Graduate Diploma Fine Art

Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts is a full time, one year programme. The course enables you to develop your practice within a contemporary context, against the backdrop of the vibrant London art scene, whether your aim is to progress to further study at Masters Level or pursue a career within the field of Fine Art.


Course Leader

Dr Katrine Hjelde


Course Location

Chelsea College of Arts, John Islip Street

Study LevelPostgraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length1 year
Home/EU Fee

£9,250 (2017/18).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.


International Fee

£17,920 (2017/18).

Course fees may be paid in instalments

Use UAL’s fees and funding calculator as a guide to how much your studies may cost.


Start DateSeptember 2017
Autumn Term DatesMonday 25 September - Friday 8 December 2017
Spring Term DatesMonday 8 January - Friday 16 March 2018
Summer Term DatesMonday 16 April 2018 - Friday 22 June 2018
Application Route

Direct to Chelsea College of Arts

Application DeadlineHome / EU - Monday 31 July 2017.
International - No deadline, but students are advised to apply as early as possible

Content and structure

Content: what students can expect

  • An introduction to research-led creative practice that will enable you to develop your own personal direction and work independently towards a well-defined goal
  • To enable you to locate your ideas and practice in relation to contemporary art practice and debate on cultural and theoretical issues
  • Integrated practice and theory elements to help you understand the contexts and conditions that shape and frame contemporary art practice
  • To support your creative development with appropriate artistic, technical and professional skills
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops including ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, metalwork, woodwork and audio visual editing suite. View the Chelsea facilities section
  • To develop a critical body of work
  • To leave the course with a portfolio of work that will effectively support application to postgraduate study and / or entry into employment


The course runs over a total of 30 weeks. Learning and teaching are delivered through a programme of regular one-to-one tutorials, seminars and lectures, featuring a wide array of artists and practitioners.

The course is studio based and students work in a designated Graduate Diploma studio.

The course is delivered through three units of study:

Unit 1 - Exploring your practice

You will establish and develop a working practice that best makes use of the College environment and your studio.

You will ask fundamental questions about what it is to have a research informed practice where you will explore and articulate ideas through making work.

This unit will help you develop a holistic approach where theory, practice and a professional context are interdependent within a practice that you will develop through the next two units.

Unit 2 - Contexts: Critical and Professional

Having explored potential ideas and theories that inform your practice in the first unit, you will next contextualise your practice within the diversity of current theories and debates.

You will critically evaluate and identify references within art, literature, popular culture or theory.

You will focus on your own specific interests to develop a secure grasp of the areas of concern that are important to your practice.

The lectures and seminars act as models of how to focus, analyse and explore particular issues in greater depth.

Unit 3 - Practice: Development and Realisation

This unit asks you to develop your work towards a point of realisation in the form of exhibitions and through a portfolio.

You will be expected to exhibit your work and, through the documentation of these exhibitions,  demonstrate your ability to consolidate your research-informed practice into an appropriate form. 

The exhibitions will also demonstrate your awareness of how your work might operate appropriately within a professional context.


The course is aimed at preparing students for further study at Masters Level or pursuing a career in the field of Fine Art. This could include art practice, art writing, curation, arts administration, art consultancy, collaborative practice and community arts.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Evidence of ability in art or design
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Personal statement
  • A reference
  • Portfolio of work (international applicants only)

If English isn’t your first language

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience


  • One reference is required 
  • Your referee should be able to comment on your ability to succeed on the course

Portfolio advice for international applicants

  • A range of artwork - such as drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, video
  • Clear documentation of work that is too large to bring to interview
  • Self-initiated as well as project or course work
  • Evidence of research and development of ideas
  • Evidence of recent written work - where relevant to your practice

What we look for

  • Evidence of visual and conceptual creative abilities
  • A clear commitment to the chosen field of study
  • The potential to develop the full range of practical, expressive, critical and conceptual skills necessary to complete the course
  • The ability to benefit from the learning environment and experience
  • An awareness of the contemporary and historical context of fine art
  • Some understanding of the role that contemporary critical thought and historical study can play in the development of personal creative work
  • The ability to communicate and discuss issues and ideas both verbally and in writing
  • The ability to manage your own time and initiate projects

Successful applicants will be invited to attend an interview.


How to apply

Home / EU deadline is Monday 31 July 2017.

There is no deadline for international applications, but students are advised to apply as early as possible.

You can apply for this course using our online application form.


Required information for all postgraduate course applications

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form you will receive a confirmation email.

From January 2017 you will be emailed a link to our online application tool, where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

  • Personal statement
  • Reference
  • International applicants - portfolio of work (30 images)

The course leader will review your work, may invite you to interview, and will then make a decision on your application.

Please note:

We will send you emails throughout the application process that will contain important information about your application. Please check your inbox.

We will contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents. For example, your English language certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas.

Enquire about this course

If you haven’t found the information you’re looking for or want to ask us a question about this course, please fill out our enquiry form.

Make an enquiry