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MFA Programme

The Ruskin MFA degree is an intensive one-year (3 terms) studio-based programme in the practice of contemporary art. You will be part of a small cohort of around 14-18 students, on a course designed to direct and develop your artistic practice and theoretical knowledge in a supportive environment.

MFA Installation. / Alistair Debling

MFA Performance. / Yan Can

‘Camouflage’. Oil on dyed canvas. 140 x 110 cm. 2019 / Hannah Ferreira

We will be holding an online information session (Teams) on 9th December 2022 at 2pm (UK time) for those interested in applying to the MFA for 2023/24.

Register here: https://forms.office.com/r/v4Fb6yaRPA

(for our Privay Notice for this event please see bottom of this page)


The programme encompasses a diversity of disciplines including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, art writing, installation, video, sound, performance and other expanded and experimental forms in contemporary art. It aims to encourage experimentation while supporting the development of a critical focus for the work.

The MFA is located on one floor with a series of individual studio spaces, alongside shared and open spaces, all of which contribute to an intimate environment of self-directed peer learning, supported by permanent and visiting staff of the highest calibre. It is an exceptional artistic environment, distinct from larger art schools in the UK.

The course encompasses regular one-to-one tutorials and weekly studio seminars, focused on your art-making, your key concerns and ideas, and interdependent development. A programme of dedicated masterclasses and skill-based workshops, designed specifically for the MFA, is available alongside a weekly school-wide high profile and diverse Visiting Speakers Program.


MFA Studio Space.

Our studio-based learning programme is facilitated through a regular seminar series characterised by a collective dynamic of mutual participation in generous and robust discussion; engaging with what it means to work as an artist today and considering how an artist's work and ideas are understood in and across different social, artistic and intellectual contexts. As part of this holistic approach to practice and theory, dissertation tutorials with specifically allocated tutors take place on a regular basis in the first two terms. You are encouraged to understand your work contextually and to discuss it in relation to contemporary, theoretical and historical discourse. Your personal artistic interests, and those of the cohort as a whole, are embedded into tutorials, seminars and presentations, determining the direction of your creative development, guided by the Ruskin faculty.


1.  The rhythm for an average week on the MFA during the first two terms (Michaelmas and Hilary) will include an all-cohort seminar for a half a day, an all-school Visiting Speaker talk for half a day, a workshop/reading group for half a day and a tutorial (elective/dissertation/personal tutor). The rest of the time will be dedicated to independent study; developing your research and practice in your studio,  at the Ruskin workshops, the University’s amenities such as libraries or field work. The last term will be focused on the preparation of your practice for the degree show and final submission of art works for exam. The cohort is expected to work together during Trinity Term to curate the show. The ruskin MFA degree show benefits from its proximity to the adjacent BFA degree show and attracts local and national visitors.


Between the two terms it is expected that you continue to work independently.


You will also be able to self-initiate connections and collaborations and have access to Humanities and Sciences lectures and seminars in affiliated departments and colleges across a world-leading University. The University’s specialised libraries are open to Ruskin students, as are activities generated by the Colleges. Oxford offers a wide range of cultural engagements, including the Ashmolean Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum as well as Modern Art Oxford.


Oxford students can freely access the Botanical Gardens as well as other green spaces in and around the city.   

Varied teaching situations will be employed to identify and provide for individual student’s needs, these include:

  • A studio programme of  individual tutorials over each of the three terms, with an allocated practice tutor who will oversee your artistic development. Additionally tutorials with your  personal dissertation tutor, to support your writing and academic input. An additional provision of elective tutorials will also be made, enabling you to benefit from the research strengths of other permanent staff as well as regular visiting staff across the school, complemented by input from a weekly program of visiting speakers who are also available for individual tutorials, and six guest artists to the MFA.
  • Two programmes of weekly group seminars throughout the first and second terms; one dedicated to the  presentation of your exploration and discussion of contemporary art and its associated history and theories in the first term, and one focused on the presentation and group analysis of your own studio work in the second term. There are no taught modules on the programme.
  • Complementary support through access to technical training for new skills and techniques in the areas of welding, metalwork, wood, printmaking and media, delivered by the Ruskin’s regular technical staff, alongside supplementary skills workshops.
  • Masterclasses in the areas such as  writing, sound, performance and research methodologies, amongst others.

