BA (Hons) Fine Art

Applications closed 2016/17

Applications for 2016/17 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the Clearing 2016 page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

Artists create the cultural resources of our shared future. We recognise the breadth and diversity of social, political, cultural, economic and technological contexts of contemporary art. BA Fine Art will challenge you to develop an experimental practice within the context of an internationally renowned course. You will work within one of 4 pathways, 2D, 3D, 4D and XD, offering you a practice-based approach to technical, conceptual, historical and critical contexts. This will provide you with the skills and knowledge to define and innovate within your chosen cultural and artistic field.

This course is part of the: Art Programme.

Scholarships and Awards available:

Charlotte and Dennis Stevenson Awards
Foundation for Essex Arts Scholarships
Mead Scholarships and Fellowships
Yat Malmgren Bursary

Course Patron for the CSM BA Fine Art Programme:


Meet the Course Leader, Mick Finch

5 great reasons to apply

  • The dimensional pathway structure is unique to CSM. The course offers students an interdisciplinary context whilst the pathways give a perspective to explore specific practices.
  • You’ll get the chance to go on international exchanges, in countries around the world. The course has an international outlook with a diverse multicultural community of practice.
  • Take part in external projects that provide experience of art practice outside Central Saint Martins. Recent external projects include work with the Camden Art Centre, The Freud Museum, Tate Modern, The Wellcome Foundation, British Library and the British Museum.
  • At the end of your second year you can take a one year Diploma in Professional Studies as part of your BA Fine Art course. You will get the opportunity to do a range of work placements that relate to your professional interests and aspirations. You could be working in a gallery, museum, theatre, in education or an artist's studio both in this country and internationally.
  • Recent high-profile graduate success include Laure Prouvost (Turner Prize winner 2013 and winner of the Max Mara Prize for Women 2011), Ed Atkins (Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award winner 2012) and Emily Wardill (Winner of the Jarman Award 2010).


Course Leader

Alex Schady

Course Location

King's Cross and Archway, London

Study LevelUndergraduate
Study ModeFull time
Course Length3 years full time
Home/EU Fee

£9,000 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

International Fee

£17,230 per year (2016/17).

Please note that fees are subject to inflationary increase.

Use our Fees and Funding Calculator to estimate how much your studies may cost you in your first year, and what funding may be available to you.

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


Application DeadlineApplications for 2017/18 entry will close on 15 January 2017.
UCAS CodeW100
University CodeU65

Content and structure

BA Fine Art is part of the Fine Art programme. It provides broad pathway options in 2D, 3D, 4D and XD practice. These create a focus for sustained critical engagement, enabling both specialisation and interdisciplinary communities of practice.

The degree course:

  • Offers the opportunity to take a one year Diploma in Professional Studies between Stages 2 and 3 of the BA programme, involving a 20 week work placement
  • Promotes experimental, investigative and historically, theoretically and critically informed approaches to art making
  • Develops negotiation, management and team skills through external projects, alternative spaces and site-specific opportunities
  • Is proactively taught through a wide range of events, led by a highly research-active staff team practising professionally across diverse media, supported by guest speakers and expert technicians
  • Develops a wide range of specialist and transferable skills including research, planning, documentation, evaluative writing, visual and verbal presentation
  • Offers a richly diverse international and multicultural community of practice, with opportunities for international exchanges 
  • Connects with numerous galleries, museums and cultural centres in London, providing a wide range of resources and opportunities
  • Progressively increases individual responsibility for learning and development of professional identity, offering choices of perspectives in final year to support theoretical research and practice-based directions

The BA Fine Art programme runs for 90 weeks full time over three years. It is divided into three Levels (or Stages).

Each Stage is 30 weeks. The programme is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level (Stage).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: Level 4 (Stage 1 of the programme), Level 5 (Stage 2) and Level 6 (Stage 3).

There's a progression point at the end of each Level and, in order to progress, all Units of the preceding Level must normally have been passed.

If you're unable to continue on the programme, a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of Level 5.

