Fine Art - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
W101
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years)
Starting:
September 2016

Our fine art course gives you the support of professionals to choose your own creative journey and flourish as an artist, curator, teacher or working in other creative fields.

Based in some of the best studios in the UK you'll enjoy the freedom, space and support needed to establish your own artistic voice.

Throughout your fine art degree you will be encouraged to experiment and investigate ideas across a range of fine art practices.

Our graduates start their own businesses, progress on to further studies, or work with top institutions like the Ikon and Whitechapel Gallery.

New for 2017/18

Fine Art

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?

There are no set pathways to learning and this means you’ll have genuine freedom to experiment in any media appropriate to your ideas.

This course encourages you to experiment in or across painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, installation, film and video.

You'll be supported throughout your studies by our experienced and talented tutors and technical staff - all professional artists in their own right like lecturer Franziska Schenk.

As well as learning important skills for your future career development from our practical modules, you’ll also be introduced to the context and curation of art:

  • Themes and Concepts in Art
  • Art and Exhibition
  • Art in Theory and Writing
  • Art, Space and Audience

You will enjoy our close links to the Ikon Gallery, Ort Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and be inspired by the studios and galleries set up by former students, such as The Lombard Method, Grand Union, Stryx and Ort Gallery.

The course concludes in a public professional exhibition of your practical work supported by individual websites.

The tutors were always on hand to help and were of great support. They were the ones who guided me through my work process, gave me confidence and, best of all, helped me gain a place at the Royal College of Art. Alicia Dubnyckj

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham School of Art celebrates 130 years of art at Margaret Street – its Grade I listed building has been the inspiration for countless artists and practitioners of international reputation over the years.
  • You'll instantly become part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s 6,000-strong student community.
  • You will be supported by our highly experienced staff who are all nationally and internationally active artists.
  • A multi-million pound investment in facilities for photography, casting, woodwork, metalwork, silk screen, etching, 3D printing, laser cutting, and printed and constructed textiles.
  • You will curate exhibitions, and have the opportunity take part in work placements and exchanges, and go on national and international study visits.
  • The School of Art houses and runs its own gallery - ARTicle gallery which is supported by internationally renowned independent publishing house ARTicle Press.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 11 June 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 11 June 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:

  • Solid Space Developments
  • Staffordshire University Academy
  • The Friday Project

And in jobs such as:

  • Assistant Graphic Designer
  • Fine Art Freelancer
  • Assistant Film Designer

Entry Requirements

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

UK students
Essential

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
Essential
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).

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

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2016/17 year, 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 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
or
be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

New UCAS tariff

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

UK or EU students

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

International Students

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

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.

Portfolio Guidance

Hear our student's top tips on putting together your fine art portfolio prior to interview.

Please note, international students will be required to submit a digital portfolio. See further information.

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

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

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.

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

The first year introduces you to practice and context, workshop methods through projects, seminars and field visits.

You will begin to develop your own language, interests and understanding to enable you to establish a practice.

Your practice is supported by presentations and seminar discussions of historical and contemporary themes and ideas.

Students Sebastian van Driel and Samantha Rhodes describe why they chose to study fine art at Birmingham City University and what their first year was like.

Our first year studying fine art

Modules explained:
Practice and Context
15 credits

This introductory practical and research-based module involves seminar discussions, studio and local and national field visits. It will establish and develop your knowledge and understanding of contemporary art in the context of historical precedents; research and analytical skills; and will enable you to get to know others in small tutor groups.

Methods and Materials
30 credits

This module introduces you to workshop practice and a range of different approaches and contexts. You have the opportunity to explore materials and processes in the studio and workshop related to painting, print, sculpture, installation, photography and video.

Establishing Practice
45 credits

In this module your knowledge of context, methods and materials from earlier in the year is all brought together in defining an independent fine art studio practice. In any media and approach you feel is interesting and appropriate for your emerging ideas, you will be working to one of the thematic options: Art and Other Worlds; Art and The Subject; Art and Technologies.

Themes and Concepts in Art
15 credits

This module is delivered through a series of lectures and seminar discussion. It is a stimulating journey exploring key concepts in historical and contemporary art through a range of socio-political contexts. It also develops your confidence in writing and speaking about art. You will be required to, and be supported in, writing a 2,000-word essay.

Art and Exhibition
15 credits

This module involves the group curation of second and third year work in the form of individual exhibitions. You will be engaged in planning, organizing, negotiating, and presenting your work in a coherent and professional manner, supported by publicity and marketing.

