Photography MA

Why choose this course?

On this MA Photography degree you will embark on a fascinating journey of visual experimentation and theoretical contextualisation in exploring the boundaries of the photographic through practice-led research.

You will develop a major body of practical work for exhibition over the 17-month course in a supportive and dynamic environment culminating in a final show at Kingston School of Art.

The course encourages a rich interdisciplinary approach that crosses the boundaries between different forms, disciplines and subject matters that engage with the expanded definition of the photographic medium (analogue and digital, new media and technology, still and moving image, installation; performance and the archive).

Our modules are designed to help you become an independent practitioner who speaks across a wide range of practices and theories reflecting on the technological, political, environmental and social role of the photographic.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 17 months 3–5 days per week September 2021
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

2020/21 entry

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.


Continuing students

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.

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • The course ethos is to offer highly tailored and bespoke support to build your self -confidence and evolving practice, and enable you to take on ambitious projects and ownership of your ideas.
  • Facilities include analogue and digital suites, a wet darkroom, professional photo studios, a finishing and demonstration area and camera store. You will have access to film and animation suites, bookmaking, printmaking and 3D workshops.
  • There are visits to galleries, photography festivals and other cultural spaces, as well as study tours (visits are optional and incur an extra cost).
  • Studies culminate in a show at Kingston School of Art, where you can exhibit your work.

What you will study

This research-led course engages with the photographic in its widest sense (analogue and digital, new media and technology, still and moving image, installation, performance and engagements with the archive).

You will have access to all Kingston School of Art's workshops and be encouraged to experiment with the photographic in new and innovative ways.



The key emphasis of this course is on supporting and developing the direction of your practice led-research through tutorials, presentations, and regular seminar discussions where you will be taught how to research and conceptualise your work.

The range of critical theory extends across dialogical aesthetics, ethnography, post-colonial theory, globalisation, environmentalism, social justice issues, queer theory and gender-based debates, privacy and surveillance, politics of the internet and technological aspects of the photographic medium.

You'll take three modules, worth a total of 180 credits.

Core modules

Critical Theory in Photography and Visual Culture

30 credits

This module enables students to develop an independent and critical approach to the expanded boundaries and definitions of photography and their own practice taking into account different critical theories and contexts. Culminating in a 5,000 word illustrated essay students consider the convergence of theory and practice, covering different theoretical approaches to photography and its inter-related media as well as engaging with a diverse range of approaches to producing, thinking and viewing photography and its relation to the visual arts.

Students are encouraged to engage with practices and concepts in contemporary photographic discourse that are relevant to their own interests by identifying their field of context and setting their own research objectives and particular trajectory. The outcome essay will tend to be a detailed analysis of photographers/artists relevant to the students practice.

Photography Practices

60 credits

This module introduces and develop students' individual photographic practice through self-initiated research supported by tutorials, group seminars, critiques and informal presentations that deepen students understanding of how their work can be situated within contemporary and historical frameworks, and expanded definitions of photography. Students establish working methodologies relative to a number of contributing modes of study: one-to one tutorials, seminars/discussion, research processes, the sharing and reviewing of work in progress, discourse and lectures by visiting professionals/theorists/practitioners, field visits and group critique.

The module culminates in the presentation of a body of work (and research seminar) at an assessment point where students evidence the development, planning, production and presentation of a body of work supported by the submission of blog and sketchbooks that evidences critical reflection; a 1000-1500 word critical reflective statement.

Advanced Photography Practices

90 credits

This final module enables students to advance their practice by building on their research enquiries that were developed in the previous modules. This enables students to build a strong and sustainable artistic practice and body of work that is coherent, innovative, conceptually resolved and technically well executed-for exhibition and publication. This module culminates in the presentation of a body of work for final exhibition in January (TB1 in YR 2) with an emphasis on research, production and process and the ability of the student to position their work within the wider context of photography and contemporary art.

In addition, students are also required to submit a publication, a 1000-1500 word critical reflective statement, and an artist's statement 150-300 words, which serve as an introduction to the body of work for audiences.

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

The course is aimed at a range of photography practitioners. Students are admitted through formal university application and interview (with a portfolio of work). You will also be required to submit a personal statement and an indicative project proposal about how you intend to use the 17-month course to develop a significant body of photographic work.

