MFA Fine Art - AD426

The aim of this programme is to produce advanced art that actively engages with contemporary society and the public sphere. MFA Fine Art is a full-time course starting in January 2025 (2-year programme)

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What to Expect

The MFA Fine Art programme is aimed at artists and recent graduates who want to advance their art practices, engage with the relationships between contemporary art and theory and consider what art might be in relation to today’s social, cultural and political situations. The MFA programme recognises that contemporary art is transdisciplinary in spirit, contributing to the diversity of life today. It supports a range of practice-based inquiry across the fields of contemporary art including public art, performance, moving image, digital media, painting, print, sculpture, expanded and emergent practices. Themes addressed by MFA students include bodies, objects, spaces, images, gender, sexuality, language and immaterial labour.

Students are encouraged to develop their individual research pathway in finding new ways of making, modelling and situating their projects in relation to the spectrum of contemporary art discourse and practice and wider audiences. The spine of this programme is centred upon an experiential art practice engagement with structured components that explore research methods and lectures in contemporary art practices. The advanced study required at masters level is delivered by leading practitioners in the field, including artists, curators, writers and other relevant professionals.

The core components of the course are the studios and technical facilities, project spaces, written elements and critical seminars where students present and test work and reflect on their approach to materials and the theoretical and historical frameworks informing their practices. In their final year of study MFA students produce a major practice project for public exhibition, and also choose between working on a collaborative exhibition project or an extended writing project.

Opportunities to Engage

These programmes have their foundations in a consistent commitment to the ‘publication’ of practice through exhibition. These moments of public exhibition are visible in interim opportunities to test work within and outside the academy, and in the public exhibition of the student’s major research project at the end of their studies with invited responses from curators. MFA exhibitions and events have been developed in a variety of locations and venues such as Rua Red, the Hugh Lane Gallery, the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Solstice Art Centre, the Lighthouse Cinema and the Point Depot and are a significant feature of the Dublin and Irish cultural landscape.

The programme is developed around a pathways model that affords specialism in relation to known and expanded conceptions of contemporary art. You choose engagement with a range of discursive seminars and lectures across areas of socially engaged practices, digital world perspectives, theoretical coordinates and interdisciplinary components - some drawing upon our close relationship with University College Dublin.

Regular field trips to major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial and Glasgow International and alternative art venues are a core part of the programme experience in addition to a programme of visiting lectures and masterclasses with international artists and art professionals. Recent contributors include Alan Phelan, Jaki Irvine, Michael Hill, Lívia Páldi and Georgina Jackson.

The School of Fine Art also offers:

MFA Art in the Contemporary World (with the School of Visual Culture): Students who successfully complete taught elements of the MA Art in the Contemporary World can proceed on the basis of a suitable portfolio to a second year of studio based study towards an MFA degree.

Scholarships at the School of Fine Art

Continuing NCAD Graduates and Alumni will be eligible for a reduced tuition fee of €4,400 per academic year. (The normal fee rate is €5,400 per academic year.)

Educational Standard

All applicants are expected to present an approved Bachelor degree at minimum level of 2nd class honours (2.2)

Applicants who do not meet the minimum academic entry requirements may be considered on the basis of prior work or learning experience (RPEL). Candidates may be required to pass a qualifying examination set by the relevant department before being accepted to a Masters degree programme. Attendance at selected undergraduate lecture courses at NCAD, together with related written work may be prescribed. 

You may apply for the programme if you are currently completing your Undergraduate Degree. NCAD will review the rest of your application If necessary, we can make you a Conditional Offer. When your degree is completed and you send us final transcripts we will upgrade this to a Full Offer

Essential Supporting Documents 

  • A Statement of Interest - 500 words framing your reasons for applying to the programme. Please indicate a subject/discipline area that you believe can best advance your practice.   
  • A recent CV
  • Certified transcripts of previous programmes followed
  • Certified copies of degree/ certificates and/or other appropriate third level qualifications bearing the official stamp of the institution.
  • Reference 1 (Academic - Head of School/Department preferred)
    • Some referees prefer to submit the reference directly to the college. If this is the case, please instruct your referee to email a standard reference to
    • Please make sure all references contain the letterhead and the institution contact email address for the referee.
  • Reference 2 (Tutor or Current/Recent Employer)


  • Applications for Fine Art programmes must be supported by visual or other documentation that best represents your practice.
  • Applicants are requested to upload a document via the online application which contains a link to an online portfolio or to a portfolio* folder on Google Drive. The portfolio / folder should contain 10-15 images maximum.
  • Weblinks to Vimeo or YouTube should be submitted for viewing video clips. Clips should be no longer than 10 minutes. Clear titles, sizes, dates, media, dimensions and contextualisation of the imagery must accompany your submission on an Image Description Sheet.
  • Links to artists' websites, online galleries, or other online art sites will not be accepted as a portfolio. Failure to submit a 10 to 15 piece portfolio will render your application incomplete.