See one example of a student's work   

Another example of student's work

Year two

The second year is about further exploration and development, testing out ideas and taking risks.

You will strengthen your own fine art identity through experimentation and reflective discussion in the form of individual and group tutorial sessions.

You will have the option of an international exchange, and the opportunity to get involved in a range of projects and placements.

Modules explained:
Developing Practice
45 credits

Through a sustained period of practical and contextual experimentation and exploration, this module develops critical, conceptual and manipulative skills. In support of this there are regular lectures, individual and groups tutorials, critiques and field visits. To broaden your knowledge and understanding of working strategies you will have opportunities for placements, collaboration and external projects.

Extending Practice
45 credits

This module builds upon your practical and contextual work in 'Developing Practice' and further encourages exploration and testing out and expanding upon your ideas. You will be able to more rigorously analyse your work and that of others and situate your work within a context(s).

Art in Theory and Writing
15 credits

This module expands upon your knowledge of themes and concepts in art and further investigates critical thinking in relation to art and theory. It allows you to structure arguments, speak with confidence about ideas in art and expands on your understanding of historical and contemporary texts. You will be supported in writing a 2,500-word essay.

Art, Space and Audience
15 credits

This module is based on review writing and requires field visits and seminar discussions, supported by lectures and comparison writing workshops. It is open and discursive and encourages personal reading of artworks and curatorial decision-making. You will be supported in writing an illustrated 1,000-word review.

International Exchange
60 credits

This optional module, linked to Erasmus exchange programme, is an opportunity for you to study at a partner institution in Europe for a period of three months (February to May).

We annually have students studying at comparable courses in Rome, Vilnius, Rotterdam, Cluj and Dublin. We also host students from these countries, which adds greatly to the dynamic, diversity and culture of the course.

Year three

Our Professional Practice modules give you the confidence to consolidate your theory and practice and create a body of work which is a platform for your future career.

Our graduates include award-winning professional artists, designers, curators, teachers and professionals within Birmingham's thriving creative industries sector and beyond.

Modules explained:
Practice and Professional Presentation
75 credits

This module is year-long and is a further development of your practical work with a more rigorous critical understanding of the relation of techniques and material handling to meaning and audience. Ideas are tested and consolidated in the form of a fully resolved professional presentation.

Practice-Led Dissertation
30 credits

This is a module that unites your practical and theoretical understanding to produce a 5,000 – 6,000 word dissertation. You will be supported in establishing, researching and rigorously exploring a theoretical and contextual argument in relation to your ideas in your practice.

Professional Portfolio
15 credits

This module supports your successful progression from the course and enables you to present yourself verbally and visually with confidence and clarity. You will be supported in developing a personalized website and making a live 'pitch' presentation on your work, both of which are assessed.

See some examples of our student's websites 

On the fine art degree course, you will be encouraged to experiment and investigate ideas which develop your individual creativity.

With no rigid pathways, the course gives you the chance to work in areas such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, film and video.

Teaching breakdown

valuelabelcolor
30 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
65 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
5 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

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96 Coursework FireBrick
4 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Hope Chapman

Hope Chapman

Hope applied for the BA (Hons) Fine Art course with a longing to work in the art industry. Attracted by the phenomenal up-and-coming art scene in Birmingham, she knew the Birmingham School of Art would offer the perfect environment for her to develop her passion. She graduated in 2013 and now works for artist Pryce Lee in property development, filming coordination and modern art. More about Hope.

Josephine Reichert

Josephine Reichert

Josephine made the decision to move from Berlin to Birmingham, as the self-directed study seemed to be a much fresher approach to teaching art, compared with local universities. She graduated in 2008 and is now the Director of Ort Gallery, an artist-led gallery space in Birmingham. Read more of Josie's experiences.

View more examples of student work...

Reviews

These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"Birmingham is good But the university is Better! I have loved my experience here and met so many new people. IT is better than what I expected. My course is amazing and the lectures are inspiring. My only advice would be to choose this university."
Emma
www.whatuni.com

Read all What Uni reviews

Overseas Opportunities

We are currently establishing a collaborative partnership with the Hong Kong Design Institute which will lead to future cultural visits and project opportunities.

Erasmus scheme

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 Tel: +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.

