.
We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:
MFA Fine Art students are based at the University's Knights Park campus. Kingston School of Art is unique in offering a close knit community on a recently refurbished riverside campus, where friends and colleagues share student life, ideas and conversation, only a 30 minute train ride away from London's world-leading galleries, museums and creative businesses.
The MFA Fine Art programme takes place in dedicated studio spaces directly opposite the recently refurbished state-of-the-art technical areas, the Stanley Picker Gallery and the undergraduate fine art studios.
The workshops and studios at Knights Park are open for creative exploration and offer you plenty of opportunities to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether you are studying or researching. Building on this open approach, there are many adaptable Architecture studio and workshop spaces, designed by Stirling Prize winning Haworth Tompkins, alongside active breakout spaces.
At the heart of the building are new state of the art workshop facilities, which include:
The University also has its own on-site galleries, including:
Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access the city's unrivalled wealth of exhibitions and galleries, including the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. Kingston School of Art works closely with the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in central London where internationally acclaimed exhibitions, events, talks and screenings are held that students often attend. Staff member's professional contacts with central London institutions means that opportunities arise for students to meet arts professionals as part of an optional visit to a gallery, museum or archive for example.
Our graduates have progressed to careers in curation, arts administration, project management, arts education and PhD study, and have established arts collectives internationally.
Whilst the course does not offer progression onto the Fine Art PhD at Kingston School of Art it is understood that the programme supports those interested in developing a practice-based PhD proposal in the future with which they can apply to PhD programmes nationally and internationally as well as at Kingston School of Art.
Our students are encouraged to engage closely with the diverse businesses that make London one of the most important centres for the creative industries. Our industry connections mean we provide unique study opportunities, such as:
Our excellent reputation means that industry leaders regularly visit our student shows to see the best of the new talent.
Kingston School of Art is internationally renowned for research excellence and innovation across disciplines.
The Fine Art Department is home to a highly innovative practice-based Fine Art PhD programme and undergraduate programme that ranks amongst the top ten of undergraduate Fine Art courses in the UK. Working within a campus that is conducive to creative dialogues and exchange, students often choose to collaborate across different levels and disciplines.
Our faculty research centres explore practices, histories and theories of contemporary art, design and material culture.
Specifically, within the Department of Fine Art, The Contemporary Art Research Centre explores innovation in contemporary fine art, focusing on:
We do not anticipate making any changes to the composition of the course, i.e. the number of modules or credits in a year for part-time postgraduate courses, as a result of the pandemic.
In order to safeguard our students' health and safety and to minimise the risk of disruption to their studies, the University has postponed all Study Abroad programmes for outgoing students in the first teaching block of 2020/21 (from September 2020 to December 2020). The University will review this decision before the second teaching block and will take into account relevant government advice at that time.
Changes can be made to courses as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to the composition of the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We do not anticipate making any changes to module titles and summaries or to the availability of modules as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to modules as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area and to provide a high quality student experience. Any such changes made to module titles and/or availability of modules will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
We expect to deliver the course within the planned timescales to enable successful students to progress through and graduate from the course without delay.
In exceptional circumstances the sequence of learning and teaching activities may be changed, e.g. re-sequencing those modules that can be delivered more effectively under the current restrictions with those which would be more difficult to deliver, such as practical modules and placements.
We have not changed entry requirements as a result of the pandemic. However, the range of accepted alternatives have increased as has the way in which we select students, which now includes virtual interviews and online portfolios.
We have not changed entry requirements for international students as a result of the pandemic. However, in response to the pandemic, we now accept a much broader list of English language exams for entry to the course; the level of these exams remain the same.
Due to the current pandemic the course's teaching and learning activities will be delivered through both online and on-campus methods (blended learning) in 2020/21. In order to provide all students with a comparable on-campus experience, the University has committed to ensuring that all courses provide at least 30% of their teaching and learning activities on-campus.
While physical distancing measures remain in place, you will receive your learning and teaching via a blend of on-campus and on-line activities. Should your circumstances prevent your attendance at on-campus sessions, you will still be able to engage with your course in a way that allows you to progress. Where this is not possible, support will be available to consider what options are open to you.
The University will continue to closely monitor government announcements and advice in relation to the current pandemic and, where required, will take any necessary action in order to comply with such advice.
In the event that a further lockdown is enforced the University will aim to deliver the course fully online. This may require some additional changes being made to planned teaching and learning activities, including assessments. The majority of our courses are prepared to be delivered fully online if the situation requires it. Where the quality of the student experience may be compromised significantly, or the course is unable to be delivered fully online, the University may need to suspend the delivery of that course until a time that it can be delivered appropriately. Students will be supported in these situations to ensure they are able to make the right choices for their particular circumstances.