The MFA will have three main modes of assessment:

1.    an exhibition or presentation of a fully realised artwork, or body of artworks, made by you during the MFA programme. This will require you to develop, create and present a coherent, thoughtful exhibition, or other presentation of artwork as appropriate, including live performances.

2.     a written text of 4-6,000 words. This could be creative writing, art writing or academic piece of written work that will require you to reflect upon your studio practice in the context of art-historical and current theoretical debates.

3.    a portfolio of documentation of studio work. Throughout the programme, you will be required to make a thorough, scholarly documentation of your work, to be submitted at the conclusion of the programme. This supports the assessment of the final exhibition or presentation in demonstrating the provenance of the strategies, methods and ideas manifest in the processes that lead to the final exhibits of works.

  • MFA tutors 2022-2023
  • Oreet Ashery (Course Director), Eve Ess (Course Leader), Harold Offeh, Anna Barham, Adham Faramawy, Jade Montserrat, Jaimini Patel, Giulia Smith, Jennifer Martin, Christopher Kirubi

Graduate destinations

Many alumni from the Ruskin have pursued careers in the fine arts as practising artists, teachers, writers, curators and gallery professionals in both public and private galleries. Others have gone on to pursue careers in a variety of areas such as education, finance, architecture and the film industry. We encourage students with a commitment to contemporary art practice, who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply.

  • Privacy notice for your data entered on the registration form for the online info session on 9 Dec 2022:

    Data protection
    In the course of completing this registration form, you have provided information about yourself (‘personal data’). We (the University of Oxford) are the ‘data controller’ for this information, which means we decide how to use it and are responsible for looking after it in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and associated data protection legislation.
    How we use your data
    We will use your data to register you as an attendee of our 2022 MFA Admissions information session. We are processing your data for this purpose only because you have given us your consent to do so, by completing this form. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting us at graduate@rsa.ox.ac.uk. In this event, we will stop the processing as soon as we can.  However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before your withdrawal of consent
    We will only use your data for the purposes for which we collected it, unless we reasonably consider that we need to use it for another related reason and that reason is compatible with the original purpose. If we need to use your data for an unrelated purpose, we will seek your consent to use it for that new purpose.
    Who has access to your data?
    Access to your data within the University will be provided to those who need to view it as part of their work in carrying out the purposes described above.
    Your data sits on the Microsoft platform and they are required to take appropriate security measures to protect your data in line with our policies. We do not allow them to use your data for their own purposes. We permit them to process your data only for specified purposes and in accordance with our instructions.
    Retaining your data
    We will only retain your data for as long as we need it to meet our purposes, including any relating to legal, accounting, or reporting requirements. 
    Your data will be held securely in accordance with the University’s policies and procedures. Further information is available on the University’s Information Security website https://compliance.admin.ox.ac.uk/how-we-use-your-data
    Where we store and use your data
    We store and use your data on University premises in electronic form. 
    Electronic data may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA"), for example, when we communicate with you using a cloud based service provider that operates outside the EEA such as Microsoft.
    Such transfers will only take place if one of the following applies: The country receiving the data is considered by the EU to provide an adequate level of data protection; the organisation receiving the data is covered by an arrangement recognised by the EU as providing an adequate standard of data protection e.g. transfers to companies that are certified under the EU US Privacy Shield; the transfer is governed by approved contractual clauses; the transfer has your consent; the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract with you or to take steps requested by you prior to entering into that contract; or the transfer is necessary for the performance of a contract with another person, which is in your interests.
    Your rights: https://compliance.admin.ox.ac.uk/individual-rights
    Contact If you wish to raise any queries or concerns about our use of your data, please contact us at graduate@rsa.ox.ac.uk

last edited: November 4th 2022