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Study MA Fine Arts in the UK

Study MA Fine Arts in the UK
Alpina ChariSep 29, 2023

Study MA Fine Arts in the UK

The UK is a world-renowned destination for studying fine arts, offering a rich and diverse range of courses, facilities, and opportunities for aspiring artists. If you want to pursue a rewarding career in the creative arts industries, it can be a life-changing decision to study MA fine arts in the UK. 

Besides having a long and illustrious tradition of producing and nurturing some of the most influential and innovative artists in the world, the UK is home to some of the most prestigious art schools in the world, such as the Royal Academy of Arts, the Slade School of Fine Art, and the Glasgow School of Art, which have produced generations of acclaimed artists and educators. The UK also boasts some of the most renowned museums and galleries in the world, such as the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, which offer unparalleled access to some of the finest collections and exhibitions of art from across the globe.

Whether you are interested in drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, or other media, you can find a course that suits your needs and aspirations at one of the many prestigious institutions across the country. Studying MA fine arts (MFA) in the UK will not only enhance your skills and knowledge but also expose you to the vibrant and influential art scene that has shaped the history and culture of the nation. Let’s look at some of the best MA fine arts programs in the UK, along with their fees, eligibility, and more. 

Overview of MA Fine Arts in the UK 

No. of Universities  50+
No. of Programs  50+
Degree Offered  MFA 
Duration of Study  1-2 years 
Tuition Fees  20,000-35,000 GBP

Why Study MA Fine Arts in the UK? 

Top Universities: The best universities in the UK for arts are world-renowned for their art programs such as the Royal College of Art, the University of the Arts London, Goldsmiths, University of London, etc. 

Rich Artistic Heritage: The UK has a long and storied history in the arts, with a legacy that includes world-renowned artists like William Turner, and William Blake, and contemporary figures like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. 

Diverse Cultural Scene: The UK boasts a vibrant and diverse cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and cultural events. London, in particular, is home to many world-class art institutions like the Tate Modern, the British Museum, and the National Gallery, providing endless opportunities for exposure to a wide range of artistic styles and periods.  

International Perspective: Many UK universities attract students and faculty from around the world, creating a diverse and multicultural environment. This exposure to different perspectives and cultures can enrich your artistic practice and broaden your horizons.  

Networking Opportunities: The UK art scene provides ample networking opportunities, including connections with established artists, curators, gallery owners, and fellow students. Building a professional network in the UK can be invaluable for your future career in the art world.  

Access to Funding and Scholarships: The UK offers various funding options and scholarships for international students pursuing higher education, which can help alleviate the financial burden of studying abroad.  

Exposure to Contemporary Art Trends: The UK is known for its avant-garde and contemporary art scenes. Studying in the UK can expose you to the latest art trends, innovative techniques, and emerging artists, helping you stay at the forefront of the art world.  

Career Opportunities: Graduating from a UK art program can open doors to a wide range of career possibilities both in the UK and internationally. The UK also offers post-study work visas that allow international students to work in the country for a certain period after completing their studies. Students can also work and study in the UK during their stay. 

Quality of Life: The UK offers a high standard of living, a stable political environment, and a well-developed infrastructure, making it a comfortable place to live and study.

Best MA Fine Arts Programs in the UK

The Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university in London, UK, that specializes in art and design. It was founded in 1837 and is the world’s oldest art and design university in continuous operation. The RCA has been ranked as the number one art and design university in the world by the QS World University Rankings for nine consecutive years. 

The Fine Arts program at the RCA is one of the most prestigious and influential in the world. It covers the areas of painting, print, sculpture, photography, performance, and moving images. The program aims to develop the creative skills and critical thinking of the students, as well as to provide them with professional opportunities and networks. The RCA is widely recognized for its excellence in research, innovation, and collaboration with industry. It has established several research centers and labs, such as the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, the Intelligent Mobility Design Centre, the Materials Science Research Centre, and the Computer Science Research Centre.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
Master of Fine Arts  1 year  38,600 GBP

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University of the Arts, London 

The University of the Arts London (UAL) is a leading institution for arts, design, fashion, and the performing arts in the UK. The university has its origins in seven previously independent art, design, fashion, and media colleges, which were brought together for administrative purposes to form the London Institute in 1986. 