The minimum entry qualifications for the field are:

  • a BA (Hons) degree (or its equivalent) in a related or appropriate subject. However, each application is considered on its own merits and therefore previous experience and qualifications may be taken into account.

Typical entry qualifications set for entrants to the field:

  • at least a 2.2 or preferably a 2.1 BA (Hons) degree (or its equivalent) in a related or appropriate subject. Each application is considered on its own merits and all candidates are interviewed.
  • International and mature students with relevant experiences, interest, motivation and commitment are welcomed.

Teaching and assessment

You'll be assessed through photographic practice, research portfolios, blogs, essays and oral presentations.

Guided independent study

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.

Support for postgraduate students

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.

Your workload

Year 1-2: 20% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Type of teaching and learning
  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 360 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1440 hours

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprise of a written dissertation and practical work with presentations/exhibitions, blogs, portfolios and critical reflective statements. The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows:

Type of assessment

Type of assessment
  • Coursework: 93%
  • Practical: 7%

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols 10–18 students.

Most taught sessions are 10–18 students. However some lectures are shared with other MA students or BA Photography students; these can total 30–80 students.

Who teaches this course?

The teaching team fosters a strong year group ethos. Many shared and group activities create a rich and supportive learning and working environment. The staff team consists of internationally-recognised, research-active academics and visiting speakers and lecturers.

2021/22 fees for this course

Home 2021/22

  • MA full time £9,735
  • MA part time £5,354

International 2021/22

  • MA full time £17,800
  • MA part time £9,790

2020/21 fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

MA full time £9,500

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

MA full time £17,600


Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees.

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet you can use around campus and in halls of residences. Free Wi-Fi is available on each of the campuses.


In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.


Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Funding and bursaries

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:


There is a wide range of facilities at our Knights Park campus, where this course is based. Kingston School of Art has recently completed an ambitious programme of investment, making significant improvements to our workshops and other resources, to ensure that students are exposed to as many creative pathways as possible.   The workshops and studios at Knights Park are open for creative exploration and allow opportunities for students and staff to collaborate on projects and share ideas, whether they are studying or researching. There are many adaptable studio and workshop spaces, active breakout spaces and stronger vertical and horizontal connections.  Our ground-breaking facilities include:

  • 3D workshop, with ceramics, concrete, resin-casting, plastics, metalwork, woodwork and a bronze-casting foundry, as well as a Big Build space for Architecture, set design and large scale model making
  • Animation and post production studios
  • Digital Media workshop
  • Fashion (knitting and sewing workshops), with digital and analogue facilities, plus a working dress archive which includes pieces from 1750 to the present day
  • HackSpace (for collaborative, creative, solutions-focussed projects)
  • Letterpress and printmaking workshop, with digital and analogue facilities, to experiment creatively
  • Moving Image workshop, with studios, editing suite, and industry-standard equipment
  • Photography workshop, including studios, colour, and black and white darkrooms, processing facilities.  This professional-standard suite includes two new digital imaging areas, darkroom areas, two double height photography studios and a general preparation, finishing and demonstration area. There is also an extensive range of equipment for loan and students are able to purchase photography materials. The colour and black and white darkrooms provide extensive facilities for film processing.

All our facilities are open access, meaning you can use them whenever you want, and irrespective of what degree you're studying.

The University also has its own on-site galleries, including:

  • Dorich House - the former studio home of the sculptor Dora Gordine and her husband the Hon. Richard Hare, a scholar of Russian art and literature. Now Grade II listed, the building was completed in 1936, to Gordine's design, and is an exceptional example of a modern studio house created by and for a female artist.
  • Stanley Picker Gallery - one of the leading examples of a university gallery in the UK. Its public activities are dedicated to the research, commissioning and presentation of innovative new practice across the fields of art, design and architecture for general, academic and specialist audiences.
  • Project spaces at Knights Park campus, which you can book for the exhibition of large-scale work. 

What our graduates say

Since graduating I've worked for high fashion brands like Trussardi, Ray Ban, Armani, Levi's and Guess. I do worldwide campaigns almost every month and I have also started to work as a photoreporter, collaborating with the National Geographic here in Italy. The years at Kingston were some of my favorite moments in my whole life; not only with practicing photography but in terms of relationships and artistic dialogues.

