Frequently Asked Questions
Is an MA the right choice for me? How can I fit it around my other commitments? What do I need in order to apply? See the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about postgraduate study.
We understand that before embarking on your postgraduate study journey, you may have a few questions about whether an MA is the right choice for you, how your MA will fit around your life commitments, and how our postgraduate programmes are structured and delivered. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Our Postgraduate students celebrate with friends and family at the opening of our annual MA Show.
A Masters degree is a postgraduate university degree, usually studied after an undergraduate Bachelor's degree (although you don’t have to have an undergraduate degree - sometimes if you have professional or industry experience that is relevant to your subject, you could still qualify to study for an MA). The most common types of Masters are the MA (Master of Arts) and the MSc (Master of Science).
A Masters is one type of postgraduate degree (more advanced courses, usually studied by people who already have undergraduate qualifications). Some other types of courses, such as Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas, aren't full Masters degrees.
A UK Masters degree is worth 180 credits.
Doing a Masters at Arts University Plymouth means that you pursue your own interest and project independently. Whilst you would have been set briefs for each module on BA level, at MA level you set your own brief. Each module supports this self-directed project, and all staff and resources are on hand to guide you through. We expect you to have a foundational level of knowledge and skill in your subject area that allows you to pursue your discipline at a deeper level.
Once you have made an application to our MA programme, whether that is before or after the initial July deadline, your application will assessed and responded to personally by a senior MA academic staff member as quickly as possible to ensure you are supported in choosing the right course and have what you need to consider how you will plan and fund your postgraduate studies.
You may receive a call from our Admissions team or academic staff offering an advisory session to progress your application. If you want to discuss your application at any point, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01752 203434.
To have the best chance of securing an offer of study with us, we encourage you to apply by the 15th of July. After this date we will still be accepting applications but only if there are places still available on the MA Program.
MA Show 2022: Matters Arising
We will ask you to present a portfolio and a written application statement as part of your application.
MA applicants normally hold a 2:1 or above in a related undergraduate discipline - however, we also accept applications based on equivalent professional knowledge and/or industry experience, so you don’t need to have an undergraduate degree to be accepted onto a postgraduate course.
MFA applicants normally hold a recent MA or 180 Level 7 credits in an art, design, crafts or media discipline, or have equivalent industry or professional experience. Find out more about our MFA.
Get in touch with us to arrange a chat with one of our MA tutors. We’ll be able to give you guidance depending on what your proposed project and interests are; we might suggest attending one of our short courses or our dedicated progression course Making Change; shaping work you already have into a portfolio, or we might be able to accept you without a portfolio. We consider everyone as an individual - that’s why we want to meet you.
We truly value applications from people who are returning to creative study, so whether it’s been two years or twenty, you’ll have gained valuable experience that will lend new perspectives to your work, or may have changed your creative pathway entirely.
While the step from undergraduate to postgraduate study is a significant one, it might not be as sizeable as you’d think. Masters degrees build on existing skills and knowledge, introducing more advanced concepts and placing a greater emphasis on independent learning. Our advice would be not to let yourself feel intimidated by the prospect of a Masters, instead see it as a welcome opportunity to challenge yourself.
We all know that life experience counts for a lot, and you might want to spend some time working on your practice (or simply working) after you finish your BA, it’s entirely up to you.
Yes, we offer informal one to one sessions where you can chat to our experienced academic staff about the courses we offer and what is right for you, whatever your situation. We actively encourage you to book one of these chats, because even if you’re not quite sure about which course you want to do, this is your first opportunity to start to develop a professional relationship with our staff. We’ll contact you to organise this after you’ve made your first enquiry, or you can email us at email@example.com to make an appointment.
We welcome applicants who want to continue paid employment alongside studying at postgraduate level, and we offer full-time and part-time study options. Our MA programmes combine self-directed study with taught delivery. A full-time student would need to commit at least four days per week to their MA study, whilst a part-time student should commit at least two days per week to study, so you will need to consider whether your work commitments will allow you enough time to study.