To gain a BA (Honours), students must successfully complete 360 credits. The final award consists of marks from Level 6 units only, weighted according to their credits.

Programme outline

As well as studio practice, the BA Fine Art programme takes the form of lectures, seminars and assignments undertaken in a sequence of distinct Units. Your study of fine art follows one of four broad pathways, described below. All pathways involve studio practice, critical and theoretical studies, and personal and professional development. For all pathways and practice, students develop appropriate levels of research, initiative and responsibility in order to propose and implement their own programme of study.

The BA Fine Art programme is practice-based and focuses on making and the development of ideas that constitute your artistic production. 'Production' takes place in many ways and places, including studios, workshops and off-site locations. In participating you benefit not only from the formal input of tutors but also from an informal interaction with peers, and an awareness of their development, within a shared environment. 'Studio practice' can mean site-specific work, film and video, live performance or installation as well as work actually made in 'a studio'.

2D pathway (art practice in two dimensions, for example - painting, printmaking and photography)

2D explores how making is informed by contemporary culture, politics and social forms as much as by questions of the image and abstraction. It considers the screen, the picture plane and surface as fundamental aspects of visual production. Technical inductions are positioned in terms of these questions. In the studio we discuss how diverse disciplines, practices and forms of thought can be mixed. 

3D pathway (art practice in three dimensions, for example - sculpture, installation and performance)

3D explores matter, scale, production, material and immaterial form in relation to place and
 audience. Students are inducted into a range of traditional and new 3D technologies, and to the debates surrounding hybrid production processes. The studio is a place where the reading and writing of space can take place and be questioned. 3D challenges a conventional understanding of the studio, the exhibition and institutional spaces. 

4D pathway (art practice in four dimensions, for example - film, video, art writing, performance and sound)

4D explores time-based, durational performative, and interdisciplinary practices. Critical and philosophical positions are explored in relation to practice and current ideas such as the post-medium condition, the apparatus of technology and temporality are considered. The Pathway has an experimental approach to the studio and explores how this might challenge conventions of practice. In this context, the ‘open work’ is engaged as a site where collaboration and production take place. 

XD (art practice across dimensions, practices, locations and situations)

XD explores the possibilities of not only ‘what does art mean?’ but also ‘what can art do?’ and ‘where can art be?’ The implications of working across different platforms and placing art in particular situations and communities throws into question the rights and responsibilities of the artist in relation to the audience and the environment. The studio is considered as a laboratory where ideas for interventions in the practice of everyday life can be generated.

Critical Studies

The Critical Studies tutors are fundamental in the delivery of Theory within the course. Writing and presentation skills and the ability to articulate practice.  

Critical Studies supports a student’s theoretical exploration and provides the methodologies and a conceptual framework for developing practice. This takes the form of lectures, seminars tutorials and presentations. The Critical Studies tutors are fundamental in the delivery of Theory within the course. Writing and presentation skills and the ability to articulate practice. 

Through stage 1 and 2 there are a number of different forms of written submission leading up to the dissertation in stage 3. Teams of critical studies and studio tutors jointly supervise this. The final degree classification is based on the assessment of the stage 3 units (Unit 8 dissertation 40 credits & Unit 9 continuing practice and degree show 80 credits).

Introductory reading suggestions:

Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook byPablo Helguera, Jorge Pinto Books 2011
Situation by Clare Doherty, Whitechapel Art Gallery 2009
Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art 1965-1975 by Carter Ratcliff, Allworth Press 2001

Programme stages

Stage 1 (Level 4) provides an introduction from the perspective of your pathway. From the beginning you are introduced to practical skills and processes, research and study skills, critical and discursive approaches. It is diagnostic and exploratory.

Stage 2 (Level 5) is a pivotal period of development in which you begin to take increased responsibility for your learning and for self-directed work. There's more emphasis on experiment and risk in developing your ideas, conceptual strategies, research and means of production. This stage also sees a honing of technical skills.

