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MA Photography

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Study Mode Full-time
Year of Entry 2023/24


Full-time Digital media

Advance your skills, business acumen and critical understanding as an independent photographer and work towards your creative and professional goals.

Everything you need to know...

What is the fee? Home: £9,910 for the course
International/EU: £16,385 for the course
How long will I study? 1 Year
Where will I study? City Campus
When do I start? September 2023
January 2024

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Course summary

  • Advance your skills in modern photography
  • Experiment with industry-standard equipment
  • Take on an individual project that combines creative exploration with critical research 
  • Kick-start your career as a professional photographer with help from a dedicated employability adviser

On this course, you’ll become a highly knowledgeable, independent photographer ready to excel in your field. You’ll gain the skills you need to fulfil your potential as a practitioner, working in  state of the art facilities. The course features a flexible, adaptable curriculum, and has close links to creative networks and organisations in Northern England.

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Find out more about the Media Arts and Communications department and view the work of some of our students.

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How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive.

This course is based around a creative, practice-based and self-directed approach to learning. This is similar to the independent nature of professional practice, and will prepare you for the real world of photography.

Throughout your studies, you’ll be encouraged to undertake research and further your understanding of historical and contemporary approaches. You’ll also look at relevant theoretical issues to help place your work in a critical context.

You learn through

  • specialist workshops
  • technical surgeries
  • lectures and seminars
  • group critiques and review sessions
  • individual tutorials
  • exhibition and curation 
  • field trips and study visits
  • visiting professionals and guest lecturers

Applied learning

Work placements 

During the course students undertake a period of work experience of a minimum of two weeks duration or equivalent. This is identified and arranged by the student, with the support of tutors and wider university staff, as well as the university career and work-experience teams. This provides knowledge and understanding of a real world employment within the professional sphere of communication or media.

The course benefits from established relationships with a number of photographic partners including the Photographers' Gallery, Site Gallery, Millennium Galleries, The Hepworth Wakefield, Village Bookshop and Gallery, Impressions Gallery and Format Festival. 

Field trips and events

You will have the opportunity to attend national and international photography and art events — such as exhibitions, festivals and conferences — to deepen your understanding of the wider photographic industry. In recent years we have been to Paris Photo, Berlin Photography Festival, Amsterdam and put on residential field trips to London and the Peak District. 

Our unique location within a post-industrial and culturally vibrant city and yet only 14 minutes (by rail) to the Peak District — the UK’s first National Park — makes Sheffield a fascinating setting for an enthusiastic photographer. 

Networking opportunities

Our staff are founding members and active in a number of research groups, including Northern Light, Walking Arts, Visual Activism, and The Centre for Contemporary Legend research groups. 

We organise exhibitions, conferences, symposia and events. These include our biennial conference and exhibition on contemporary landscape and environmental photography under the title Northern Light. We also host an annual RPS History Group symposium.

Each year we also host a number of industry days and events — such as Grad Talk and Pathways — where students network with and attend talks and workshops run by creative media industry professionals and organisations. You’ll have access to guidance from our professional careers and employment service, CV preparation and interview practice, an annual programme of employer recruitment fairs, and an online graduate vacancy service. 

We also work closely with REDEYE — an organisation supporting professional photographers in the north of England and with APHE (Association for Photography in Higher Education).

Future careers

This course prepares you for a career as an employee or freelancer in

  • documentary
  • fine art
  • fashion and advertising
  • editorial
  • press and photojournalism
  • general and social portraiture
  • scientific and medical
  • stills for film and video productions
  • post-production (picture editing, processing, printing and finishing)
  • picture research and publishing
  • curatorial and gallery contexts

Where will I study?

You study at City Campus through a structured mix of lectures, seminars and practical sessions as well as access to digital and online resources to support your learning.

City Campus

City Campus is located in the heart of Sheffield, within minutes of the train and bus stations.

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Howard Street
S1 1WB

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Equipment and facilities

On this course you work with 

  • two industry-standard photography studios
  • portable lighting equipment
  • a dedicated digital darkroom including scanning, processing and printing facilities
  • colour and black and white analogue darkrooms with enlargers from 35mm to 5x4
  • black and white print darkroom with both wet and machine process facilities
  • an extensive lending store where you can borrow industry standard equipment such as cameras, lenses and tripods

Learn more about your department

Media, Arts and Communications Facilities Tour

Take a look around the media, arts and communication facilities at Sheffield Hallam University with lecturer Saskia Wilson.

Department page

Entry requirements

All students

Normally an honours degree at 2:2 (or above) in Photography or a related creative subject, namely in the fields of Fine Art, Design, Graphics, Media Arts or Visual Communication. If you do not have a traditional undergraduate qualification, you may still be considered, especially if you already have relevant work experience in the creative industries. Together with your personal statement, you will have to submit evidence of significant creative ability in the form of an identifiable body of work by providing an up-to-date online link to personal photographic outputs. Alternative forms of outputs, e.g. prints, books or objects may be presented directly to the course team on request (on site or via Skype).

Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS score of 6.0 with 5.5 in all skills (or equivalent). If your English language skill is currently below the required standard then you can apply for the Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course that will enable you to achieve the required proficiency English.

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.


Module and assessment information for future years is displayed as currently validated and may be liable to change. When selecting electives, your choices will be subject to the core requirements of the course. As a result, selections may be limited to a choice between one of two or more specified electives in some instances.

Modules studied may differ depending on when you start your course.

Compulsory modules
Module Credits Assessment
Module: Enterprise And Entrepreneurship Credits: 15 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Exhibition / Publication / Curation Credits: 15 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Independent Practice Credits: 30 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Ma Photography: Advanced Production And Printing Methods Credits: 30 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Media, Arts And Communication Masters Dissertation / Project Credits: 60 Assessment: Coursework
Module: Research Methods And Skills For Media, Arts, Arts Management And Global Communication Credits: 30 Assessment: Coursework

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK students starting full-time study in 2023/24 is £9,910 for the course. The tuition fee displayed above is for the full course. If the full course is more than one year in duration, the fee will be divided into annual payments which will then be rounded. This may mean the total fee you pay is slightly higher than the fee stated above. If you take a break in study or have to re-take part of the course, you may also be charged an additional fee and will be notified of this at the time.

† If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU students starting full-time study in 2023/24 is £16,385 for the course. The tuition fee displayed above is for the full course. If the full course is more than one year in duration, the fee will be divided into annual payments which will then be rounded. This may mean the total fee you pay is slightly higher than the fee stated above. If you take a break in study or have to re-take part of the course, you may also be charged an additional fee and will be notified of this at the time.

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Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Digital media courses (PDF, 225.8KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.


How do I apply?

You apply for this course via our online application form.

You can also use the application form above to apply for future years of entry.

Not ready to apply just yet?

Why not come to our next open day? Open days are the perfect place to talk to staff and students, visit our campuses and get all the information you need. Alternatively, feel free to ask us a question.

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Where next?

Find out more about Sheffield Hallam's postgraduate opportunities and community.

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Information for international students including entry requirements by country and funding.

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