ma fine art distance learning

Last Updated on August 28, 2023

Open College of the Arts

Our MA Fine Art programme is a two-year part-time course. Our next intake is February 2022!

Through online delivery the course is accessible to anyone who, because of work, caring or family commitments, would not otherwise be able to consider studying at a higher degree level.

MA Fine Art

The MA Fine Art programme offers students the opportunity to work in a medium of their choice; past students have worked in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, writing, printmaking, installation, performance, curation, time-based work and digital art. The emphasis of the programme is on studio practice, with theory, context and professional practice integrated throughout.

It’s ideal for creative practitioners who are looking to develop their skills further, tutors who want to develop their own artistic practice or undergraduates who are looking to progress to postgraduate study outside the conventional bricks and mortar higher education system.

The course welcomes applications from students from a wide range of visual arts backgrounds who wish to extend and redefine the theoretical and practical base of their understanding of fine art at an advanced level.

As you progress through the course you will be able to share experiences and learning through group and individual work. The curriculum builds from a more structured programme towards autonomous study, with an emphasis on enquiry, critical reflection and exploration, and offers graduates the opportunity to scrutinize and advance their fine art existing practice, working towards their career aspirations through an innovative and exciting programme with art production at its core.

How is the course delivered?

The course is delivered primarily by e-learning technologies, incorporating online seminars and peer group discussion. Independent research and studio practice is a significant element of the course.

Through varied teaching approaches, such as lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques as well as one-to-one tutorial support, you’ll benefit from the expertise of core course tutors. These professionals have an outstanding range of expertise and are practicing designers in the field in addition to being experienced educators.

The course includes:

  • One to one tuition via video conferencing
  • Online seminars
  • Group work such as critiques or studio sessions
  • Access to the world class Bridgeman Education Art Library and digital resources from the University for the Creative Arts
  • Online Group Orientation
  • Study resources and other relevant materials

Consideration has been given to the participation of overseas students within the MA programme. We recognise that they may be in a different time zone and online participation within the UK’s time zone may be a challenge. Sessions are carefully scheduled bearing in mind the location of overseas participants, however some session may be outside the working day for some students. In addition, OCA schedules one to one sessions across time zones and some sessions are optionally asynchronous.

Course Philosophy and Progression

The course encompasses a broad philosophy in Fine Art, predicated on materials, making and the communication of ideas through visual language. Working flexibility from skills-based work through to conceptual practice, the course engages with and interrogates contemporary art as students engage with the world through, for example, political, ideological, social, historical or environmental contexts, driven by their chosen direction.

Many students have established careers, see their studies as a change in direction, and for an increasing number of younger students, as a first step into a creative career. Progression routes are individual as well as collective, and you will be supported to develop your increasingly sophisticated practice towards public presentation of your work and effective and appropriate communication of your ideas. Whatever your aspiration, whether it is increasing the range and impact of your networks nationally and internationally, moving on to further related study, or work in the arts, you will benefit from this course. Our MA Fine Art introduces professional practice in your chosen discipline and offers support of your aspirations.

This course is extremely flexible and its structure means you can earn while you learn and at the same time advance your career prospects. People studying this MA will be better placed to gain higher level teaching posts in the field of art, or move into creative sectors of employment.

Application Process

All applicants to the MA Fine Art will be required to complete the OCA Master’s application form and submit a written statement with a recent portfolio of artwork to be considered for the course.

The statement should be between 500 – 1000 words and reason why you wish to study an MA with OCA and what are your aspirations for the course. Refer to your portfolio work and let us know about you as an artist. Your portfolio should include 8 – 10 images of work from last two years, and we advise focusing on the work you would like to develop on the course. It would be useful to include development work to show your methods of working.

Within the application form, you need to claim a minimum of 50 points of the entry criteria for your statement and portfolio to be reviewed. When claiming criteria points, you must provide supporting evidence e.g. if you have a degree in Fine Art, include a digital copy of that certificate with your submission.

Criteria Points

Degree in any subject40
Degree in the visual arts50
Evidenced experience of working in any relevant creative industry or context. For example, as a practising Fine Artist.50
Higher National Diploma/Foundation degree or equivalent in Art30
Higher National Certificate or equivalent in Art20
A-Level Art or equivalent10
Other experience or learning, whether certified or not, will be considered on an individual basis

Equivalency to the qualifications stated include international qualifications, provided these are accompanied by a UK NARIC equivalency certificate and/or un-certificated training or work experience to an equivalent level. In all cases acceptance is at the discretion of Open College of the Arts.

IT Requirements

This programme is conducted centrally online. It is therefore essential that you are adept at communicating and using online tools and have a desktop computer or laptop with internet access that you are able to use regularly, and that you are able to easily manage a range of basic functions through ICT.

If accepted to the course, an IT survey must be taken to ensure sufficient skills, knowledge and internet / online capabilities as well as establishing a sufficient broadband speed.

English Language Requirements

For applicants where English is not their first language, they will be required to provide evidence of English Language proficiency equivalent to B2 CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference).

You can evidence you meet this requirement through one of the following documents:

  • A Secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider, taken two years or less before the date of enrolment to the course. IELTS for UKVI or IELTS Academic may be accepted as meeting these requirements, provided the student has achieved a minimum score of 5.5 in each of the four elements of language learning.
  • Have successfully completed an academic course (not professional or vocational) at Bachelors degree level or above from an educational institution in the UK or in a majority English speaking country as listed below.
  • A passport provided as evidence of nationality of a majority English speaking country as listed above.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) iBT taken two years or less before the date of enrolment to the course, with minimum scores in each of the four elements of language learning as follows: reading 18, listening 17, speaking 20 and writing 17.
  • Cambridge English B2 First qualification with scale range 160-179 taken in the last two years as of the date of enrolment to the course.

The above list is not exhaustive and other evidence can be accepted providing it is clear the evidence equates to Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. In all cases acceptance is at the discretion of Open College of the Arts.

If you do not have any of the above documents, then you may be interested in taking an online test through Duolingo. You would need an overall score of 90 or above to meet Level B2 of the CEFR, and a minimum score of 85 in each category (providing your overall score is still above 90).

A nationality of a majority English speaking country includes: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Great Britain, Grenada, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

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