Postgraduate MA


Salford School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

Our MA Photography will support you in advancing your photographic practice. Throughout this course you will be guided on strategies to support you in developing substantive professional outputs.

You will be encouraged to develop (or further develop) your approach to the business of photography including exploring alternative ways to engage with existing and emerging modes of dissemination and presentation.

You will engage in creative approaches to professional networking, the sourcing of and engagement with audiences, and building and sustaining a client base to ensure you have the analytical skills to progress your interests and professional goals.

Working in the dynamic environment of the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology, you will be able to build collaborative and supportive networks to test your ideas. We will provide you with the resources to realise those ideas and guidance to re-evaluate your existing work within the changing contemporary contexts of the photographic image.

This course provides opportunities for you to identify ways to become exemplary within your field. 

We encourage applications from candidates interested in commercial or artistic practices, as well as hybrid practices drawn from traditional and non-traditional business models from across a variety of media platforms.

Want to know more about this programme? Come along to an Open Day

International applicants: Please check the international intakes page for the latest information and application dates.

You will:

  • develop career-enhancing theoretical and practical knowledge and skills
  • be guided by researchers and practitioners with a wide range of experience and close ties to professional organisations such as the Association of Photographers (AOP) and the Royal Photographic Society (RPS).
  • address the challenges faced by professional photographers in a supportive and interactive space

students accepted

This is for you if...


you are working within the wider photographic field and want to develop or test a business idea while having access to excellent facilities for digital and specialist analogue photography


you are interested in benefiting from our strong industry links with many of the businesses and e-commerce studios in the local area


you are looking for a programme taught with a blended approach, providing flexibility to students who may have work, family, or other commitments in addition to their studies

Course details

All about the course

The MA Photography prepares students for the increasingly complex and expanding field of photographic practice. It addresses the challenges faced by professional photographers, providing a supportive and interactive space for experimentation and development.

In the contemporary context of the medium, the terms  ‘Photography’ and ‘Photographer’ are in a state of flux, due to ongoing developments in technology, business and professional practices, and the differing values placed on these constituent parts. The impact of Artificial Intelligence and Computer-Generated Images (CGI) that appropriate and aggregate individual images devoid of authorial provenance are ever-present challenges.

Students will be introduced to new ways of thinking about the medium, with the role of the photographer viewed as ‘content creator’ and the photograph ever more becoming seen as ‘asset’. Alongside this, the influence of social media and the proliferation of images created through mobile phones has provided a critically challenging space in which to re-evaluate the role and purpose of the image and its author.

Professional knowledge of the photographic community and industry will enable effective networking and provide skills to engage clients, sources of funding, and photography peers.

The programme will consider the business of photographic practice as much as its artistry and aesthetics. The emphasis will be very much upon the vocational aspects of the industry, whether the student views themselves as an artist, fashion photographer, stylist, or documentarist the programme aims to emphasise the role of project management and high-quality outputs to an audience or client.

 Find out what is covered in each module by reading the full course breakdown below. The modules are listed as they would be delivered full time over one year. 

Trimester one

Photography Changes

This module addresses the transitory nature of photography and encourages you to consider those changes within the context of your own practice.

The module will introduce how society, business and industry view and consume photography.

The module will also explore the role of technology in changing the ways we read and value the photographic image. Key to this discussion is the function of authorship and copyright in a digital landscape of continual creation and distribution.

You will reflect on your practice, considering how these transitions around the subject enable you to reconsider possible ways of working and the role of the audience or client.

Beyond the Image

This module addresses contemporary perspectives and theoretical texts examining the image, informed by our understanding of identity, ethnicity, culture, and distribution, and equally the ideological positions emerging from these concepts.

The module is taught through a series of interactive lectures and targeted reading, which will be discussed and examined. You will critically engage with contemporary academic research on photography.

‘Beyond the Image’ informs you of the critical frameworks that will inform the next stage of your development as a practitioner. The purpose of the module is not simply to make you aware of these critical frameworks but to actively engage and situate them within your own practice.

Trimester two

Reframing Practice

This module develops themes explored in the previous two modules and begins the process of applying them to their specific project.

You will identify a theoretical text or way of considering photographic practice within a contemporary context that you wish to explore. You will create a project illustrating and embedding themes of your chosen source material.

The module will develop reflective practice through group discussion and tutorials and culminate in an interim exhibition of the developmental work that will test market and/or public responses to the work.

