Photography MA/PGDip/PGCert

Photography MA/PGDip/PGCert

School of Art, Design and Fashion


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    Full-time: one year or Part-time: over 2 or 3 years.

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Campus, Full-time and Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:


  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The MA Photography programme offers an in-depth, creative and socially engaged postgraduate level education in the practices of contemporary photography. You will develop an appreciation of photography as a tool for personal expression, cultural storytelling and political activism. Under the guidance of professional staff you will experience extensive practical workshops and critical seminars in world-class facilities. In addition, you will learn an array of other complimentary skills such as sound, filmmaking and ethnographic fieldwork and be offered chances to work with professional partners here and abroad. The course aims to help you become a flexible multi-skilled, lateral thinker with a critical and vocational awareness of how photography works for a range of destinations and web-based platforms.

View PhotoUCLan: a blog produced by all photography students. 


Entry Requirements

Entry by application form and interview. Normally 2:1 in photography related BA(Hons) degree from UK or equivalent (non-UK) qualification and above. Consideration given to alternative BA (equivalent) qualifications to applicants with creative industries' work experience. Non-standard qualifications, relevant work or life experience will be equally considered. We consider applications for prior learning (cert or experiential) which fulfils some of the learning outcomes of a course for admission with credit to an appropriate point on that course. Students can apply either before or after they commence the course. Applicants must have a min level of proficiency equal to IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Programme at a Glance

180 credits as follows:

60 credits as follows:

  • Research Project (20 credits)  OR
  • Final Project (40 credits)

and select a further 120 credits from the following:

  • New Media Practices (20 credits)
  • Visualising the Invisible (20 credits)
  • Independent Practice (20 credits)
  • Space, Location and Territory (40 credits)
  • Socially Engaged Art (40 credits)

Practice is at the core of the programme. Experimentation, evaluation and the resolution of ideas and skills together are central to the course. By the end of it you should be able to produce challenging cutting edge contemporary work that uses the medium effectively and be able to identify professional outputs for your own type of practice.

The course places itself amidst the current changes in practice where individuals are required to explore beyond medium specific boundaries in order to produce innovative solutions to new arenas and methods of display and delivery. As staff we will encourage you to embrace this new scenario as an arena of creative possibility, one where you can represent and communicate your ideas through a complex interaction of media to wider or more target audience groups.

Further Information

This course sits within the School of Journalism and Media’s postgraduate provision. It has key links with the MA Visual Journalism and the MA Media Innovation offering you a wide arena of approaches and practitioners to consult on professional and personal projects.

The course is delivered through a variety of methods both that are dependent on the required learning that will find you learning not only in a classroom but out in the field. Critically based lectures and seminars will give you a sound grounding in the current thinking about photography and how this impacts on the work of contemporary practitioners working in a politically and socially complex world. Intensive workshop sessions will enable you to attain the relevant skills and to undertake visual problem solving. Developing your understanding of industry expectations, skill levels and professional behaviour will further underpin the much of the course. Opportunities to take part in professional projects, to undertake placements or to work on client-based briefs will also help you to acquire relevant professional skills and experiences.

Academic Expertise

The Photography team is made up of staff with a wide spectrum of experiences of the photographic industry such as Photojournalism, Documentary, Editorial, Fine Art, Critical Theory and the History of Photography. Here is a brief overview of their profiles.

Brian J Morrison is a visual artist and the MA Photography course leader. His recent work has been exhibited in both the UK and Europe. Working across sculpture, painting, performance, installation and photography his practice encompasses a wide range of visual research and critical theory. He has been engaged with a long-term research project that uses the core principles of feminist theory to disseminating contemporary definitions of masculinity. Solo exhibitions include, Ripped Chiselled and Rock Hard (Warsaw Photography Festival, Poland). Phallacy (Standpoint Gallery London).

John Aitken has worked in the Photography Area at UCLan since 1999. His background is in freelance and in exhibition based work. Since 2001 he has centred his practice primarily in urban-based photography. Currently he is working on long-term projects in the former Eastern Europe centring on utopian expressions of urbanism and in Salford, Greater Manchester, examining the effects of gentrification on local communities and public space. He works collaboratively with his partner Jane Brake (MMU). Their work is included in the book The Politics of Space and Place (Cambridge Scholars 2012).

David Dennison has worked as a photography lecturer at UCLAN since 2010; before then he was programme leader for the photography degrees at another institution in the region. His research interests are divided between Photography and Pedagogy – his photographic work focuses on the natural world and the environment, and his interests in pedagogy include the transition issues encountered by first year HE students and the means by which we support students with disabilities. He is an active member of the university’s Pedagogic Research Forum and has contributed to a number of seminars, workshops and publications.

Gary Bratchford’s research interests include visual activism and creative nonviolent resistance, the visual culture of contested spaces and the intersection between visually orientated practices and the sociological sphere. He has published his research in a number of peer-reviewed journals, organized conferences nationally and internationally on a number of themes as well as presenting work nationally and internationally. Aside from his immediate responsibilities at UCLan he holds a number of board and editorial positions as noted below.

Daniel Tierney focuses on the crossover between artistic and documentary practice, examining their interaction through realism and staged reconstruction. His recent exhibition Art. Work explored the mediating role played by the work of art, elaborating on the interplay between existence and form and problematising the relationship between image and narrative, subject and object, artist and beholder. Using a range of tools including narrative stimulus, re-enactment and staged still life, the project sought to examine the immanent components of both art and the 'the work' of art. These same themes have influenced Daniel's commercial fashion portfolio, which seeks to question the assumptions of realism, fantasy and narrative.

Further Photography resources

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Full-time: £6,900 per year (UK/EU)
Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme

If you're thinking of studying a master's or doctoral degree you could be eligible for a loan from the Government to help you study.

For additional help with financing your studies, UCLan offers a range of Postgraduate scholarships, studentships, bursaries and the Alumni loyalty discount.

View further information

Industry Links

We have links with the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Guardian Newspaper, Northern Rail, Lancashire Archives and the Mass Observation Project.

cJAM: Media

Final year undergraduate and postgraduate media students have the opportunity to get involved in our annual cJAM employability event. cJAM shakes-up the traditional career fair format and gives UCLan students face-to-face time with up to 30 successful industry professionals all of whom have come to the event with the offer of valuable work placement opportunities. The cJAM event format consists of four main components:

  • Students hear from keynote industry speakers who share their personal career journey and how they got to where they are now.
  • The industry Q&A session allows students to ask questions to gain further advice and insight.
  • Informal networking opportunities during the breaks and lunch.
  • The key element of cJAM is the giant speed pitching session. The students have eight minutes one-to-one time to pitch to selected industry guests to try and win a placement. Students can choose to pitch an idea, their reasons for wanting a placement with that particular company or to showcase their enthusiasm, skills and talent. Immediately following the pitching session, placements are decided on and the event closes with all the winning students being presented with their placement awards.

Learning Environment and Assessment

The course makes use of UCLan's outstanding new facilities available at the Media Factory. We now have industry standard digital cameras suitable for field work and studio work and a digital photography IT suite with large format scanners, exhibition quality digital printing facilities and a suite of Apple Macs with the latest software packages. We have three photography studios which are equipped to a standard that makes them comparable with any modern professional studio. In addition to this we have excellent darkroom facilities with colour and black and white enlargers for 35mm, Medium Format and Large format. Most of the teaching will take place at UCLan but there will also be field based teaching with visits to leading industry organisations.

Your work will be assessed in a number of ways: practical work, field work, presentations, essays, workbooks and a dissertation.