- Self Employed
- Assistant Technican
- Gallery Assistant
- Printworkshop Technican
In this section
BA Hons Fine Art offers practice-based study within painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, performance, lens-based media and history and theory.
The Fine Art course reflects and supports the diversity of contemporary art practice including Painting, Video, Photography, Sculpture, Drawing, Performance, Printmaking, Time-based work, and studies in History and Theory. You are taught the practical, philosophical, contextual and professional aspects of art practice.
Studio Practice centres on your development of an art practice. You work in studios under tutorial guidance. Individual tutorials give focused advice and studio critiques encourage the exchange of ideas and the development of critical understanding. Studio spaces are located adjacent to relevant workshops. Workshops include painting methods, printmaking, wood and metal, moulding and casting, audio-visual and video, photography and plastics. Studio practice includes artwork made in sites, public space, online, through social interaction, as installation, alongside more familiar aesthetic forms.
History and Theory increases your knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary art practices and related ideas and debates. You are taught academic skills and methods and learn to write analytically about art and related concepts.
The Library, the largest in Northern Ireland, has a vast stock of art history, criticism and theory books and catalogues; a wide range of art and design magazines and journals; artist’s films, videos, documentaries and cinema; and a unique collection of artists’ books.
Materials are provided for workshop demonstrations and students purchase materials for course work. There is an optional materials contribution of £50 per year.
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About this course
In this section
You learn primarily through the direct experiences of making art and of critical reflection within a studio environment. Studios, workshops and technical support are close by to best cultivate productive studio practice.
The course is broadly organised as a series of Studio Practice and History and Theory modules.
Year 1 and 2: You will be introduced to the studio and philosophic culture of Fine Art. From the start you are encouraged to think for yourself and develop your own ideas; to organise your working space and time; to be self sufficient; to become aware of art, artists and ideas connected to your work and to be inventive, imaginative and experimental. Making art, looking at art and discussing art and related ideas are central to the Fine Art ethos. You are also introduced to techniques, histories, theories, academic methods, skills and critical approaches which inform studio and written work.
Year 3 and 4: You develop confidence and a sense of identity as an artist and you will be encouraged to take increased responsibility for your practice; to explore more ambitious art projects; to become more self critical; and to research and consider relevant art, artists and ideas in greater depth. You learn to thoughtfully articulate (in your practice, speech and writing) the questions, issues and debates relevant to your artworks and those of others; and you will continue to test and extend your ideas, methods of making and aesthetic imagination. In years 3 and 4 you also develop professional skills and knowledge via experiences such as exhibition, placement, application or commission processes.
Year 5 and 6: You make and exhibit art works in the professional, public context of the degree show (Year 6), and submit a dissertation (Year 5). You will further develop your practical, conceptual and aesthetic skills and the critical means to integrate them in the making of art works.You will articulate your practices and positions as an artist in artist’s talks and statements and will demonstrate your intellectual curiosity and enquiry through your practice and the subject matter of your dissertation. In these final years you consolidate the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain an independent art practice, or to work as a practitioner and employee in wider cultural fields.
The course is part time and is delivered as a series of Studio Practice, History and Theory and Professional Practice modules. The relationship between these areas is fundamental to the contemporary study and practice of Fine Art and you are required to pass all modules at each level to progress. These modules are delivered through mandatory lectures, seminars and tutorials and you are also expected to undertake independent study in both the studio and the library.
Students taking the part time course have some flexibility but you are expected to attend campus for 1-2 hours of lectures on a Tuesday and Thursday and for a 2 hour seminar in addition to the lecture on a Tuesday. Students are also expected to attend a proportion of group critiques, workshops and group seminars, these times vary across the week and in different areas of the course.
Studio Practice Modules are 40 credits and students take one of these modules every year. Timetables vary across the year but students receive in total 12 hours of lectures, 60 hours of Studio seminars, workshops, critiques and field trips and 3 hours of tutorials each year. You are expected to input 325 hours of independent studio practice and study including assessments across your first year.
In the first year students also undertake one 20 credit History and Theory module. History and Theory Lectures and Seminars are held on a Tuesday and you are expected to attend a 1 hour lecture and two hour seminars each week.
- September 2017
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.
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The A Level requirement for this course is BCC - BBB.
Applicants can satisfy the requirement for one of the A level grades (or equivalent) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.
The BTEC Extended Diploma requirement for this course is based on an overall BTEC award profile of DMM (to include a minimum of 7 distinctions) - DDM (to include a minimum of 9 distinctions).
Irish Leaving Certificate
The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is H3, H3, H3, H4, H4 – H3, H3, H3, H3, H3 and English Language at grade O4 or above.
The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is CCCCC - BBBCC.
Scottish Advanced Highers
The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is CDD - CCC.
Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum 24 points (12 at higher level).
Access to Higher Education (HE)
Successful completion of Access Course with an average mark between 65% - 70%.
