Fine Art MA

Apply Online

Students must apply via one of the following online application forms:-

If you are applying for the part time route, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 October 2019Apply now

If you are applying for the full time route, click apply now.

Course starts: 14 October 2019Apply now

Apply now

Pursue your passion for Fine Art at an advanced level with professional support. Push the boundaries of your creativity,  academic rigour and contextual research. Define your own creative identity, tackle key issues and boost your employability.

Register your interest

Course overview

This course is built around your personal interests and aspirations. We’ll encourage you to develop your personal practice through studio-led research, critiques, analysis and questioning. Given the strong practical element we invite applicants to share their portfolios and aspirations with us at interview stage.

At Masters level, the specialisms of tutors are an important factor. Sunderland’s staff research includes painting, printmaking, studio-based drawing and collage, sculpture, collaborative practice, art in architecture, video and digital art.

Why us?

  • This course is built around your personal interests and aspirations – it allows you to push the boundaries of creativity, within a framework of academic rigour and contextual research
  • You will be allocated an individual studio space and have access to university gallery spaces
  • Get to work alongside other students from creative subjects and see how artists live, work and thrive in our ‘Creative Lives’ lecture series
  • Boost your professional skills as a Fine Art professional including exhibition planning and promotion
  • Our Creative Arts and Design courses, which include MA Fine Art, were ranked 5th for Engagement and 7th for Overall Satisfaction out of 39 institutions in the Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey 2019 (PTES)

New Sunderland Culture logo

A city brimming with creative potential

Offering a year-round programme of exhibitions, events and performances, Sunderland Culture brings big-name artists from the worlds of contemporary visual arts, glass, ceramics and performance to the city, alongside showcasing the best and most exciting local talent. There is a huge range of opportunities for students to visit the venues, take part in events and get involved in the programme. Learn more about Sunderland Culture.


Course structure

Compared to an undergraduate course, you will find that this Masters requires a higher level of independent working. The course aims to stretch your creativity and maximise your sense of personal fulfillment. If you choose to study the course full-time, you will complete six modules over one year. Taught sessions are normally on Tuesday afternoons and Wednesday mornings.

Part-time students have around four hours of contact time a week. By studying this course part-time, you will complete six modules over two years. Taught sessions are normally on Tuesday afternoons or Wednesday mornings depending on selected modules.

We use a wide variety of teaching and learning methods, which include tutorials, lectures, seminars, reviews, workshops and practical demonstrations. These are supported by a range of guest speakers from diverse academic and industry backgrounds. Tutors give regular feedback and support.

We organise visits to galleries and art events. Recent visits includes Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a trip to Berlin. Assessment methods include reports, essays, your portfolio of work and the final exhibition. You can see examples of student work from our 2018 Degree Show (.pdf).

Core modules 

  • Contemporary Fine Art Studio Practice: Test it 

Advance your studio skills appropriate to current and new projects.

  • Critical and Professional Contexts in Art and Design

Develop your critical and analytical understanding of contemporary fine art practice and apply this to writing about your practice alongside other MA students.

  • Contemporary Fine Art Studio Practice: Do It

Build on previous studio-based research to realise and implement personal projects.

  • Contemporary Fine Art Professional Practice: Digital Document

Build confidence in professional practice and expand your ideas through a research project or appropriate placement. Work with other MA students on a degree publication.

  • Contemporary Fine Art Research Project: Reflect

Develop critical awareness and advanced knowledge of contexts relevant to your own fine art practice and write a report. 

  • Contemporary Fine Art: Exhibition

Develop skills for public exhibition and dissemination of art work.

  • The University has invested in modern facilities that include generous studio space for each student and a fantastic Arts and Design Library. Facilities include:

    • Workshops for wood, metal and printmaking
    • Project spaces
    • Student gallery
    • Digital studio with video, sound editing and screening facilities
    • Digital suites with open-access Apple Macs
    • Digital sewing and embroidery facilities
    • Students also have access to facilities within Fablab on City Campus
    Modern facilities
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • The University Library has an exceptional collection of photography books and monographs and subscribes to a comprehensive range of academic journals and databases so you can access reliable and up-to-date information.

    A dedicated Academic Liaison Librarian supports students and staff in the arts, design and performing arts disciplines.

    The key resources for your course include:

    Discover: The Library’s multi-disciplinary search tool

    Art Full Text: A major resource for media and arts information

    JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Giving access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences

    Lexis: A major resource on full-text newspaper articles and legal information

    Library Services - arts and design
  • Map and directions


This course is based at the Priestman Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and outward-looking learning environment.

More about MA Fine Art at Sunderland

Discover more articles

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is

  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a Canadian bachelor's degree
  • 2:1 classification or equivalent from a USA bachelor's degree

in a subject related area.

We will consider applicants from other fields, as well as those with professional experience in the creative industries, if their portfolio is suitable.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or an equivalent qualification, for example; a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a new GCSE for which you will be awarded a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language we will require an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.0 and at least 5.5 or higher in each component: reading, writing, listening and speaking. An alternative approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) can also be considered if the applicant's element scores are equivalent to those required for IELTS.

We ask applicants to present a portfolio of work. Your portfolio should demonstrate your skills and creativity through a collection of Fine Art-based work. This should be presented as original pieces, photographs or in digital form.

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £6,500 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £13,000 if you are an international student

The part-time fee is £361 per 10 credits.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

You are viewing entry requirements for visitors from United States. Not from United States? Change your country preferences.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

Students graduating at the Stadium of Light


Postgraduates are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course, you will be equipped for roles throughout the media and cultural industries, for example as a practitioner, curator or educator. Opportunities could include arts development, public arts projects, community art organisations, social and art therapy support units, galleries and festivals.

Employment opportunities

Recent Sunderland graduates have set up their own creative businesses, undertaken commissions and exhibited their work regionally and nationally. During the course we encourage you to gain industry experience which will enhance your skills, build up a valuable network of contacts and boost your employability.

In the past this has included exhibition work in a range of public contexts such as galleries, schools and hospitals. A Masters degree will also enhance career opportunities within Higher Education and prepare you for further postgraduate studies.

Meet the team

Sign up to receive more information

Sign up to receive emails about your subject area.

Keep me up to date relating to my interest in the University of Sunderland via:

You may unsubscribe at any time.

Oops! You've not opted in to receiving other useful information about the University of Sunderland.

Using Your Personal Information
The University of Sunderland is collecting this data in order for you to receive information on your chosen subject(s). Your information will be stored securely in our Customer Relationship Management system which is provided by a 3rd party and used only for the administration and provision of this information. Should you choose to opt in to further communications we will also use your information to facilitate other useful marketing information based on your preferences. Further information on how your data is stored and used can be found in our Privacy notice - marketing.