Fine Art MA

Year of entry

Masters Study and Funding online event

Watch on demand to receive expert advice on how to fund your Masters and invest in your future. Book your place

Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
12 months full time
24 months part time
Entry requirements
A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject.
Full entry requirements
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component
UK fees
£11,500 (Total)
International fees
£24,500 (Total)

Course overview

Female student working

This intensive MA Fine Art course aims to provide the basis for your future professional art practice, curatorial engagement or academic research at a higher level, allowing you to develop a body of work within the contexts of the studio, production, dissemination and audience.

We encourage applications from artists working, or wishing to work in: studio-based practice, socially engaged practice, collaborative practice, as artist curators, as art writers or within art education.

You'll develop your art practice in our purpose built studios, working towards a final exhibition and dissertation, supported by a series of seminars, tutorials, group critiques and a visiting speaker programme.

Studying Fine Art at Leeds, you'll be taught by practising artists, writers and theorists, supported by the region’s internationally recognised resources including the Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, the National Science and Media Museum, The Tetley and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

As well as studio and exhibition work, you'll take an optional module to explore critical and theoretical issues such as aesthetics, deconstruction, feminist studies and museum practice.

Specialist facilities

Printmaking workshop with equipment including printing press.

Housed within a single central campus location, the School offers a modern and well-equipped learning environment providing 24-hour studio access and versatile exhibition spaces. Resources include:

  • dedicated Mac and PC computer suites for digital video editing, animation, design and image manipulation;

  • printmaking workshops for etching, relief and screen printing;

  • a photography darkroom for film developing and printing;

  • woodworking, casting and ceramics;

  • 3D printing.

Additional facilities for digital and 3D printing are available at the University.

Project Space is the School’s multi-purpose space designed for the development of curatorial practice and visiting exhibitions.

The Brotherton Library holds a wide variety of manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections - valuable assets for your independent research.

In addition to the wide range of museums and galleries in the city and beyond, the University campus features:

Course details

In this course you’ll combine the production of work in an active studio and workshop environment with a programme of academic research and study, culminating in a public presentation/exhibition and critically reflective dissertation.

You’ll take full responsibility for your own programme of work, routinely engaging with contemporary issues in art, developing relationships across the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies and the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures, and working with local partners.

You’ll study compulsory modules and choose one optional module to develop knowledge in an area that interests you. Alongside your studio and exhibition work, your optional module could explore critical and theoretical issues such as aesthetics, deconstruction, feminist studies and museum practice.

You’ll have access to the resources and learning context necessary to assess and critically evaluate theories of visual representations, an integral part of the production of practical work in fine art. You'll gain the basis for future professional art practice, curatorial engagement and/or academic research at a higher level.

We champion a School-based artist community ethos by providing shared studio space with 24 hour access, regular open studio and exhibition events, informal learning groups, opportunities for student-led social events and access to the city’s artistic scene.

If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study over a longer period and take fewer modules in each year.

You sometimes find yourself going down a research path that you could not predict because you are surrounded by so many different forms of knowledge and expertise.

- Helen Collett, MA Fine Art

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Compulsory Modules

MA Exhibition, 60 Credits
You'll develop the critical and analytical skills through a revised Project Plan, studio seminars, tutorials, group crits, the Artists' Talks series and field trips that will be evidenced through a curated assessment exhibition of their work (or equivalent public output) and supported by related documentation.

MA Fine Art Dissertation, 30 Credits
This module places its emphasis on the development of the skills of independent study, research, self-appraisal and sustained argument. Topics of research will be negotiated between the module leader and the individual student through individual tutorials. You'll participate in the MA Symposium where initial ideas and outline of research areas will be presented and discussed.

Studio Practice, 60 Credits
You'll be encouraged to develop your own projects in consultation with studio staff supplemented by a programme of seminars, visiting speakers, artists and fine art professionals together with film/video screenings where appropriate. You'll be encouraged to visit exhibitions, performances and other related events throughout the period.

Optional Modules

Derrida and Deconstruction, 30 credits
This module offers an introduction to deconstruction through a close consideration of a series of texts (interviews and essays) by French philosopher and cultural critic Jacques Derrida, covering a broad range of his work. It will explore deconstructive approaches to the analysis of cultural forms, institutions and artefacts, beginning with Derrida’s critique of Western metaphysics, and focussing on a number of deconstructive figures.

Reading Sexual Difference, 30 credits
The module begins with Freud, who inaugurated the serious study of sexuality and gender. It then moves through a number of classic texts by thinkers such as Butler, Cixous, Derrida, Irigaray, Lacan, Rubin, who return to or depart from Freud’s work in ways that profoundly transform and extend the field of interrogation.

Independent Directed Study, 30 credits
This module (for full time students) enables you to explore in depth an independently-formulated topic, drawing on the diverse range of interests of teaching staff within the School. The module complements the MA dissertation in terms of its emphasis on independent research, and in most cases the dissertation itself will provide the appropriate focus for such research.

