Typical Course Length
The Aberystwyth MA in Fine Art and Art History is a full-time, modular degree designed for students who wish to study art through a balanced programme of technical practice and study. It will suit students who wish to explore working as professional artists or art academics. You will develop your practice of art as an intellectual pursuit and a professional discipline, whilst at the same time extending your knowledge and experience in art history. This course will train you in research methodologies and stimulate vigorous intellectual inquiry in the subject while requiring of you commitment to training, practise and individual creativity.
Aberystwyth University’s Fine Art and Art History course features a number of modules which will encourage you to direct your studies into areas of art which particularly fascinate you. This course of study is designed to enable you to delve deeply into your chosen specialism, whether that focuses on specific materials, styles, time periods or locations. The School of Art at Aberystwyth provides supervision and specialist knowledge in a huge range of subjects including British art, ceramics, contemporary painting, graphic arts (including book illustration and much more), Nineteenth Century European Art, museum and gallery studies, the visual culture of Religion, Wales and Art, and Women’s Art, Crafts and Design.
Most staff of the School of Art are practising artists and art historians who have exhibited and published widely in their field. Postgraduate teaching at Aberystwyth springs from staff research interests in both Fine Art and Art History. The School has spacious painting studios, print workshops, darkrooms, art galleries, a reference room for its art collections, and a wing of the building is designated for postgraduate studios. The School also runs its own Private Press to allow students to carry through illustration projects and it also produces books, catalogues and papers by both staff and students
The Aberystwyth School of Art is committed to excellence in both studio practice and academic study, and is rapidly become one of the UK’s most popular places to study and creatively explore Art. Writing in the Guardian, journalist Miles Brignall concluded that the twice-yearly MA Art History Exhibitions at Aberystwyth are among the top four ‘pick of the shows’ UK-wide. Aberystwyth was the only institution he selected outside London.
- Key Facts
One year full-time. The academic year is divided into three semesters, but this course is administered in two parts: Part One runs from October to May; Part Two runs from June to September.
Approximately 10-14 hours a week in the first two semesters. During semester three you will arrange your level of contact time with your assigned supervisor.
The taught part of the course (Part 1) is delivered and assessed through lectures, student seminars, practical exercises and exhibitions. Successful completion of your exhibition (Part 2) leads to the award of an MA.
Good Undergraduate degree 2.2 (UK) (or above) equating to a mark of 56.5 or above in a related subject and portfolio of work. European and International applicants can find their grade equivalence on our comparability page. Those who are not graduates must satisfy the University that they are of the required academic standard to pursue postgraduate study.
English Language Requirements:
If you have a Bachelor’s degree from a UK University, you do not need to take an English proficiency test.
Non-native English speakers who do not meet this requirement must take a University-recognised test of academic English language proficiency. For further information please see our English Language requirements page
Please see the tuition fee pages for current tuition fees. Please note that all fees are subject to an annual increase.
Funding opportunities may be available, please check our funding calculator for details.
The Aberystwyth MA in Fine Art and Art History provide you with an excellent opportunity to develop your artistic skills, understanding and technical aptitudes as you strive to pursue your art. In every area of this course, technical, stylistic, and conceptual experimentation is enthusiastically encouraged and you will be encouraged to contribute to the School’s academic knowledge of art history through your own research. You will also have the opportunity to submit articles for publication to contextualize your practice and develop your engagement with critical and public opinion. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) it was found that 75% of publications were of an internationally recognised standard or higher.
One of the central strengths of this course is your personal development as an artist. You will be challenged to experiment, test hypotheses, and extend your field of action in preparation for exhibitions. You will develop a portfolio of work that is a creative and imaginative interpretation of subject matter demonstrating the acquisition and refinement of technological dexterity and stylistic sophistication. You will also benefit from gaining new insight into careers in fine art, defining concepts of the subject and the crucial importance of professional identity.
The course is a full-time programme, taught over one year, and is divided into two parts over three semesters. In part one, you will study a number of core modules, together worth a total of 120 credits, whilst directing your own study in part two where you will explore and resolve your chosen artistic problem, culminating in the second of your two public exhibitions. This study is equivalent to a Master’s dissertation project and is worth 60 credits.
The subject of this final public exhibition will be agreed in consultation with your supervisor(s) and, in tackling it, you will be encouraged to develop and sustain a self-initiated programme of work. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the study modules and exhibition, the MA in Fine Art and Art History is awarded. The descriptions relating to all the study modules can be found in the "course content" tab.
Upon graduation from the MA in Fine Art and Art History, you will have demonstrated artistic excellence, personal rigor and critical engagement with yours and others’ work, which will define you as an artist. You will be well-prepared for the realities – both creative and practical – of life as a professional artist.
Through their active involvement with the practice, history and curation of art, staff members of the School of Art seek to provide a rich learning environment for the student. Their experience as exhibiting artists, publishing art historians and practising curators actively informs the teaching.
Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.
Qualification: MA in Fine Art and Art History
This degree will suit you:
- If you wish to develop your personal, creative, productive, and imaginative artistic abilities;
- If you wish to be stimulated by vigorous intellectual inquiry into Art;
- If you aim to pursue a career in Art or serious effort to exhibit your work in public and critical arenas;
- If you wish to develop a conceptual, practical and historical framework for your art.
Every aspect of the Aberystwyth Master’s in Fine Art and Art History programme is designed to enhance your employability. Successful completion of this degree is in itself certain to do so by building your CV; but more significant is the hugely enhanced array of knowledge, abilities and skills with which you will graduate.
Your pursuit of personal development as an artist, coupled with increased critical faculties, will make you a strong candidate for any post where people and opinions meet. Likewise, the study skills, technical knowledge and hands-on experience of artistic processes will give you a tremendous advantage in employment within the Arts. Similarly, other modules will provide opportunities to gain experiences and transferrable skills. By managing the practicalities of exhibition preparation, installation, and curation, you also gain direct experience in every aspect of events and venue management. Though the conditions may be subject-specific, the skills you will learn in the process are highly marketable.
Whether your chosen career path points you towards drawing, painting or print work, or towards criticism, collecting, art journalism, your Masters Degree in Fine Art and Art History from Aberystwyth University will signal to prospective employers your commitment to personal excellence, professional rigour and technical innovation.
The course acknowledges the difficulty artists face in the transition from the requirements of a degree level course to the emerging independent direction required of professional practising artists. By playing an active, learning-based role in the operation of the School’s galleries, you will gain an insight into the work needed to sustain a busy gallery. You will stage public exhibitions in the School’s galleries and elsewhere, and part of the course’s assessment relates to your performance as a professional, exhibiting artist.
Studio work is designed to increase students’ technical possibilities, and the School is particularly well equipped in all areas of the graphic arts. The course seeks to assist the student by developing individual abilities and direction in a certain area of art practice to the highest standards possible. In addition to this subject-specific training, this MA is designed to give you a range of transferable skills that you can apply in a variety of situations. Whether this is further study, personal artistic pursuits or employment, you will be better equipped to pursue success in your chosen field.
Your work in the Contemporary Context
This course does not operate in isolation, and you will examine your own work in the wider context of contemporary practice. As mentioned above, your assessed exhibitions will give you first-hand experience of the vital but often daunting rite of holding up your work for scrutiny by your tutors, peers, critics and the public. You will also encounter and engage with the debate in cultural theory regarding the interface between art practise, art theory and the concept of visual culture. By considering its implication for the study of fine art and art history, your course of study encourages you to improve your capacity for conducting a critical review of yours and others’ work through discussion, presentation and writing.