Our MA Fine Art programme is a two-year part-time course.

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.

Distance Learning MA Fine Art

The Fine Art Master’s 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.

Think our UK distance learning MA Fine Art programme might be right for you? Find out more about the course below…

Kirsty Lamont

How is the course delivered?

As a distance education MA Fine Art course, delivery is primarily provided 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 UK MA Fine Art distance learning 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.

Elena Anastasiou

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 fine art master’s 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.

Duncan Mosely

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available units – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which OCA might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 14 December 2022.

Course Content

There are a total of 180 HE credits in this degree which are split into three 60 credit units covering essential elements including the following aims:
  • This unit supports students to develop independent study skills and to examine a range of independent research methods appropriate to their practice. Working in their chosen medium and area of interest, students interrogate their practices through a series of practical approaches within a carefully constructed critical framework that identifies relevant theoretical positions and enables students to develop personal research methodologies.

  • This unit is predominantly practice based. Students build upon methods, processes and learning initiated in Research and Practice, moving towards more independent study. Contextual Perspectives invites students to test ideas, developing propositions for reasoned enquiry based on methodologies developed in Unit 1.1, framing studio production with a critically defined set of conceptual and theoretical concerns. Students study the breadth of contemporary fine art practice including, but not limited to, writing as making, socially engaged practice, public art and time based work

  • To complete the programme, students produce a substantial body of practical work and accompanying contextual material for public presentation. A programme of critiques, seminars, tutorials and lectures support the students technical, conceptual, methodological and theoretical development over an extended period of study. The unit material will support critical awareness to enable students to arrive at a discerned and ambitious conclusion. Students leave the programme with a breadth of intellectual, practical and transferable skills, prepared to continue their practice for personal development and/or professional practice.

Programme Specification 2022/23

Review Programme Specification Here

Programme Specification 2023/24

Review Programme Specification Here

MA Fine Art Accessibility Statements

Review Accessibility Statements here

Caroline Wright - Programme Leader for MA Fine Art

“My practice encompasses site responsive visual and performance work using media as diverse as glass and gold. I have made work for cities and rural spaces, community spaces, galleries, theatres, churches, on desolate uninhabited islands and for audiences in the 100s and of ones…”

Image of Caroline Wright
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 subject 40
    Degree in the visual arts 50
    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 Art 30
    Higher National Certificate or equivalent in Art 20
    A-Level Art or equivalent 10
    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Each 60 credit course unit is studied over approximately 28 weeks, and requires 21 study hours per week.

    Prepare to set aside around 2 hours each week for a scheduled group tutorial.

  • OCA courses are studied and paid for on a unit by unit basis with fees being reviewed annually. You will study three 60 credit units, equating to 180 credits required to complete a Masters.

    For the academic year 2023/2024, a single 60 credit unit costs £2,970 for UK based students, and £3,960 for international students, meaning the course overall will be roughly £8,910 for UK students, and £11,880 for international students. Payments are made at three points across the two years.

    You can pay for a course unit fee upfront or break down the payment through a deposit and instalment option.

    You can apply through Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and Scotland. Please check the relevant government website to check your eligibility.

  • The next cohort is October 2023. The deadline to apply is 31st July 2023.

  • These regulations are applicable to all taught courses leading to an undergraduate or postgraduate award of the University or Higher Education credit allocated at levels 3 – 7 of the National Qualifications Framework. Any exemptions from these regulations must be exceptional and must be approved by the
    Academic Board.

    To review the Academic Framework, click the link below:

    Academic Framework

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