MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice

Create your own master’s degree. This innovative and dynamic MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice offers you the opportunity to develop your creative practice via a range of negotiated projects. You may choose to specialise in a single discipline or follow an interdisciplinary route. On completion, your degree title will be chosen to reflect the focus of your studies.

(Specialist Title) via Creative Practice

Key information



Mode of Study:



24 months


University of Bolton

Start date:


Course Details

If you've been struggling to find a postgraduate course that exactly matches your ambition then the University of Bolton's MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice could be the answer. Our expert team will work with you to devise a series of projects that enable you to develop your creative practice. You may choose to focus on a single discipline, such as Animation, Illustration, Art and Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Media, Performance, Dance, Photography, Textiles and Surface Design, Fashion, Creative Writing, Live Events Design and Production, or an associated subject. Alternatively, you may combine several areas of practice to follow an interdisciplinary route. When you successfully complete the master's, your degree title will be chosen to reflect the focus of your studies.

We'll support you to develop a unique body of creative work through a series of negotiated projects that will be underpinned and informed by industry practice. You'll work with a specialist supervisor who will provide support and guidance throughout the developmental process. Alongside this, you'll undertake two taught modules. The first investigates current contexts for creative practice and offers you the necessary skills to undertake research at an advanced level. The second invites you to place your practice within a professional landscape to help you gain the skills to develop your industry profile and ensure your work reaches your desired audience.

With a strong theoretical underpinning, this MA is designed to develop your skills in research, critique and synthesis. We’ll guide you as you learn to work with self‐direction and originality and develop your analytical and critical competencies. This combination of academic, creative and professional skills development helps to prepare you for a career in the creative industries, as well as providing a sound basis for doctoral-level study.

The MA is designed to enable you to develop a considerable body of work and a plan for its future development beyond the course. This may take the form of applications for funding, exhibitions, publication, or small‐scale tours.

Our industry‐engaged staff are practising artists, writers and performers. You'll benefit from our strong industry links with a range of arts and cultural organisations across Greater Manchester and the North West region, which offers opportunities for industry masterclasses and lectures, joint projects and networking.

  • You can develop your unique body of creative practice under the supervision of our experienced teaching team.
  • We'll support you to prepare your creative practice for industry via funding applications, business plans, exhibitions, publication or small‐scale tours.
  • You'll be able to make use of specialist facilities across the University of Bolton's Schools of the Arts and Creative Technologies to develop high-quality creative outputs.
  • We'll help you learn about tax self-assessment, invoicing, intellectual property and risk assessments, as well as offer business start-up sessions to prepare you to take advantage of opportunities for enterprise development.
Key Features
  • Teaching and supervision are delivered by our dedicated team of experienced and well-qualified staff.
  • The programme provides opportunities to engage with and learn from industry professionals, including visiting speakers and practitioners.
  • We'll offer you opportunities for interdisciplinary work and collaboration.
  • You'll benefit from our strong industry links with local and regional arts, culture and trade organisations, studios, galleries, publishers, manufacturers and companies specialising in creative art and design practice.
  • Your final master’s degree title will reflect your specialist areas of practice (please note that the final award title will be selected in agreement with the University within the parameters specified in programme documentation). For example, your title might be something like MA Animation via Creative Practice, MA Dance via Creative Practice or MA Fashion Photography via Creative Practice.

  • Normally, you should have at least an upper second class (2.1) honours degree in a subject relevant to the creative discipline(s) you wish to study during this course. Relevant subjects include (but aren’t limited to) Animation, Illustration, Art and Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Media, Performance, Dance, Photography, Textiles and Surface Design, Fashion, and Creative Writing. If you have expertise in another creative discipline and wish to combine this with the one you studied at degree-level, we may be able to accommodate you, however, you’ll need to attend an interview and present a portfolio of evidence.
  • If you don’t have this qualification but do have alternative qualifications or significant experience in a relevant field, then we’ll be happy to consider your application.
  • As part of your personal statement, you’ll need to provide a proposal for study on the programme. This should outline the area(s) of creative practice you wish to specialise in and your intended outcomes.
  • Along with your completed application form, you’ll need to provide a digital portfolio of your work, as relevant.
  • We'll consider applications where appropriate work experience can be demonstrated in lieu of, or in addition to, the published academic qualifications in line with the University’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) procedures.
  • You may be required to attend an interview and/or provide a portfolio of work.
  • If English isn’t your first language, you’ll also need IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band (or equivalent). We also accept a range of other English language qualifications – please visit our English Language Requirements web page for more details.

Where changes are made to material information contained in this course description or a decision is taken to suspend a course between the offer of admissions and enrolment, we will inform applicants at the earliest possible opportunity and will outline the various options available to the applicant.

The MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice offers named postgraduate routes for practice‐based areas including Art and Design, Media, Theatre and Performing Arts, and Creative Writing, as well as other associated disciplines. It's also an excellent option if you've graduated with a degree in a subject such as Live Events or Professional and Commercial Dance.

As a graduate of this MA, you’ll possess extensive skills in your field of creative practice and a unique body of work that demonstrates your abilities and style. The course will enable you to take charge of your personal and professional development and reflect on your progress as you work towards your goals.

What can I do with this qualification?

This is an industry‐focused, practice‐based MA that provides you with an opportunity to develop your creative practice as well as clear plans as to how you will use this to progress your career in the creative industries, or as the basis for doctoral study.