Unfinished Business: Trauma, Cultural Memory and the Holocaust, 30 Credits
The objectives of this module are to consider the continuing significance of the events known as the Holocaust or Shoah as they enter representation. The module will consider testimony and oral archives of survivors' witness, current moves to create Holocaust museums, artistic projects of memorialisation and counter-memory, autobiographical narratives and films, psychotherapeutic work with the generations of survivors' children.

Intersecting Practices: Questioning the Intersection of Contemporary Art and Heritage, 30 credits
Artist's 'interventions' in museums and heritage spaces are a significant form of interpretive practice in the contemporary visitor 'offer' at many museums and heritage sites. However, the role of artists within heritage interpretation needs critical attention to understand the benefits and challenges implicit within this practice. This module challenges the notion of the 'stable' heritage site, and 'temporary' intervention to enable you to understand the complexity which exists at the intersection of contemporary art and heritage, particularly in relation to interpretive methodologies and visitor experience.

Adventures in the Archive, 30 credits
Adventures in the Archives is an interdisciplinary module that overlaps discourses such as photography & moving image, curatorial studies, historical studies, anthropology, critical studies, architecture, and cultural studies. We invite students from a range of disciplines to consider ideas around the notions of archive, memory and history; and their relation to contemporary life today.

Postcolonial Feminisms, 30 credits
This is a module in feminist theory and politics as these have developed in the context of the period of decolonization and its wake. Emphasis will fall on theoretical formulations concerning sexual difference and the social division of gender as these have been produced by women writing to or from former European colonies.

Art and Money: the modern and contemporary art markets, 30 credits
The module aims to introduce you to the history and development of the modern and contemporary art markets (1850s to present day) and to consolidate your knowledge of art history. It will draw further attention to the relationships between the disciplines of art history, museum and heritage studies, fine art practice and the structures, mechanisms and practices of the art market.

Anthropology, Art and Representation, 30 credits
On completion of this module you'll have a good grasp of anthropological perspectives on the category art. The course avoids the common view that the anthropology of art is only concerned with tribal or ethnographic art. Rather it uses anthropological and cultural theory to introduce you to a comparative perspective on cultural representation. You'll be introduced to a number of case studies ranging from post-colonial cinema to audience perspectives on African masquerades, via the global marketing of world music.

Humanity, Animality and Globality, 30 credits
Crucial for thinking what and how “we” are and could become as a “humanity”, is the thinking of “our” difference and similarities with other life forms. This module therefore engages with theories and practices of animality so as to interrogate the category of The Human.

Unmaking Things: Materials and Ideas in the European Renaissance, 30 credits
This module will attend to a series of questions generated by historical consideration of the materials from which Renaissance artworks and objects were made.

Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning, 30 credits
Creative Inquiry, Communication and Learning is for postgraduate students seeking to understand the relationship between the creative arts and creative practice, communication and learning. The module will draw on research and pedagogy based on creative inquiry, defined as ‘any social research or human inquiry that adapts the tenets of the creative arts as part of the methodology’ (Leavy 2014: 1). It will be led by teaching staff involved in a range of research projects looking at communication, education and public engagement through creative inquiry.

The Costumed Body: Performance, Performativity and Politics, 30 credits
The Costumed Body will explore the performative and political qualities of costume. Firstly, the module will focus on the body in the costume. How do we experience the idea of costume? This mode of thinking will include both the materiality of the costume – its fabric, texture and shape – and the embodied interaction with the costume – its movement, weight, smell and sensuality.

Art of the Silk Roads, 30 credits
The ‘Silk Roads’ were a complex of networks that connected China, Japan, the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East, East Africa, and the Mediterranean world from antiquity through to the fifteenth century. This module will introduce you to some of the key centres and routes along these networks, exploring questions of cultural connectivity, collaboration, and innovation. It will interrogate ideas about and definitions of borders, cultural and religious identity, confrontation, collaboration, and appropriation by considering the role and agency of artworks within a series of interconnected mercantile, religious and social networks. It also explores the ways in which art (and sometimes artistic techniques) were created, exchanged, looted, censored, destroyed, and repurposed through time and across geographies.

Placements in Context: Policy, Organisations and Practice, 30 credits
You will undertake a placement or piece of commissioned project work, which may involve collaboration with a cultural sector partner. By the end of the module, you will have critically reflected on your placement or project experience. You will do this through putting it in the wider contexts of policy, funders and funding streams and the mission and structure of the organizational contexts within which you are working. Through horizon scanning and identifying future trends, the module will enable you to understand your placement project and personal career planning within longer term shifts and changes within the cultural sector.

You will engage in creative inquiry as part of the classes, but no previous experience of creative practice is necessary.

Creative Work, 30 credits
Creative Work provides an opportunity to explore and increase understanding about the labour market in the cultural industries. This is done through a combination of case studies, theoretical discussion and primary research. Through case studies and primary research, this module engages with critical debates about the conditions of labour in the cultural and creative industries, and its social, political and economic dynamics.

