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Arts University Plymouth: MA by Research

Institution Arts University Plymouth View institution profile
Department Arts, Design and Media
Study type Taught


MA by Research* is an exciting opportunity for you to study at Masters level in the dynamic and transdisciplinary arts environment of the college, whilst following an area of your own creative interest under the supervision of specialist academic staff.

MA by Research runs for two years (part-time) and enables students to explore aspects of knowledge at the forefront of an academic or professional discipline, with research areas negotiated with you on application. Your final submission will be by written thesis and is differentiated from our other practice-led MA courses, with a stronger focus on written outcomes.

Students are expected to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge during the course, to gain an understanding of how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research and to deal with complex issues systematically and creatively.

You will be autonomous and specialist in your approach to your studies, with an emphasis on collaboration and invention through the sharing of expertise and ideas that echo present and emerging research areas.

The MA by Research course fosters meaningful research and/or knowledge transfer partnerships, industry-based projects and collaborations to increase the impact and reach of students’ research profile.

Existing and emerging research partnerships include: Tate Exchange Research Centre (through the college’s status as founding Associate member), Making Futures, Making Learning, Freelands Foundation, Counterpoints Arts, Anglia Ruskin University, Land2 research network, Black Mirror research network and The Box.

Here you will be equipped to take up positions in a wide range of sectors requiring research and presentation skills, team working, the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; and decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations and will acquire the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

Core specialisms include: all academic areas currently offered through the Schools of Art + Media; Design + Communication; and Cultural + Critical Studies.

MA students benefit directly from Plymouth College of Art’s emerging research culture. Postgraduate Centre staff are all practising artists, designers and academics: active makers in their fields of expertise.

Staff researchers have networks with international reach, from University of Gothenburg, the Asia Society and Museum (New York), the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Whitechapel Art Gallery, the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne), Photo Kathmandu (Nepal) and Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice published by intellect books.

Research specialisms include creative education across the age continuum; entrepreneurship for creative practices; fine art, design, media and craft specialist practices; global curatorial practices; material investigation and innovation. Research-active staff at the College are aligned to research groups: Art & Social Action, Making Learning, Making Futures, and Memory, Site & Artifact, which reflect the wider institutional strategic aims.

MA (Res)

Winner of Best Small or Specialist University WhatUni Student Choice Awards, Gold – 2022, Silver – 2023.

TEF (Teaching excellence & student outcome framework) Award, Silver - 2023

Voted as the top Arts University in the UK in the National Student Survey (NSS 2022). Overall student satisfaction is 81% at Arts University Plymouth, significantly above the national average of 76%.

Founded in 1856, the institution has been granted full university status and is formally recognised as Arts University Plymouth following approval by the Privy Council, becoming the city of Plymouth’s specialist arts university. Arts University Plymouth is a specialist arts …

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