Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Master of Fine Art (MFA)

Master of Fine Art (MFA)

The Master of Fine Art (MFA) programme caters for students who wish to develop their professional practice or knowledge within the discipline of Fine Art. Typically this might include teachers, practicing artists, community workers, arts administrators, or recent graduates in Fine Art who wish to further their professional practice. 

The MFA is designed to respond to students who already have a practice and who are able to readily determine where they are in relation to a field and its histories of practices and ways of working. It is the role of the MFA to work outwards, as it were, towards a context for the students practice. 

​The student focus will be on their development of Art Practice relevant to the CSAD Subjects of: Fine Art; Textiles; Ceramics; Artist Designer Maker; and Illustration.

The MFA curriculum is designed so that students in the field of Fine Art:

  • Kick-start a career or develop an idea

  • Develop professional skills

  • Become able, professional and directed

  • Have a trajectory towards progression to a future Professional Doctorate     

Course Content

This course of learning is driven by the student's self-defined project. To support this, each student is allocated a Personal Tutor and an additional subject-specialist member of staff from within the School. Together they form the Supervisory Team.

The nature of the discipline is such that the course will rely on skilled practitioners as the key facilitators of learning, and, reflecting this, a variety of delivery mechanisms will be deployed.  However, they will all have a common focus in that they will seek to develop the skills of students as proactive and reflective independent learners.

As a part of this programme students will study the following modules:

Semester 1

In Semester 1 you will undertake two integrated parallel modules: Position and Methodologies

The Position module is bespoke to the programme, designed to cultivate your ability to position your ideas within a critical framework that highlights issues arising within contemporary Fine Art and beyond whilst advancing your scholarship in your chosen area of research to inform a research and enterprise proposal.

  • ART7779 Position (40 credits)
  • ART7771 Methodologies (20 credits)
Semester 2

In Semester 2 you will undertake two integrated parallel common modules: Idea and Contexts

These modules are designed to support continued advanced scholarship to contextualise and put into action the research proposal you developed in Semester 1 in relation to global, ethical, social and political concerns.

  • ART7773 Idea (40 credits)
  • ART7772 Contexts (20 credits)
Semester 3

In Semester 3 you will undertake one module: Output. The module is comprised of two integrated activities equivalent to 60 credits. 

The Output module consolidates the research findings through the realisation of your major project to form a curated exhibition (June/July) and a written paper or article. (September).  

The MFA exhibition will showcase your practical work consolidating your unique creative vision.

  • ART7774 Output (60 credits)
Exit points

  • On completing 60 credits in total students may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate.
  • On completing 120 credits in total students may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma.
  • On completing 180 credits in total students will be awarded a Master's Degree.

Learning & Teaching

Methods of delivery will include studio-based assignments, lectures, tutorials, seminars, workshops, student-led presentations and discussion, experimental and live briefs, study trips, and reflective analysis.
All projects start with a live briefing, and a briefing document available via our virtual learning environment (VLE), Moodle.

PDP (Personal Development Plan): You will maintain reflective journals which will be submitted as part of assessed bodies of work; academic tutorials and the termly pastoral tutorials will monitor and respond to concerns arising across your learning experience and will focus on helping you refine your overall personal development objectives and learning style.  
Lectures: Lectures deliver a coherent programme of study and general inspiration.  They are supported by visual material and/or texts.  The content may be historical, theoretical, contextual or practical.  Where appropriate, lectures are structured to involve you in discussion.
Tutorials: Tutorials are meetings of a students or groups of students with a lecturer or lecturers and are used in two ways within the programme: 

  • Expanding upon material covered in lectures through an enquiry-driven problem solving approach
  • Remedial work to overcome any deficiencies in background knowledge.
Seminars: Seminars are designed to encourage articulate and analytical presentation and, through group discussions, to develop an understanding of the subject and its context. This is a central teaching & learning method particularly when relating the learning gained to your personal research and back into the subject of Ceramics & Making.

