Course Overview

This two-year full-time programme is designed to educate artists to a level appropriate to professional practice or progression to doctoral studies. Progression to PhD can be an option. The MFA is operated as an integrated and progressive learning experience. The modules Studio Research, Historical & Critical Studies and Professional Studies deal with the three main aspects of artistic practice but are operated together as elements of the one holistic experience.

The MFA is a joint Burren College of Art/University of Galway programme based at the Burren College of Art. Students register as full students of University of Galway. The programme operates in association with the Royal College of Art, London and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which provide visiting faculty to the programme. 

MFA students have their own dedicated studio space at Burren College of Art and the availability of all BCA faculty as appropriate.

Students produce a final exhibition and also demonstrate capabilities for critical enquiry through fine art, with the ability to evaluate their work through an informed grasp of the social, cultural and theoretical concerns shaping the discourse on contemporary fine art research and practice. 

Scholarship information available at

Applications and Selections

Apply online at: 

All eligible applicants are interviewed either in person or by phone.

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Final examination is by project work in each of the modules, by exhibition at the end of the programme and by essay where applicable. Results are determined on a pass/fail (credit/no credit) basis.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a Bachelor’s degree with first or upper Second Class Honours in Fine Art, or a Bachelor’s degree with a major in Fine Art with a GPA of 3.50 or above, or evidence of equivalent achievement. In the case of an outstanding portfolio, a Bachelor’s degree with a lower Second Class Honours/2.2/GPA 3.0 may be accepted. All eligible applicants are interviewed either in person or by phone.

Additional Requirements

All eligible applicants are interviewed either in person or by phone.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Applicants who do not meet the minimum programme entry criteria are encouraged to contact Burren College of Art to discuss eligibility under the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. Such applicants may be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the programme. Recognition of Prior Learning for module exemptions is not available on this programme due to external professional accreditation requirements. 


MA, 1 year (3 semesters), full-time; MFA, 2 years (4 semesters), full-time

Next start date

September 2024

A Level Grades ()

Average intake


QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes

Closing Date

1 February 2024. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis up to this deadline. Late applications may be considered if all places are not filled.

NFQ level

Mode of study

ECTS weighting




Course code

Not applicable. Apply at

Course Outline

Modules listed by semester:

Year 1, Semester 1: Introduction to Graduate Art Research 

  • Studio Research 1, Introduction to Art Research Methods. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 1, Documentation as Artistic Production. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 1, Bridging Theory and Practice. 5 ECTS

 Year 1, Semester 2: Experimentation and Exploration 

  • Studio Research 2, Refinement & Coherence of Enquiry and Practice. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 2, Student Selected Project. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 2, Formalising Discourse. 5 ECTS

 Year 2, Semester 1: The Development of a Body of Work

  • Studio Research 3, Working Towards an Exhibition. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 3, Organising and Publicising an Exhibition. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 3, The Dissertation. 5 ECTS

 Year 2, Semester 2: The Resolution of a Body of Work

  • Studio Research 4, The MFA Exhibition. 20 ECTS 
  • Professional Skills 4, Exhibition Installation. 5 ECTS 
  • Historical and Critical Studies 4, The Artist's Statement. 5 ECTS

Studio practice and critique is at the core of the MFA and MA programmes, comprising studio-based individual mentoring and rigorous group critiques. Studio research modules provide for studio-based experimentation and innovation, leading to the production of a substantial body of work. Historical and Critical Studies modules engage students in intensive critical discourse on contemporary art. Professional Studies modules facilitate the development of the personal, conceptual, technical and organisational skills necessary for professional practice as an artist. They are delivered through seminars, symposia and educational visits to Dublin, London and Berlin.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduate artists find work as professional artists and in related fields, such art curating, gallery administration and art education. The knowledge, skills and understanding developed in this programme are transferable to a wide variety of applications, depending on the individual graduate.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

Transferable Skills Employers Value

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Programme fees are available from the Burren College of Art.

Find out More

Dr Lisa Newman
Director of Admissions
T: +353 65 707 7200

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