As a graduate of this MA, you'll be well prepared to seek contracted employment with creative and arts organisations or to work as a freelancer on a self-employed basis. You'll possess the knowledge needed to submit funding applications or business plans and to prepare and launch funded projects. How you use your skills will depend on your chosen area(s) of creative practice and your personal interests and ambitions. However, you can rest assured that you'll have the knowledge and skills to drive forward in your creative career.

You may also choose to continue your education. PGCE, MPhil and PhD degrees are available at the University of Bolton.

Alternative career options

Graduates can also use the qualification as a stepping-stone into a range of other careers. For some of these roles, both relevant experience and/or postgraduate study may be required. Some of these careers include:

  • Education and teaching
  • Arts and cultural leadership
  • Social enterprise
  • Community arts
  • Policy management

Course fees

Important note regarding tuition fees for the 2023-2024 academic year: EU nationals who meet residency requirements (have settled or pre-settled status) may be eligible for 'Home' fee status. If you do not meet these residency requirements, overseas fees will apply. Irish citizens living in the UK or Ireland will be eligible for 'Home' fee status under the Common Travel Area arrangement. Please read the student finance for EU students web page on for information.

The fees for a student's course of study will be set for the normal duration of that course subject only to inflationary increases – measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded in March each year to take effect for subsequent start dates.


Click here for more information on our Master's Bursaries.

For details of how to apply for this course, please choose your status from the options below:

You may apply directly to the University using the University's online application form. Please select your chosen start date from the list below:

You should have to hand:

  • Details of the educational establishments you attended and dates

  • Your certificates for the qualifications you are using to gain entry to the course – you will need to enter the completion date and upload copies

  • Details of any employment history including name, address, dates and role

  • Personal statement – this can be either input into the relevant field or uploaded separately

  • Details including e-mail addresses of two referees, at least one of which should be someone who can provide an academic reference

Please make sure any documents you wish to upload in support of your application are in pdf or jpeg format. Personal statements may be word documents.

Please ensure your data is correct at each stage of the application before you proceed to the next page. If you use the back button at any time during the application, you should check the validity of the data you have already input.

If you experience difficulties during the application process, contact the Admissions Team on 01204 903394 or

International applications are not possible for this course

As an international student you are not allowed to study this course because of the restrictions on your visa.

We offer a wide range of full-time courses in lots of different subjects, many of our courses start in September and January. If you would like to see what courses are available please visit our Course Search.

A variety of teaching and learning strategies will be used to help you acquire and develop appropriate concepts, knowledge and skills. You can expect practice-based enquiry, self-directed study, lectures, seminars, tutorials, and presentations.

It’s important to realise that the time spent with a tutor during formally scheduled activities is only a small part of the learning time identified for a module. You’ll also be expected to spend a significant amount of time in guided independent study, such as general background reading, preparing for seminar activities and working on assignments. We are committed to supporting you throughout your learning journey, but as time progresses our guidance will become less structured and prescriptive. It‘s expected that you’ll demonstrate significant independence in your study, taking responsibility for the management of your own learning time and increasing in autonomy as you progress through the programme.

The assessment strategy is designed to help you achieve the overall aims of the programme, as well as the learning outcomes for individual modules. As well as being a way to assess your achievement, assessment also helps you to organise and develop your learning. Assessment feedback can help you develop your skills and an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.

The types of assessment you’ll be required to complete fall into two general categories: formative and summative. You’ll have formative assessment to help you learn and develop your knowledge and skills and summative assessment on which you are graded. Formative assessment will take place via tutorial discussion, group workshops including peer and tutor review, and guidance on work in progress. Formative feedback will be provided via face-to-face via discussion, online or in written form. Summative assessments consist of both practical and theoretical work. These will include creative outputs, practical projects, presentations, and written assessments in the form of essays, portfolios, proposal documents and academic essays.


The modules listed below may be a mixture of compulsory and optional. You may not have the opportunity to study all the modules shown as part of the course.

  • The Arts and Cultural Landscape
  • The Professional Practitioner
  • Creative Practice 1
  • Creative Practice 2
  • Masters Project (Full Time)
  • Masters Project (Part Time)
  • Masters Dissertation (Full Time)
  • Masters Dissertation (Part Time)
Assessment methods
LevelAssesment method
Level oneCoursework 18%, Practical exams 82%
Learning activities
LevelLearning activity
Level oneGuided independent study 85%, Scheduled learning and teaching activities 15%


The university will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver your course as described in its published material and the programme specification for the academic year in which you begin your course. The university considers changes to courses very carefully and the university will minimise any changes. Please be aware that our courses are subject to review on an ongoing basis and changes may be necessary due to legitimate staffing, financial, regulatory and academic reasons. The content of course modules and mode of associated assessments may be updated on an annual basis. This is to ensure that all modules are up-to-date and responsive to employment and sector needs. The published course material and the programme specification contain indicative ‘optional modules’ that may be subject to change due to circumstances outside of our control. For this reason, we cannot guarantee to run any specific optional module.

The academic staff detailed above teach across a range of courses in this subject area and may not teach on this course specifically.

Programme Contacts

Nicola Shaw
Programme Leader and Admissions Tutor

+44 (0)1204 903317

Enquiry Team
University of Bolton

+44 (0)1204 903903

Related courses

MA (Specialist Title) via Creative Practice

Mode of study
12 Months

University of Bolton


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We have the answers to your questions, find all the advice and support in one place.

Part of the University of Bolton Group

Bolton college
Alliance learning
Anderton centre2
QQA Scheme Participant