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Central Saint Martins

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BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation

Start date
September 2019
Course length
3 years
UCAS code

Applications closed 2019/20
Applications for 2019/20 entry to this course have now closed. Visit the ‘Courses with places available’ page for a full list of UAL courses that are open for application.

With a focus spanning art, design, architecture, fashion, film, performance, literature and media, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation equips you for work in galleries, museums and collections, TV, radio and new media, theatre and cinema, teaching, and arts and events management.

This course is part of the Culture and Enterprise Programme.

Great reasons to apply:

  • Students produce academic and journalistic writing, and take part in practical projects to form a unique learning experience that places critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour and creative problem solving at its core.
  • The course is delivered by cultural historians, journalists, film makers, curators, arts market professionals and designers.
  • We maintain active collaborations with key cultural institutions and venues including National Trust, The Foundling Museum and 198 Gallery.
  • University of the Arts London is in the top 30 in UK’s latest higher education research audit. We rank among the top research universities with 83% of our research graded as world leading and internationally excellent, following the Research Excellence Framework 2014 (REF 2014)
  • UAL is in the top 30 UK research institutions for the quality of research submitted. It is a top 5 research university in its broader peer group and first in the Power ranking in the Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory category
  • BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alumni have gone on to further studies at Pratt, Columbia, New York University, Sotheby's, Courtauld and University College London, amongst others. Other alumni have gained jobs at British Film Institute, Emin International, Gagosian, BlainSouthern, Frieze Art Fair, V&A, Tate Modern and more.
BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students discuss the value of arts education
Giulia and Håkon discuss BA CCC

Recent BA Culture, Criticism and Curation graduates Giulia Civardi and Håkon Lilegraven discuss their final projects, research topics and this year's degree shows.

Crit Lounge Documentary

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students discuss the creation of their Degree Show 2016 project 'Crit Lounge'

Degree Show publications

Student work

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation stories

Show Two: in pictures

Show Two: Design opened last night as the College showcased performances, installations and work by our graduating students from over 20 courses on our design-led Programmes.

Nature Calls: Paintings in Hospitals

Paintings in Hospitals is an organisation that aims to improve the clinical environments of healthcare contexts by filling them with art. Earlier this year, as part of the organisation’s Art in […]

Take Five: Lili-Maxx Hager

As our students prepare for the opening of Degree Show Two: Design on 20 June, we take a closer look at their final projects and the inspirations behind them. BA […]


Students working at tables inside Central Saint Martins' Library


Find out more about our Library services

Rows of seats facing a screen in the LVMH Lecture Theatre at Central Saint Martins

LVMH Lecture Theatre

Find out more about our main lecture theatre

Course overview

BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation is part of the Culture and Enterprise programme. It gives students a multi-disciplinary, humanities-based degree scheme with wide-ranging content that spans the history and theory of art, design, architecture, fashion, film, popular culture, performance, media and literature.

BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation proposes that ‘culture’ – an intentionally broad and contested term – is a provocative starting point for practices of criticism and curation. Critical thinking, research, intellectual rigour, communication and creative problem-solving are at the core of the course, underpinning all written assignments, presentations and projects.

Criticism relates to critical writing on the history and theory of arts criticism, and the critical thinking that is at the heart of cultural practices. Critical writing and thinking are key skills that will develop students’ futures as organisers of, or commentators on, the arts. This element of the course can develop skills for those wishing to become cultural writers or commentators.

Curation refers to specific skills and knowledge required to ‘curate’ exhibitions, such as historical research or the contextualisation of art practice. It also includes the broader meaning of curating as applied to arts events planning, from organising film festivals to local street events. It links to both critical writing and to communication, encouraging students to consider how to communicate narratives and ideas to their audiences, when curating exhibitions or planning public events.

The course is designed to develop students’ individual pathway out into the world, and it takes advantage of its location in an art school, which puts the development of the student’s personal identity and independence at the centre of teaching and learning.

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation runs for 90 weeks full time over three years, and is divided into three Levels, (or Stages) each lasting 30 weeks. The whole course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each Level.

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the Levels for a BA are: level four (which is stage one of the course), level five (stage two) and level six (stage three).

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 course, a Certificate of Higher Education (Cert HE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of level four, or a Diploma in Higher Education following the successful completion of level five.

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.

Course units

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation has three distinct stages (years). Each stage consists of three 10-week terms. Knowledge and skills, history and theory are the threads running through the course.

Stage One provides a foundation in the histories and theories of culture from the late 18th century to the present day. It also offers an introduction to skills appropriate for the course including journalistic and academic writing, library research skills, group presentations in collaborative curatorial work, and appropriate digital technologies.

