MPhil (Fine Art) - Full Time and Part Time Study

MPhil (Fine Art)


The MPhil (Fine Art) is a practice-based postgraduate research programme. The aim of the programme is the generation of a contribution to knowledge and understanding in the discipline of Fine Art.

Students will undertake a programme of enquiry conducted through a combination of practice-based research and other research methods as appropriate. Students undertaking the programme, are required to produce a significant body of work supported by a written thesis with a word count of approximately 20,000, providing a critical account of the research process undertaken. The student’s work will be presented in the form of a final exhibition of work at Burren College of Art.

The MPhil (Fine Art) provides a similar experience to years 1 and 2 of the PhD fulltime programme, providing the opportunity to undertake an extended body of research through fine art practice supported by a written text.  It will also allow students to progress to the PhD (Studio Art), where the research being undertaken is adjudged to be sufficiently robust to meet the requirements for a PhD programme. Alternatively, it can also provide an exit route from the PhD programme, which provides recognition for the research completed, in situations where a student is unable to complete the requirements of the PhD programme, through personal or other circumstances.



Modes of Study

Full Time
The MPhil programme will normally be completed over two years on a fulltime basis (@90 ECTS per year).

Part Time
The MPhil will normally be completed over three years on a part-time basis (@60 ECTS per year).

Programmes of Enquiry

The objective of the programme is to allow students to undertake practice-based research related to the following aspects of fine art:

  • Drawing and painting as processes of enquiry;
  • Art & Ecology;
  • Creative methods and methodology in art;
  • Public, site-specific, political, social and relational aspects of art;
  • Performance and live art including video;
  • Feminism in art;
  • Interdisciplinary art research that promotes collaboration across academic boundaries.


Learning Outcomes for the Programme

On the successful completion of this programme students will be able to:

• Pursue a defined key research question through studio research;
• Investigate cognate studio research undertaken by others internationally;
• Evaluate the practical dimensions of practice-based research;
• Provide a reflective analysis of the process of research in fine art;
• Critique the process of the research and its contribution to the process of creating art.


Supervision is undertaken by a team with a primary supervisor and one or more co-supervisors for each student.

BCA faculty available for supervision include:

• Conor McGrady, Dean of Academic Affairs
• Dr Áine Phillips, Head of Sculpture
• Dr Eileen Hutton, Lecturer in Art & Ecology
• Dr Ruby Wallis, Lecturer in Photography

Other members of BCA faculty may be available by arrangement. A supervision team may also include faculty from University of Galway or another university as appropriate.

Assessment & Examination

Assessment is conducted at the end of each semester by an Internal Examination Board who are the Dean and faculty teaching on the programme.  At the end of each academic year, and in the final examination, they are joined by an External Examiner, an independent academic appointed by University of Galway to assure critical distance and objectivity in the examination process. Upon completion of the external examination process an Examination Board meeting is convened, comprising of the Dean, External Examiner and a representative from the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies at University of Galway, who formally approve final marks.

The final examination comprises:

  • the submission of a body of work that embodies a contribution to knowledge and understanding, normally by exhibition;
  • a written reflective analysis of the theoretical and historical context of the research subject to a maximum word count of 10,000 words and a minimum of 5,000 words;
  • a written critical review of the process of the research subject to a maximum word count of 10,000 words and a minimum of 6,000 words;
  • a 500 word summary of the contribution to knowledge and understanding together with documentation of the work;

All elements of the examination must be passed. The submission is examined with reference to the initial aims of the research project.

Please note that in the event of a failure to progress, or a voluntary withdrawal from the program, tuition is non refundable.

Award of the MPhil
The MPhil is awarded by the University of Galway within the regulations and terms for the MPhil degree and subject to the guidelines and protocols of the University, as published in the General Calendar of the University, and other sources as may be in place from time to time.


What is the difference between the MFA and the MPhil?
The MFA is a taught masters programme, where students are required to complete 120 ECTS delivered through a series of taught modules. The MPhil is an advanced research masters programme. Instead of being delivered through taught modules it comprises of independent, self-directed research, focused on a single research project, carried out through practice based research and supported by a written text.


Can I progress to the PhD if enrolled in the MPhil?
Students enrolled for the MPhil (Fine Art) can be considered for transfer to the PhD (Studio Art) at the end of Year 2, if the research being undertaken is adjudged to be sufficiently robust to meet the requirements for a PhD programme.


For any further information about the MPhil or the application process, please contact:

Lisa Newman, Director of Admissions:


T: +353 65 7077200

Or, submit an enquiry through the Contact Form below: