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Undergraduate

BA (Hons) Fine Art

A series of sculptures leant against a wall
Shinuk Suh
College
Central Saint Martins
UCAS code
W100
Start date
September 2024
Course length
Three years full-time or four years full-time with Diploma in Professional Studies

Artists create the cultural resources of our shared future.

Apply to start in September 2024 

This course has places available. Read our Guide to applying for a course starting this September through UCAS Extra. For a full list of UAL courses open for 2024/25 entry, visit the Courses with places available page.

On BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, we recognise the breadth of possibilities in contemporary art, and will challenge you to develop an experimental practice. You will work in one of four pathways – 2D, 3D, 4D or XD – which encompass studio practice, theoretical studies and personal and professional development. This course is part of the Art programme.

Why choose this course at Central Saint Martins

  • Pathway structure: The pathway structure on BA Fine Art creates a focus for sustained critical engagement. It allows you to both specialise and develop an interdisciplinary working practice.
  • Exhibitions: The course offers experimental forms of exhibition-making. This occurs both within the College and in public venues outside the institution. Previous external partners have included Archway Tower, the British Library, Camden Arts Centre, Camden Collective and the Tate.
  • Location: BA Fine Art is situated in the College’s Granary Building. This location in King’s Cross is key, enabling students to engage in the changing dynamics of the area and build links with the local community as well as neighbouring institutions such as Wellcome Collection and the British Library.
  • Associate Studio Programme: Developed in 2011 out of a partnership between Acme and Double Agents – a research project based at Central Saint Martins – the Associate Studio Programme provides subsidised, low-cost, high-quality studio space for 20 graduates of BA Fine Art for two years. The scheme also provides a programme of studio visits by artists, curators, writers and peers. Students are selected through an application process open to them in the year they graduate and again one year later.

Open days

There are currently no open days scheduled for this course, please check back at a later date.

Virtual tours:

Instead you might be interested in checking out the College’s facilities and technical spaces through our virtual tours.

Scholarships, bursaries and awards

Course overview

Welcome to the Fine Art BA where you will develop the creative and critical skills to challenge prevailing artistic conventions. You and your contemporaries are the creative practitioners of the future and together we can question and remake the cultural landscape of today.

BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins asks two core questions in relation to art; what is the site of production and what is the site of encounter?

At CSM we continually challenge what we think art is. We recognise the broad diversity of social, political, cultural, economic and technological contexts in which contemporary art is made and exhibited. Working together, staff and students interrogate the multiple and varied ways in which artists make work and make work public.

The course is organised into four studios; 2D, 3D, 4D and XD. Each studio engages students with specific critical perspectives and technical inductions. You are encouraged to develop your work in relation to different forms of practice across any range of media. The studios embody an inter-disciplinary approach and this is reflected in the cross-studio events that are structured throughout the course. We make in ways that reflect the full range of materials, technologies and discourses exploited by artists today.

Your studio will provide you with an experimental space where discoveries can occur. For this to keep happening the studio has to be perpetually reinvented, functioning as laboratory, performative site, social space and discursive environment. The notion of studio refers to any space for making and exploration. Artists always find new ways to make work with different resources, finding new places to make work that utilise innovative and established production processes. At CSM, the studios reflect these trends. You will work with staff to develop and model the studio appropriate to the needs of the group. 

Experimental forms of exhibition-making take place within each stage of the course. Exhibitions happen both in the University and in public venues, in conventional and non-conventional physical and non-physical spaces. Recent examples include, Camden Collective, Archway Tower, British Library, Camden Arts Centre, performances within the Tate Turbine Hall and Tate Exchange, Arts Media Islington School and Crumbles Activity Playground.

Students can also opt to take the year-long Diploma in Professional Studies between Stages 2 and 3, offering highly focused and personalised work placements which help them develop enhanced communication, networking, and organisational skills. In recent years, students have had placements at Tate Modern, The Royal Festival Hall, professional artist studios and the National Theatre.