An important function of this stage is to encourage students to begin to research, explore and develop their individual strengths and approaches to their subject interest. Students study together as a whole class and in smaller seminar groups. Working collaboratively is a feature of all three stages of the course, to enhance bonding, trust and teamwork, and to adequately prepare students for the workplace.

Stage Two continues to explore the practices of BA (Honours) Culture, Criticism and Curation; students will also begin to develop a variety of approaches, demanding individual and experimental responses as they work on extended pieces of academic research and writing. Through a combination of seminars, lectures, personal research, independent study and team projects, students will explore the breadth of the subject and develop their individual talents in relation to it. Students have an opportunity to study a chosen subject in depth with students from the final year, and begin work on their dissertation.

Stage 3 is mostly organised in workshop and tutorial formats to support predominantly self-directed student learning. The focus is on the further development of independent working as students undertake their dissertation and final year project. They will also engage in further formal study of a chosen topic and work collaboratively with the whole year group towards the degree show, which is a major opportunity to curate an exhibition. The final year project and the degree show provide opportunities to respond to real project briefs, with the potential of connecting up with cultural and arts organisations.

Personal and professional development activities take place in all three stages of the course and aim to improve your capacity to understand what and how you are learning, and to help you to review, plan and take responsibility for your own learning. A considerable number of the skills learned in the academic context offer students transferable skills that are highly valued by employers.

For more information on the unit structure please consult the programme specifications by following the link below:

External partnerships

Working with cultural organisations on live briefs will give you valuable curatorial and project planning experience. In recent years, students have worked on creative briefs provided by a wide range of organisations, including National Trust, Soane Museum, Zabludowicz Collection and 198 Gallery. Recent projects have been with Paintings in Hospitals and the Foundling Museum.

By responding to live briefs, students gain experience of carrying out curatorial research, developing ways to fund, promote and publicise their project, and planning technical requirements. Project briefs can sometimes result in students’ work being taken forward for production, which can be a valuable first step in working professionally in a chosen discipline.

Project: Art in Large Doses


Michaela  Giebelhausen

Michaela Giebelhausen

Course Leader, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation

Diane  Silverthorne

Diane Silverthorne

Stage 2 Leader, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation

Andrew  Marsh

Andrew Marsh

Course Leader, MA Arts and Cultural Enterprise | Curator in Practice, BA Culture, Criticism and Curation.

Alison  Green

Alison Green

Programme Director (Cover), Culture and Enterprise;Course Leader, MA Culture, Criticism and Curation

Caroline  Dakers

Caroline Dakers

Professor of Cultural History

Roger  Sabin

Roger Sabin

Professor of Popular Culture, Culture and Enterprise

Natasha  Adamou

Natasha Adamou

Stage Leader, BA (Hons) Culture, Criticism and Curation

Associate Lecturer: Ben Bethell
Associate Lecturer: Mary Cork
Associate Lecturer: Louise Garrett
Associate Lecturer: Nathalie Khan
Associate Lecturer: Nick Kimberley
Associate Lecturer: John Miers
Associate Lecturer: Harry Meadows
Associate Lecturer: Bill Risebero
Associate Lecturer: Lindsey Moore
Associate Lecturer: Alice Holmberg
Associate Lecturer: Jona Piehl
Associate Lecturer: Stephanie Dieckvoss

How to apply

Opportunities for all

We are committed to making university education an achievable option for a wider range of people and to supporting all of our students in achieving their potential both during and after their courses.

We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you have a disability (e.g. mobility difficulties, sensory impairments, medical or mental health conditions or Asperger’s syndrome) we strongly encourage you to contact us on or +44 (0)20 7514 6156 so that we can plan the right support for you. All enquiries are treated confidentially. To find out more, visit our Disability & Dyslexia webpages.

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:

  • 3 A Levels at grade B or above (two of which are in essay-based humanities subjects such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies)
  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4) and 2 A Levels at Grade C or above (one of which is in an essay-based humanities subject such as History, History of Art, English Literature, Philosophy, Government and Politics, Classical Studies)
  • Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma

And five GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*-C).

APEL - Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning

Exceptionally applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by:

*          Related academic or work experience

*          The quality of the personal statement

*          A strong academic or other professional reference

*          OR a combination of these factors.

Each application will be considered on its own merit but we cannot guarantee an offer in each case.

Please note that these qualifications alone will not be sufficient to secure entry to the course.

