• CollegeChelsea
  • Start dateSeptember 2017
  • Course length1 year

Graduate Diploma Fine Art

Places available 2017/18

This course has places available for UK and EU applicants for 2017/18 entry. View the ‘How to apply’ section on this page for more details.

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 detail

Content: what students can expect

  • A studio-based and practice-led course that brings together a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, film and video, digital media, sound, print, performance and drawing
  • Practice and theory are integrated, helping students understand the contexts and conditions that shape and frame contemporary art practice
  • To be allocated a tutor group that they’ll meet on a regular basis to discuss each other’s work
  • Significant control over what they learn, the pace they do this at and how they might demonstrate this. Students will be helped in these decisions through on-going dialogue with their tutors as well as fellow students
  • To receive inductions into the processes and facilities available in the college’s studios and workshops, with specialist technicians on hand to offer support
  • 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


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.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Exhibition, group and work in progress crits
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Independently directed research and study
  • Individual and group based analysis and evaluation
  • Lectures and professional speaker programme
  • Peer assessment, support and development
  • Presentation skills workshops
  • Project work, supported by integrated teaching of history, theory and contemporary practice
  • Speaker programme highlighting contemporary fine art issues
  • Studio based teaching and practice
  • Student presentations
  • Team work
  • Technical workshops
  • Visits and work-based learning opportunities
  • Workshops on documentation, portfolio presentation and digital skills

Assessments methods

  • Artist statements
  • Art submissions
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Projects
  • Research portfolios


  • 3D Workshops

    View images of and find out more about our 3D workshops

  • Chelsea photography studios.

    Photography Studios

    View images of and find out more about our photography studios

  • Chelsea's digital studio.

    Digital Studio

    View images of and find out more about our digital studio


Dr Katrine Hjelde

How to apply

2017/18 entry
Please note, this course has places available for UK and EU applicants only for 2017/18 entry.

2018/19 entry
Applications for 2018/19 entry will open in Autumn 2017.

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


Further information about the application process

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

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

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.

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

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£9,250 (2017/18).

International fee

£17,920 (2017/18).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Scholarships and awards

There are a number of scholarships and awards available to students on this course. Use our search tool to find out more information.

Scholarships search

Careers and alumni

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.