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Fine Art MA

Learn about the course below
January 2021
1 year full-time
Usually 2 years part-time
£8,500 (UK/EU) *
£14,000 (INT) *
Course leader
Tansy Spinks

We’re planning to teach through a flexible combination of online and face to face learning for the first few months of the new academic year. If you’re thinking about starting with us in autumn 2020 or spring 2021, check back for more detail on arrangements for this course in July and August, and see our current plans for teaching and learning.

This course will now start in January 2021 as we've changed some of our teaching arrangements in response to the coronavirus outbreak. You'll get the same great learning experience with lots of support to do your best with this later start date.

This course is no longer accepting applications for 2020 entry. The next entry is January 2021

The MA Fine Art at Middlesex offers artists time and resources to explore and develop their artistic practice within a flexible research-led course featuring some of the best art facilities in London and expert guidance from a range of leading artists, academics and curators attached to the course.

Why study MA Fine Art at Middlesex University?

On our MA Fine Art you will explore the creative, cultural, political and social questions of art practice. The course offers the opportunity to further your knowledge and skills by undertaking a systematic and comprehensive major body of work. The course welcomes students who work across a range of disciplines that include painting, sculpture, photography and film, printmaking, installation, sound, performance, 'event' making and other relational practices.

At Middlesex we take both a highly practical and a critical approach to fine art that ensures you spend the majority of your postgraduate study researching and making. This combination of in-depth analysis and hands-on experience will enable you to draw on a wide range of expertise and resources while questioning and developing your practice in a contemporary context to stimulate a successful career.

Our course features state-of-the-art facilities with dedicated studio space in our £80 million art and design building to ensure we cater for a diverse range of interests and ambitions. Studying fine art in London puts you at the heart of the ever-shifting nature of international contemporary fine art practice. You'll have the opportunity to make regular visits to Tate Modern and Tate Britain, further world class museums and exhibitions, the vibrant, contemporary gallery scene and to attend such international showcases as Frieze.

Course highlights

  • A dedicated teaching team of leading practicing artists, curators and practitioners who have substantial national and international experience in practice, teaching and research
  • Studying Fine Art in London you will be at the heart of the ever-shifting nature of international contemporary fine art practice, with direct access to London's art world.
  • You will have dedicated studio space (including if you are studying part-time) available to you even during the weekends.
  • Exhibition opportunities at ArtLacuna or residencies at Blyth Gallery, Imperial College and Gasworks, to create networking opportunities to a range of galleries, high-profile artists, libraries and collections, build industry links and to allow you to explore how artist-run organisations operate.
  • Access to world-leading research and expertise through the Art & Design Research Institute (ADRI) and other research initiatives and clusters on campus.
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module.

Find out more

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What will you study on the MA Fine Art?

Taught by some of the UK's leading artists, curators and practitioners in fine art, this course is divided into five modules taken over forty-five weeks, (if studied full time), and divided into three semesters. Each module is designed to be flexible, allowing you to extend the boundaries of your current artistic practice through experimentation, research, and critical analysis.

You will study practical and theoretical approaches to fine art, completing your own creative projects based on your research.

What will you gain?

You will gain the ability to conceptualise, plan and create your own work in various mediums. The course will develop your contextual understanding of fine art, both historical and contemporary. You will gain in confidence and insight into your own and others' practice while extending your range of skills and ambitions. You will also gain the knowledge and networking experience to forge your own path into industry.

  • Modules

    • Developing Practice – Term 1 (30 credits)

      In this module you will explore a chosen area of fine art in a contemporary context while enhancing your practical and technical skills. You'll be able to 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. Stimulating weekly talks on ideas and practices in contemporary debates are given by eminent members of staff and visiting practitioners. One-to-one tutorials are combined with seminars and critical discussions to encourage confidence in making and speaking about what you do.

