Multimedia Design

MA Media, Art and Design by Research

Year of entry

The School of Media, Art and Design’s MA by Research offers you the chance to continue your studies at postgraduate level in one of the School’s research specialisms.

As a postgraduate MA student enrolled on this programme you will join a department with over thirty years of experience delivering excellent teaching and learning, research and knowledge exchange, and award­winning professional practice.

You will join a vibrant community of researchers and practitioners and play a role in contributing to the culture of research and practice­based research that exists within the department.

This is not a taught MA, and therefore there are no modules offered. Instead, the individual defines their own set of research questions in conversation with their supervisory team. The range of subjects available for students to research is necessarily constrained by the range of specialisms offered by the supervisors within the School. Areas of specialism include: Animation, Applied Art, Cultural Studies, Digital Media, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Journalism, Media and Communications, Photography, Radio, Television, and Web Design.

The MA by Research in Media, Art and Design will provide you with the opportunity to undertake a supervised programme of independent study and practice in a structured and supportive environment. You will work closely with your supervisors to develop your ideas, refine your research questions, and complete your research project.

"The MA encouraged original research, providing me with the confidence to pursue an original contribution to knowledge in the field of Machinima. The support available to MA students was fantastic, I always felt like I had the backing of my supervisors and the entire Graduate School throughout. Additionally, I was offered opportunities to present my research to undergraduate and postgraduate students, this provided me with the confidence to pursue teaching during my current PhD research. The experience gained from the MA has enabled me to naturally transition from MA to PhD level. I am currently studying a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies at Canterbury Christ Church University."

Darius Malek, MA student, 2014-15

We are pleased to welcome students from a variety of backgrounds on to this MA. Whether you are moving straight from your undergraduate studies, or perhaps you are returning to high education as a mature student, you will find that the School of Media, Art and Design’s MA by Research provides a supporting research community in which you will have the chance to flourish.

The programme leads to a significant qualification in its own right, but could also fast track successful applicants to MPhil and ultimately to PhD qualifications.

Because this is a research MA, there are no required modules, instead you will define your area of research in conversation with your supervisors.

All students enrolled in the School of Media, Art and Design’s MA by Research will have ample opportunities to participate in the Graduate School’s ‘Researcher Development Programme’, which provides a broad menu of specialist sessions aimed at enhancing competence across a range of postgraduate skills and research methods.

The skills and specialisms that you will gain from the School of Media, Art and Design’s MA by Research will vary depending on whether you choose to produce a written thesis or a practice based research project, as well as also depending on what subject you have chosen to focus on. That said, the skills and specialist knowledge developed during the programme will provide you with additional grounding for a career within the landscape of media, art and design employment.

The main teaching method of the School of Media, Art and Design’s MA by Research is individual supervision offered by expert members of staff. Alongside this you will also have opportunities to participate in School-based seminars in which you will engage in group critique of work-in-progress, as well as having access to the Graduate School’s series of ‘Researcher Development Programme’ (RDP) lectures and seminars.

Given the independent nature of the study involved in this MA and the diverse range of subjects, research modes and supervisory patterns available, it would be artificial – if not impossible – to estimate your contact hours per week; however, averaged over the course of a year, your overall workload will typically consist of 15 contact hours per month (consisting of supervisory meetings, attendance of School-level research seminars, and attendance at Graduate School RDP session). The amount of independent learning that you will engage in will be defined entirely by you.

The supervisory team consists of highly qualified academics. They have a range of expertise and experience. All our team members are qualified to postgraduate level and are research-active. They have experience in delivering research-informed teaching and supervision.


2019/20 tuition fees for this course

Full-time  £5,380 £12,420
Part-time  £2,690  N/A

Alumni of Canterbury Christ Church University are eligible for a 20% discount on this course, subject to terms and conditions.

Tuition fees for all courses which last more than one academic year are payable on an annual basis, except where stated.

There will be an annual inflationary increase in tuition fees for this course where the course lasts more than one academic year. For further information read the 2019/20 Tuition fee statements and continuing fee information.

Government loans of up to £10,906 are available for some postgraduate Master’s courses for students starting their course from 1 August 2018. Loans are subject to both personal and course eligibility criteria.

The rules around course eligibility mean that in some cases it may depend on how you are studying (full-time or part-time) as to whether you can apply for a postgraduate loan. To check whether your course is eligible, you can  email the Student Fees Team or call 01227 923 948.

Read more about  postgraduate masters student loans.

Students may self-fund their course or a sponsor may fund or part-fund. Bursaries, scholarships and fee discounts may also be available.

