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Chelsea College of Arts

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Graduate Diploma Fine Art

Start date
September 2018
Course length
1 year

Course summary

Places available 2018/19

This course has places available for UK and EU applicants only. Applications have now closed for international students.

You can apply for this course via the ‘How to apply’ section on this page.

Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts is a full time, one-year course.

The course enables you to develop your practice within a contemporary context, against the backdrop of the vibrant London art scene. The course is aimed at students who wish to progress to MA level or pursue a career within the field of fine art.

Student work

Graduate Diploma Fine Art Stories


Congratulations to Chelsea’s 2018 Graduates

We were thrilled to start this week at London Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall celebrating with our students as they enjoyed their graduation ceremony. A beautiful sunny day provided the […]


Undergraduate Summer Show in Images

Every year our students continue to impress us with their incredible final pieces. The students spend most of their third year creating a body of work that prepares them and […]

Course details

What you can expect

  • A studio-based and practice-led course that brings together a wide range of media. They include painting, sculpture, digital media, sound, print, performance, drawing, film and video
  • At Chelsea practice and theory are integrated. This helps you understand the contexts and conditions that shape and frame contemporary art practice
  • A tutor group that you will meet on a regular basis to discuss each other’s work
  • Significant control over what you learn, the pace you do this at and how you might show this. You will be helped in these decisions through on-going dialogue with your tutors and fellow students
  • To get inductions into the processes and facilities available in the college’s studios and workshops. Chelsea has specialist technicians on hand to offer support
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops. These include ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, audio-visual editing suite, metal and woodwork. View the Chelsea facilities

Course units

Unit 1 - Exploring your practice

You will develop a working practice that makes best use of the college and your studio. You will ask questions about what it is to have a research informed practice. Where will you explore and articulate ideas through making work? This unit will help you develop an approach where theory, practice and a profession context are interdependent.

Unit 2 - Contexts: Critical and Professional

In unit 1 you will have explored ideas and theories that inform your practice. You will now contextualise your practice in relation to current theories and debates. You will identify references within art, literature, popular culture or theory. You will focus on your own interests to develop an understanding of areas that are important to your practice. The lectures and seminars act as models of how to focus, analyse and explore issues in greater depth.

Unit 3 - Practice: Development and Realisation

This unit asks you to develop your work towards a point of realisation. This will be through exhibitions and a portfolio. It requires you to document the exhibitions. The exhibitions will show your awareness of how your work might operate 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


Dr Katrine Hjelde - Course Leader

How to apply

2018/19 entry

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


Application deadline

The home / EU deadline is midday, Friday 31 August 2018.

This course is now closed to international applicants.

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
  • Personal statement
  • CV (curriculum vitae)
  • Portfolio (international only)

International applicants - once you have submitted the form you will be emailed a link to upload your portfolio (30 images).

All Home/EU applicants will be invited for interview.

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
  • Portfolio of work

English language requirements

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

Portfolio advice

  • 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 & Funding

Home / EU fee

£10,600 (2018/19).

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee

This course has an undergraduate-level qualification as an entry requirement, and the quoted Home / EU fee rate reflects the fact that most students enrolling on this course will already possess an undergraduate-level qualification. Home / EU applicants for this course who do not already have an undergraduate-level qualification, or students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), may pay a reduced fee.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19 fees).

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

Use our search tool to find out more about the scholarships and awards available to students.

Scholarship 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.

Find out how careers and employability helps our students and graduates start their careers.

Order a college guide



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