Master of Arts

Thinking of pursuing a career as a designer or artist? If you’re creative and possess a wide imagination, a Masters of Arts is probably a great next step after completing your undergraduate studies. But before you make a final decision, it’s important to know the in’s and out’s of what you’re getting into.

Studying the Arts

A Masters of Arts is distinguished from a Masters of Fine Arts in that around half of your coursework will focus on the visual arts, while the other half will cover the liberal arts. This lets you push the boundaries of your own creative expression, helping you hone your expertise in a number of areas including fine art, animation and graphics, literature and history. The course lasts for one year or thirty credits, and is offered at a wide range of top universities throughout the UK.

A Masters of Arts isn’t just for budding artists and designers, though. Students who wish to know more about the academic side of art are also encouraged to take the course, as is anyone who simply wants to hone their skill in a specialised area.

At the end of the course you will have an extensive portfolio that showcases your variety of skills.

Topics Covered

The exact topics covered in the program will depend on the institution itself. Courses focus on different disciplines in art, and these can range from painting to sculpture.

In general, there are few modules but they might include numerous methods of assessment. For example, a degree program might comprise of just two modules - creative practice and strategies for practice - but for each one you might have to write an essay, complete an assignment, draft a proposal and maybe even give a presentation.

The courses are, however, mostly practical and group oriented. As well as working on your individual assignments, there will be workshops to attend to, as well as seminars and meetings. You’ll also be able to take advantage of a university’s editing and photography facilities.

You will be required to write a thesis towards the end of the year, but while some programs ask for just a written thesis, others combine it with studio practice. This thesis can be as few as 15,000 words in length, or it can be as many as 80,000.

Entry Requirements

To be successfully admitted onto a course, you will generally be expected to have at least a second class honours bachelors degree in a related field. If you do not, there is still a chance that your application will be successful. Your application may need to be supported by a reference, and this can either be professional or academic.

Some postgraduate degrees in Art may also require students to attend an entrance interview. To help you understand postgraduate interviews we have put together an article for the top 10 questions that are likely to pop up and the best ways that you can answer them: Top 10 Postgraduate Interview Questions.

Career Prospects

Art isn’t a vocational subject in the sense that it doesn’t lead you to a specific career, but you will find plenty of options open to you upon graduation. The skills you learn will not only help to develop your artistic practice, but they will also stand you in good stead for a career in various fields, from teaching to researching.

Typical art careers include:

  • Practising artist
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Animator
  • Arts administrator
  • Graphic designer
  • Printmaker
  • Teacher
  • University lecturer

If at the end of the degree you find that you no longer wish to pursue a career in art, you will have other choices. A Masters of Arts is highly valued by a number of employers from various sectors, such as marketing, media and public relations.