Between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the BA Fine Art programme there's an option to take a Diploma in Professional Studies. This separate qualification (rated at 120 credits) involves researching, undertaking and reflecting on a 20-week (minimum) placement related to your professional interests and aspirations (e.g. in gallery or educational contexts or working as an artist's assistant). The Diploma provides a valuable opportunity to make professional contacts and to develop your personal employability skills.

Stage 3 (Level 6) is a period of realisation that brings together your learning during the degree course as a whole. As well as reflecting your development as a contemporary practitioner it engages you as far as possible with the challenges of personal responsibility and development that a career in the creative professions or further study at Masters level involves.

Critical Studies are embedded into the Units with studio practice and involve investigations into historical and contemporary critical theory through lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent research. You consider the historical and contemporary contexts of art and a broad range of critical debates relating to the form, content, value and meaning of art practices, and produce written assignments, leading to a dissertation in Stage 3. Balanced with your studio practice, your dissertation focuses on an individual chosen topic and field of research that relates to your practice and locates it within a theoretical framework. It involves the development of a piece of documented research.

Personal and Professional Development is also embedded into the Units with studio practice and critical and theoretical studies, helping you focus on generic study skills and orientation and becoming more closely related to your professional direction.

Developing your skills - external activities

Active collaborations involving staff and students embrace key cultural institutions, venues, commercial enterprises and alternative spaces to introduce you to London's varied networks of creative practice. Teaching frequently targets major and specialist galleries and museums in London as research bases.

External projects bring students into collaborative relationships with outside agencies and provide experience and awareness of art practice beyond the college. Recent external projects include work with the Camden Art Centre, The Freud Museum, Tate Modern, The Welcome Foundation, British Library and the British Museum.

There are many collaborative exhibition and project opportunities across the Pathways, within the College and the University and a well-established international study exchange. 


Programme Director:Alex Schady

Course Leader and Reader: Mick Finch

Pathway Leader; 2D: Stuart Elliot
Pathway Leader; 3D:
 Elizabeth Wright (Fine Art)
Pathway Leader; 4D:John Seth
Pathway Leader; XD: Anne Eggebert

Joint Leader; Critical Studies:Jon Cairns
Joint Leader; Critical Studies: Dr Kate Love

Tutor; 2D Pathway: Joey Bryniarska
Tutor; 2D Pathway: Clunie Reid
Tutor; 2D Pathway: Mario Rossi
Tutor; 2D Pathway: Emma Talbot
Tutor; 3D Pathway: Anthony Davies
Tutor; 3D Pathway: Naomi Dines
Tutor; 3D Pathway: Emma Hart
Tutor; 3D Pathway: Gary Perkins
Tutor; 4D Pathway: Hilary Lloyd
Tutor; 4D Pathway: Paul Simon Richards
Tutor; 4D Pathway: Hannah Rickards
Tutor; 4D Pathway: Erika Tan
Tutor; Critical Studies and XD: Margot Bannerman
Tutor; XD Pathway: Ben Cain
Tutor; XD Pathway: Sarah Cole

Associate Lecturer (Critical Studies): Dr Owen Parry

Admissions Tutor and Stage 1 Tutor: Lynn Hewett
Tutor: Elle Reynolds

Diploma in Professional Studies Pathway Leader; Soraya Rodriguez



BA Fine Art students leave with a broad and valuable understanding of fine art practice. Skills acquired enable graduates to become versatile practitioners in exciting and diverse contexts.

Many BA Fine Art graduates work as artists, or pursue art-related careers as curators, critics or teachers. Others work in graphics, IT, media, film, fashion and advertising.

BA Fine Art graduates often go on to postgraduate study, progressing to a wide range of Masters subjects that include fine art, philosophy, film, communication, landscape architecture, art history, gallery and museum studies, literature and broadcast journalism.