Document Description

When uploading documents please make sure you clearly label them using the Description Box like in the example below 

English Language Requirements

All programmes in NCAD are taught through English. International Applicants are asked to provide proof of their English Language Proficiency.

Full details of acceptable tests and the standard required can be found at the following link English Language Requirement.

After Your Degree

An MFA qualification is generally accepted as a prerequisite for further professional development in art and related fields. The alumni of the MFA at NCAD have gone on to pursue a variety of careers as artists, curators, academics, doctoral researchers and entrepreneurial arts professionals in expanded fields. Ireland has a vibrant visual arts sector that embraces contemporary art museums, formal gallery spaces, private galleries, artist initiated/artist run spaces.

Dublin is home to a smart, dynamic, curious, friendly and youthful population that contributes to its reputation as an active, engaging and outward-looking European city. Irish culture has an international profile across the arts in literature, music, film, theatre, visual art and architecture that combines rich traditions with youthful risk taking innovation.


For information on tuition fees please follow this Link 

There is an application fee of €55.00*


Step 1: Click on Apply Now button below | Step 2: Fill in your details

Step 3: Upload your Supporting Documents

  • You can also submit your application even before you upload the necessary documents. 

  • You can not add new documents after you have submitted. 

  • Additional documents can be sent to and we will upload them on your behalf. 

Step 4: Pay the application fee & submit your application to NCAD*

  • If you are applying for multiple Postgraduate Programmes then you are only obliged to pay the application fee once.

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

  • NCAD Graduates are not required to pay the application fee. 

    • Complete your application as far as the fee payment page

    • Click save + exit 

    • Email and let us know you are ready to submit and we will submit the application on your behalf. 

Notes on Making Your Application

The priority deadline for receipt of applications to postgraduate programmes starting in January 2025 is 31st May 2024. Applications made by 14th of June are guaranteed to be reviewed by NCAD. If you apply after this date, we may not be in a position to review your application. 

Scholarships at the School of Fine Art

Continuing NCAD Graduates and Alumni will be eligible for a reduced tuition fee of €4,400 per academic year. (The normal fee rate is €5,700 per academic year.)

Programme Faculty

The MFA team, based within the School of Fine Art encompasses a wide variety of specialisms and skills across the field of contemporary art. These include painting, print, the moving image, object based, participatory and expanded forms of sculpture, performance, physical computing and art writing. It is their ongoing effort to resource their research, to develop and exhibit work and to be a part of contemporary debate in all its forms, that are understood as critical to contributing to an effective and informed teaching culture. The MFA Fine Art hosts a Studio Award scheme, for different international artists to contribute to the programme each year. 

For further information contact:

Dr Sarah Durcan - Programme Director

Dr Sarah Durcan is an artist and writer concerned with the intersection between subjective memory and historical events, her moving image works form speculative narratives often based on female experiences. Recent projects include The Invisibles [2023], a Platform Commission for the 40th EVA International Biennial, and book Memory and Intermediality in Artists’ Moving Image (2021) which addresses the preoccupation with memory in contemporary artists’ moving image installations. She is Programme Leader of the MFA Fine Art, National College of Art & Design, Dublin.






Feargal Fitzpatrick - Media Pathway

Feargal Fitzpatrick is head of NCAD's Fine Art Media Department, where teaching and research activities ranges across photography, moving image, virtual & digital 3D spaces, physical computing strategies, performance and installation practices.Hisy current research project, 'Ireland, Landscape and Nineteenth-Century Photography', examines material that, up to now, has been dealt with largely on an empirical or canonical basis. The work is a critical-historical account of the relationships between photographic representations of place and Irish manifestations of colonialism, nationalism and capital. Through a contemporary theoretical framework (drawing on the work of Marx, Benjamin, Bhabha and Rancière), it argues that photography’s inception represents a rupture in visual culture – producing a crisis in the politics of representation – and that its consequences have been playing out through landscape imaging for 180 years. Implicated in this process are concepts of place, identity, nation and materiality – turning photographic meaning into something continually deferred, qualified and contingent on historiographical connections between images' moments of production and consumption.

Professor Philip Napier:


Admissions Team

Camille Rocca