Student life

Fahacs student life 1

We have a vibrant student community and you can get involved in a range of activities, societies and other social opportunities, both within our School and across the University.


If you are new to Leeds, there are opportunities to join trips out to visitor attractions across Yorkshire and the UK. Student societies in Leeds University Union organise trips on a regular basis for their members.

Many of our MA programmes organise trips as part of the course, for example a visit to Glasgow International in April 2018 for MA Fine Art students and inter-disciplinary excursions to exhibitions and heritage sites across the UK.

School community

There are various opportunities to get involved in the wider life of the School. As one of our students, you are encouraged from the start to have a voice and to influence decisions made in the School. We have a staff/student forum which meets a couple of times a year, made up of student representatives from each course.

School events and socials

We run a number of academic-related events which may be of particular interest to you as a postgraduate student, including conferences, workshops and symposia. A programme of regular research seminars and salons offer a chance to discover the wider research culture within the School.

MA Fine Art students open their studios to the School and external audiences at various points of the year, offering an insight into their ongoing work in progress and opportunities for discussion.

We hold social events for all our students, including games nights, film screenings and a summer ball.

Our weekly newsletter will keep you informed of all our upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, talks, exhibitions and other activities taking place in Leeds.

Visiting Artists Talks

Visiting Artists Talks (VAT) take place every Monday during term time and are open for all to attend. The talks are an integral part of the MA Fine Art teaching and an excellent opportunity to engage with national and international contemporary artists, art writers and curators.

Heritage Show + Tell

Taking place three times a year, Heritage Show + Tell is a networking event organised by the Centre for Critical Studies in Museums, Galleries and Heritage.

You are welcome to join us for this engaging event, which includes community heritage groups, freelancers, museum professionals, archivists, students and academics. Many of our postgraduate students have risen to the challenge of talking about heritage in just three minutes, covering topics such as curated exhibitions and art practice.

Leeds art community

Studying and living in Leeds means that you will have access to the vibrant arts culture of our city. Many of our fine art students are at the centre of local art collectives and organise events which anyone can tap into.

You could get involved with the flourishing DIY art scene local to the University or take part in the monthly Leeds Art Walk organised by Pavilion, which guides participants round exhibitions across the city.

There are also lots of opportunities for Fine Art students to organise exhibitions at artist-led spaces around the city.

Societies and clubs

Leeds University Union has over 300 activities to choose from, including a wide range of student societies, clubs and regular events, including sports societies, volunteering groups, political and religious societies, amongst others.

Find out more about societies and groups on the Leeds University Union website.

Our learning culture

While our MA courses are very distinctive and appeal to students with a wide range of interests, backgrounds and objectives, the School has a long history of encouraging cross-fertilisation between the courses. These crossovers are given concrete form in a number of key elements to all six taught MA degrees.

Optional modules

In line with the School’s commitment to interdisciplinary studies and in order to allow you to customise your Masters experience to suit your own research interests, all of our courses allow you to select one or more modules from a wide range of options.

These are subject to change as our staff are encouraged to develop modules in line with their own research activities. Take a look at our course pages to see what is available, to help you think about what studying with us can offer you.

MA symposium

A unique feature of the School’s taught postgraduate courses is the MA Symposium held every year at the end of semester 2. It is an in-house conference for students and academic staff with interdisciplinary panels at which our finishing MA students present their initial dissertation project ideas. 

The Symposium is an opportunity for rich and inspiring exchanges across the School’s MA courses and is one of the highlights of the year.

The dissertation

The dissertation, supported by formal research training, enables you to devise, research and write on a subject developed during the course of your study.

The MA Fine Art dissertation is 7,500-9,000 words; all others are 12,000-15,000 words. 

Advanced research skills

You will take two five-credit modules in advanced research skills which will introduce you to the skills required to successfully develop, manage and complete postgraduate research projects: the essays required by most core modules and the dissertation.

The modules cover crucial topics such as:

  • locating sources and resources;
  • note-taking and referencing;
  • effective time management;
  • trouble-shooting;
  • the construction of research strategies;
  • the public presentation of research.

In semester two, much of the module is devoted to preparations for the symposium and the dissertation.