GCSE Profile to include English Language at minimum grade C.
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
Submission of a satisfactory portfolio.
Teaching and learning assessment
The aims and learning outcomes of the Fine Art course will be achieved through a variety of teaching and learning methods and experiences:
Studio Practiceis the core and fundamental mode of learning. The studio is an important base and point of reference for the student. Learning to work effectively in the studio environment involves organising time, resources, ideas, equipment, skills and materials. It also involves learning about working with others and understanding health and safety and good practice. Studio practice can include directed activities, experiences and projects and self-directed art practice. Fine Art practice education is predicated upon learning through the experience of self-directed making. Studio practice is a space of creativity, imagination, experimentation, research, reflection and thinking through doing. Studio practice is also an important space of peer learning. A range of other modes of teaching and learning are broadly considered part of studio practice (i.e. studio tutorials, group critiques, exhibition, workshop skills and practice.)
TutorialsGroup and one to one tutorials offer support, advice and feedback in relation to ongoing work in studio, professional or history and theory practice.
Group critiques Studio critiques offer support, advice and feedback in relation to ongoing and completed student art work in the studio. They are an important opportunity for peer and group learning and challenge and develop the critical language and understanding of art works and practices.
Seminars take a variety of forms: they may provide an opportunity for lecturer-led group study, discussion and debate about art, concepts, texts, contexts, histories or theories; they may involve practical interaction and collaboration; or take the form of a master class.
Lectures include artists‘ talks which are key to the student understanding of art and being an artist. Lectures also provide knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary Fine Art practices and theoretical discourses. Lectures are also used to support the acquisition of contextual and professional knowledge and skills; and to provide information about graduate opportunities. Lectures are also sometimes used to introduce modules and particular elements of coursework.
Exhibition Formal and informal exhibition opportunities inside and outside the University are employed throughout the course to extend your understanding of practices and professional contexts. Students who make time based work are encouraged to show it in the regular Lens Screenings and Performance Mornings.
Interim ReviewsAt significant stages of the course, during the first semester of 1st year and at the end of semester one in 3rd year interim reviews take place and provide key formative feedback and indications of achievement. In 1st year these are in the form of a reflective critique. In the interim review at the end of semester one in 3rd year, students will present work and a short text and receive verbal and written formative feedback which will indicate their level of achievement at the half way stage of the 80 credit module.
Field trips include trips to visit galleries and other art events; and project type activities. Field Trips provide important knowledge of art through direct experience; insight into the professional realm and opportunities to make work in wider contexts.
Workshop practice includes the delivery and learning of specific workshop techniques, processes, methods and protocol – including health and safety in relation to machines and equipment – and also group learning through collective activity and practice.
Demonstrations deliver particular technical skills and processes.
e-Pedagogy:use of BlackboardLearn (supplementary); digital seminars; art projects online; blogs as art form; web portfolios.
Feedback is a fundamental teaching method of the responsive studio environment and discursive seminar structure. Formative feedback is given in a range of different forms and contexts – some formal, some informal. These include group and individual tutorials; studio critiques; informal studio contact; in response to projects/directed activity; when work is shown to a wider audience (e.g. formal and informal exhibition in project and other spaces, lens screenings, performance mornings). Interim reviews in first, second and third year give formative feedback and indications of levels of achievement at key progressional stages the course.
Careers & opportunities
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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:
- Self Employed
Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:
- Assistant Technican
- Gallery Assistant
- Printworkshop Technican
The course prepares students as artists and thinkers, who are able to sustain professional, critical art practice, and who can apply their skills, sensibilities and knowledge to wider fields of cultural work, practice and employment.
Graduates may choose to pursue postgraduate research in art practice to MA, MFA, MPhil and PhD level, either within the Belfast School of Art or in other institutions in the UK, Europe and beyond. Graduates also go on to postgraduate study in theoretical, cultural and curatorial management, art therapy and other courses. The course also prepares graduates for the PGCE.
Fine Art education prepares graduates to be extraordinarily flexible and self-reliant. They are able to forge practices and working lives within changing and unpredictable environments both employed and self-employed. The course equips students with a range of professional and transferable skills and experiences.
Many Fine Art graduates continue to practice successfully as artists, exhibiting in galleries; acquiring funding, awards, and prizes; undertaking commissions, residencies and public art projects. Others enter careers in education, curating, writing, arts administration, journalism and broadcast media, the gallery and museum sector, community arts, design and the wider cultural industries. Previous students of Fine Art in Belfast include internationally renown, influential and award-winning artists, curators, professors, and writers.
Fees and funding
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Fees (total cost)
Important notice - fees information
Please note fees displayed are for 2017/18 Academic Entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
View Ulster University’s 2017 fees policy
- Northern Ireland & EU:
Additional mandatory costs
Students purchase materials for their coursework.
Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.
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 wifi is also available on each of the campuses.
There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.
Please contact the course team for more information.