Recent BA Fine Art alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of student activity within the subject:

  • Alex Ball: Winner of Catlin Art Prize
  • Joshua Alexander & Siobhan Wanklyn: Film screenings, Camden Arts Centre, London
  • Tamarin Norward: MFA Art Writing, Goldsmiths
  • David Stearn: Bloomberg New Contemporaries 
  • Rosanna Manfredi: Installation assistant to Anselm Kiefer
  • Richard Milward: Published novel 'Apples'
  • Sonny Sanjay Vadgama: Selected to feature in Exposure 2009 at Parasol Unit, London
  • Jessica Rinland: Film Nulepsy accepted to London Film Festival 

Entry requirements

This degree course requires portfolio evidence. Entry to BA Fine Art is highly competitive.

Selection is determined by the quality of the application, indicated primarily in your portfolio of work and written statements. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design. 

Applicants are normally expected to have achieved, or be expected to achieve, the course entry requirements detailed below:

  • Foundation Diploma in Art and Design
  • A pass in 1 GCE A level
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

This educational level may be demonstrated by possession of equivalent qualifications; e.g. International Baccalaureat or High School Diploma.

Applicants may also be considered for portfolio review exceptionally if the course team judges the application demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence.  This might be

demonstrated by, for example: related academic or work experience; the quality of the personal statement; a strong academic or other professional reference; or a combination of these factors.

In such cases candidates would be expected to present a portfolio of equivalent standard to a one-year Foundation course in Art and Design and have achieved, or expect to achieve:

  • Passes in 2 GCE A Levels (80 UCAS tariff points normally including one single award)
  • Passes at GCSE level in 3 other subjects (grade C or above)

English language requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability in order to apply for a visa, enrol, and start your course. The standard English language requirement for entry is IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in any one paper, or equivalent. For further information visit the English Language requirements page.

Applicants who will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa should check the Visa and Immigration page which provides important information about UK Border Agency (UKBA) requirements.

International applicants can download the International Application For Admission PDF below:

What we look for

We're interested in students who are prepared to question and to take a critical perspective and who show potential to develop as innovative artists.

Student selection criteria

We select applicants according to your potential and current ability to:

Work imaginatively and creatively in visual media

  • engage with experimentation and invention
  • show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities

  • show personal commitment to skill development
  • engage with materials and processes

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work

  • demonstrate relevant research
  • reflect critically on your learning

Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of your work

  • identify historical and contemporary art practices
  • identify social and/or cultural influences on your work

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly

  • demonstrate appropriate and effective communication skills
  • present your work appropriately and effectively

Indicate the relevance of BA Fine Art to your personal development

  • develop your own ideas beyond set project briefs
  • show willingness to work both collaboratively and independently
  • reflect your knowledge of this degree course

Portfolio and interview advice

Your portfolio should demonstrate a range of skills appropriate to the subject area, containing examples of work completed within recent years, whether for a college project or personal work. It's important that the work you include reflects your engagement in creative practice, critical thinking and technical abilities and also that you include evidence of background research (e.g. sketchbooks, preliminary work, written material).

Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished work and can be shown in the form of two-dimensional work, made objects, photographs or through recorded moving image/live events.

Pathway choices are considered during the admissions process. We therefore advise you to describe any specific interests you have in your personal statement, taking into account the descriptions of the programme pathways we offer (see Structure). These interests or preferences will also inform the selection and presentation of your work.


2017/18 entry

Home / EU applicants

Apply to BA Fine Art through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). From the UCAS home page go to 'Apply', where you’ll be able to register and create a password that gives you unique access as you complete your application form. 

The University UCAS code is UAL. The University code is U65. The course code is W100 BA/FineA

International applicants

If you are from outside the European Union, you have three options to apply for undergraduate courses:

  • Apply through UCAS
  • Apply directly to Central Saint Martins. ‌Choose this option if you are only applying to undergraduate courses at UAL. (Application form below)
  • Apply through one of our overseas representatives.

Visit the undergraduate application page for full details of these options.

