Course summary
2 years
Part time
Online courses
Next available date: October 2021 - Online courses
Postgraduate Education

Course description

MA Fine Art

The MA Fine Art programme offers students the opportunity to work in a medium of their choice; past students have worked in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, writing, printmaking, installation, performance, curation, time-based work and digital art. The emphasis of the programme is on studio practice, with theory, context and professional practice integrated throughout.

It’s ideal for creative practitioners who are looking to develop their skills further, tutors who want to develop their own artistic practice or undergraduates who are looking to progress to postgraduate study outside the conventional bricks and mortar higher education system.

The course welcomes applications from students from a wide range of visual arts backgrounds who wish to extend and redefine the theoretical and practical base of their understanding of fine art at an advanced level.

As you progress through the course you will be able to share experiences and learning through group and individual work. The curriculum builds from a more structured programme towards autonomous study, with an emphasis on enquiry, critical reflection and exploration, and offers graduates the opportunity to scrutinize and advance their fine art existing practice, working towards their career aspirations through an innovative and exciting programme with art production at its core.

Suitability - Who should attend?

Criteria Points

  • Degree in any subject
  • Degree in the visual arts
  • Evidenced experience of working in any relevant creative industry or context. For example, as a practising Fine Artist.
  • Higher National Diploma/Foundation degree or equivalent in Art
  • Higher National Certificate or equivalent in Art
  • A-Level Art or equivalent

Other experience or learning, whether certified or not, will be considered on an individual basis

English Language Requirements

For applicants where English is not their first language, they will be required to provide evidence of English Language proficiency equivalent to B2 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference).

You can evidence you meet this requirement through one of the following documents:

  • A Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider, taken two years or less before the date of enrolment to the course. IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Academic may be accepted as meeting these requirements, provided the student has achieved a minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four elements of language learning.
  • Have successfully completed an academic course (not professional or vocational) at Bachelors degree level or above from an educational institution in the UK or in a majority English speaking country as listed below.
  • A passport provided as evidence of nationality of a majority English speaking country as listed above.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) iBT taken two years or less before the date of enrolment to the course, with minimum scores in each of the four elements of language learning as follows: reading 18, listening 17, speaking 20 and writing 17.
  • Cambridge English B2 First qualification with scale range 160-179 taken in the last two years as of the date of enrolment to the course.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the institute website.

Outcome / Qualification etc.

Final Award Title and Type: Master of Arts in Fine Art

Upon successful completion of the course students are able to:

  1. Identify, define, and describe current and relevant principles, concepts and subject knowledge to a high level.
  2. Demonstrate an advanced awareness of the use of fine art skills, technologies, methods, practices and processes related to your artistic practice.
  3. Identify, define, and describe contemporary and historical practices, theories, and debates to help inform your artistic practice.
  4. Navigate and critique emerging practices and wider contexts, to shape your knowledge of fine art and its subject boundaries.
  5. Select, question, test, interpret and synthesize relevant and specialist knowledge to inform your intentions, ideas, and outcomes.
  6. Apply highly fluent critical thinking to develop an informed personal position through critique, group work, and critical thinking tasks.
  7. Apply curiosity, creativity, and intellectual enquiry to initiate, test, and articulate ideas and outcomes in professional and innovative ways

Training Course Content

Research and Practice

This unit supports students to develop independent study skills and to examine a range of independent research methods appropriate to their practice. Working in their chosen medium and area of interest, students interrogate their practices through a series of practical approaches within a carefully constructed critical framework that identifies relevant theoretical positions and enables students to develop personal research methodologies.

Contextual Perspectives

This unit is predominantly practice based. Students build upon methods, processes and learning initiated in Research and Practice, moving towards more independent study. Contextual Perspectives invites students to test ideas, developing propositions for reasoned enquiry based on methodologies developed in Unit 1.1, framing studio production with a critically defined set of conceptual and theoretical concerns. Students study the breadth of contemporary fine art practice including, but not limited to, writing as making, socially engaged practice, public art and time based work


To complete the programme, students produce a substantial body of practical work and accompanying contextual material for public presentation. A programme of critiques, seminars, tutorials and lectures support the students technical, conceptual, methodological and theoretical development over an extended period of study. The unit material will support critical awareness to enable students to arrive at a discerned and ambitious conclusion. Students leave the programme with a breadth of intellectual, practical and transferable skills, prepared to continue their practice for personal development and/or professional practice.

Course delivery details

The course is delivered primarily by e-learning technologies, incorporating online seminars and peer group discussion. Independent research and studio practice is a significant element of the course.

The course includes:

  • One to one tuition via video conferencing
  • Online seminars
  • Group work such as critiques or studio sessions
  • Access to the world class Bridgeman Education Art Library and digital resources from the University for the Creative Arts
  • Online Group Orientation
  • Study resources and other relevant materials


  • Fees for UK students: £7,800
  • Fees for students outside of the UK: £10,530

Continuing Studies

Many students have established careers, see their studies as a change in direction, and for an increasing number of younger students, as a first step into a creative career. Progression routes are individual as well as collective, and you will be supported to develop your increasingly sophisticated practice towards public presentation of your work and effective and appropriate communication of your ideas. Whatever your aspiration, whether it is increasing the range and impact of your networks nationally and internationally, moving on to further related study, or work in the arts, you will benefit from this course. Our MA Fine Art introduces professional practice in your chosen discipline and offers support of your aspirations.

This course is extremely flexible and its structure means you can earn while you learn and at the same time advance your career prospects. People studying this MA will be better placed to gain higher level teaching posts in the field of art, or move into creative sectors of employment.

About provider

Open College of the Arts

We are the Open College of the Arts. An open access, distance learning provider of higher education courses based in Barnsley, UK. We were created by Michael Young in 1987, one of the founders of the Open University, to offer...

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Open College of the Arts

The Michael Young Arts Centre
Room 201, DMC 02, County Way
S70 2JW Barnsley

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