English Language Requirements

IELTS level 6.5 or above, with a minimum of 6.0 for writing component and 5.5 in the remaining three components, or equivalent (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

We select applicants who can demonstrate current ability and potential to:

Work imaginatively and creatively with the written word and visual presentation

  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in proposals for your work
  • Take informed risks.

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities

  • Through examples of written work, demonstrate a range of approaches to writing, originated from personal experience or textural and visual research and progressed through logical stages to a finished outcome
  • Demonstrate an awareness of planning and time management skills.

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work

  • Demonstrate relevant research skills
  • Evidence ability to critically reflect and evaluate your achievements.

Demonstrate cultural and historical awareness and/or contextual framework of their work

  • Evidence an interest in contemporary culture
  • Identify social, historical and/or cultural influences on your work.

Articulate and communicate intentions clearly

  • Discuss your work in individual and group situations
  • Present your work, concepts and ideas appropriately and effectively.

Demonstrate commitment and motivation in relation to the subject and the course

  • Show willingness to collaborate
  • Show initiative
  • Reflect your knowledge of this course.

What we are looking for

We look for students:

  • Who are passionate about the arts, from fine art, fashion, theatre and performance to graphics, design, architecture and film
  • Who may have studied GCSEs and A levels that included the history of art, English literature, history, classical civilisation as well as practice-based subjects and are thinking of taking degrees in history of art, design and architecture; film studies; media and cultural studies; history; English literature; American studies
  • Who are on a foundation courses but decide not to pursue a practical art or design degree yet want to stay at a college offering art and design study.

Making your application

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

For EU applicants concerned about Brexit, please see our dedicated page: Brexit Information for Students.

You should apply though Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W294

We do not consider applications for Year 3 Entry for this course.

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2019 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Applications for 2019/20 entry for this course are now closed. Applications for 2020/21 entry will open in Autumn 2019.

There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:

You can only apply to the same course once per year whether you are applying via UCAS, UAL representative or using the UAL online application system. Any duplicate applications will be withdrawn.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

If you are applying via UCAS you will need the following information:

University code:          U65

UCAS Code:                 W294

We do not consider applications for Year 3 Entry for this course.

Central Saint Martins does not accept applications for deferred entry. You should therefore apply in the year you wish to study.

Application deadline

We recommend you apply by 15 January 2019 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.

Immigration history check

Whether you are applying online via UCAS or through a UAL representative or direct application you will need to complete an immigration history check to establish whether you are eligible to study at UAL.  If you do not complete the check we will not be able to proceed with your application.

After you apply

Communicating with you

After you have successfully submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming we have successfully received your application and providing you with your login details for the UAL Portal.  We will request any additional information from you, including inviting you to upload documents / book an interview, through the portal.  You should check your UAL Portal regularly for any important updates and requests.

What happens next

Initial application check

We check your application to see if you meet the standard entry requirements for the course.  If you meet the entry requirements you will be invited to submit two written pieces of work:

Written assessment

The subjects for your written assessment are:

  • A humanities-based essay of no more than 2,000 words already written from a previous or current course (A-Level history, literature etc)
  • 500 words on why you wish to study this course saying why you think the course is right for you and what differences might there be between study in a college of art and design like Central Saint Martins and a 'traditional' university.

Following a review on your written work, you may be invited for an interview.


The interview typically lasts approximately 20 minutes.  We are interested in you as an individual. Our focus is on your personal interests, your creativity and your initiative in finding out about your proposed area of study.

If you are unable to attend in person, we will interview you by Skype.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.

Fees & Funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250 (2020/21).

Tuition fees for undergraduate degree courses have been set at £9,250 per year for full-time study. This applies from the 2018/19 academic year, subject to changes in the law. Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students, in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Please visit our Undergraduate tuition fees page for more information.

International fee

£22,920 (2020/21).

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.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation develops your knowledge and skills to give you a wide choice of further education and career paths. You can go on to work in arts and heritage management and administration; in museums, collections and archives; as researchers within academic, commercial and not-for-profit organisations; in television, radio and new media; in theatre and cinema; and in teaching and arts entrepreneurship, in London and beyond.

You might also want to pursue postgraduate study. Many BA Culture, Criticism and Curation students have taken MA courses in a range of fields, including curating contemporary art and design, art history, the theatre in London, business and the arts, cultural theory, and historicism.

BA Culture, Criticism and Curation alumni activity demonstrates the breadth of career paths undertaken by graduates of the course. We have previous graduates working with Bristol City Council, an architectural practice in Hatton Garden, an online fashion business and the British Library. Graduates have also gone on to study on MA programmes at Central Saint Martins as well as The Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmith’s and University College London.


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