Art and Design - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2016, September 2017

This highly flexible and practice-based art and design degree course gives you the freedom to explore a wide range of art and design approaches, and uncover your own creative strength and inspiration.

In developing your ideas you will also gain an insight into the realities of professional life in the creative industries and develop excellent links and networks.

Our graduates have gone on to set up their own businesses, progress into further study and work with top names like Channel 4, Doll and IKON. Others succeed in jobs ranging from design and media, through to sales and teaching.

New for 2017/18

Art and Design

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesBenefits of our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

Our art and design undergraduate degree course covers the practice and theory of contemporary design, art and craft media.

You will work on studio and live projects to develop your own practice, whether photography, installation, print, digital media, sculpture, illustration, curatorial practice, textiles, drawing, sound, graphic design, public art and three-dimensional design.

Working closely with academic and technical staff, you will develop new skills and approaches to projects which help you gain confidence and uncover your own strengths and interests.

In your second year you will work with staff to organise professional placements and have the chance to study abroad at one of our European partner institutions.

Regular talks from visiting professional artists, designers, curators, craftspeople and entrepreneurs will maximise your employability prospects.

Students have previously enjoyed experiences like responding to the architecture of Dudley Zoological Gardens’ World Heritage Site to represent the Zoo’s 1930s listed structures.

Our graduates have recently showcased their work at the Waterhall contemporary art gallery, and also presented a collection of design ideas to Associated Architects, earning a £5,000 prize to further present their work in the West Midlands.

You’ll receive the support of expert academics, like Stuart Whipps, who is currently exhibiting his work in the British Art Show 2015.

"What really stuck with me was the intention to cultivate the skill set needed to define my goals, break down the steps/stages to achieving my goals and fulfil them."Devon McFarlane

Why Choose Us?

  • Our Faculty of Arts, Design and Media is one of the UK's largest and most prestigious institutes of art, architecture and design education
  • Work experience placements and live industry briefs give professional exposure that has led to employment with companies including Burberry, Cadbury, Channel 4, Fused, Games Faction, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA and The Mill
  • The School of Art runs two nationally-recognised contemporary galleries, as well as an internationally-renowned independent publishing house
  • Our graduates regularly receive awards and prizes recognising their excellence. One recent example was a coveted place on the graduate training scheme to become a TJ Maxx buyer.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 8 October 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

Please note: we are currently reviewing our entire course provision for 2017/18. Details will be included in your registration email.

This course is open to International students

School of Art

Discover Birmingham School of Art

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Channel 4
  • Doll
  • IKON

And in jobs such as:

  • Designer
  • Management consultant
  • Community Arts Officer

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio..

280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 280 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 28 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 28 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

280 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
predicted DMM at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

More about unconditional offers

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

Hear our student's top tips on putting together your art and design portfolio.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Our first year introduces you to a wide range of academic and technical staff who will help you explore working methods and techniques across a range of art and design disciplines.

You will share their wide experience of all areas of fine art, visual communication, technology, fashion and textile design, ceramics, product and set design, and print and photography.

Interdisciplinary projects will support you in the development of new skills and ways of thinking as you identify your own strengths and areas of interest for the future.

Introduction to Art and Design Practice 1
15 credits
Introduction to Art and Design Practice 2
30 credits
Negotiated Practice
45 credits
Contemporary and Historical Contexts
30 credits

Year two

You will work with staff to organise appropriate professional placements during year two.

You'll experience group teaching, one-to-one guidance, lectures, seminars and specialist lectures from artists, designers and entrepreneurs. There’s also the opportunity to study abroad at one of our European partner institutions.

Negotiated Practice
30 credits
Contemporary and Historical Contexts
15 credits
Professional Practice
30 credits
Collaborative Practice
15 credits
Negotiated Practice
30 credits

Year three

Professional practice is recognised as a strength of the course and you will be encouraged to continue engaging with the 'real world' during your final year.

Your experience will be complemented by regular talks from visiting experts across a range of backgrounds.

You will also benefit from working with visiting artists, designers, curators, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, educators and project managers, and representatives from regional and national support agencies for the creative industries.

Negotiated Practice
30 credits
Contemporary and Historical Contexts
30 credits
Negotiated Practice
45 credits
Professional Practice
15 credits

Each year you will undertake practical modules in negotiated practice. Supported by your personal tutor you will design the content of these modules, writing a short initial proposal outlining the ideas and processes you intend to explore. You will work across a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary art and design practice and can propose to explore two-dimensional and three-dimensional work, engage in art and design practice, make work in the public realm, develop curatorial ideas, work in digital space, develop collaborative projects and work across disciplines.

At each level, practical modules are supported by contemporary and historical contexts lectures, seminars and tutorials which enable you to gain an understanding of the theory and history of contemporary art and design in order to underpin and contextualise your own work.

The programme gives you practical advice and important skills for future employment so you can develop a personalised career development plan.