We embrace the rapidly changing and broad contexts of the Art-world. Our intention is to radically question, challenge, disrupt and provoke to create answers to art futures and future art practices.

We are committed to developing ethical fine art practices. To achieve this, we are working to embed UAL's Principles for Climate, Social and Racial Justice into the course.

Course units

BA Fine Art integrates studio practice, Critical Studies and Professional Development through teaching both within the Studio structure and across the year group at key moments. Students are allocated to a Studio at the start of the course however pathway transfer is possible.

Each Studio has a distinct culture that is orientated around particular discussions, themes and resources. As the student progresses through the course, the relationship between the Studios is progressively porous. We encourage students to take a fluid and flexible approach to their use of media and understanding of artistic discipline. 

The Studios

The way we work and create starts with exploration speculation and enquiry and this takes place through materials, processes of making, dialogue and criticality. Theory and practice are understood in relation to one another, integrating both studio and contextual studies contexts.

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 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, writing and creation of spaces can take place and be questioned. 3D challenges a conventional understanding of the studio, the exhibition and institutional spaces. 

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 Studio is experimental in approach 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 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 sites and placing art in particular situations and communities questions the rights and responsibilities of the artist in relation to audiences and the environment. The studio is considered as a laboratory where ideas for interventions in the practice of everyday life can be generated.

Stage 1

Unit 1: What is an Art School?
Unit 2: What is a Studio?
Unit 3: What is Practice?
Unit 4: What is an Exhibition?

Stage 1 asks you to consider; Where do we make work and what is practice? 

Starting with an introduction to Art School in which you will be guided through the various teaching methods and events deployed on the course. You will experience learning through each other, staff practice, staff networks, tutorials, lectures, critical discussion, seminars and self-directed study. Through this, you will actively shape and inform the teaching environment of the course.

The nature of the studio shifts in relation to what the studio community choose to do with it. You will be inducted to a wide range of workshops. Studio and Critical Studies staff will support you in beginning to identify interests and concerns that will nourish your practice as an artist.

By the end of Stage 1 you will have established ways of making in the studio appropriate to your interests and written your first essay. With the support of tutors, you will be able to confidently self-direct the development of your own work.

Stage 2

Unit 5: How Do We Make?
Unit 6: What is Reading?
Unit 7: How Can We Write?
Unit 8: How is Work Encountered?
Unit 9: Creative Unions

Stage 2 is about how we make work public. 

You will continue to establish and develop your practice with an added emphasis on how and where to exhibit your work.

The year-group will have the opportunity to present work within the university in a number of cross programme curated exhibitions and open studios where the art programme opens its doors to the general public. You will also select from a range of external projects designed to further question the many ways in which you might make elements of your practice public.

Through the programme of Critical Studies lectures, discussions and gallery visits you will begin to engage with current ideas, practices and debates surrounding contemporary art. Moving from the work and ideas of others towards your own, you will learn to make connections with concerns specific to your practice and start to establish a habit of enquiry that directly supports your studio work, forms a part of it, and generates new ideas or thinking.

By the end of Stage 2, you will have identified a range of strategies for making your work public and begun to contextualise your practice exploring how your work might be publicly encountered. 

Stage 3

Unit 10: What is your Research?
Unit 11: What is your Art Practice?

Stage 3 is about how you extend your practice beyond CSM. 

Stage 3 will give you the tools to theoretically, culturally, politically and socially contextualise your work. You will be supported to identify strategies for establishing a sustainable practice beyond the course and empowered to plan your own career trajectory within the cultural industries.

There are only two units in this year, culminating in your research paper and a series of end of year events. These events are developed by students with the support of your staff and can take place both within the university and external locations.

The research paper and end of year events are strategically placed next to each other to give you both the agency and resources to address relevant public and professional realms.

The working week

The building and studios are vibrant and busy working environments where students learn together by being active and giving time to their studies. The course team will offer structured teaching and informal learning through events and projects. Students learn the best and are most productive when they are fully committed to their practice and to each other.

