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History of Photography (MLitt) 2021 entry

The MLitt in History of Photography offers a range of innovative modules that cover areas from the origins of photography to contemporary practices and debates, including modernist art photography, documentary approaches, photographic collections, and technological advances up to the digital era. 

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Course type

Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Letters (MLitt)

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 September 2021
  • End date: 30 September 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Course duration

One year full time or two years part time

Entry requirements

The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.

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Tuition fees

UK: £9,900
Overseas: £20,370

Application deadline

Wednesday 11 August 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

  • CV or résumé
  • personal statement (500 words)
  • sample of academic written work (2,000 words)
  • two original signed academic references
  • academic transcripts and degree certificates
  • evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.

Course information

The MLitt in History of Photography is a taught postgraduate programme run by the School of Art History. The MLitt offers a unique opportunity to study the history of photography as a specialised field of research. 

Highlights

  • This innovative degree is inspired by the important role played by St Andrews in the early history of the most influential visual medium of the modern era.
  • Students are introduced to the theoretical and methodological challenges and debates that photography’s multiple functions and contexts have provoked since its invention.
  • Classes make full use of the outstanding photographic collections of Special Collections, University Library and associated photographic archives.
  • Small class sizes prioritise discussion with peers and interaction with the tutor.
  • Students may apply to take part in exchange programmes at our partner institutions.

Teaching format

The MLitt degree requires two semesters of full-time (or four semesters part-time) coursework, normally equivalent to four modules. Each module has a minimum contact time of 16 hours. The modules are taught as small group discussion seminars, with an average size of four to eight students in each group. Additionally, there may be class trips where relevant to the taught modules.

The assessment for the taught modules is based on coursework including:

  • book reviews
  • critical bibliographies
  • visual analysis and object analysis essays
  • reading journals
  • research papers.

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.

  • Issues in Photographic Criticism: provides an introduction to key writings and debates in the history of photographic criticism from the 1830s to the present day.

History of Photography students choose two postgraduate-level course modules. The third option module may be selected from the undergraduate-level Honours programme, from the MLitt programme in Art History or from reading and bibliography modules.

Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).

Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.

  • The Documentary Impulse
  • The ‘New Vision’ in Twentieth-Century European Photography
  • Object Lessons in Photography

The final three months of your course will be focused on writing the final assessment piece, a 15,000-word dissertation. Across the two semesters, students participate in a series of skills workshops designed in part to help prepare for the dissertation element. Student dissertations will be supervised by members of the teaching staff who will advise on the choice of subject and provide guidance throughout the research process. The completed dissertation must be submitted by a date specified in August.

If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MLitt, there are exit awards available that allow suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of a MLitt.


The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students. 
 

Virtual events

Join our Admissions team for one of our upcoming virtual events. During these events, you can find out more about studying at St Andrews and what it will do for your future.

Register

Conferences and events

The School organises postgraduate research seminars and occasional symposia. Each year they invite a number of artists and scholars to give lectures.

Funding

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships.

After the MLitt

Research degrees

In addition to the MLitt, the School offers a two-year History of Photography Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree option.

Many History of Photography graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere.

PhD in Art History

Careers

Recent postgraduates in History of Photography are employed in:

  • universities
  • archives
  • museums
  • galleries
  • auction houses
  • radio stations
  • publishing houses and magazines. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students in building their employability skills.

"I was attracted to the MLitt History of Photography programme because of its close engagement with the extant photographic archive here, which is used both as a resource for teaching and further research. The tutors have been incredibly supportive of my research interests and my personal development during my time here. The School of Art History facilitates a programme of research seminars with visiting scholars from the UK and internationally, including talks from photo-journalists and contemporary photographers. One of the best parts about studying here is proximity to the sea. There’s something incredibly calming about being so close to the coast."

Rachel
Rachel
- Lanarkshire, Scotland

Contact

School of Art History
University of St Andrews
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2399
Email: pgarthist@st-andrews.ac.uk

Art History website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).

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