Art and Design Foundation Year

BA (Hons)

2023/24 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Arts with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

Belfast School of Art

Campus:

Belfast campus

UCAS code:

WW1F
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2023

With this degree you could become:

  • Artist
  • Designer
  • Art Writing
  • Curating
  • Artist in Residence
  • Gallery Assistant
  • Printmaking Technician

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • The MAC
  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Arts Council of Ireland
  • Belfast Print Workshop
  • Seacourt Print Workshop
  • Breakthru Films
  • Warsaw
  • Trademark Films
  • London

Overview

Explore and engage with a wide range of art, design, and digital design areas in a creative learning environment.

Summary

Foundation Studies Art and Design is an exciting and intensive one year, practice-based programme that enables students to explore and engage with a wide range of art, design, and digital design discipline areas. The Foundation Art and Design experience builds confidence and supports students to make an informed decision about their specialism for undergraduate progression and future career pathway.

This studio-based programme is taught by core and specialist tutors. It is supported by contextual studies; so, as well as studio-based practice work across a range of discipline areas, written projects and academic tasks are also explored. The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, practical demonstrations, workshop practice, studio critiques, seminars and individual tutorials.

Final practice-based project work from Foundation Studies Art and Design is exhibited at the Belfast School of Art annual Degree Show in June.


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About this course

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Attendance

This is a one-year full time course, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 9:30am —4:30pm and Wednesday 9:30am—12:30pm. The course is made up of four modules, two per semester and are either 20 credits or 40 credits. Each module credit equates to 10 effort hours. Attendance is studio-based with a specific timetable for each module where workshops, lectures and tutorials are scheduled. At other times, you will be expected to conduct independent studio practice and research.

Start dates

  • September 2023

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The course provides a rich learning environment to achieve the Learning Outcomes of the course. Teaching will be divided into lectures, tutorials (individual and group), critiques (reviews of work), workshop practice, demonstrations etc.

Workshops Workshops are conducted by module staff. These sessions provide students with clear guidelines on the usage of specific techniques, materials and processes. These will provide opportunities for students to reflect on their work, articulate carefully considered criticism and realise the potential of peer-learning.

Lectures Lectures will introduce the historical and contemporary practices and discourses across art and design disciplines. Discussing the purpose, roles and effects of such practices to build knowledge and understanding.

Seminars Seminars will provide opportunities for students to explore issues emerging from the lecture programme, to listen to contributions from peer group members, to articulate ideas and to reflect on emerging discussions.

Tutorials Tutorials (individual or group) will give students advice, feedback, and monitor progress. During tutorials key areas for enhancement will be identified and work strategies will be discussed.

Feedback and Assessment happens throughout both semesters with pass/fail in semester one and continuous assessment contributing to the overall final mark at the end of semester 2. Assessment is 100% coursework.

Core Foundation teaching staff deliver across Fine Art Painting, Design and Textiles with other tutors contributing from the undergraduate programmes across the school.

There is a showcase of student work at the end of the year as part of the Belfast School of Art, End of Year Graduate show.

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until near the start date and may be subject to change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days of attendance will often be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Masters courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have four learning outcomes, and no more than two items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6 (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Masters degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (20%) or Lecturers (55%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) by Advanced HE - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise.  The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff.  This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.

Belfast campus

Accommodation

High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.

Find out more - information about accommodation  


Student Wellbeing

At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

Find out more - information about student wellbeing  


Belfast Campus Location

Campus Address

Ulster University,
2-24 York Street,
Belfast
BT15 1AP

T: 02870 123 456

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

History and Theory 1 (Approaches to History)

Year: 1

History and Theory 1 introduces art historical, theoretical and contextual study and its relationship to studio practice. Key research and study skills are taught. You will conduct independent research into historical and contemporary art and other areas related to studio practice. You will be required to articulate the relationships between contexts and studio practice.

Studio Practice 1

Year: 1

Studio Practice 1 introduces you to the course and to the culture and practice of Fine Art. It establishes key practical and conceptual skills and the working methods of Fine Art and studio practice. Through observation, exploration and critical reflection you will make a body of practical experimentation and artworks.

History and Theory 2 (Histories of Modern and Contemporary Art)

Year: 1

History and Theory 2 focuses on introducing you to key practices and concepts of modern and contemporary art. Connections are drawn between the art ideas and culture of modernism and those of contemporary art practices. Ways of thinking and communicating about artworks and histories of art established in History and Theory 1 are both extended and refined. You develop skills in close looking, visual literacy, reading, research, critical thinking, oral and written communication and forms of presentation. You will deliver a presentation on a selected topic and produce an academic essay applying taught material and the fruits of your own research to individually selected examples of contemporary art practice.

Studio Practice 2

Year: 1

Studio Practice 2 develops your responsibility for their art practice. You will develop practical and conceptual skills and their working methods in the studio and beyond. Through observation, exploration, critical reflection and consideration of form in relation to concept, you will make a body of practical experimentation and artworks.

Year two

Professional Practice 1

Year: 2

In Professional Practice 1 you will conduct a project and work placement in a professional area of art or cultural practice. You will reflect upon and evaluate your experience in a written report. You will establish methods of documenting and presenting your artworks and practices in professional forms through the portfolio, artist's talk, artist's statement and c.v. You will acquire knowledge about wider professional contexts and opportunities. The Professional Practice modules develop and extend your knowledge and experience of the wider professional contexts and skills of contemporary art practice. Professional Practice 1 is fundamentally related to workplace experience and employability, as well as to the Studio Practice and History and Theory modules.