MA Fine Art program at UAL is a practice-based and research-centered program that aims to critically address what it means to be an artist today. The course has three pathways: Painting, Sculpture, or Fine Art Media. Students can choose to focus on one of these areas or work across them. The course encourages experimentation, collaboration, and interdisciplinary dialogue among students and staff.  The MA Fine Art at UAL has a reputation for excellence and innovation in the field of contemporary art. It has produced many notable alumni, such as Antony Gormley, Mona Hatoum, Steve McQueen, Sarah Lucas, and Tacita Dean. The course is ranked 2nd in the UK and 6th in the world for Art and Design by the QS World University Rankings 2023. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA Fine Arts  2 years  16,680 GBP

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Glasgow School of Art 

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is a prestigious art school based in Glasgow, Scotland, that offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in architecture, fine art, and design. The school was founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design and changed its name to the Glasgow School of Art in 1853. 

The Master of Fine Art (MFA) program at GSA is one of the oldest and most respected programs of its kind in the world. It is a two-year, full-time program that aims to develop a sustainable practice as an artist through practice-based and multidisciplinary learning. The program is divided into three stages: Pg Certificate (15 weeks), Pg Diploma (15 weeks), and MFA (30 weeks). Alongside creative practice, students also have the opportunity to select from a range of short elective courses covering an array of subjects and approaches. The program culminates in two major public exhibitions of the student’s work: the Interim exhibition and the MFA degree show.  The MFA program at GSA has a reputation for producing some of the most successful and influential contemporary artists in Scotland and beyond. Since 2005, five MFA graduates have won the Turner Prize, the most prestigious award for contemporary art in Britain.  The MFA program at GSA is highly competitive and selective. The program is ranked 12th in the QS World Rankings for Art and Design in 2023, making it one of the top programs of its kind globally. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
Master of Fine Art 2 years  22,680 GBP

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Goldsmiths, University of London 

Goldsmiths, University of London is a public research university that is part of the University of London. It was founded in 1891 by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, a guild of goldsmiths, silversmiths, and jewelers. It specializes in the arts, humanities, social sciences, computing, and entrepreneurial business and management. It has over 10,000 students from more than 140 countries.

The MFA Fine Art program at Goldsmiths is one of the most influential and prestigious in the world. It aims to develop artists’ critical and creative skills through rigorous studio practice and theoretical inquiry. The program welcomes artists from a wide range of media and backgrounds and encourages them to challenge and transform the prevailing expectations and conventions of art-making. The program consists of two years of full-time study or four years of part-time study, with regular studio seminars, personal tutorials, lectures, exhibitions, and assessments. The program has a reputation for producing some of the most innovative and influential contemporary artists, such as Damien Hirst, Steve McQueen, Gillian Wearing, Sarah Lucas, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and many others.

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MFA Fine Art 2 years  26,090 GBP

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University of Oxford 

The art department at the University of Oxford is known as the Ruskin School of Art, which is the fine art department of the university. The Ruskin School of Art was founded in 1871 as the Oxford School of Drawing and was renamed in 1899 after the critic and writer John Ruskin, who was the first Slade Professor of Fine Art at Oxford. The school is ranked among the top art schools in the UK and the world.  

The Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree at the Ruskin School of Art is an intensive one-year studio-based program in the practice of contemporary art. The MFA degree at the Ruskin School of Art is highly regarded for its rigor and quality and has produced many successful artists who have exhibited nationally and internationally. It is designed to direct and develop the artistic practice and theoretical knowledge of a small cohort of around eighteen students, who work alongside each other in collaboratively organized studios. The program encompasses a diversity of disciplines including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, writing, installation, video, sound, performance, and other expanded forms in contemporary art. The MFA students also benefit from a program of dedicated masterclasses and skills workshops, as well as access to facilities such as the media lab and editing suites, printmaking workshop, casting, metal, and wood workshops. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
Master of Fine Art 1 year 33,090 GBP

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University College London 

The Slade School of Fine Art at University College London (UCL) is part of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. It is widely regarded as one of the finest art departments in the world. The school was founded in 1871 by Felix Slade, a philanthropist and collector, who endowed professorships and scholarships for the study of fine art at UCL. 

