Course specification and structure
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PRPROJAD - MA by Project

Course Specification


Validation status Validated
Highest award Master of Arts by Project Level Masters
Possible interim awards Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
Total credits for course 180
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Art
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 1 YEARS  
Part-time 2 YEARS  
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

MA by Project provides students with the opportunity to explore in depth a self initiated research proposal or ‘live’ project in the context of the learning and research environment at the CASS Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design.

The course is structured to offer a variety of specialist opportunities for study, with both multi and interdisciplinary debate. It supports research within creative practice supported by the Faculty, within the Faculty’s Subject areas of Art, Architecture and Design. The course is appropriate for the delivery of advanced professional practice project outputs as well as preparation for further study at PhD level.

The course is designed to provide a framework at postgraduate research level to support students to work in depth through a self-directed programme of research. It provides students with the necessary research skills to enable them to register for research degrees, go on to further research or related employment.

There is an emphasis on research methods, including empirical testing, practical experimentation, the use of libraries, museums, and archives as well as reconstructions, experimental archaeology, photography or collage as forms of data gathering. Students will also be supported to develop advanced skills in writing proposals, reports, and essays.

The course actively encourages experimentation at all levels, both in terms of exploring the relationship of history and theory to practice, and in terms of formal and technical explorations. Students will be encouraged to understand that in research process may be more important than specific outcomes and that the negative hypothesis also has a value. Students will be expected to demonstrate through their project work an enhanced ability to explore intellectual issues concerning art, architecture, design and visual culture in a constructively critical and analytical manner.

In order to support students’ project work, module options and supervision are available from subject experts from across the Faculty. The Research Methods module supports students in the production of their project proposal and provides research training on the nature and practice of practice-based and practice-led research in and across art, architecture and design. Students will propose and direct their research topic (culminating in a named certification), following completion of the Research Methods module.

The course employs a range of teaching and learning strategies including:

Live projects enable students to develop project management skills, negotiation and collaborative working skills while developing their own approach to working in real- world/ public contexts.

Peer review, readings, presentations and self-evaluation encourage students to analyse and critically evaluate and engage with their own work and the work of others and develop advanced communication and presentation skills.

Seminars and research methods workshops consider a range of approaches to the analysis and discussion of students' research methodologies and strategies in order to foster both analytical, reflective, and evaluative skills. They support students to locate their own practice within a critical and theoretical framework.

Self-directed study based on a project proposal is core to the course and used as the basis for tutorial discussion and critique, supporting students to rigorously and systematically interrogate core material, theory and case studies relevant to their project proposal. Students are encouraged to engage with personal development planning (PDP) to reflect on, plan and review their development as an ongoing process.

Technical/ ICT workshop inductions and workshop demonstrations are available along with open access to technical/ ICT facilities offering opportunities to test out and produce work in an appropriate medium based on the negotiated research proposal.

Professional practice talks and workshops are shared across the Faculty and support students to develop their entrepreneurial strategies and the skills necessary for subject-specific or related professional practice.

In addition, students are encouraged to make maximum use of library materials and e-resources both within the Faculty and University. Blended Learning /weblearn includes the provision of course and module information on the web, lecture notes, feedback, and are used to enhance independent learning.

Course aims

The course aims to:

  1. Support students to develop a structured approach to the independent and self originated study of an approved programme of work in the areas of art, architecture or design and any appropriate combination of the above;
  2. Provide a framework that supports students to develop their confidence and capabilities in using appropriate techniques and research methodologies to pursue their chosen project;
  3. Promote a lively, creative and collaborative learning environment, where dialogue and exchange are supported and students from a broad range of backgrounds are encouraged to engage in experimentation and heuristic learning;
  4. Facilitate engagement with relevant external agencies, clients and/or research platforms to enable students to deliver ‘live’ projects appropriate to external drivers (where appropriate);
  5. Foster a critical, analytical and reflective approach in relation to practice within social, cultural, philosophical and ethical dimensions, that enables students to determine their research ambitions and identify and test appropriate methods to achieve them;
  6. Enable students to develop and present a substantial body of practical and theoretical work, demonstrating an appropriate level of professional and intellectual attainment that supports further study or professional practice.

Course learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Initiate, manage and deliver a sustained, structured and systematic approach to the independent study of an approved programme of work;
  2. Engage effectively with the context of the project using appropriate critical language; providing evidence of awareness of critical debates and issues which relate to the project.


Cognitive/Intellectual Skills

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Employ advanced capabilities in articulation, analysis, reflection, project management, and judgement;
  2. Report and communicate the progress of research and present findings in a manner that is appropriate to the nature of the proposal and agreed criteria.


Practical Skills

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Present project work demonstrating an appropriate use of practitioner skills in relation to practical, technical and theoretical understanding in a manner that reflects the proposal and agreed criteria;
  2. Utilise enhanced research and strategic skills of organisation, experimentation, reflection and analysis;

K​ey/Transferable Skills

By the end of the course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify and manage the implications of ethical dilemmas and work pro-actively with others as appropriate to formulate solutions;
  2. Engage confidently in academic and professional communication with others, reporting on action clearly, autonomously, and competently;
  3. Employ effective independent learning strategies required for continuing professional study and/or research at a higher level

Principle QAA benchmark statements

SEEC and QAA level descriptors for Masters

Assessment strategy

Assessment is based on individual project/ portfolio development, written submissions, individual and group presentations and a culminating project/ thesis. Students are required to submit a portfolio of their relevant practical work together with all supporting material. Assessment includes a combination of diagnostic, formative and summative methods.
Students are expected to participate reflectively in assessment. Self-evaluation involves students in reflection on their own progress, in relation to the learning outcomes and mirrors the assessment process conducted by the course team, providing the basis for discussion at assessment feedback sessions after formal coursework assessment has taken place.

