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Master of Fine Arts Programme in Photography, 120 hec

The MFA Programme in Photography at Valand Academy is intended for people who want to develop their photographic work both practically and theoretically. The programme has a fine arts profile, viewing photography as a medium for investigating and visually expressing contemporary aesthetic and political issues. The programme focuses on the possibilities afforded by the photographic image and emphasizes a dual focus on the student’s creative work and a critical reflective dialogue.
Individual project work is the programme’s core element. Work on these projects continues for two years and the aim is to integrate new knowledge and experience into the creative process. Through group discussions and individual meetings with tutors and professors, students develop their own practice and technical skills as well as deepen their understanding of photography’s various social and artistic contexts. This knowledge helps students to formulate a personal approach and to situate their work in relation to both historical and contemporary perspectives.

The programme has a close interaction with the professional art world and the students will meet with photographers, artists, curators and critics who are active internationally. Well-informed and relevant analyses of the current situation in the field are an important feature of the programme, as is knowledge about how to create and become a part of various public contexts.


The programme consists of courses of varying durations and focuses that are interrelated in a programme structured so as to integrate practical work with theoretical reflection. The programme is taught mainly in the form of seminars, which means that the theory courses are based on joint discussions and interpretations of the texts included in the course syllabus. The course literature is selected to provide students with both an in-depth knowledge of key theoretical texts and an orientation in topical issues concerning photography, art and visual culture. Because theory and practice are continuously linked, the issues discusses are highly relevant to the student’s own practical work.

A major part of the programme is undertaken within the framework of the Individual Project Work course. The two main elements of this course are the student’s individual artistic work and reflections on this work, part of which involves essay-writing. These essays must be investigative and critical, address a relevant subject and meet the requirements for an academic text with regard to footnotes and bibliography.

One of the programme’s objectives is to prepare students to work in the art world in a deliberate and strategic way. This aspect is covered in the Professional Development course, the contents of which are closely linked to preparing for and completing the final examination exhibition. The exhibition is one of the course’s most important components and is held during the spring term of the programme’s second year.

The pedagogy course is taught during the first year. It focuses on fine arts programmes and is connected with the opportunity to earn a living.

The MFA Programme in Photography is an international programme and all instruction is given in English.

Further Studies

Since Valand Academy is a complete educational environment (i.e. offers undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes), students have an excellent opportunity to apply for postgraduate positions in artistic research. One important feature of the programme’s profile is that the Academy’s doctoral candidates regularly teach within the MFA Programme. Open postgraduate seminars are also held on a continual basis, giving Master’s students both insight into doctoral candidates on-going work and an introduction to the questions and methods that are developing the research field.

Professional Employment

The programme prepares each student for a career as a professional artist working with photography as their main medium. One important aspect of professional artistic practice is exhibiting in art galleries and museums, though there are also other ways in which artists can publish their works. Various forms of publication have become an increasingly important forum for photographic artists. Photo books are published both by the artists themselves and publishing companies. There is a culture of festivals and expos connected with photo books. Nonetheless, artists face a challenge reaching an audience of readers and collectors with these books. In addition to producing printed books, photographic artists can also work digitally and use the Internet as a production platform and a distribution channel. Issues related to gaining exposure occupy a prominent place in the programme and Valand Academy houses two student galleries. The Academy also regularly collaborates with other exhibiting institutions. The school has a printing press, making it possible for students to produce their own books and other printed materials.
In addition to the commercial market, several EU countries have well-developed support systems that provide grants for professional artists. However, it is unusual for artists to be able to support themselves on their artistic work alone. Most artists need to find alternative sources of income and many choose to work as teachers at art schools or within other educational programmes in media and photography. The MFA programme provides students with knowledge that can also be applied in contexts external to the art world, such as when working as a contract photographer for magazines or within different types of institutions, giving them access to a broader professional spectrum within which to find employment.


The programme comprises two years of full-time study at 30 higher education credits per term and leads to the degree Master of Fine Arts in Photography (120 HECs).

Entrance requirements and application

Entrance Requirements:

Degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography or Fine Arts, or other relevant degree of at least 180 higher education credits (ECTS), or relevant working experience.


An admission jury will assess applicants' artistic abilities on the basis of their submitted portfolios. Some applicants may be expected to be called to an interview. Information on portfolio and admission can be found at www.akademinvaland.gu.se/english/education/programmes/masters-programme-in-photography/admission.

Master of Fine Arts Programme in Photography, 120 hec
Start Full/part time Apply
Autumn 2017 Day, 100 % Closed
CITY: Göteborg
Application fee 900 SEK
Full programme cost 421 000 SEK
First payment 105 250 SEK
Application and tuition fees do not apply for EU/EEA citizens or exchange students.
Further information on how to apply and application and tuition fees: http://www.universityadmissions.se

Subject description: Photography

>> Read more about the subject photography at Valand Academy

Page Manager: Anna Holgén|Last update: 1/24/2017

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