Teaching breakdown

28 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
69 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
3 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

Student stories - Lucy Martin

Student Lucy Martin discusses how the course allows her to choose what she wants to do and the different facilities on offer. She shares her tips for being a successful student too: "You need to be the boss of your own work."

View more examples of student work...

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

We run a range of Arts-based Master's courses at the School of Art that you may be interested in. Find out more.

For further information on courses call +44 (0)121 331 5595 or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Trips and visits

We organise international study visits every year, which have previously included trips to locations such as Berlin, New York and the Venice Biennale.

Enhancing employability skills

When you study with us you’ll learn all the key aspects of art and design disciplines and be able to identify their boundaries, relationships and the application of theory to practice.

Key aspects of your approach to this will include a detailed review of:

  • Historical, cultural and social factors that influence how art and design is evaluated
  • Relevance of visual arts disciplines to a wider context
  • Studio practice and study visits involving a critical reflection of past, present and future perspectives.

There are no typical art and design students. You will develop to suit your own creative ambitions. You're encouraged to be entrepreneurial and use your time to test different options for your future career.


Our second and third year professional practice modules give you the opportunity to undertake a range of placements across the creative industries.

You will also take part in a range of collaborative projects with external partners and other Schools in the University.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Megan Morrall
OpportUNIty Student: Megan Morrall

One of our graduates, Megan Morrall, after successfully engaging in a student academic partnership in the final year of her course, is now working for the University’s Marketing Department.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Recent graduates have progressed to various careers and roles including design, management consultancy, community arts officers, teaching, education assistants, curators in museums, galleries and art centres, exhibition design and interpretation, fashion and styling, display design, video production, web design and contemporary retail.

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

Our School is particularly popular with students from China.

We are also progressing plans to further strengthen our national and international networks.

Our International Office in Shanghai was established in 2007 and we work hard to develop strong working relationships with countries in Asia.

We provide prospective students with a professional and efficient application and student service, and maintain close relationships with former students living in China.

We are the UK’s most successful recruiter for art and design in China and Malaysia, and we run courses in Hong Kong and Thailand.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our art and design course is most popular with international students from:  

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces, lecture/seminar rooms and ARTicle Gallery.

Located next to the city centre’s Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the School is just a five-minute walk from the new Library of Birmingham and Ikon Gallery.

Students benefit from an environment which thrives on the everyday interaction of education, culture and professional practise.


Our studio spaces make excellent use of height and light, and a special screening system allows each full-time student a dedicated area to work in throughout their course.


Workshops include one-to-one technical support and operate throughout the building, allowing you to develop ideas and skills working with print, wood, metal, plaster, photography, video, textiles, 3D printing, laser cutting and prototyping.


The School of Art library contains a wealth of artists’ biographies, catalogues, art and design magazines and DVDs, all of which are updated throughout the year. The library is also linked to others across the University so you can order any additional materials you might need.

Social space

A new student-led social space, designed by School of Art students, is a great place to relax, grab a coffee, and catch up with friends. Students also display their work, host film showings and private-view receptions in this space.


There are purpose-built spaces throughout the building to present your work, including areas for cabinet, wall and floor pieces, and installation project rooms.

ARTicle, our professional art gallery space, has proved a huge success and offers a diverse and exciting variety of shows every month.

Parkside Building

You will also be able to use facilities at our nearby Parkside Building, a new five-floor campus site packed with fashion design workshops, studios and social ‘collision spaces’ where you can share ideas with students and staff from different courses.

Our staff

All of our staff are practicing artists, designers and writers, ensuring you will receive access to the latest thinking, activity and professional networks.

For example, Dr Daniel Hinchcliffe, fresh from running the Institute of Contemporary Interdisciplinary Arts (ICIA), has recently edited the book 'Speculative Strategies in interdisciplinary Arts Practice,' published by Underwing Press.

Stuart Whipps

Stuart Whipps

Lecturer BA Art and Design

Stuart was born in 1979 and lives and works in Birmingham. His practice uses and interrogates photography in its broadest definition. He is interested in the relationship between the photographic image and object, the slippery nature of archives, and the relationship between photography and narrative.

Stuart creates installations and books that tease complex narratives out of historic artefacts and moments. Recent bodies of work have utilised diverse material such as the collected speeches, interviews and statements of Margaret Thatcher, collected pieces of Scottish shale and found negatives from redundant South African photographic labs.

Selected solo exhibitions include:

  • PCS, Ithuba Arts Gallery, Johannesburg, 2015.
  • Invites, Zabludowicz Collection, London, 2014.
  • Birth Sprins, Death Falls, Flat Time House, London. 2013.
  • Why Contribute to The Spread of Ugliness? , Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, 2011.
  • New Wooabbeleri, Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea, 2010.

Selected group exhibitions include:

  • British Art Show, 2015 - 2017.
  • Relatively Absolute, Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire, 2013.
  • Community Without Propinquity, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 2011.
  • East International, Norwich, 2009.

In 2005 he won the Observer Hodge Photography Prize and in 2009 he was the joint recipient of the East International prize.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295