You should expect to spend 40 hours per week on independent and collaborative practice and in teaching events such as workshops and discussions.

Critical studies

Critical Studies is a key part of the course delivery, and will help you to consider the historical and theoretical structures within which art and artists' practices are situated and understood. It supports conceptual and practical exploration through the introduction of diverse approaches and discourses.  An important aspect of Critical Studies is to support and develop your ability to articulate practice through forms of writing and related forms of presentation.

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, discussions, exhibition visits and presentations.

Through Stages 1 and 2 there are a number of different forms of written submission leading up to the research paper in Stage 3. Teams of critical studies and studio tutors jointly supervise this.

Diploma in Professional Studies

Between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the course there is an option to take a year out and complete 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. The Diploma provides a valuable opportunity to make professional contacts and to develop your personal employability skills. In recent years BA Fine Art students have had placements at Tate Modern, the Royal Festival Hall, Anthony Gormley’s studio and the National Theatre.

Mode of study

BA Fine Art runs for 90 weeks in full-time mode. It is divided into three stages over three academic years. Each stage lasts 30 weeks. You will be expected to commit 40 hours per week to study, inclusive of teaching time and independent study.

Credit and award requirements

The course is credit-rated at 360 credits, with 120 credits at each stage (level).

On successfully completing the course, you will gain a Bachelor of Arts with Honours (BA Hons degree).

Under the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications the stages for a BA are: Stage 1 (Level 4), Stage 2 (Level 5) and Stage 3 (Level 6). In order to progress to the next stage, all units of the preceding stage must normally be passed: 120 credits must be achieved in each stage. The classification of the award will be derived from the marks of units in Stages 2 and 3, or only Stage 3, using a dual algorithm.

If you are unable to continue on the course, a Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE) will normally be offered following the successful completion of Level 4 (or 120 credits), or a Diploma in Higher Education (DipHE) following the successful completion of Level 5 (or 240 credits). 

Should you choose to extend your study through the Diploma in Professional Studies, between Stage 2 and Stage 3 of the degree, your success will gain you an additional Diploma award. 

Learning and teaching methods

The learning and teaching methods devised for this course include:

  • Unit briefing: guidance around what each unit involves and the purpose of the activity for the student
  • Inductions and workshops: specialist instruction that is necessary so that you can understand the range of possibilities in technical workshops and the limitations that have to be imposed to ensure safe practice.
  • Teaching events: taught projects with academic staff both within the studio group and in cross programme activities.
  • Off-site work: Specific projects with publicly facing outputs or working with external organisations
  • Exchange opportunities: Opportunities for students to study abroad in semester2 of their stage 2
  • Personal and group tutorials: both one to one and group activities in which students discuss their work, ideas and receive constructive feedback
  • Seminars: led by a member of staff there is a focus upon particular themes or questions in this group activity.
  • Critical reviews and presentations: students present a body of work to their peers and a member of academic staff. 
  • Lectures and guest speakers: Artists and key figures from the art world introduce and discuss their practice in a lecture theatre
  • Recommended reading, viewing and visits: a range of references available to students from which to select those most appropriate to your work. 
  • Independent study: Outside of taught event you will develop your work in the context of your studio with the support of your peers.
  • Peer and self-evaluation: you will develop the skills to critically reflect on your own work and that of your peers
  • Assessment feedback: as well as the feedback you are given throughout each unit of study you will receive formal written feedback at the end of every unit in relation to your grade.