The MFA program at the Slade is an 18-month practice-based program with an MFA Critical Studies component. Students are admitted into one of three subject areas: Painting, Sculpture, or Fine Art Media. All students follow the same practice-based program, which supports interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to art making. The MFA program also provides a diverse, intellectual, and experimental environment in which students develop their potential as professional artists and researchers in their chosen studio area. The MFA program has a reputation for excellence and innovation and has produced many award-winning and internationally recognized artists, such as Tacita Dean, Martin Creed, Chantal Joffe, Mark Wallinger, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. 

Program Name  Duration of Study  Tuition Fees (2023/24)
MA Fine Art 2 years 32,100 GBP

Admission Requirements for MA Fine Arts in the UK

  • Most MFA programs require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from an accredited institution. While some programs may accept students with undergraduate degrees in other fields, many prefer applicants with relevant undergraduate degrees or a strong portfolio. 
  • English language proficiency certification through a test like the IELTS (6.5) or TOEFL (80). 
  • For fine arts programs, a portfolio of your work is a critical component of the application. The portfolio should showcase your best and most recent work in your chosen medium, whether that’s visual arts, writing, performing arts, or another form of fine arts.
  •  Letters of recommendation from professors, mentors, or professionals who are familiar with your work and can attest to your ability and dedication.  
  • A statement of purpose 
  • You will need to provide official transcripts from all previous academic institutions you have attended.  
  • Many MFA programs require a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) that lists your educational and professional background, including any relevant artistic achievements or experiences. 
  • Some MFA programs may require an interview or an audition as part of the application process, especially for performing arts or theater programs. 

Career Opportunities for MA Fine Arts Graduates in the UK

Fine arts graduates in the UK have a range of career opportunities in the creative and cultural sectors. They can work as artists, curators, teachers, researchers, art therapists, art consultants, art critics, art administrators, and more. They can also pursue further study at the Ph.D. level or apply for residencies and grants to support their artistic practice. The creative industries represent 5.9% of the UK economy and the number of jobs has increased by a third in the last ten years, which is significantly higher than overall employment across the nation. The employment in performing arts in the UK has also increased from 60 thousand in 2020 to 67 thousand in 2022. There is, therefore, the potential for fine arts students to find graduate employment in the UK labor market. 

Some of the jobs most suited to fine arts degree graduates are fashion illustrator, graphic designer, curator, printmaker, photographer, gallery assistant, art technician, art editor, art coordinator, etc.  According to Glassdoor, the average salary of fine arts graduates in the UK is 35,836 GBP per year. The salary range varies depending on the location, experience, and type of work. 


In conclusion, it can be a rewarding and enriching experience to study MA fine arts in the UK. The UK has a long and rich history of artistic excellence, innovation, and diversity, and has some of the best institutions, facilities, resources, and opportunities for students to learn from and collaborate with leading experts and practitioners in the field. However, studying MA Fine Arts in the UK also comes with some challenges and considerations that students need to be aware of and prepared for. The cost of living and tuition fees in the UK can be high, especially for international students who may not be eligible for scholarships or financial aid. The academic standards and expectations can be rigorous and demanding, requiring students to have a high level of proficiency in English language and communication skills, as well as a strong portfolio of previous work and achievements. Therefore, students who are interested in studying MA Fine Arts in the UK need to make a balanced and informed decision. They need to research thoroughly the different courses, institutions, student cities, student visa, and requirements that suit their needs and goals, and compare them with other possible options in their home country or elsewhere. Studying MA fine arts in the UK can be a life-changing opportunity for students who are ready to take on the challenge and embrace diversity. To know more reach out to us at Gyanberry. Book your free video call appointment now!

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The average annual tuition fee for an MA fine arts degree in the UK is around 20,000-35,000 GBP for international students. 

Fine arts graduates in the UK have a range of career opportunities in the creative and cultural sectors. They can work as artists, curators, teachers, researchers, art therapists, art consultants, art critics, art administrators, and more. They can also pursue further study at the Ph.D. level or apply for residencies and grants to support their artistic practice.

Yes, there are scholarships available for MA fine arts in the UK. Some of them are offered by governmental institutions, while others by private organizations and universities.

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