OCA’s MA Fine Art
The March assessment results are almost in and for some students, it marks the end of their degree-level study with the Open College of the Arts. For those wishing to continue forward and for other artists and practitioners wanting to pursue postgraduate education, OCA’s MA Fine Art is a three-year, part-time programme offering students academic challenge and innovative delivery.
Launched in 2011, it was the first MA Fine Art in Europe to be offered by open learning and is OCA’s first step into the postgraduate provision in its 30-year history.
Being proactive and thinking for yourself are highly regarded in the arts. OCA’s balance of structure from the curriculum and self-direction is a fruitful combination. It’s one that has allowed me to develop my own voice, uninfluenced by house style. The MA has opened up new aspects of study and practice, including research.
OCA’s MA Fine Art prepares students for professional practice in their chosen discipline, supporting the existing practice and aspirations of students working in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, time-based work, digital art and photography. The emphasis of the programme is on studio practice, with theory, context and professional practice integrated throughout.
The MA has allowed me to be far more experimental with my work. It has opened my mind to further exploration of materials, caring more about the process and less about the outcome than I did before. I’ve lost my expectations about the creation of a piece so I’m a much looser, more experimental painter now.
The flexibility of the MA Fine Art programme, through online delivery and being part-time, makes it accessible to students who, because of work and family commitments, would not otherwise be able to consider studying at higher degree level.
Students travel through the course together in a cohort, sharing 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 lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques as well as one-to-one tutorial support, students benefit from the expertise of core course tutors and guest lecturers and tutors, who have a range of expertise including curation, media and marketing, art theory, professional practice and related disciplines (for example anthropology).
The programme has had a really positive influence on my art therapy and psychotherapy practice. Attending college during the day is unrealistic for many people and fees for full-time courses can be prohibitively high. In contrast, I find OCA’s flexibility and awareness of students’ different circumstances very inclusive. It is enormously supportive, enriching and inspiring to meet with a group of artists from all over the world.
Progression routes are individual as well as collective. For some students, progression comes from receiving commissions for work. For others, it is about the exposure of their work to a growing audience through exhibiting in specific galleries. Equally important evidence of progression for students is increasing the range and impact of their peer networks nationally and internationally or moving on to further, related study or work in the arts.
I can say with certainty that the programme has exceeded my expectations and that my work and images have improved. I have a better knowledge of contemporary and historic artists and works. I have a clearer focus on where I am going with my own practice.
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 practice to inform their teaching or undergraduates who are looking to progress to postgraduate study outside the conventional higher education system.
Our MA Fine Art programme was previously a three-year, part-time course offering you academic challenge and unique opportunity to enhance your practice. Launched in 2011, it was the first distance-learning MA Fine Art in Europe. 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 in August 2020.
Through online delivery and being part-time, our Fine Art programme 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.
Our MA Fine Art introduces professional practice in your chosen discipline and offers support of your aspirations. The course covers a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, time-based work, digital art and photography. The emphasis of the programme is on studio practice, with theory, context and professional practice integrated throughout.
You’ll travel through the course, along with other students, in a cohort; sharing 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 lectures, seminars, tutorials and critiques as well as one-to-one tutorial support, you’ll benefit from the expertise of core course tutors and guest lecturers. These professionals have an outstanding range of expertise including curation, media and marketing, art theory, professional practice and specialist related disciplines (for example anthropology).
Progression routes are individual as well as collective. For some students, progression comes from receiving commissions for work. For others, it is about the exposure of their work to a growing audience through exhibiting in specific galleries. 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, this course is perfect for you.
The course encompasses a broad, practice-based philosophy in Fine Art, allowing flexibility of practice from skills-based work through to conceptual practice. The course includes:
- One to one tuition via phone, email or video conferencing
- Online seminars
- Video lectures and presentations
- Peer group discussion and critiques
- Group projects
- Access to the world-class Bridgeman Education Art library and digital resources from the University for the Creative Arts
- Online Group Orientation and studio workshop sessions.
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…”
There are a total of 180 HE credits in this degree, which covers essential elements including the following aims:
- Gain an understanding of a range of appropriate methods of enquiry, and the communication skills and academic language relevant to the subject field
- Cultivate speculative and exploratory approaches to art practice through the application of reflection, evaluation and synthesis
- Produce a body of work that demonstrates the integration of theoretical and practical concerns, critical awareness and an understanding of the contemporary context
- Extend an appropriate area of investigation and establish parameters for your exploratory activity
- Analyse the conceptual context of your practice to generate creative ideas and practices
- Demonstrate personal responsibility and independent thought through an integrated approach to practice and contextual issues
Resolution and Exposition
- Demonstration of advanced scholarship in your art practice and contextual work
- Demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of complex concepts through written and professional studio practice presentation
- Demonstrate developing self-sufficiency and a clear vision and strategy to enable sustained professional practice beyond the course
Personal Tutor Support
Tutors who support our MA in Fine Art are both practising artists and experienced HE educators.
Time and Enrolment
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 in August 2020.
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.
IT / Online Requirements
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.
- Entry to the MA Fine Art at OCA is via the application form, portfolio and interview. It is not a requirement to have a previous degree in Fine Art, though this may be an advantage. Your portfolio and personal statement should demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of your art practice and of contemporary art and an ability to articulate your thinking verbally and in writing. The MA Fine Art embraces a broad range of practices from figurative painting, through photography, and textiles to video, performance and installation art.
- For applicants where English is not their first language, they will be required to provide evidence of English Language proficiency from a list of approved documents which can be reviewed in the Student Regulations.
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.
Fees, Funding and Other Costs
Below is the current course fee under the three-year programme. Once the two-year teaching model is established, the fee structure and pricing may change.
Residents of the European Union, including the UK:
- £2,935 sterling for 2019/20.
The cost for the three-year programme is therefore around £9,000 sterling, taking into account a small cost-of-living adjustment each year.
Residents of the rest of the world:
- £4,100 sterling for 2019/20.
The cost for the three-year programme is therefore around £12,000 sterling, taking into account a small cost-of-living adjustment each year.
All OCA courses are listed with Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allowing eligible students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the cost of fees. You may also be able to apply for a maintenance loan and/or Disabled Students Allowance to assist you with the cost of study.
The OCA Learner Support Scheme can provide partial bursaries towards course fees for students who are not eligible for funding via Student Finance, based on financial hardship.
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.
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