In this way you will embed the notion of audience as a primary component in the evaluation of your project. 

Disruptive Practice

Disruptive practice is a practice module that works in parallel with Reframing Practice. 

The aim is to create innovative work that disrupts the patterns and methods addressed in the earlier module, so that hybrid forms can be explored and tested alongside more established forms.

Trimester three

Resolved Praxis

The emphasis in this final 60 credit module is on establishing a practice that will form the basis for each student’s development as professional practitioners, on graduation entering whichever sphere of the industry they wish to pursue. 

The methodology and critical focus of the earlier modules will underpin the way in which the work engages with audiences and will signal scope for further, more extensive, or exploratory work in the field.

You may be informing or refining practices that you were already familiar with when entering the programme, or you may find that the module enables you to take a new direction or approach.

Students at this stage may for example decide to move from a commercial practice to a fine art practice, or vice versa.

With this final project, you will reflect on both purpose and impact, considering audience as a principal component towards how your images may be evaluated.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What Will I be Doing?

Assessment is by:


Practice/Final output


Presentation and Exhibition



  • Seminar: Small group discussions usually centred around a particular topic, in which links and themes are explored through guided reading or visual references
  • Tutorial: Individual discussions about professional development and progression
  • Masterclass: Targeted masterclass presentations from industry practitioners and professional contributors from a wide range of disciplines, followed by seminar discussions exploring the themes arising



This MA is based at our £55 million New Adelphi building, the home of design and creativity on campus.

When you study with us, you’ll learn from our experienced tutors and demonstrators, who’ll teach you how to use our art and design facilities. These include:

Specialist darkroom – dedicated areas for each course, giving you room to think and create.

Photography studios - industry-standard photographic studios, which you can use in conjunction with darkrooms and digital printing facilities.

Stores - you will be able to access a range of industry standard photographic equipment 

Mac suites - equipped with the industry-standard software you’ll need during your studies and in the world of work.

You will also be able to access leading technologies at our MediaCity campus. 

Programme Leader

Dr Mark Hall is an award-winning commercial advertising photographer. His practice has spanned three decades since graduating from Blackpool College in the mid 1980’s. In that time, he has travelled extensively and been commissioned by many top advertising agencies, design groups and editorial clients across the world.

He began teaching in 2000 after completing an MA at the London College of Printing, and in 2018 successfully finished a PhD on the use and control of light in photography. He is currently a Fellow of The Royal Society of the Arts and a Fellow of the British Institute of Photography. His work as a photographer has featured in The Association of Photographers (AOP) a professional photographer’s online network and as part of the Design and Art Direction Awards (D&AD) as well as the work of his students who have also won numerous awards.

His research interests include the technical language of photography, the implied structures of power inherent in the way light is used in photography, and the critical theory of commercial photography.


Employment and stats

What about after uni?


Graduates from this programme will develop an approach to their field that is both sustainable economically and environmentally.

They may return to their specific areas of practice with new products for the market or new and innovative ways to engage with existing clients or audiences.

There will be options to develop aspects that emerge from the experimentation undertaken on the course to PhD level study.

A taste of what you could become

A commercial photographer

An event photographer

A fine art practitioner

A documentary photographer

A photographer for fashion or styling

A portrait photographer

Career Links

Our postgraduate Art and Design programmes have great working relationships key cultural organisations within the North-west.

This programme has great industry links including: 

Open Eye Gallery

Castlefield Gallery

JD Sports


Tate Liverpool


What You Need To Know

To gain a place on this MA Photography course, you’ll have to submit a personal statement (up to 500 words) and meet our entry requirements when you apply.

Applicants will be graduates of a photography or photography-related subject at undergraduate level. Applicants may have previous experience from arts or media backgrounds, including industry or commercial. 

For some applicants, you’ll be asked to provide us with a portfolio of work and potentially take part in an informal group seminar discussion or interview– either live or on camera – to demonstrate your skills.

Once you’ve made your application to study with us, we’ll contact you and let you know the next steps.

Standard entry requirements

Standard entry requirements

To join this MA you should have a second class honours degree, 2:2 or above.

You should have experience or studying or working within a photography related subject. 


International students

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.5 with no element below 5.5. We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2024/25 £9,450.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £16,380.00per year
Part-time 2024/25 Part time costs will be calculated on a pro rata basis

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2024