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Prof Doc Fine Art (DFA)

Course overview

Start date

September 2021

Subject area

Art and Design

Attendance

Full-time, 3 years

Part-time, 5 years

Learning

On campus, dual delivery

Course summary

The Professional Doctorate in Fine Art has been running at UEL for over 20 years. It is designed for artists working across a range of media and methodologies who wish to make their practice the basis for doctoral study. 

Unlike a PhD, an exhibition of artworks replaces the thesis as the main evidence of research, supported by a 15,000 – 20,000-word written report.  The programme is designed for artists from the UK and abroad and is undertaken 3 years full time and 5 years part time. 

Students are engaged in any of the forms of contemporary art, including painting, printmaking, sculpture, film, installation, photography, text-based and digital work.  They arrive with a creative practice to be analysed and developed rather than a research question or a project to be carried out. Work-in-progress seminars are the backbone to the programme, building critical, creative and presentational skills and peer support. 

Along with twice-yearly exhibitions within and outside of the university, students are given the support to develop their creative practice, professional practice and theoretical research to a doctoral standard. 

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

Find out more

Industry experts

You will study on an increasingly prestigious course under the supervision of some of the country’s leading fine artists, including Turner Prize-winning sculptor Grenville Davey.

Career prospects

Our doctorate has helped develop the work of internationally acclaimed artists such as Max Hattler, the renowned audio-visual artist and animator.

Work exposure

You will have excellent opportunities to exhibit your work and take advantage of our close relationships with many galleries and our regular engagement with professional venues and practices.

EnquireVisit

Dr Max Hattler

world-renowned animator Doctorate in Fine Art at UEL

“The course had an immensely positive impact on my art practice and professional outlook. It provided me with critical context and support, which led to the creation of a new body of work, progressing from short film towards installation-based works including multi-screen setups and a water screen. The Doctorate has helped me steer my entire artistic practice towards a more considered, grounded, and unified expression, a solid foundation on which to build in years to come.”

Fees and funding

£10,280 to fund your Masters Programme under the Postgraduate Loans (PGL) scheme

Postgraduate Loans (PGL)

The Postgraduate Loan (PGL) provide non means-tested loans of up to £10,906 to taught and research masters students.  It will be paid to students as a contribution towards tuition fees, living costs and other course costs.

Applications are made directly through Student Finance England

Eligibility

Whether you qualify depends on:
•    if you’ve studied on a postgraduate course before
•    your course
•    your age
•    your nationality or residency status

Full eligibility can be found here 

Please take a look at the Postgraduate Loans for an overview of the new funding.

There are a number of ways you can pay your fees to UEL
•    Online payment facilities
•    By telephone
•    In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
•    Bank transfer
Full information on making payments can be found here
 
If you wish to discuss payments to the University, please contact our Income Team on 020 8223 2974 or you can email creditcontrol@uel.ac.uk

Below are some ideas on how to fund your postgraduate study:

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.

Email: study@uel.ac.uk

Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
UK
£5,420

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.

Email: study@uel.ac.uk

Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
UK
£2,710

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

£10,280 to fund your Masters Programme under the Postgraduate Loans (PGL) scheme

Postgraduate Loans (PGL)

The Postgraduate Loan (PGL) provide non means-tested loans of up to £10,906 to taught and research masters students.  It will be paid to students as a contribution towards tuition fees, living costs and other course costs.

Applications are made directly through Student Finance England

Eligibility

Whether you qualify depends on:
•    if you’ve studied on a postgraduate course before
•    your course
•    your age
•    your nationality or residency status

Full eligibility can be found here 

Please take a look at the Postgraduate Loans for an overview of the new funding.

Deposits and paying by instalments

International students are required to pay a deposit prior to being issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

Your remaining balance will be paid in five monthly instalments over your first term. The first of these instalments must be paid when completing your enrolment on arrival at UEL. Please follow the payment instructions here.