Seminars can take three forms:

  • Those guided by staff where texts or artefacts are provided for you to present an analysis to your group. 
  • Those where you select texts or artefacts for discussion within your group. 
  • Those where you present your own work or research findings.  
This strategy is used to extend specific theoretical or practical concepts as well as introducing problem solving exercises.  Seminars provide you with valuable experience in presentation skills, blogs, wikis or podcasts, as well as providing staff with a method or assessing student-centred learning.
Practical workshops: Practical workshops enable you to practice and refine your skills in a supportive environment where you receive feedback from members of staff.  Practical workshops represent a valuable transition between theory and practice.
Practical studio sessions: Practical studio sessions, emphasising the application of fundamental principles of Ceramics & Making, focus on problem solving and development of creative and technical solutions to design problems. Simulation exercises and live projects, provide a stimulating challenge for you working both independently and in groups to experience real business challenges.
You are encouraged to articulate your proposals in an objective and critical manner and to develop interpersonal communication skills that are vital to an entrepreneur or innovator.
E-Learning: The virtual learning environment (VLE) is extensively used on the programme to enhance the student learning experience. Apart from its widespread use as a repository for learning material and resources, the VLE is used to engage you in your own learning. It is also valuable as a means of communicating, offering feedback and additional learning materials. Electronic feedback is issued through the VLE.
Critiques: Discussions involving staff and students are a central feature of the critiques in assignments and project work organised within the studio programme. Critiques are held at each assessment stage (interim or final) of an assignment or project in the studio-based modules where you present your work to your year group and tutor for feedback and debate. This event is a cornerstone of the learning process. Assignments are designed to ensure that you tackle a wide range of case studies or precedent that illustrates a variety of situations or solutions. The critique process ensures you learn from work being done by others as well as through your own efforts.


The learning outcomes are assessed within the modules through a variety of methods including essays, presentations and project work etc, as seen in individual module descriptors.

Assessment takes place at strategic points in the academic year to enable and support your continued development. Group critiques and tutorials offer continuous feedback opportunities. Peer and self-assessment is used extensively.

Employability & Careers

The MA Fine Art programme enables students to enhance their careers as, or to become, established artists leading towards a career, a PhD, or to a Professional Doctorate. Cardiff School of Art and Design offers Professional Doctoral programs in both Art and Design.

Our Masters in Fine Art is designed to enable students to achieve the attributes of greater flexibility, adaptability, and individual responsibility and autonomy as professional designers or researchers. The course aims to develop individuality, creativity, self-reliance, initiative, and the ability to perform in rapidly changing environments as well as increasing competence with research skills and methods which will make graduates highly employable as academics and/or researchers, or enable them to develop an active and sustained practice as designers.

The MFA enables graduates, mid-career and professional practitioners from within and outside of the discipline of Fine Art to negotiate and examine strategies of practice whilst being able to create their own hybrids of material and theoretical based practices that can further enhance the discipline.

All students receive individual PDP tutorials to support employability and life-long learning. Students will be expected to maintain learning journals evidencing continuous visual documentation that integrates opportunities for self-reflection in order to help them develop as effective and confident learners.

At the conclusion of the programme, a very high percentage of MFA graduates establish or continue their professional practice, enabled by the links they have made with design studios or organisations associated with the visual arts and design. Some elect to continue with their Fine Art studies at CSAD by undertaking a PhD.


Entry Requirements & How to Apply

You will normally have achieved a first class or second class upper division first degree (1st or 2.1 degree classification) in an appropriate subject, and/or equivalent professional standing or experience in a design, design crafts, or creative Industries discipline (based upon assessed Accredited Prior Learning or assessed Accredited Prior Experiential Learning), or a discipline associated with their programme of study. In addition, those students for whom English is not their first language are required to have IELTS.

International Applicants

Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

Before making an application, international students (those outside of the EU), are asked to contact Dr Fiaz Hussain to discuss the necessary procedures in relation to studying with us.

How to Apply

Applications for this course should be made direct to the university via our self-service facility. For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

All students are interviewed for this course. Where a face to face interview is not possible, these will be conducted by Skype.

Additional Information

Tuition Fees and Financial Support
For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available. Please refer to

Part-time fees
Charges are per Single Module unless specified: Undergraduate = 10 Credits; Postgraduate = 20 Credits Generally we find most students will complete 60 credits per year for both Undergraduate and Postgraduate study; to obtain a true costing please clarify this by contacting the Programme Director directly. 

Postgraduate costs of study in CSAD:


You will receive access to materials used as part of timetabled workshop inductions. You will also have access to and use of recycled materials within workshop areas where available. In general you will need to purchase materials for individual projects used in studio and workshops as appropriate. 

Please note that costs will vary depending upon the scale and individual requirements of your work. In addition one-off purchases of personal tools and equipment will need to be budgeted for. Other costs such as printing, the purchase of textbooks and cost of optional placements will also need to be accounted for by you.

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to negotiation; it offers reduced fees for student use.


Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact the Programme Director, James Green 

Key Course Information

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
One year full-time or two years part-time.

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