Studio Practice 3

Year: 2

Studio Practice 3 is the third of the five consecutive Studio Practice modules on the Fine Art course. Building on the foundation of art practice and knowledge established in Studio Practice 1 and 2, Studio Practice 3 develops self-direction and encourages you to locate your art practices in relation to the wider professional realms of contemporary art.

Studio Practice 4

Year: 2

Studio Practice 4 is the fourth of the five consecutive Studio Practice modules on the Fine Art course. Studio Practice 4 focuses on the production of more resolved artworks; the ambition for and critical understanding of art practice and its contexts; the experience of exhibition or other appropriate professional contexts.

History and Theory 3 (Key ideas and issues in Contemporary Art and Culture)

Year: 2

History and Theory 3 in the first semester introduces key theoretical discourses in visual culture in relation to art practice, critique and interpretation. You will focus on close reading, textual understanding and writing skills. You are taught how to write a précis of a theoretical text, clearly positioning the author and giving a careful account of the argument. You will write a précis on the seminar set reading: a series of short theoretical texts. The collection of precis is submitted for assessment

Year three

Placement

Year: 3

This module is optional

This is an optional placement year for students who have completed Level 5 prior to the final year of study. The placement must be a minimum of 25 weeks duration and can be in a broad range of Art/Professional practice. A programme of work is agreed by the student, the Placement Tutor and the Placement Partner and usually takes place in Europe with respect to the relevant health and safety and disability regulations.(SENDO). The placement is designed to increase experience of workshop/studio/communal and technical practice, while broadening and enhancing the student`s social, personal and professional development. Upon successful completion of the placement year the student is awarded a Diploma in Professional Studies (DPP) or a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP) International upon graduation from the course.

International Academic Studies

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year four

Studio Practice 5

Year: 4

In Studio Practice 5 you will work ambitiously and critically as a self-directed artist and thinker. You will make artworks that integrate practical, aesthetic and intellectual knowledge. Studio Practice 5 culminates in a professional exhibition of selected artworks in the Degree Show.

This 80 credit module spans two semesters and allows for ambition, risk-taking and continuity, which is reflective of practice in the professional field. This will prepare you for the rigours of postgraduate study and independent practice as an artist.

Professional Practice 2

Year: 4

Professional Practice 2 develops your research, study and professional skills, and identifies wider professional and graduate opportunities for you. You will document, present and critically evaluate your art practice and artworks made in the concurrent Studio Practice 5 module. You will explore and articulate your position as an artist and thinker in professional forms: the artist's talk, portfolio, artist's statement and critical commentary. Professional Practice 2 is closely aligned with Studio Practice 5 and History and Theory 4, culminating in your final year Degree Show.

History and Theory 4 (Dissertation)

Year: 4

History and Theory 4 is the final History and Theory module on the Fine Art course. In this 20 credit module you identify and pursue a major research project related to your interests and studio practice and present it in the form of an academic Dissertation.

From the first year of the course, you explore the history, contexts and discourses of contemporary art practice though the History and Theory modules, which teach skills in visual literacy, intellectual enquiry, research, analysis, argument, critical writing and interpretation. The History and Theory modules build upon one another incrementally to enable you to identify and research increasingly sophisticated topics, and to write increasingly substantial texts, culminating in the Dissertation. All of the skills gained in years 1 and 2 are used in producing the Dissertation, which is usually the lengthiest and most accomplished piece of academic writing you will have produced to that point.

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

Grades CC

Applied General Qualifications

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of MPP

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 Suite)
Award profile of MPP

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of DM

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2016 Suite)
Award profile of MM

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma (2012 Suite)
Award profile of M plus A Level Grades C

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Certificate (2016 Suite)
Award profile of M plus A Level Grades C

Irish Leaving Certificate

64 UCAS tariff points to include a minimum of five subjects (four of which must be at higher level) to include English at H6 if studied at Higher level or O4 if studied at Ordinary Level.

Irish Leaving Certificate UCAS Equivalency

Scottish Highers

Grades CCCCD

Scottish Advanced Highers

Grades DDE

International Baccalaureate

Overall profile is minimum 24 points (including 12 at higher level)

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall profile of 53% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access Course)

Overall profile of 39 credits at Merit and 6 credits at Pass (60 credit Access Course) (GB Access Course)

GCSE

For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above in English Language.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

Applicants to this course will be required to submit a portfolio.

Acceptable alternative qualifications include:

Pass HND with overall Pass to include 45 distinctions in level 5 credits/units may be specified.

Pass HNC with overall Pass

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • The MAC
  • Arts Council of Northern Ireland
  • Arts Council of Ireland
  • Belfast Print Workshop
  • Seacourt Print Workshop
  • Breakthru Films
  • Warsaw
  • Trademark Films
  • London

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Artist
  • Designer
  • Art Writing
  • Curating
  • Artist in Residence
  • Gallery Assistant
  • Printmaking Technician

Career options

On successful completion of the course, students’ progress to Year 01 of their chosen undergraduate degree programme at Ulster University. They can also exit after this year with a Diploma in Foundation Studies Art and Design.

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2023

Fees and funding

2023/24 Fees

Fees for entry in 2023/24 have not yet been set. See our tuition fees page for the current fees for 2022/23 entry.

Additional mandatory costs

It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals, as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.

There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.

See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.

Contact

Course Director: Pauline Clancy

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7261

E: p.clancy@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions: Christine Harbinson

T: +44 (0)28 9536 7202

E: cj.harbinson@ulster.ac.uk

International Admissions Office

T: +44 (0)28 7012 3333

E: global@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
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