If applying direct to Central Saint Martins, please complete the form below and sent it along with copies of supporting documents (such as previous qualifications / references) by mail to: International Office, Central Saint Martins, The Granary Building, Granary Square, London, N1C 4AA, UK.

International Undergraduate application form [PDF, 185 KB]

Study Abroad

For information on applying to Study Abroad please visit the Study Abroad section.

We're here to help

Our website includes all the information you need to successfully apply. However, if you still have unanswered questions about the admissions process, please fill out our course enquiry form.

The University has a dedicated team to help prepare you for your studies. For help on visa requirements, housing, tuition fees and language requirements visit the University's International section.

The Language Centre offers international students quality language training from qualified and experienced teachers. The Pre-sessional Academic English Programme is available to all international (non-EU) students who have been offered a place on a full time course at the University of the Arts. For further information visit the Language Centre website.

We also offer a number of short courses that enable students to improve their portfolios and English skills before applying to their chosen course. For further information visit our Short Course section.

Deferred entry

Entry can only be deferred in exceptional circumstances. Please contact us before submitting your application if you're considering applying for deferred entry.

What happens next?

Home / EU applicants

Admission to this course requires you to upload an initial mini-portfolio of your work online. You will be asked to upload your mini portfolio after you have submitted your application.

Your mini portfolio should contain ten images and include your current work and consist of including research, preparation and development stages of works as well as final pieces.

You should also provide a short (250 word) statement about your current work in which you may want to refer to artists whose practices you feel have influenced it; you may wish to refer to problems and how you solve them and to the ideas and interests important to the work you are showing us.


The mini portfolio must be received no later than 1st February 2016.

Following a review of your mini portfolio, you will either be invited to attend full Portfolio Review or your application will be rejected. You will be notified of this decision on your UCAS TRACK.

Full-portfolio review

When you attend with your full portfolio, your application may be successful, you may be invited to interview in order to clarify any aspect of your application or your work, which is not evident from the material submitted, or you may be rejected.

Selection is conducted by two members of staff and offers of places are made on the basis of the selection criteria. Notes are kept in relation to decisions made following the interview process.

Please note that if you are unable to attend the portfolio review the College may not be able to re-schedule, however you could arrange to submit evidence of your work by post.

  • You should send either a non-returnable A4 portfolio or a non-returnable USB documenting your work, following the guidelines below.
  • Your A4 portfolio or USB should consist of a series of images of your work
  • The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
  • Please supply title, media and dimensions of each piece, bottom left of the image
  • Where possible, scan rather than photograph work. Large or 3-dimensional work should be photographed
  • Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes
  • Make sure you label your A4 portfolio or USB with your name

If presenting your work as an A4 portfolio please ensure the sheets are attached in order to preserve the sequence. Do not send original work.

If presenting your work on USB:

  • All portfolio images should be arranged in a single PDF file
  • Individual images imported into PDF files should be no larger than 1024 x 768 pixel

International applicants

When you have submitted your application you will be asked to upload a portfolio containing a number of images of your work for consideration.

Your portfolio should contain up to 30 images of artwork. Include images from sketchbooks, rough work and finished pieces. Show us the development of your ideas and your research and arrange the images so that the admissions tutors can easily follow how you developed your ideas from initial research through to the finished piece.

Receiving results of your application

If you applied through UCAS the result of your application will be communicated to you via UCAS track.

If you made a direct application, the result will be emailed or sent by post.

If you applied through one of our overseas representatives, they will tell you the result of your application.


Industry collaborations

Working with paying clients on live briefs will give you valuable commercial experience which may mean your work being taken forward for production or, if so desired, in the purchase of your intellectual property. All paid projects are conducted within a carefully developed legal framework, which includes student agreements to protect your work and help you realise its commercial value. 

Recent client projects in the Art programme include: Red Mansion Foundation. Find out more about the Dr Martens client project.

Once you’ve graduated, you may be picked as part of a small team to work on a live creative brief, organised by our Business and Innovation department, under the supervision of an experienced tutor. This can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline and has resulted in graduates being hired by clients.

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