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

£9,000 (2016/17).

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

£17,230 (2016/17).

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 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
  • IELTS level 6.0 or above if English isn’t their first language, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our English Language requirements)

How to apply

Online application for 2017 entry will open in November 2016.

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. Before you apply, we recommend you take some time to read the following details about the application process, including guidance on the information we will ask you to provide.

The application form can be saved as you fill it out, so you don’t need to complete it all at once. You will also have the chance to review all the information and make any necessary amendments before you submit the application form.

We will send you emails as you progress through the application process, so do check your inbox (and junk folder, just in case). These emails will contain important information about your application, and links to the online form you should use to submit the extra information required.

Required information for all postgraduate course applications

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

  • Personal details (including full name; date of birth; nationality; permanent address and English language level)
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Referee details (this course requires one reference).

Before you can submit the form, you’ll also need to agree to the terms and conditions for how we process your data – these are explained in the form.

Please note, if you’re an international applicant we will need to contact you separately to ask for copies of certain documents (for example, English language qualification/certificate and copies of any previous UK study visas).

Extra information required for applications to this course

Once you have submitted the form, you will receive a confirmation email that includes links to where you should submit the extra information we require for the selection process:

Supporting 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 in your supporting statement.

Portfolio (international applicants only)

International applicants are required to submit an online portfolio. Please note, you can submit text and as many website links as you need to, but the portfolio form does not allow you to upload files.

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