Applications closed for 2020/2021.

Applications for the January 2021 cohort have now closed. Please check back next year for details on the next cohort.

Study an MA in Fine Art with OCA

Our MA Fine Art programme is a unique postgraduate course delivered by distance learning.
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.

Course Overview

Our MA Fine Art programme is a two-year part-time course, beginning January 2021.

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 higher degree level.

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.

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.

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 artists in the field in addition to be experienced educators.

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.

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Course Philosophy

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.

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


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…”

Course Content

There are a total of 180 HE credits in this degree, which cover essential elements including the following aims:

Visual Enquiry

  1. Gain an understanding of a range of appropriate methods of enquiry, and the communication skills and academic language relevant to the subject field
  2. Cultivate speculative and exploratory approaches to art practice through the application of reflection, evaluation and synthesis
  3. Produce a body of work that demonstrates the integration of theoretical and practical concerns, critical awareness and an understanding of contemporary context

Testing Practice

  1. Extend an appropriate area of investigation and establish parameters for your exploratory activity
  2. Analyse the conceptual context of your practice to generate creative ideas and practices
  3. Demonstrate personal responsibility and independent thought through an integrated approach to practice and contextual issues

Resolution and Exposition

  1. Demonstration of advanced scholarship in your art practice and contextual work
  2. Demonstrate sophisticated understanding of complex concepts through written and professional studio practice presentation
  3. Demonstrate developing self-sufficiency and a clear vision and strategy to enable sustained professional practice beyond the course
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More Information

  • Tutors who support our MA in Fine Art are both practising artists and experienced HE educators. Visit our tutor page here to see profiles of the MA tutors.

  • This year, OCA will be establishing a two year teaching model for the MA Fine Art programme which will differ from the previous three year model. Details on the course structure are currently under development. To receive updates, please submit an enquiry form. The two year teaching model is expected to be ready for the 2020/2021 intake, beginning January 2021.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Prior to application, an IT survey must be taken to ensure sufficient skills, knowledge and internet / online capabilities as well as establishing a sufficient broadband speed.

    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.

    Summary of ICT competencies for students in higher education:

    Information: Browsing, researching, filtering information, evaluatinginformation, storing and retrieving information, including
    from cloud storage

    Communication: Interacting through technologies, sharing information and content, engaging in online citizenship, collaborating through digital channels, netiquette, managing digital identity

    Content Creation: Developing content, integrating and re-elaborating copyright and licences, programming

    Safety: Protecting devices, protecting personal data, protecting health, protecting the environment

    Problem Solving: Solving technical problems, identifying needs and technological responses, innovating and creating using technology, identifying digital competency gaps

  • 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).

    Please refer to the list below which advise the type of qualifications that meet the B2 CEFR entry requirement. This list is not exhaustive, and we can accept alternative evidence.

    • A secure English Language Test (SELT) from an approved provider, taken two years or less before the date of enrolment to the course, equivalent to level B2 of the Common European Framework of Languages (CEFR). 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. Integrated Skills in English II from Trinity College may be accepted if the student has achieved a pass 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.
    • Have previously studied an academic qualification at Bachelors degree level or above taught in a majority English speaking country: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States of America.
    • A passport provided as evidence of nationality of a majority English speaking country: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States of America.
    • 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.


    If you are unable to supply any of the above documents or an equivalent, you may wish to take an English test via Duolingo where you will need to achieve a score equivalent to B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

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

    The written statement will detail reasons for wishing to join the course and the portfolio of artwork will have been produced during the two years prior to application.

    Then, OCA will normally accept students onto the course who can apply and claim for 50 points, made up from any of the following:

    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.

    OCA Masters programmes run through a cohort model and require a minimum number of students to run. Students who meet the above criteria will be issued with a conditional offer which will be made unconditional once the minimum number to run the course has been reached.

  • 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.

  • The course fee for the new two year MA Fine Art course for the academic year 20/21 are (per 60 credit unit):

    UK – £2,600

    International – £3,510

    Other sources of funding may include employer contributions, Enhanced Learning Credits (for Armed Forces Serving Personnel and Service Leavers) and Prisoner Education Trust.

    As a student with OCA, most reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks, or sent to you in the post.

    Other costs you may find on your degree include purchasing materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research. These can be  around £350 at HE7. Students are also encouraged to attend exhibitions and costs may vary. Work is largely submitted to tutors and for assessment through the OCA Learn VLE or by email, however postal costs are expected to be around £40 per assessment for sending materials depending on quantity and weight of materials. Rates for overseas students will be higher and depend upon the country of origin.

General Course Enquiry

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