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Postgraduate study

Course overview

Our MA Photography offers the opportunity for you to develop a major body of practical work that engages with the expanded boundaries of photography and the hybridisation of the medium. It is concerned with a broad range of photographic practices and technologies, and explores debates around the politics of representation and our role as image makers.

You create content for professional and creative photo imaging exhibition with access to state-of-the-art digital production facilities and tools. You gain experience in photo imagery production, with analogue and digital systems as well as the creative production skills relevant to a range of fields such as fashion, journalism, documentary, fine art, product, natural history and commercial. Project based learning supports an iterative learning process that provides space to experiment with form and function and exhibition of work. A wide range of underpinning theories and models steer the content of creative photo imagery towards a real engagement with researched and defined audiences. You gain an understanding of commercial avenues to complement and support your creative vision. You have access to the latest technologies including our extensive motion photography resources and green screen/motion control tools. You benefit from regular industry input from internationally renowned speakers throughout the academic year as part of our visiting industry speaker programme. Building on concepts of film production this master’s programme provides you with the language to operate within a range of creative contexts.

There are three routes you can choose from to gain an MA Photography:

  • full-time - 2 years with advanced practice (September and January start)
  • full-time - 1 year (September start) or 16 months (January start)
  • part-time - up to 3 years (can be completed in 2 years if preferred).


Course details

Course structure

Core modules

Before the Shutter

You formulate a specialism and interrogate practice in that field to define your own approach to the subject, taking in best practice, essential skills, techniques and equipment and research into exemplars and industry luminaries.

You select from fashion, journalism, commercial, advertising, product, documentary, wildlife, landscape or any chosen specialism. You follow your own path through the world of commercial and artistic photography.
Through the specific lens you chose, you look at the science and art of the pathway, research your field and draw together a portfolio of work representing your specialism.
Your assessment is a research portfolio and a presentation.

Capturing the World

You develop advanced photographic skills and approaches within the field. You explore a chosen area of photography in a contemporary context while enhancing your technical skills. You employ a variety of reflective methods to develop your own creative research proposal with the advanced communication skills to present, discuss and evaluate your work effectively.

You present your work with an emphasis on research, process and production and your ability to position your work within the wider context of photography and contemporary art. You also submit a critical reflective statement and an artist’s statement, as an introduction to the body of work for audiences.

Your assessment is a written investigation and a portfolio.

Focus on the Future

Understanding the type of photographer you want to be is essential to building a professional portfolio. You research, reflect and build your professional proposition for a career behind the lens.

You look at established routes through the industry and potential opportunities arising in emerging hardware, software and platforms. You identify your route, research opportunities, develop your contact list, understand pipelines and processes and produce a professional portfolio and associated materials to begin your career.

You create a professional online portfolio of curated work aimed at a specific audience for the purposes of commercial, professional and/or artistic promotion.
Your assessment is a research file and a presentation.

Life through a Lens

You look at the way the lens has shaped our world through recent history from a socio-political standpoint. You research a particular field of photography and define and develop your own thinking on the subject.

In a time where the immediacy of capture platforms and the opportunities to do so make photography opportunities limitless, how do we select the perfect shot. What are the cultural and ethical questions and how do these change post capture?

You challenge the role and responsibility of the photographer by looking at the images that shaped our world and the questions they raised. You curate and shape your own vision and personal stance within a challenging field of ethics, cultural norms and political standpoints through images and words.

You develop your research skills to shape a contextual argument manifesting through a written essay supported by a portfolio of existing and self-shot images to reflect a chosen aspect of the field.

Your assessment is a research file and an essay or presentation.

MA Project: Photography

You carry out a self-managed creative exercise of professional photography practice and critical evaluation or undertake research in the photographic field.

There are two options for assessment:

creative project - you work through a staged process of pre-production and research, to develop an industry-standard professional exhibition and analyse its potential economic, cultural and social implications.

extended dissertation - you research an aspect of any field in photography. You integrate, synthesize and extend the skills and knowledge from your course but also develop your intellectual, technical and personal skills.

Picture This

You develop your skills and understanding of professional exhibition. You have weekly challenges to define and develop a small exhibition and seminar talk around your interpretation and definition of a brief for a specific audience.

You explore all aspects of the field, challenging your skills and approaches applied to specific subjects, limitations and themes, gaining a breadth of experience from which you define their particular practice.

You experiment with colour, light, filters, post effects and subject matter to stretch your understanding and skills in photography and the expectations of current exhibition.
Your assessment is a research file and a portfolio of work.

The Camera Never Lies

For many photographers, the real work can often begin after the shutter is pressed. You develop post production skills through darkroom to digital image manipulation in search of the perfect picture.

You challenge your perceptions of ethics within the field and ask challenging questions of the artist as to how and where post production should be used, how far is too far and where does your responsibility and truth begin and end.

You explore tools and practice alongside ethical debates in the subject to navigate a constantly evolving and challenging path through modern photography ultimately culminating in asking who you are and what you stand for.
Your assessment is a research file and a presentation.


Advanced practice (2 year full-time MA only)


The internship options are:

Vocational: spend one semester working full-time in industry or on placement in the University. We have close links with a range of national and international companies who could offer you the chance to develop your knowledge and professional skills in the workplace through an internship. Although we cannot guarantee internships, we will provide you with practical support and advice on how to find and secure your own internship position. A vocational internship is a great way to gain work experience and give your CV a competitive edge.

Research: develop your research and academic skills by undertaking a research internship within the University. Experience working as part of a research team in an academic setting. Ideal for those who are interested in a career in research or academia.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

You learn about concepts and methods primarily through keynote lectures and tutorials using case studies and examples. Lectures include presentations from guest speakers from industry. Critical reflection is key to successful problem solving and essential to the creative process. You develop your own reflective practice at an advanced level, then test and assess your solutions against criteria that you develop in the light of your research.

How you are assessed

Various assessment methods are used throughout all of the modules and are specified in the module handbooks. These are primarily what we call in-course assessments, where you submit work during the delivery of the module, rather than sit timed examinations at the end. Arts modules are generally project based and primarily assessed through appraisal of a portfolio of work, often accompanied by a verbal presentation. Creative work is largely developmental and you are assessed on the process by which you achieve your solutions as well as the result, so it is essential that you provide clear evidence of your development work.


Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements include a 2.2 or above BA (Hons) degree (or equivalent) in any subject, plus a portfolio of appropriate work produced to a good standard. Relevant experience may be considered in the absence of a first degree.

In addition, international students will require IELTS 6.0 or equivalent.

For additional information please see our entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£5,900 a year

£3,935 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

£7,500 a year with advanced practice

More details about our fees for international applicants

  • Length: within 1 year (September start), 16 months (January start) or 2 years with advanced practice (September or January start)
  • Enrolment date: September and January
  • Semester dates

Apply online (full-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students



2020/21 entry

Fee for UK/EU applicants
£655 for each 20 credits

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 3 years (can be completed in 2 years if preferred)
  • Enrolment date: September and January
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)

Apply online (fast-track) for current students

  • On video

    Study photography at Teesside University

    Photography lecturer Mark Kasumovic discussed the benefits of studying photography with media colleagues


Choose Teesside


Stand out from other job applicants with your higher level qualification, specialist knowledge and expanded networks.



Improve your project management, critical thinking, research skills, time management, presentation skills and teamwork.



The median salary for working-age (16-64) postgraduates in 2018 was £6,000 more than graduates
(DoE Graduate Labour Market Statistics 2018,



Study in our friendly town-centre campus with over £270m recently invested and another £300m over the next 10 years.


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