Master of Fine Arts Programme in Photography
The master’s programme in Photography offers you the opportunity to develop your already existing photographic practice, your visual literacy, and your own creativity. In a critical and generous dialogue with teachers and fellow students, you will formulate your work in different contexts and have the possibility to present your work in public venues, school galleries, and printed matter. The programme provides analogue labs and digital workshops as well as a critical and theoretical environment.
In a world of rapid change and increased polemics, photography is needed to interpret, understand, and sometimes contribute to change. The programme encourages a wide range of expression through photography and puts focus on history, context, and efficacy when guiding you through the education. The power of photography is both its presence in the everyday and its ability to be scrutinized, analysed, and recontextualized.
A collaborative and hands-on learning environment
We contribute to innovative working models and open up new artistic research fields by working closely with the programmes in Fine Art, Film, and Literary Composition in a dynamic interdisciplinary and artistic environment. You will have access to a working environment with analogue labs, photo studios, project spaces, digital workshops, and equipment lending. One of the objectives of the programme is to prepare you to work within the art and photography field in a conscious and strategic manner. The selection of course literature gives you both in-depth knowledge of key photo-theoretical texts and an orientation in current questions about photography, art, and visual culture.
Respecting tradition while embracing new developments
Contrary to other photography programmes, we have kept the analogue darkroom facilities, providing options for you to pursue not only cutting-edge technologies, but also traditional formats. Various forms of publication have become an increasingly important forum for photographic artists. Photo books are published both by the artists themselves and in collaboration with publishing companies. There is a culture of festivals and expos associated with photo books. In addition to printed books, there are, of course, opportunities to 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.
A well-rounded education
HDK-Valand, where our programme is located, is a complete educational environment, with education from undergraduate to doctoral level and further research. This creates particularly good grounds for you to apply for PhD studies in artistic research. An important part of our research preparation profile is that doctoral students regularly teach within the programme, enabling you to gain insight into their ongoing work and be introduced to the questions and methods driving the research field forward. There are two student galleries at HDK-Valand, and we also regularly collaborate with external venues for exhibition. All of our teachers are active practitioners, and we emphasize collaborations outside the University. For example, with the Hasselblad Center and Röda Sten Konsthall in Gothenburg, Galleri Format in Malmö and Landskrona Fotofestival among others.
Elective Programme Courses
Several of the programmes include the requirement to take elective programme courses. These courses aim to expand your knowledge in other artistic areas and provide opportunities to develop your skills and abilities. In the elective courses, you will meet students from other disciplines. You apply for the elective courses based on an annually decided course offering.
Get to know teachers and other staff at the Film, Photography and Literary Composition Unit
Programme structure and content
The core of the programme is your individual project work. Through group discussions and individual meetings with teachers, you will develop your practice and technical proficiency and deepen your understanding of social and artistic contexts of photography.
Along with your practice, you will study theory and write texts on subjects of your choice, and your master’s thesis will be an essay of investigative and problematizing character. There is a balance between practical creation and theoretical reflection, with joint discussions about interpretations of the texts and how theoretical perspectives are applied in the work of different photographers.
In the Professional Development course, you will practice your ability to communicate your work to an audience and also work hands-on with project planning and execution. You will have the opportunity to choose elective courses in other subjects such as Introduction to Pedagogy in Artistic Education, Film Essay, and Artist Book.
Who should apply?
Are you interested in how the photographic image can be used to investigate and formulate contemporary aesthetic, philosophical, and political issues?
Do you feel that a world without photography is as impossible as disregarding letters and words?
Do you have a photographic idea that you want to explore and problematize?
If you recognize the value that a photographic project can add to endeavours in various fields, then apply for the master’s programme in Photography.
Prerequisites and selection
Bachelor's degree in photography, or other relevant field within art and design, of at least 180 credits or equivalent. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS. In addition, approved work samples are required. Other entry requirements are documented in each course syllabus.
Find the portfolio instructions for the MFA programme in Photography here:
The selection is based on an assessment of submitted work samples and a personal interview.
Graduates of the programme receive the degree Master of Fine Arts with a major in Photography.
The programme prepares you for a career as a professional artist working with photography as your main medium of expression.
In addition to the commercial market, many graduates choose to work as teachers in art schools or within other educational programmes in media and photography. The programme’s orientation provides you with knowledge that can also be applied in contexts external to the art world, such as by working as an assignment photographer for magazines or within different types of institutions.
Based in the centre of Gothenburg, HDK-Valand’s facilities consist of lecture rooms, a cinema, large-scale studios that are shared but partitionable, project spaces, well-equipped workshops, and student-run galleries.