Former Course Leader Mick Finch talks about BA Fine Art

Degree Show: Matty Mancey

Degree Show: Carianne Annan

UAL Showcase

Explore work by our recent students on the UAL Showcase

  • Degree Show work
    Degree Show work, Eva Dixon, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • In-between-ness, Belonging & Disruption
    In-between-ness, Belonging & Disruption, Ama Ogwo, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • EXTREME
    EXTREME, Neil Chikono, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art: Computational Arts, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Awful Desire, Terrible Slip
    Awful Desire, Terrible Slip, Olivia Rumsey, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • The Sympoietic Mind Lies Beyond the Gate
    The Sympoietic Mind Lies Beyond the Gate, Andie Aylsworth, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • BI0xMICR0°
    BI0xMICR0°, Hollis Hui, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • Liquid crystal might pass beneath you
    Liquid crystal might pass beneath you, Mimi Lanfranchi, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • An ode to a past I no longer wish to know.
    An ode to a past I no longer wish to know., Sriram Venkatesh, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL
  • HOURMILE
    HOURMILE, aislinn evans, 2023 BA (Hons) Fine Art, Central Saint Martins, UAL

Facilities

Surface Design Lab | Publications | Digital Fabrication Bureau | General Spray and Plastic | Advanced Digital Projects | CAD | Animation | Central Loan Store

Fine Art stories

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openresty

Instagram

Staff

Lecturers

2D: Joey Bryniarska; Mark Farid; Alaena Turner; Martin Westwood
3D: Toby Christian; Anthony Davies; Naomi Dines
4D: Erica Scourti; Hilary Lloyd; Anahita Razmi; Nicola Thomas
XD: Sarah ColeMargot BannermanBen Cain; Shepherd Manyika

Critical Studies: Sabrina Chou; Stuart Elliot; Paul O’Kane
Senior Lecturer (Cross Pathway) / Course Enhancement Coordinator: Mahenderpal Sorya

Associate Lecturers and Visiting Practitioners

Dr Linda Aloysius;  Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom; Beth Bramich; Irina Chkhaidze; Alexander Clarke; Flora Dunster; Ali Eisa; Jes Fernie; Anna Hart; Dan Hays; Daniel Howard-Birt; Candice Jacobs; Sarah Jones; Lucy Joyce; Verity-Jane Keefe; Lucia King; Annie Kwan; Nicola McCartney; Mohammed Namazi; Maggie Roberts; Helen Robertson; Louise Shelley; Gina Tornatore; Mark Waller

Professors: Mick Finch; Graham Ellard

Acting 3D Pathway Leader: Karen Alexander
Knowledge Exchange Lead:
Elizabeth Wright
Admissions Tutor:
Anne-Marie Creamer
Acting Diploma in Professional Studies Pathway Leaders: Kelly Large, Frances Scott

Fees and funding

Home fee

£9,250 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees may increase in future years for new and continuing students.

Home fees are currently charged to UK nationals and UK residents who meet the rules. However, the rules are complex. Find out more about our tuition fees and determining your fee status.

International fee

£28,570 per year

This fee is correct for entry in autumn 2024 and is subject to change for entry in autumn 2025.

Tuition fees for international students may increase by up to 5% in each future year of your course.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Entry requirements

The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:

One of the following accepted full Level 3 qualifications:

  • Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (Level 3 or 4)
  • Merit, Pass, Pass (MPP) at BTEC Extended Diploma (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design or Design and Technology)
  • Pass at UAL Extended Diploma
  • Access to Higher Education Diploma equivalent to 64 UCAS tariff points (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design or Design and Technology)
  • Equivalent EU/international qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma (24 points)

And three GCSE passes at grade 4 or above (grade A*–C).

Entry to this course will also be determined by assessment of your portfolio.

AP(E)L – 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.

English language requirements

IELTS score of 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English language requirements webpage).

Selection criteria

Applicants are selected according to their demonstration of potential and current ability to:

Work imaginatively and creatively in visual media:

  • Engage with experimentation and invention
  • Show imagination and ambition in their visual work

Demonstrate a range of skills and technical abilities that: 

  • Show personal commitment to skills development
  • Engage with materials and processes.

Provide evidence of intellectual enquiry within your work:

  • Demonstrate curiosity and a willingness to research around themes and practices relevant to your interests
  • Reflect critically on your learning.

Demonstrate cultural awareness and/or contextual framework of your work by:

  • Identifying a range of historical and contemporary art practices
  • Identifying social and/or cultural influences on your work.