After the required payment has been made, you will be asked to complete the online International Student Reply Form to confirm your acceptance of our offer and of our terms of admittance and fees policy.
Below are some ideas on how to fund your postgraduate study:

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.

Email: study@uel.ac.uk

Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
International
£14,460

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.

Email: study@uel.ac.uk

Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees
International
£7,230

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

Entry requirements

From
Professional Qualifications
MA in Fine Art or related discipline, an established creative and professional practice and excellent knowledge of contemporary art OR Exceptional creative and professional practice and excellent knowledge of contemporary art
 

INTERNATIONAL

(Including European Union)

SEE YOUR COUNTRY
Overall IELTS 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course. Find out more here.

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Please note that some courses require applicants to meet the entry requirements outlined on the course page. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.
You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre.

What we're researching

We have maintained an international reputation for artistic innovation and research excellence, due in large part to the work of our high-profile art practitioners and researchers in related fields.

Reader Michael Pinsky is a British artist whose international projects have created innovative and challenging works in galleries and public spaces. He has undertaken many residencies that explore issues which shape and influence the use of our public realm. Taking the combined roles of artist, urban planner, activist, researcher, and resident, he starts residencies and commissions without a specified agenda, working with local people and resources, allowing the physical, social and political environment to define his working methodology.

His work has been shown at: TATE Britain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu; Saatchi Gallery; Victoria and Albert Museum; Institute for Contemporary Art, London; La Villette, Paris; BALTIC, Gateshead; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow; Modern Art Oxford, Milton Keynes Gallery, Cornerhouse, Manchester; Liverpool Biennial, Centre de Création Contemporaine, Tours; Armory Center of the Arts, Los Angeles and the Rotterdam International Architectural Biennial. His most recent solo exhibition was at Somerset House, London.

DFA Programme Leader Karen Raney is an academic, former editor, painter and writer whose novel All the Water in the World was published in the US and UK, translated into five languages, and was shortlisted for a Costa Book Award 2020. She was winner of the 2017 Pat Kavanaugh Literary Prize. From 2000-2015 she was editor of Engage journal of international visual art and gallery education. Her academic research includes: theories of creativity, contemporary art, gallery education, fictional representations of death, and art practice as research.

Debra Benita Shaw is Reader in Cultural Theory and co-Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies Research. She is known internationally as a critical posthumanist interested in urban studies, feminism and science fiction criticism, and has gained considerable recognition in the fields of architecture and critical geography. Her textbook, Technoculture: The Key Concepts (2009) is used on science and technology studies courses around the world and she is regularly invited to address symposia on approaches to urban change, posthuman theory and literary criticism. With Jeremy Gilbert, she organises the yearly seminar series Culture, Power & Politics.

Senior Lecturer Antigoni Memou is the author of Photography and Social Movements (2013). She has published in the academic journals Third Text, Photographies, Philosophy of Photography and Ephemera and has presented her research in numerous international academic conferences. Her research includes: the history and theory of photography; the politics of contemporary art; digital image and social media; visual activism and tactical media; art institutions and issues in contemporary display; Latin American photographic practices; the impact of globalization on art, photography and culture; cultural and critical theory; cross-disciplinary approaches to art history.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

What you'll study

We consistently review and develop our courses and modules to ensure they are up-to-date with sector and industry graduate skills demands. Course structure, modules and options are subject to change.

  • Research methodologies and Professional Development (60 points, Core)
  • Advanced Professional Practice (120 points, Core)
  • Advanced Professional Practice (180 points, Core)
  • Advanced Professional Practice (180 points, Core)

How you'll be assessed

Annual written reviews serve as an on-going record of doctoral work and research, and are the basis on which students pass and progress to the next year of the programme, through an annual review panel decision. The doctorate itself is awarded on the basis of the written report that accompanies the viva voce examination, and the final major showcase of work.

Detailed feedback is given, verbally and in writing, on drafts of proposals, reviews and reports.  Feedback on creative practice is continuous through the supervision process.

