The University is world-renowned for the study of Documentary Photography and this distinctive MA offers a contemporary and lively engagement with the subject, ranging from reportage to fine art. You will also engage with international visiting speakers and our cohort of scholars undertaking PhDs in photography as part of our photography research centre.
The MA Documentary Photography course challenges you to explore definitions of Documentary Photography by embracing a wide range of practices, while working through real world engagement with social and political issues. You will be taught by world-leading photographers, writers and curators through a series of lectures, seminars and technical workshops which will encourage you to develop new ways of thinking about your practice.
The MA Documentary Photography course is available to study either full-time or part-time, meeting on one day per week. This means it is possible to undertake the course from a distance and alongside existing employment.
The introductory modules are shaped around a lecture programme that covers the critical issues of contemporary photographic practice, and a seminar programme in which you will develop new ways of looking at your own practice. You will explore distinct areas of contemporary photography while reviewing your own and fellow students’ work in progress. Through negotiation, you will develop a proposal for new work that will form the framework for further projects.
The final modules are structured to enable you to fully realise your ambitions for your work. A lecture programme and regular contact with teaching staff, along with seminars from visiting fellows and prominent practitioners, will assist you towards the production of a significant body of new work along with a key situating text. Students have in the past exhibited their final work at public galleries including Ffotogallery, Cardiff. You are encouraged to develop the final production of the work in the form that is most relevant to the work: for example, exhibition, book dummy or website. This is a significant step towards moving out into the wider photographic industry.
You can choose to study one of the following three, 20 credit common modules. Each of these has a different focus, enabling you to select the module that will be most beneficial to you.
Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship
This module aims to develop your knowledge of the methods to identify, develop and manage enterprise and innovation in the creative sector. It will then help you apply this to your own entrepreneurial project.
Research and Practice in the Creative and Cultural Industries
The focus of this module is on the development of research knowledge and skills, while also encouraging critical engagement with approaches to creative practice. You will also explore ideas, debates and issues in the creative and cultural industries.
This module focuses on research paradigms and their theoretical underpinnings. It also looks at key conceptual tools drawn from a wide range of subject areas relevant to postgraduate research in the creative industries.
Students will be taught via a range of university-taught modules.
Learning Through Employment is a University of South Wales framework that offers students who are already in employment the opportunity to gain credits towards a postgraduate qualification.
The programme is structured so that the majority of learning takes place through active and reflective engagement with your work activities, underpinned by the appropriate academic knowledge and skills.
All postgraduate courses in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries offer students the opportunity to undertake a 60-credit Learning Through Employment Research Project as an alternative to a traditional final dissertation, major project or production.
The focus of the project is an individual, organisational problem solving, knowledge-based approach. As such, it has been is designed for practising professionals to provide them with the tools to succeed in the workplace.
This truly flexible approach means that projects can be based on an agreed area of work, benefitting students and employers, and because the majority of the project is carried out in the workplace, it can potentially be undertaken anywhere in the world.
Initially you will be assessed through the production of experimental work-in progress, with fully resolved work expected in later modules. Alongside your work you will be asked to develop a perspective through written texts placing your work in its photographic and social context.
Qualifications and Experience
Normally an Honours degree in a related subject is required. However, if you have solid professional industry experience rather than academic achievement, this may be acceptable for entry to study at this level through a process called Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).
Portfolio and Interview requirements
Please provide evidence of a website or any other form of digital portfolio within your application. We are looking for an engagement with documentary photography or photojournalism with a particular focus on series of images rather than individual photographs. You may then be asked to attend an interview supported by a (physical printed) portfolio. The portfolio should evidence your interests in documentary photography or photojournalism and demonstrate your desire to study Documentary Photography at Masters level at The University of South Wales.
English Language requirements
Where English is not your first language, applicants are required to provide evidence of proficiency in English language at IELTS level 6.5 or equivalent, with no lower than 5.5 in any one component
However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English, IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.
For students not at this level, a range of intensive English courses recognised by UKBA are available at the university. These must be completed prior to entry on the award.
More Information on our intensive English courses is available at our Centre for International English web pages.
This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.
Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.
The course is particularly popular among those wishing to pursue a career in documentary production and research, photographic exhibition, publishing, teaching or journalism.
Recent graduates have regularly exhibited their work and several now teach in higher education. A number are also undertaking PhD study.
The course has an eminent list of alumni now working within the photographic industry, including freelance photographers and those who have set up their own businesses.
As a USW student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.
This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.
Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.