MA Creative Education graduate Florence Newsome said,
“I studied a part time MA at Arts University Plymouth, which meant I had to be on campus on a Thursday for study time. The rest of the week I was able to commit to my part-time job and found that if work commitments came up at short notice, the university was very helpful and flexible with this.”
The course fees for students vary depending on whether you are a UK resident or an EU/International resident. Part-time study is available on most of our postgraduate courses, so fees will reflect whether or not you are studying full or part-time. Look at MA fees on our dedicated page.
Yes, you can get funding for postgraduate study through loans, studentships, bursaries and grants - you might also get help from your employer.
If you’re starting a master’s degree, you could get a Postgraduate Master’s Loan to help with course fees and living costs. You can get up to £11,222 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020.
Yes, we have a careers department who offer guidance and connections into industry. Alongside we offer MA students a range of opportunities to engage with commissions, exhibitions, funding calls, conferences, and events - regionally, nationally and internationally.
We would really encourage you to think about what it might be that you would like to focus on as part of your MA studies at Arts University Plymouth. However, the idea can still be quite broad, or there might be multiple! We will also accept that the project or question will change as you study with us. The proposal as part of your application is just a starting point.
Visit us during one of our Open Days or online PG Open Days. You will be able to see the facilities and talk to staff to get a good sense for each of our subject areas. You can also request to talk to one of our academic staff members before you apply. Based on what you want to get out of studying and MA, they will be able to give you some guidance.
Specialist technicians are available in all areas of study, with many of them working as practising artists in their field of expertise - from ceramicists to filmmakers, jewellers to photographers. You can book inductions for any of the workshops and equipment on campus no matter what you study - from our dedicated Fab Lab to our Glass Workshops.
You can expect to receive 1 full day of teaching every week (apart from breaks around Christmas, Easter and summer). During these days, you will have subject specific talks and seminars. We also host regular crit sessions that all MA students can benefit from attending. In addition, you are able to book 30-minute tutorials with your MA Subject Tutor or other Postgraduate staff across the year. And we invite renowned artists and academics as visiting lecturers who will do a talk and/or a workshop for our students.
Being part of our close-knit postgraduate community means that you’ll get to know your lecturers and fellow students on a first name basis, really quickly. Staff is able to assist you with the transition into postgraduate study – helping you get to grips with studying and learning more independently.
Full-time students are allocated a permanent studio space/desk to work. Part-time students will have use of a non-permanent ‘hot desk’ space in an appropriate area (a studio or seminar space) to work while they are on campus. We do have space to store tools and equipment when you are not on campus. Arts University Plymouth also has bookable library spaces, or communal areas like the Refectory which offer options for solo or group learning.
Materials are provided in taught technical workshop sessions, but not for individual student research. In many of our LABs you will find a supplies shop where you can purchase what you need directly from our technicians team. There are also a range of suppliers in Plymouth, from specialist arts and crafts shop The Art Side - just a few minutes walk away from our Tavistock Place building - to Plymouth Scrapstore and Hobbycraft.
At Arts University Plymouth, we understand that postgraduate students are instinctive activists and collaborators, keen to explore and progress their creative practice through research, inquiry into social and commercial contexts.
During the course of your studies, you will also have access to university-wide resources which include workshops, project spaces, and our library whether you are a full-time or part-time student.
Alongside specific skills taught and supported within your programme, university resources are open access for all students. We encourage mobility across subject areas and the development of interdisciplinary practice.
As a Full Time student we expect you to spend 4-5 days a week on your studies. For Part Time this would be around 2 days a week.
Workshops and LABs throughout the university not only support timetabled curriculum delivery but also provide access to students at all levels throughout the week (subject to availability) who want to further develop their skills.
These activities are designed to enhance your curriculum but will not be explicitly connected to academic and assessed learning.
Although our Masters are practice-based, each submission also has a written component. Most programmes have 3 submission points, during which you hand in both a body of work and a written critical reflection on your artwork. The written component is around 2000 words long.