Formative Assessment is built into all modules and is designed to provide students with feedback on progress and development. Students are expected to maintain appropriate records of their work as it develops across their agreed programme of study and to take part in seminar discussion of their own and others' work. Included amongst the type of work considered during formative assessment are: sketch books; log books; lecture/seminar notes; drafts; papers; photographs; samples of materials and mock-ups; test pieces; presentations and papers and the organisation of extracurricular activities such as visits and collaborative work. Students will be required to produce a range of work when attending tutorials and to present it as supporting material for final assessments.

The course requires students to give formal presentations to their tutors and peers on their research and practice. These sessions support students to develop their critical engagement and self-confidence and enable them to manage their aspirations and ambitions. Modules with written assignments will normally require students to hand in a draft for formative feedback before the final deadline submission.

Summative assessment involves a formal presentation of work produced and considers the measure of achievement in relation to module learning outcomes. Students will be required to demonstrate the successful completion of each module by means of a final submission of work that satisfies the stated aims, objectives, and criteria by means of the indicated assessment items.

In line with postgraduate research and its articulation through individually Negotiated Learning Agreements, the MA By Project is not prescriptive in terms of the precise nature of the work presented for final assessment, however the following guidelines apply:

  1. The nature and intention of any work undertaken by a student will be determined in advance through tutorial discussion, agreed between the individual student and appropriate tutors.
  2. A written statement, describing the proposed project and/or sub-projects will be approved in advance by appropriate tutors. The student's statement must be available at the time of assessment.
  3. Examples of work that would be suitable for final submission, include:

For practice-led research

  1. Theory elements: essays; reports; seminar papers and working papers
  2. Project work: work carried out in the appropriate media that satisfies a stated brief such as experimental and test pieces related to a particular technology; work that explores a set of formal or aesthetic problems, or work that investigates a specific art or design issue.
  3. Work of an interdisciplinary nature: final submissions might include photographic essays; work related to a museum collection; a catalogue raisonné; or the development of ideas across a range of Media.

For Critical and Evaluative Research Report

  1. Dissertation with preparatory material and the critical and reflective report. Preparatory materials may consist of: notes, drafts, research files, collected data.

Students will be made aware in briefing documents as well as through tutorials, of the 'process' basis of the course which places the emphasis on exploration and development, rather than necessarily highly resolved final artefacts/outcomes.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

Work based learning is negotiated individually as appropriate, through engagement in live projects and/or collaborative venture, based upon the nature of the project proposed.

Course specific regulations

The course will undertake a formal academic review of student performance at the end of each semester. Students performing below threshold standard will be recommended and/or required to revise their programme of study.

CASS PGT Students can be considered for APL into the MA by Project (from a relevant PG course) up to 60 credits on the basis of submission of a project proposal and interview.

Students returning from an intermission of study are required to submit a revised project proposal of an appropriate standard prior to re-enrolment.

The final award is MA by Project. Students will nominate their research topic to appear on their final certification during study.

Modules required for interim awards

Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits):
Any combination of modules is valid for this award
Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits):
Any combination of modules is valid for this award
Masters (180 credits):
All modules are core and required for this award

Part time study (24 months)
Year 1: FA7025 Research Methods in Art, Architecture and Design (40), (40) FA7045 Sustainable Practice, FA7027 Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture & Design

Year 2: FA7P30 Research Project in Art, Architecture and Design (60), FA 7047 Project Development


The Project module must be taken in the final year of MA study. Alternate sequencing of the other modules may be considered with academic consent.

Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course aims to enable students to develop their confidence and independence as researchers and practitioners. This is supported through seminars and workshops that directly consider strategies for self directed research and reflective learning. Strategies for managing independent learning are considered and discussed in both group and individual sessions.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

Professional Practice support is available across the Faculty through public lectures, workshops and seminars. Students are invited to attend, as appropriate to their project to critically explore aspects of employment, consultancy and self-employment.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

The Faculty has a strong public profile, this includes external exhibitions, lecture programmes and live projects. Visiting critics and speakers are regularly hosted and have direct contact with students in reviews and presentations.

Career opportunities

The MA by Project will help you further your practice, cultivate your professional profile and explore new careers in the creative fields. You'll be encouraged and supported in building your own network of contacts as your progress towards the next stage in your career.

Past students have used the MA to launch new businesses as well as further their careers in a variety of professions. The MA by Project provides the opportunity to progress the theoretical development of your practice to a higher level and is a suitable base for the development of a PhD.

Entry requirements

You will be required to have:

  • an honours degree in the subject of the project

Applications are also considered from those with degrees in related disciplines and those with related professional or BTEC qualifications.

Consideration will be given to those without standard entry qualifications who have gained non-certified experience through prior learning, provided evidence is given that this is commensurate with entry qualifications for a postgraduate course.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2013/14 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 01 Sep 2013 Last validation date 01 Sep 2013  
Sources of funding HE FUNDING COUNCIL FOR ENGLAND
JACS codes W640 (Photography): 100%
Route code PROJAD

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 07 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
FA7025 Research Methods in Art, Architecture and Design Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
FA7027 Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and D... Core 20 CITY SPR MON PM
FA7045 Sustainable Practice Core 20 CITY AUT MON PM
FA7047 Project Development Core 40 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
FA7P30 Research Project in Art, Architecture and Design Core 60 CITY SUM THU PM
          CITY AUT+SPR    
          CITY SUM THU AM

Stage 1 Level 07 January start Not currently offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
FA7025 Research Methods in Art, Architecture and Design Core 40        
FA7027 Theoretical Studies for Art, Architecture and D... Core 20        
FA7045 Sustainable Practice Core 20        
FA7047 Project Development Core 40        
FA7P30 Research Project in Art, Architecture and Design Core 60