Student stories Vicki Eggs

Running Own Brand: CMYK London

Having graduated in Fine Art, Vicki Eggs initially used her passion for photography to create her own range of greetings cards. She now runs her own brand, CMYK London, featuring her own eye-catching designs on t-shirts, tea towels, mugs, bags and limited edition screen prints, which are already proving a hit with the buying public.

After graduating in 2005 I travelled around the world for eight months, taking literally thousands of photographs, and on my return decided to do something with them. I started making greetings cards and selling them to local shops and galleries in and around my home town of, Royston, Herts, leading me to set up my own greeting card company Ve Gallery in 2006. I then began working for a greetings card company with worldwide distribution. By the time I left two years later, to live in Sydney, I had designed over 200 cards and had developed a photographic style of working.

Enhancing your employability skills

Focusing on individual creative development and growing your resourcefulness and confidence, you will have a wide range of options after completing this course.

When you study with us you'll learn all the key aspects of:

  • Analytical, critical and reflective skills needed to develop creative ideas
  • Applying a range of range of practical, technical and research skills
  • Negotiating, planning, organisation, presentation and employability

Your creativity, along with your skills in analysis, negotiation, communication and self-management, can open the way to exciting careers in arts administration, teaching, digital media, theatre, television, film, music and design disciplines.

Many of our graduates continue to develop their professional practice, while others progress to postgraduate study across a range of related subjects.

You'll also gain important networks through our strong links to the region's artistic community, with opportunities to work with the Ikon Gallery, Ort Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

Our fortnightly student-led Open Art Nights presents work for discussion and feedback. This is a great opportunity for students across all levels of the course to discuss ideas and critique developing work. More about our Open Art Nights.

Placements

You will have the option of an international exchange, and the opportunity to get involved in a range of projects and placements.

Our students have recently been on placements with the Birmingham Rep, working with and alongside the sculptor, Rob Olins, in conjunction with the BFG production.

Students have also worked with the sound artist, Justin Wiggan, exploring the University archives in relation to the school of Art to create site-specific work.

The Fierce Festival and the Flatpack Festival regularly work with our Fine Art students.

OpportUNIty

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.

Alumni stories

Luke Perry

With a passion for art and engineering, Luke uses his expertise in both fields to design and build large-scale sculptures that celebrate the Midlands' industrial heritage. He is founder and director of Industrial Heritage Stronghold, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to "build public artworks which celebrate our industrial heritage in a very real way".

Matthew Evans

Matthew graduated last year and is currently studying on an MA Fine Art course. His work was selected at the Fine Art degree show for a £10,000 commission at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham. Working in collaboration with another student, this work has carefully evolved through consultation with staff and patients and is now complete.

Firewalking

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

Fine Art students like this course because the opportunities for them on graduation are immensely broad and typically students will have multiple roles and jobs.

For example, graduates continue to work as a practitioner while curating and also go on to further study.

To be able to do this requires confidence, resourcefulness, flexibility and the ability to respond to, and create, opportunity.

The course prepares you extremely well for this. Remember, you will be a strong creative person.

Final year graduate shows

View some of the final year students' work from the 2015 Graduate Shows, in this video. You can also see work of the degree shows of 2014, 20132012, 2011 and 2010.

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, Hong Kong and Singapore.

We are also progressing plans to further strengthen our national and international networks with one example being the planned creation of a Visual Art and Culture top-up course at the Hong Kong Design Institute for BA (Hons) Fine Art students, beginning in September 2015.

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

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 fine art 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.

Studios

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

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.

Library

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.

Gallery

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 practising artists, designers and writers, ensuring you will receive access to the latest thinking, activity and professional networks.

Meet all our staff

Franziska Schenk

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Franziska Schenk is an artist and researcher with an MA in Fine Art (with Distinction) and First Class Honours degrees in Fine Art (Birmingham City University), and in Art Education (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt). A well-qualified, experienced Lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham.

She is initiator of, and principal investigator on, funded art and science projects focusing on the conversion of nature’s iridescent colour to the painter’s palette – thereby introducing flow, dynamism, transience and an evolutionary element into painting.

Françoise Dupré

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Born in France, based in London and a permanent UK Resident, Françoise Dupré trained in London at City University (MA in Museum & Gallery Management), Chelsea College of Art and Design (MA History and Theory of Modern Art) and Camberwell College of Arts (BA (Hons) Fine Art-Sculpture).

Françoise is a self-employed artist-curator and a part-time senior lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University, School of Art where she contributes to the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) strand: Art in the Public Sphere.

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