    • Critical Debates – Term 1 (30 credits)

      In this module you'll explore the key concepts, ideas, issues and research methodologies relating to the practice and theory of fine art. With particular focus on the cultural and social contexts within your chosen discipline, you'll produce a portfolio of critical responses to contemporary debates in research and professional practice. These sessions are led by eminent thinkers, practitioners and published writers on the staff team.

    • Studio and Exhibition – Term 2 (30 credits)

      In this module you'll explore different strategies for curating an exhibition, whether as part of a group showcase or at an individually chosen location, with a critical report on how the exhibition was executed and received. Crucially, the findings and learnings from this module will inform your final Major Project in Term 3.

    • Advanced Research – Term 2 (30 credits)

      In this module you will examine a diverse range of advanced approaches to fine art research using both historical and contemporary sources. You will explore the work of practitioners and scholars in your chosen area of fine art and the contemporary research problems they encounter.

    • Major Project – Term 3 (60 credits)

      Using research methodologies, concepts and processes previously explored in the course you will be guided in evaluating relationships between theory and practice. You will produce a portfolio or public exhibition of a substantial body of practice supported by critical and reflective written work that demonstrate your credentials as an artist.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are not offered on every course. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

How is the MA Fine Art taught?

This course is flexibly designed to put you at the centre of your learning by using a range of teaching and assessment approaches that take into account your individual interests, abilities and ambitions in fine art.

As part of your learning, you'll be required to actively participate in activities and engage with your fellow students, both individually and collaboratively, working and learning as part of a small group at times. You will attend lectures, seminars, reading groups and practical workshops. Full-time students attend up to five days a week; part-time students attend the 'core days' of Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lectures facilitate discussion on key material or approaches, explore questions, concepts and theories, or introduce case study materials. Seminars are small, student-led sessions in which you explore ideas in discussion, carry out practical tasks and practice your research skills. Tutorials are structured sessions in which you will receive feedback from tutors on work in progress or ideas for specific assignments.


Studio modules are assessed by viva voce (oral presentations) and exhibited work. Theory and research modules are assessed by essays or presentations. The final module has an exhibition with a viva voce examination.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs
  4. Scholarships and bursaries

How will the MA Fine Art support your career?

This course will prepare you for a diverse range of careers within the art and creative industries, both in the UK and internationally. Our MA Fine Art graduates are recognised worldwide for their exceptional skills and achievements with many going on to exhibit, participate in residency programmes, practise as artists in the community, and pursue careers as teachers and curators or progress into further study.

MA Fine Art students have a more mature outlook on how their practice is located, developed and received, allowing them to have confidence in exhibiting widely and perhaps preparing for a research degree (PhD).

Some of our most successful fine art alumni include:

  • Hayley Newman
  • Siobhán Hapaska
  • Bethan Huws
  • Alison Goldfrapp

The studios and workshops at our £80 million purpose-built Art and Design facilities on campus in North London are recognised as among the best in the country. With a wide range of digital media, equipment, software, print-making and library facilities on-site you’ll benefit from unique levels of access to both the latest forms of technology and traditional tools, with expert support to develop your work.

These facilities include:

  • Studio working space
  • Superb printmaking facilities including lithography, relief printing, mono-print and silk screen
  • Large format Epson printers
  • Bookbinding instruction and equipment
  • Extensive library and special collections
  • Weekly life drawing open access classes.

Dr Tansy Spinks
MA Fine Art, Programme Leader

Dr Tansy Spinks is an artist involved in creating sound works, using improvisation with non-conventional sound making devices. She has a PhD (LCC, UAL), MA in Photography (RCA) BA Fine Art (Leeds Polytechnic) and LGSM (violin). Her practice-based PhD explored live, site specific, associative sound performance, with supervisor David Toop. Her photographic work is in The Museum of Fine Art, Houston and the National Media Museum, Bradford, now at the V&A. She has exhibited nationally and internationally. She has taught and been an External Examiner at many Art Schools nationally and is currently Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, running the MA Fine Art at Middlesex University.

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Code: PGW613

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