Course specification

How you'll learn

This programme is the UK’s longest running Professional Doctorate in Fine Art and is equivalent to a PhD. The full-time model is 3 years, part-time is 5 years.  The doctoral programme has three strands – creative practice, professional practice and theoretical research – and it is designed to follow, within academic parameters, the organic, foraging, unpredictable nature of art practice.  This distinguishes it from the more academic Fine Art PhDs. For our students, the proposal is not a project outline to be carried out, but a starting point from which their work can, and does, move in unforeseen directions.  Students are supervised by the programme team and by dedicated supervisors drawn from Art and Design and related areas, who have relevant research and expertise.

Guided independent study 

After writing and registering their proposal, students work with allocated supervisors, and a core staff team provides continuity and integration. A strong group dynamic and exhibition culture are central to the programme. Work in progress is aired through regular seminars attended by all year groups. Interim shows take place each year, with critics, curators and artists from outside the university invited in to critique the work.  Students are encouraged to seek out and curate their own external exhibitions. 

Academic support 

Our academic support team provides help in a range of areas - including learning and disability support 

Dedicated personal tutor

As a researcher your personal tutors are the programme team and two, or sometimes three, doctoral supervisors.

Workload

Six work in progress seminars are scheduled per semester, with individual tutorials and feedback sessions in addition.  The first semester of the programme is devoted to writing the doctoral proposal, supported by the programme team.  All students exhibit their work at the yearly showcase exhibition.

Your timetable 

A detailed timetable is given out to incoming students prior to the start of term, and is explained fully during induction.  Thursday is the day when DFA seminars and proposal tutorials take place.  Supervision can be arranged individually on other days.

Class sizes

There are between 20 and 30 researchers on the Doctorate Fine Art across all years.  Work in progress seminars are attended by all year groups.  Supervisory tutorials are individual.

Who will teach on this course

Karen Raney
Michael Pinsky
Debra Shaw
Antigoni Memou
Lee Maelzer

The teaching team includes qualified academics and practitioners, and other doctoral supervisors are drawn from staff in Art and Design, Film Studies, Cultural Studies, Performance, Psychology and other research areas relevant to art practice. Curators, artists, critics and gallerists and other industry experts are invited as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

What you'll learn

The Professional Doctorate in Fine Art is practice-based and industry-facing, attracting mid-career artists and artist-academics.  The DFA aligns with the institutional vision to bridge the divide between industry and academia.  Its success as the UK’s longest running and largest DFA is evidence of the viability and relevance of its model. The academic rationale for the DFA stems from debate since the 1990s about the status of art practice as research.  Practice is put at the centre of doctoral study, fed by research into contemporary art and theory, and professional exhibiting and curating. 

Employability outcomes are strong, with graduates progressing to be artists or artist-academics in the UK and internationally.  The DFA also serves as Professional Development for qualified UEL staff who wish to develop their art practice and critical analysis, and to enrich their teaching. 

The re-validation of this programme proposes a simplified modular structure that more closely represents the Doctorate as it has been refined over many years.  Removal of level 7 modules and making all credits D-level (8) is essential both to accurately reflect the level of study being undertaken, and to ensure that students are eligible for new government postgraduate loans.   

The DFA leads the way in UEL in Creative Practice doctorates and will inform and share resources and teaching with other doctorates undergoing validation - Performing Arts, Film, Fashion, Creative Writing in ADI, and Art and Architecture in ACE. 

Your future career

The Doctorate in Fine Art (DFA) leads to employment outcomes by requiring students to engage with the art industry of galleries, critics, publications, and artist-run spaces outside of the university. 

The 60-credit taught module in year 1 includes seminars in art writing and publication, funding and exhibiting.

Many doctoral students are already in employment as academics, teachers, curators or artists, and the DFA often leads to extension of their professional roles or to new employment. 

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.
 

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