• Overview
  • Why Study
  • Modules
  • Start Dates
  • Entry and Portfolio Requirements
  • Fees and Discounts
  • Careers
  • Student Discounts and Offers
  • Tutors
  • Course Duration


On the MA Photography (Visual Communication) award, you will develop a proposal for a programme of sustained photographic practice that reflects your individual area of interest. This could be fine art or documentary photography, photojournalism, editorial or fashion photography, or contemporary advertising photography. You will be encouraged to adopt an open, thoughtful and creative approach to image-making and show a willingness to experiment.

Some typical outcomes for MA Photography (Visual Communication) projects may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Work on an extended photobook project
  • Development of a sustained body of work for exhibition
  • A body of documentary or photojournalism work presented as a multimedia storytelling documentary
  • The development of an ambitious, in-depth and cohesive portfolio of editorial, fashion or advertising photography work

Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to integrate the theory you have learned with your practice.

Download the Programme Specification for detailed information about the course or read on to find out more about what is involved in each of the modules.

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Why Study an MA in Photography (Visual Communication)

Adding an MA from one of the UK’s leading universities to your CV gives you a head start when you are competing for photography commissions, exhibitions and employment opportunities, or looking to advance your career. During the course, you will develop your knowledge of contemporary photography at the forefront of the discipline, both in the UK and globally, and have the opportunity to develop an outstanding individual photography portfolio, which will help you to stand out from the competition.

You will be enrolled on the Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design, specialising in Photography (Visual Communication). You will create your project proposal in preparation for your Major Study through a series of practice modules, which are supported by modules covering research and the creative industries. The award on your degree certificate will be MA Photography (Visual Communication) from the University of Hertfordshire.


ma photo modules

On all of the MA courses at IDI, you will study core modules alongside students from other disciplines. However, you are encouraged to approach them from the point of view of your own practice.

These modules are:

  • Postgraduate Study in Context
  • Research and Practice
  • Creative Industries: Global Perspectives
  • Critical Studies
  • Creative Industries: Business Perspectives
  • Creative Industries: Professional Presentations

Click here for more information about these modules.

Throughout the course, you will build a foundation for your Major Study. You will also complete an outline or proposal and develop the knowledge and skills required to successfully implement your plans.

You will also undertake three modules centred on your discipline:

ma photo modules

Practice 1: Art and Design

In the Practice 1 module, you will develop a photography portfolio of exploratory practice that identifies new directions, themes, methods and concepts for your photography, to take forward into the Practice 2 and Major Study modules. Your theme and approach are expected to relate to an area of contemporary photography and professional practice. This may be within, for example:

  • Fine art contemporary photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Editorial photography
  • Fashion photography
  • Contemporary advertising photography

Your work may be: analogue and/or digital based, medium or large format photography, or a result of experimental techniques such as camera-less photography or alternative processes.

ma photo modules

Practice 2: Art and Design

Building on the Practice 1 module, you will continue to develop your individual project. Typically, this will involve a more extensive and in-depth body of committed photography project work developed in negotiation and discussion with your tutor. Some typical outcomes from Practice 2 projects, reflective of the contemporary discipline of photography, might include, but are not restricted to:

  • Work on an extended photobook project
  • Development of a sustained body of conceptual fine art work for exhibition or site-responsive photography installation
  • A body of documentary or photojournalism work
  • Photography projects with multimedia, online or moving image elements
  • Digital and/or analogue experimentation
  • Development of an ambitious in-depth cohesive portfolio of editorial, fashion or advertising photography work

Major Study

The Major Study is a self-initiated project that builds on the knowledge and ideas explored throughout the course, during which you will demonstrate an advanced level of creativity and understanding of photography. You will build upon ideas established and explored in earlier parts of the programme and bring together various practical, theoretical commercial and other contextual concerns to generate a sustained body of original practice. This body of work will evidence creative autonomy, professional excellence and expertise in the field. The realisation of this body of work is supported by work in progress online discussions involving those studying on all disciplines of the Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design and one-to-one tutor dialogue.

The work submitted should include a written reflective statement in which you will contextualise your own work and practice. The written submission aims to display your knowledge of theories of visual communication, specifically in relation to photography, and critically appraise the aims of the work and the professional and commercial contexts in which it was developed. Writing this statement will provide you with insights into your own work and the skills to express your ideas in a coherent and informed manner to potential audiences. The final text will also provide audiences with insights into your motivations and themes.

Your photography Major Study may be produced for a variety of contexts and formats reflecting the evolving nature of the contemporary discipline of photography. This could include realised final photography project work presented as photography books, multimedia presentations, photography exhibitions, site specific photography and any other emerging forms of photography practice.

As in the Practice 1 and 2 Art and Design modules, you will work with a specialist photography tutor on your Major Study project.

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Start Dates

Most of our applicants are keen to start their studies as soon as possible, so we have intakes in February, June and October. Depending on the course you choose, you may be able to start in any intake, but there could be some restrictions. You can apply directly on our website at any time for any future intake and your Admissions Advisor will be able to confirm when the next start date for your chosen course will be.

Even if you are unsure about when you would like to start, or which course is best for you, contact us and a member of our Student Recruitment Team will be able to advise you.

start dates

Entry and Portfolio Requirements

ma photo entry

We consider all applications on an individual basis and welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications and from a variety of backgrounds.

To be eligible to study on our Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design, you would normally have an honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant field to the award you want to study. If you do not have a degree, you will need to show that you have appropriate professional experience and skills to benefit from the course.

We might also be able to take into account Accredited Prior Learning (APL). If your degree is in a field that is not art and design related, you will need appropriate knowledge, skills or experience in the field you wish to study, or be able to show that you are prepared for intensive new learning.