Performance and Collaborative Enterprise, 30 credits
The module offers opportunity for students from across MA programmes to share their diverse interests and skills through engagement in a collaborative venture. The intention is to create a series of negotiated interventions, performances and/or projects that either respond to a commission or are initiated and pitched as a response to the particular interests identified by the module participants. The module is intended to be multi-disciplinary, collaborative and informed by an ethos of performance praxis.

Audience, Engagement and Impact, 30 credits
This interdisciplinary module studies how artists and arts organisations can design meaningful and memorable audience experiences and how, in turn, these can be evaluated in terms of strategic and cultural value. You will critically investigate a range of audience engagement strategies and explore different methods of capturing and evaluating the impact that the arts can have on audiences, whether live or digitally and whether locally or globally.

Learning and teaching

You'll develop your art practice in our studio space, working towards a final exhibition and dissertation. The course is taught by practising artists, writers and theorists, and your critical and technical skills and methodologies are developed continuously throughout the course, as you engage in discussion and critique of your own practice and projects with other students, staff and visiting artists.

Your learning is supported by seminars, tutorials, group critiques and visiting speakers, as well as our strong links with regional galleries, museums and artist initiatives such The Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds City Art Gallery, Pavilion, Henry Moore Institute and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


The assessment methods you come across may vary depending on the modules you choose. However, they are likely to include your studio project/exhibition and supporting written work, in-course assessment, essays and presentations.


Entry requirements

A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in fine art or a related subject area. Professional experience will also be considered.

You must also submit a portfolio of recent artwork in one or more media which highlights your interest and understanding of global contemporary art practice.

Applying from China

Due to the large numbers of applications we receive, we’re only able to offer places to applicants who have attended selected Chinese institutions. With regret, any applications we receive from applicants awarded a qualification in China from an institution that isn’t on this list will be rejected.


Our admissions team are experienced in considering a wide range of international qualifications. If you wish to discuss whether your qualifications will meet the necessary entry criteria, contact the School’s admissions team.

You can also check the accepted qualifications for your country or region.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area. To find out more, read Language for Arts and Humanities (6 weeks) and Language for Social Science and Arts: Arts and Humanities (10 weeks).

We also offer online pre-sessionals alongside our on-campus pre-sessionals. Find out more about our six week online pre-sessional.

You can also study pre-sessionals for longer periods – read about our postgraduate pre-sessional English courses.

How to apply

Please see our How to Apply page for information about application deadlines.

The ‘Apply’ link at the top of this page takes you to information on applying for taught programmes and to the University's online application system.

If you're unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Documents and information you need

  • Your degree certificate and transcripts, or a partial transcript if you’re still studying.

  • Evidence of your English language qualifications if English is not your first subject.

  • A portfolio of recent work, containing a maximum of 15 images in digital format or online.

  • A personal statement (maximum of 1,000 words) which should address the following questions. When answering these questions, please try to be as specific as possible, giving examples, where appropriate.

    • Please explain why you've decided to apply for MA Fine Art at the University of Leeds in particular, focusing on how your approaches to art practice are a good match with the ways the programme is taught.

    • If you are new to Leeds and the UK: how would you approach the challenges that may arise from living and studying in a different culture far away from your family and friends? If you are familiar with Leeds and the UK, how might your MA work interact with your existing artistic networks?

    • MA Fine Art students take an academic option module and write a dissertation. What areas of contemporary art theory, debates, discussions and academic approaches might you choose to explore in your written work at Leeds?

    • MA Fine Art students share studio space, requiring flexibility from the students in an environment of mutual respect. Reflect on your experience of working in shared spaces: how did you negotiate with others? What would your approach at Leeds involve?

    • The MA Fine Art programme finishes with an exhibition in a large space. Please reflect on your experience presenting exhibitions; how might you take on an exhibition equivalent in scale to a solo exhibition?

Next steps

Qualified applicants may be invited to an interview.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures receives very large numbers of high-quality applications and regrets that it cannot make offers to all of its applicants. Some particularly popular schools may have to reject many that hold the necessary academic qualifications.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Contact us

Taught Postgraduate Team



UK: £11,500 (Total)

International: £24,500 (Total)

For fees information for international taught postgraduate students, read Masters fees.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Part-time fees
Fees for part-time courses are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans, scholarships and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.

The School offers a Head of School Excellence Scholarship (International) for international applicants. Find out about awards and scholarships.

Career opportunities

You will develop your art practice and write critically about the context of artistic work and outcomes of your work.

Throughout this postgraduate Fine Art degree, you have the chance to gain skills in organising and curating events and exhibitions, researching, interpreting and analysing artistic work, as well as developing your cultural and visual awareness. All of these skills and abilities are valuable in a wide range of careers.

Fine Art graduates have gone on to develop artist-led studios and galleries, and work in curatorial and educational roles around the world - both on a freelance basis and for major art institutions.

Others have decided to develop their research interests through PhD study at Leeds or at another institution, or have pursued careers in teaching.

Reach your potential

Hear more about the School and Faculty support you can access from our employability lead, Anna Douglas.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Student profile: Louis Pawlett

The School's workshops were great and something that I used more of than at my last university. They really helped develop my practice as an artist.
Find out more about Louis Pawlett's time at Leeds