Demonstrate an ability to articulate and communicate your intentions with clarity:

  • Make use of appropriate and effective communication and presentation skills 

Indicate the relevance of this course to your personal development through discussion around:

  • Your own ideas beyond set project briefs
  • Your willingness to work both collaboratively and independently
  • Your knowledge of this course.

What we are looking for

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

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply to UAL

Home students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

W100

Start your application

Apply now

Places available 2024/25 

This course has places available for 2024/25 entry. Applications for 2025/26 entry will open in Autumn 2024.

Apply to UAL

International students can apply to this course through UCAS with the following codes:

University code:

U65

UCAS code:

W100

Start your application
or

Apply with a UAL Representative

Based across the world, our local UAL representatives can support you with your application from your home country. Check to see if there is a representative available in your country currently.

Find your representative

How to apply

Follow this step-by-step guide to apply for this course

Step 1: Initial application

You will need to submit an initial application including your personal statement.

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement should be maximum 4,000 characters and cover the following:

  • Why have you chosen this course?
  • Please state which pathway you would like to specialise in and why (2D, 3D. 4D or XD)
  • How does your previous or current study relate to the course?
  • Have you got any work experience that might help you?
  • Have any life experiences influenced your decision to apply for this course?
  • What skills do you have that make you perfect for this course?
  • What plans and ambitions do you have for your future career?

Visit our personal statement page for more advice.

Step 2: Digital portfolio

We will review your initial application. If you have met the standard entry requirements, we will ask you to submit a digital portfolio.

You’ll need to submit this via PebblePad, our online portfolio tool.

Digital portfolio advice

Your portfolio should consist of recent work that reflects your creative strengths.

It should:

  • be maximum 25 pages
  • include both finished works and works in progress to demonstrate your development processes and creative vision
  • include work that highlights your interest in the pathway you would like to specialise in: 2D, 3D. 4D or XD
  • demonstrate your ability to experiment with a wide range of techniques and materials
  • show how your research helped to inform and shape your ideas and creative identity
  • include 1 sentence per page to outline the ideas and interests behind your work.

For more support, see our Portfolio advice and PebblePad advice.

Step 3: Interview

You may be invited to an interview following our review of your application. All interviews are held online and last 15 to 20 minutes.

For top tips, see our Interview advice.

You also need to know

Communicating with you

Once you have submitted your initial application, we will email you with your login details for our Applicant portal.

Requests for supplementary documents like qualifications and English language tests will be made through the applicant portal. You can also use it to ask questions regarding your application. Visit our After you apply page for more information.

Visas and immigration history check

All non-UK nationals must complete an immigration history check. Your application may be considered by our course teams before this check takes place. This means that we may request your portfolio and/or video task before we identify any issues arising from your immigration history check. Sometimes your history may mean that we are not able to continue considering your application. Visit our Immigration and visas advice page for more information.

External student transfer policy

UAL accepts transfers from other institutions on a case-by-case basis. Read our Student transfer policy for more information.

Alternative offers

If your application is really strong, but we believe your strengths and skillset are better suited to a different course, we may make you an alternative offer. This means you will be offered a place on a different course or at a different UAL College.

Deferring your place

You must apply in the year that you intend to start your course. If you are made an offer and your circumstances change, you can submit a deferral request to defer your place by 1 academic year. You must have met your conditions by 31 August 2024. If you need an English language test in order to meet the entry requirements, the test must be valid on the deferred start date of your course. If not, you will need to reapply. Requests are granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contextual Admissions

This course is part of the Contextual Admissions scheme.

This scheme helps us better understand your personal circumstances so that we can assess your application fairly and in context. This ensures that your individual merit and creative potential can shine through, no matter what opportunities and experiences you have received.

Careers

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.

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

  • Recent graduates chosen for New Contemporaries: 2020: Rene Matić, 2019: Maria Mahfooz, 2014: Nicole Coson
  • Morisha Moodley joined PEER Gallery as their new Gallery Trainee
  • 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'.

For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers support page.