In all cases you will need to demonstrate, through a portfolio of creative work and personal statement, your preparedness for study at postgraduate level. Once you apply, you will have access to our online Admissions Area, where a member of the Admissions team will advise and guide you through the application process. Applying is free of charge and, after applying, you are not committed to enrolling on the Postgraduate Programme or paying any fees.

International Applicants

For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 or equivalent is required. Contact us for further details.

This programme is subject to the University of Hertfordshire's principles, policies, regulations and procedures for the admission of students to undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes and will take account of university policy and guidelines for assessing the two types of APL - Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) and Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

Portfolio Guidelines

In your portfolio of creative work, it is particularly important that you demonstrate that your work and experience is at the appropriate level to undertake your chosen course. Please ensure that you submit:

  • High quality and well-presented project work which demonstrates a successful outcome
  • Details of the research and development processes you used to complete the work

If your application is centred on a previous qualification earned at another institution, select previous project work that exhibits your strengths. If it is based on professional experience, choose work that displays an imaginative, creative and innovative approach.

Here is an overview of what should be included in your portfolio:

  • 'About me' section
    • Previous qualifications
    • Recent, relevant experience
    • Key skills
    • Future aspirations
    • Creative process
    • Practice development
    • Additional information
  • Evidence of visual research and research processes
  • Evidence of your working methods and development processes
  • Evidence of critical analysis and evaluation
  • Examples of work from previous studies and/or professional experience

Your portfolio should be delivered in one of the following formats:

  • As a PDF document – comprised of images or pages.
  • As a web portfolio link – preferably as a portfolio page or set of pages with carefully selected recent work.

For more detailed information on what your portfolio should include click here.

Reading and Materials Requirements

During your studies with IDI you will need access to specific pieces of equipment, which will enable you to complete your coursework. Sourcing these will be your responsibility and any costs incurred are not included in your fees. For further information about the equipment requirements, please refer to the programme Reading and Materials List.

The requirement is to have access to the materials, not necessarily to own them. For example, they may be accessed in an open access studio, media resource centre, library, StudyNet or community centre. Equipment and materials can be acquired as you work through the course materials, they do not necessarily have to be purchased at the start of your course and what you require may vary in quantity and range depending on the work you carry out.

If you have any problems gaining access to the equipment required, you can contact our Admissions Advisors who will be able to give you more information and answer any queries.

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Fees and Discounts


  • Our standard fees for postgraduate level courses are £6,000



From £510 per month
  • Three instalments of £2,020
    Total payment of £6,060*
  • 12 instalments of £510
    Total payment of £6,120*


From £255 per month
  • Six instalments of £1,010
    Total payment of £6,060*
  • 24 instalments of £255
    Total payment of £6,120*

*Please note these figures include a small administration fee.

Employers and self-employed student discounts

We offer a discount to employers who are supporting their employees to study with IDI. Students who are self-employed can also benefit from this discount.

We can also arrange a group price for employers who want to support a number of employees.

For details of payment options and to find out how this could benefit you and your business please contact Danielle Gray on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Future Finance student loans

IDI is partnered with Future Finance to offer current and prospective students on the following courses the opportunity to apply for loans:

  • All MA courses
  • All BA (Hons) courses

To find out more about fees, funding and Future Finance student loans, please click here.


Should our fees be subject to an increase at any time during your studies, your fees will be fixed at the level you paid at the start of your course, as long as you follow your original pattern of study.

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ma photo careers

This course will prepare you for a career as a photographer, as well as for design-related roles in digital graphics, online media, communications and marketing, publishing, advertising and various other related fields.

If you think you might be more suited to an undergraduate degree, you might want to consider our BA (Hons) Photography programme.

Whichever path you choose, you will have lots of opportunities to generate a strong portfolio of projects that will help you to secure a job in the exciting and flourishing photography industry.

Potential Careers:

  • Creative Director
  • Freelance Photographer
  • Art Director
  • Digital Retoucher
  • Advertising
  • Portrait Artist
  • Production Artist
  • Fine Art Photographer
  • Fashion Photographer
  • Product Photographer
  • Wildlife Photographer
  • Event Photographer
  • Travel Photographer
  • Wedding Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • Photography Teacher/Lecturer
  • Commercial Photographer
  • Forensic Photographer


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Student Discounts and Offers

Through partnerships and initiatives, we are able to offer our students institutional discounts on various products and services to help you gain access to quality materials at an affordable fee.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As an IDI student, you would be eligible for a discount of up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud* on production of an approved 'Proof of Student Status' letter.

*Adobe Creative Cloud is only available in selected countries. Find out if you can gain access from where you live by clicking here.

Graphics Direct

IDI students can also receive additional discounts. Enter ‘IDI’ at the Graphics Direct checkout and you will receive an extra 10% off, even on discounted and sale items.


All of our tutors are professionals with first class educational experience. We guarantee our students a consistently high standard of tuition, guidance and support across all of the online art and design courses that we deliver.

Click on the images below to find out more about their practice and experience:

  • Dr Alessandra Campoli

  • Andrew Moran

  • Joanna Kane

Course Duration

The MA Photography (Visual Communication) award is currently available for part-time study. Subject to minimum cohort numbers, the course can also run full-time. Please contact one of our Student Recruitment Advisors to register your interest in full-time study.

  • Part-time - Completed in six semesters (two years)
  • Full-time - Completed in three semesters (one year)

Expected minimum studying time commitment per study mode:

  • Part-time - 15 to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time - 30 hours per week

The hours per week indicate time spent on directed activities. However, you will also need to consider the additional time needed to read support materials and other resources, upload your work to the IDI-Study site, communicate with your tutors and interact with your peers within the forums.