A month ago, one of my campaigns was on a monitor right in Times Square in NY, and it was shot with the technique that I was shown in the photography studio at Kingston; the composition was inspired by one of my other classmates' final exhibitions. You and Kingston School of Art are in every shot I take, in every one of the 25 countries I visited this past year, and in the eyes of every top model I photograph!

Franscesco Rocchi

Being part of the MA Fine Art Photography course at Kingston University offered me a whole new approach to the field of photography. Before I started at Kingston, I'd been working in the industry for several years, mainly in the commercial and industrial sector. Although I had a lot of experience in the medium of photography, I never actually gave a lot of attention to the arts aspect of it.

Being tutored by the course leaders, I got a completely new view of what photography is and what it can do: how versatile this medium is and how it helps one to address certain topics, to raise issues and awareness or how to express an outlook on specific topics.

The course showed me that it was not only important what is being communicated, but also how the message is communicated. There is always more to a photograph than the bare photograph itself. Being a student at Kingston was - to me - not just a great introduction into the art industries, but also a huge asset for my own professional practice.

Doris Himmelbauer

I think the MA was the greatest experience I've had with photography until now. I learned so much and I think it was at that point (although I was working as a professional photographer already) that I really became a professional.

It was pretty intense, perhaps especially for me, because I took it very seriously; sometimes it was tough, but I could acquire a knowledge of how a project should be done, pay attention to the details, to communicate what you want to say with your photography and, specially, to have something to communicate with it. I think the facilities were amazing – I miss using the dark room, the big studio and even the woodwork space. It was a distinguishing experience.

Luisa Riekes

Student work

Film and photography research at Kingston School of Art

Based in the Department of Film & Photography, the Visible Institute research group develops practice-based research, discursive frameworks and a culture of innovation. Film and photography are intermediate and medium-specific - connecting with - yet remaining distinct from other media. Visible Institute answers a need for concentrated lens-based research spanning the potential of both practices. 

The name Visible Institute (VI) transmits the magic of film and photography, alludes to the latent image and suggests emerging and unexpected encounters. 

VI is situated within KSA (Kingston School of Art), Kingston University, London.

Visible Institute explores still and moving image, relative to a number of identified research thematics. These categories are indicative points of intersection, framing the work of our researchers and practitioners. The Visible Institute engages with the importance of the genesis of film and photography, looks to expand genre definitions and promotes engagement with film and photography's special relationship with the document and the archive.

Our aim is to ensure informed - specialist and interdisciplinary - projects and challenging practice-based media emerge from within an institute that provides breadth and inclusivity, working across disciplines and set within a number of registers, through which film, photography and the moving image operate.

Visual Institute themes:

  • haptics: touch, sense and contact;
  • archive and the junction between documentary & fiction;
  • transfiguration, mythology, ethnography;
  • political, social, ethnicity, poetic, participatory;
  • ecology, landscape, life-worlds;
  • species discourses and film ethics;
  • philosophy, psychoanalysis, hauntology and the image;
  • the animated cusp of still and moving image;
  • science and lens-based media; and
  • pioneers: the genesis of film & photography

Changes to courses for 2020/21 due to Covid-19

Changes detailed here are for students joining this course in the academic year 2020/21 (i.e. between August 2020 and July 2021).

Course information (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Composition of the course

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.

Length of course

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.

Entry requirements (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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.

Entry requirements for international students

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.

Teaching (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Changes to the way the course will be delivered

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.

Changes to teaching in the event of a further lockdown or adjustments in government advice

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 for Year 1

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.

Class sizes

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.

Assessment (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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.

Staff (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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.

Fees, funding and additional costs (changes for 2020/21 entry)

Tuition fees

There will be no changes to published tuition fees for 2020/21.

Additional costs (e.g. field trips, materials, equipment, etc.)

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.

Fees and funding for international students

There will be no changes to published tuition fees or funding arrangements specifically relating to international students for 2020/21.

Work placements and field trips (changes for 2020/21 entry)

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.

Award, qualification and accreditation (changes for 2020/21 entry)


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.

Additional (changes for 2020/21 entry)

International students

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.

Students who are unable to attend on-campus learning and teaching activities

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.

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