Further information

Additional course costs

Although we aim to minimise any additional costs to students over and above the course tuition fee, there will be some additional costs which students are expected to meet.

Costs applicable to all students

Text books Own purchase text books
Travel to other sites Where travel to other sites is required, this will be payable by the student
Library Fees and Fines Where students fail to return loaned items within the required time they will be responsible for the cost of any library fees and fines applicable
Printing & Photocopying The cost of printing and photocopying undertaken by students to support their individual learning are payable by the student
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire / photography are additional costs payable by the student

General principle policy

The University’s general principles policy for additional course fees are set out here

CategoryIncluded in the tuition feeAdditional cost to student
Field trips (including trips abroad and trips to museums, theatres, workshops etc) No, if the trip contributes to the course as an optional module. Yes if the trip is optional.
Travel and accommodation costs for placements  No

Travel and accommodation costs for professional placements within the Education and Health & Wellbeing Faculties.

Travel and accommodation costs for other work placements. 
Text books No Own purchase text books.
DBS / Health checks No Yes
Professional Body registration No Yes
Travel to other sites (e.g. travel to swimming pool for lessons) No Yes
Clothing / Kit Yes, where the clothing / kit is essential for Health & Safety reasons. Yes, where the clothing is kept by the student and not essential for health and safety reasons.
Learning materials Essential learning materials (excluding text books) in connection with the course. Additional materials beyond the standard provision essential for the course or where the costs are determined by the student’s area of interest and the outputs are retained by the student.
Library fees and fines No Yes
Printing and photocopying No Yes
Social events No, unless the event forms an essential part of the course. Yes, unless the event forms an essential part of the course.
Graduation ceremonies It is free for the student to attend the ceremony itself. Guest tickets and robe hire/ photography are additional costs payable by the student.

 The MA by Research in Media, Art and Design is offered via two modes:

A traditional research mode that consists of supervised academic study culminating in the submission of a written thesis of 25,000 words.

A practice­based mode that consists of supervised work on a body of creative practice that culminates in the submission of a project or portfolio equivalent to 15,000­20,000 words, together with a reflective analysis of no less than 5,000 words and no more than 10,000. The combined word count equivalent for a practice­based submission should not exceed 25,000 words.

The MA by Research is assessed using the Graduate School’s validated doctoral framework, which means that MA by Research students produce a single thesis (whether written or comprising both practice­based and written elements) that will be submitted at the end of their study. The thesis will then be examined both internally and externally and four possible outcomes will be achieved: Pass, Pass with Minor Corrections, Pass with Major Corrections, and Fail.

More detailed information about the doctoral assessment framework used by the Graduate School can be found here:

We have a thriving research environment within the School of Media, Art and Design and we are committed to excellent research with strong social and/or cultural impact. Our research ranges from sociological based media and cultural studies through digital media and humanities based film studies to practice­ based research in the arts.

88% of research at the School of Media, Art and Design has been recognised as world leading or internationally significant according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results, the UK­wide initiative to assess the quality of research in UK universities. We are particularly proud that 8.3% of our research outputs are world leading and a further 37.5% internationally excellent.

We are committed to research that makes a difference in people's lives, and this was recognised in the REF assessment as 30% of our research impact is internationally excellent.

The most current list of supervisors within the School of Media, Art and Design can be found, subdivided by areas of specialism, on our postgraduate web pages. 

The MA by   Research in Media, Art and Design only offers one start date per year: October.

For the traditional research mode, we expect applicants to have completed a very good final year Dissertation, or to provide other evidence of strong research ability, and to have a good undergraduate degree (2.1 or above).

For the practice­based mode we also expect applicants to have completed a very good final year practice portfolio, or to provide other evidence of professional and technical ability sufficient to complete a practical project or portfolio. It is important to note that technical training will not be offered on the programme.

International students whose first language is not English require an IELTS overall score of 7 with a 7 in reading and writing. This is not negotiable.

Applications for this course must be completed online, and interested applicants can find the online application form here.

For further information, please read our guidance on how to apply online here.

To discuss the application process please contact the Programme Lead, Dr Karen Shepherdson, preferably between January – May of the year in which you plan to apply:

Individuals interested in finding out more about the MA by Research are encouraged to contact Dr Karen Shepherdson for an initial discussion:

Fact file

UCAS institution code

  • C10


  • 1 year full-time
    2 years part-time

Entry requirements

  • This programme is based upon supervised but largely independent study. A 2:2 honours degree in the specialism chosen is required for Masters study. Holders of other qualifications will be considered individually.



Last edited 01/03/2019 11:11:00

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Last edited: 01/03/2019 11:11:00