In the event that the current social distancing restrictions are fully lifted and the University is able to resume normal delivery of teaching and learning activities, courses will assess whether it is in the students' interest to resume normal delivery. In some cases it may be better to continue and complete modules under the planned blended delivery mode.
Changes to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours will not be made as a result of the pandemic. However, it is possible that some adjustments might be made at module level, e.g. a few more scheduled activities, in order to help ensure student engagement with blended learning.
Any changes made to the overall breakdown of scheduled teaching hours, placements and guided independent study hours for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
'Scheduled teaching' includes teaching that is online either live or recorded / on demand.
Your individualised timetable for teaching block 1 (i.e. from September 2020 to December 2020) should be available by the end of August 2020. Timetables for teaching block 2 (i.e. from January 2021) will not be available until the autumn. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9am and 9pm. To accommodate smaller group sizes and social distancing, we will need to maximise the time available for teaching. This means, we may have to use Wednesday afternoons and enrichment week for additional teaching slots. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.
On campus classes, class sizes will be smaller, in line with social distancing measures. Online (synchronous) activities will be delivered via videoconferencing apps that will enable a full range of class sizes to be used as appropriate.
Changes can be made to modules, including how they are assessed, as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our modules up to date with current developments in that subject area. Due to the current restrictions in place, i.e. social distancing, it is anticipated that many formal on-campus examinations, including practical examinations, will be replaced with alternative assessments which can be completed online. These changes will be considered and approved through the University's processes to ensure that student assessments will be able to demonstrate they have achieved the expected learning outcomes. The approval process will also assess whether the change impacts the status of any professional body accreditation the course benefits from.
Any changes to the overall methods of assessment for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
No changes are expected to the general level of experience or status of staff involved in delivering the course.
As a result of the social distancing restrictions in place, on-campus teaching activities may need to be split into smaller groups which may require the support of teaching assistants and student mentors, who will be managed by experienced staff.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.
As a result of the blended delivery of courses in 2020/21, where a significant proportion of the teaching will be done online, students will need a personal laptop or computer and access to the internet to participate in online teaching and learning activities. Students who are able to travel will have access to computers on campus, however, it should be noted that access to on-campus facilities will be restricted due to social distancing requirements.
The University is considering how best to provide support to students who do not have access to suitable hardware and software requirements and access to the internet. Identifying students who require this type of support is an important milestone for the University in our journey to ensure equity of access while we continue to deliver our blended approach. Information about the support that will be available will be provided to students during the induction period.
There will be no changes to any existing University funding arrangements for 2020/21. Currently there are no indications from the UK government that there will be any changes to government funding arrangements.
There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.
Placements (including work and clinical placements) and field trips included as part of the course will go ahead as planned. However, to ensure students are able to gain maximum value from these activities, it may be necessary to reschedule them to later in the year when current restrictions have been lifted. We acknowledge that this year it may be more difficult for students to secure appropriate placements. In those situations, students will be guided and supported through the various options that will be available to them, including switching courses or interrupting their studies until a time when they can complete their placement.
Any proposed changes to placements or field trips would go through University's agreed processes where the impact of the change will be carefully considered. Students will be advised of any changes that may become necessary and appropriate support will be available to students to guide them through the various options that may be available to them.
In the interest of the health and wellbeing of our students, the University will ensure that appropriate risk assessments are made before students are sent on a placement.
Courses which require placements or field trips to be completed in order to pass relevant modules will have contingency plans in place in the event that a placement or field trip cannot be completed due to another lockdown or more stringent social distancing measures.
Voluntary placements or field trips may be rescheduled, or, as a last resort, cancelled if it becomes difficult to deliver them and doing so is in the interest of the health and safety of our staff and students.
No changes will be made to the qualification awarded, e.g. MSc, as a result of the pandemic.
Changes can be made to courses, including the qualification awarded (although very rare), as part of normal enhancement processes in order to keep our courses up to date with current developments in that subject area. Any changes made to the qualification awarded for the course will be highlighted to students during the induction period.
International students should maintain awareness of the UK government's and their home country's government advice on possible travel restrictions. The University will closely monitor advice and guidance published by the UK government and assess its impact on our international students. Appropriate advice and guidance will be provided as and when required.
The University will ensure students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities are able to effectively engage with their studies remotely. For certain courses an inability to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities may not be in the students best interest, as it may impede their chances of succeeding in the course or lead to them receiving a poor learning experience. In such cases students will be advised and guided through the various options available to them, such as deferring their studies until they can engage fully with the course.