BA (Hons) Fine Art
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.
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 patron for BA Fine Art:
The next round of open days will take place from mid October to early December 2019, please check back here mid September 2019 to book online.
Scholarships, awards and funding
Caline Aoun, BA Fine Art alum:
Deutsche Bank’s "Artist of the Year" 2018
Meet the Course Leader: BA Fine Art, Mick Finch
Fine Art stories
BA Fine Art on Instagram
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.
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.
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 one and two 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 three units (unit eight dissertation 40 credits and unit nine 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
Stage one (level four) 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 two (level five) 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 two and stage three 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 three (level six) 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 three. 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.
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.
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.
2D: Joey Bryniarska
2D: Martin Westwood
3D: Anthony Davies
3D: Naomi Dines
3D: Vlatka Horvat
4D: Hilary Lloyd
4D: Paul Simon Richards
4D: Hannah Rickards
4D: Erika Tan
XD: Margot Bannerman
XD: Ben Cain
XD: Sarah Cole
XD: Katrina Palmer
Critical Studies: Stuart Elliot
Admissions Tutor and Stage 1 Tutor: Lynn Hewett
Diploma in Professional Studies Pathway Leader: Anne-Marie Creamer
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 email@example.com 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.
The standard entry requirements for this course are as follows:
One or a combination of the following accepted full level 3 qualifications:
- Pass at Foundation Diploma in Art & Design (Level 3 or 4) and 1 A Level at Grade C or above
- 2 A Levels at grade C or above (preferred subjects include Art, Art and Design, or Design and Technology)
- 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)
- Or equivalent EU/International qualifications, such as International Baccalaureate Diploma
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. A very high proportion of successful applicants complete a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.
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.
English Language Requirements
IELTS level 6.0 or above, with at least 5.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking (please check our main English Language requirements webpage).
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 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 this course 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 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.
Making your application
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: W100
We do not consider applications for Year 2 or 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.
We recommend you apply by 15January 2019 for equal consideration. However this course will consider applications after that date, subject to places being available.
There are three ways international students can apply to an undergraduate course at Central Saint Martins:
- Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) online application system
- One of our official representatives in your country
- A direct application
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: W100
We do not consider applications for Year 2 or 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.
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 / portfolio / 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 do, you will be invited to submit a mini portfolio through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
The mini portfolio should be no more than 10 images comprising your best work showing your skills and thinking. You can create the pages in any layout (For example: presentation boards) but they should be uploaded as jpeg images. It should include:
- a range of work – finished works or works in progress
- how you have engaged with experimentation and how well you may have pushed ambition through proposals and perhaps through making
- how well you have developed your skills with materials and processes
- how you may have applied any relevant research to your ideas and making – perhaps through the use of sketch books and study books
- briefly outline – in one sentence - the ideas and interests behind the works as a title to each page.
Following the review of the mini portfolio we select a small number of applicants to move on to the next stage of the process. These applicants will be invited to a full portfolio review.
Full portfolio review
Full portfolio review takes place at college, normally between February and March.
If you are unable to attend the full portfolio review in person, you will be asked to submit a full digital portfolio (up to 30 pages) through UAL’s online portfolio review system.
Please note that we do not accept portfolios by post.
The full 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 is important that the work applicants include reflects their engagement in creative practice, critical thinking and technical abilities and also that they include evidence of background research, e.g. sketchbooks, preliminary work and written material.
Ideas, visual research and experimentation are more important than finished work and can be shown in 2D work, made objects, photographs or through recorded moving image/live events.
- The quality of the work is more important than the quantity
- Where possible, large or 3D work should be photographed and scanned
- Please organise your work by project, with supporting work presented alongside final outcomes.
How we notify you of the outcome of your application
You will receive the final outcome of your application through UCAS track.
Fees & Funding
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.
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.
Careers and alumni
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
For details of the wide range of careers support provided for students, please visit our Careers support page.
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