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Graduate Diploma: Art Portfolio (Pre-Masters) - GradDip

Currently viewing course to start in 2023/24 Entry. Switch to 2022/23 Entry

This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Art....

  • School Birmingham School of Art
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

This course is for graduates who want to undertake masters’ level study but who have not yet met the required standard for admission to their chosen course. Through the course, we aim to help you to enhance your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills to a point that you will be eligible to join one of the MA courses within the School of Art.

We acknowledge that students will begin the course with very different development needs; perhaps you need some support with your written or spoken English; or perhaps your portfolio would benefit from the world-class facilities available at Birmingham City University and the input of our experienced academic staff? Whether your development needs are creative or academic, this course will help you achieve your goals.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

Your course begins with a diagnostic tutorial during which we will assess the support you need to develop your creative portfolio, knowledge and skills. This will result in a personalised plan to help you achieve your goals. The Academic Skills modules will allow you to improve those all-important skills needed for successful masters’ level study, such as understanding and communicating theories and arguments relevant to your practice. Through the Academic Skills modules, we aim to provide specialist support for students with English as a second language.

On successful completion of the course, you are guaranteed access to one of the following MA courses in the School of Art.

  • MA Fine Art
  • MA Contemporary Arts China
  • MA Art & Design Interdisciplinary Practices
  • MA Arts & Educational Practices
  • MA Arts & Project Management

You may also be eligible to join one of the other MAs in the wider Faculty of Arts Design and Media, depending on the suitability of your portfolio and abilities.

While the main purpose of this course is to prepare you for Masters level study, the following transferable skills are embedded throughout the curriculum to help you become more employable:

  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Effective communication through a variety of methods, including presentations
  • Group working
  • Problem solving
  • Digital literacy

We recognise that students will have different prior experiences and competences and may not need to complete the full course in order to achieve the standards required for entry to Masters. Depending on your prior experience, the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning scheme may enable you to make a case to undertake just those aspects of the course which meet your development needs.

As part of the application process, we require a digital portfolio demonstrating critical thinking, technical abilities and creative process relevant to the subject area.

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham School of Art is an internationally recognised (REF 3*/4* rated) centre of excellence for art-based learning and research.
  • You will become a valued member of one of Birmingham School of Art’s research centres.
  • You will be supported by a highly professional staff team, doctoral researchers, technical demonstrators and artists in residence in a caring and supportive environment.
  • We have good external links with internationally recognised galleries (Ikon, BMAG, Tate) and organisations in the creative industries (ELIA) and the wider community.
  • The school achieved high scores in areas such as staff enthusiasm and support, enhancement of academic abilities, research skills development, student experience and quality of delivery.

Studying with us during the Covid-19 pandemic

The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Should the impact of the pandemic continue in future years, any additional or alternative arrangements put in place by the University will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to explore our campus and facilities in person. You'll be able to hear more about your chosen subject area in our course talks.

Next Open Day: Saturday 1 October 2022

Book 1 October Book 22 October

Entry Requirements

Essential Requirements

Undergraduate Degree relevant to the discipline; 2:2 or above.

IELTS 5.5 overall, with no less than 5.5 in all bands, or equivalent.

International Students

Entry requirements here

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: GradDip

Starting: Sep 2023

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  • Duration
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Award: GradDip

Starting: Jan 2024

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International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: GradDip

Starting: Sep 2023

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: GradDip

Starting: Jan 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

The University reserves the right to increase fees in line with inflation based on the Retail Prices Index or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament up to a maximum of five per cent.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them 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.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Modules

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits):

Download course specification

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The Developing a Portfolio and Major Project modules, focus on enabling students to develop and build a portfolio of work, whilst learning with other students within the subject specialism. These practical modules are supported by the Academic Skills modules, and as a suite will enable the development of the necessary skills in preparation for Master level study.

This taught module consists of lectures/seminars/workshops or group tutorials and is led by a specialist module tutor. Teaching will be delivered online and in person, and through a range of methods including formal presentations, seminar, workshop, group tutorials, study visits and self-directed learning. This range of taught approaches will encourage the development of different aspects of the portfolio creating journey.

Assessment types will range from the creation of bodies of practical work (portfolio/major project), supporting material in the form of sketchbook, blog or another format and live and/or recorded verbal and visual presentations.

Feedback and feedforward will be given during group tutorials from lecturers and your fellow students and will form part of an ongoing evaluation on the development of your work. This supports you in the development of your reflective skills as well as preparing you for the formal Summative Assessment at the end of the module.

The Academic Skills modules are for pre-masters students across the wider Faculty so you will get to know students from outside your subject area and benefit from exposure to their practice and perspectives. The module works in tandem with your Portfolio and Major Project modules, allowing you to use the knowledge and skills you are developing to communicate ideas about your own practice and that of others related to your subject area. You will be taught mainly online, providing you with an opportunity to take part in interactive activities in your own time to support your learning. You will also participate in online group tutorials and seminars where your lecturers will help you to contextualise your learning to your particular subject area and your own practice. Your assessment will consist of presentations, short written proposals and reports relevant to your subject area. You’ll have opportunities to get feedback on drafts of your work and to practice your presentations, with feedback from your fellow students and lecturers.

Employability

Enhancing employability skills

While most artists are self-employed many already have or wish to gain employment in a range of related professions across the creative industries. Some people are looking for ways to enhance their skills set, some are seeking ways to advance in the profession they already have whilst others are seeking a change in direction enabling them to do what they have dreamed of.

The acquisition of transferrable skills: creative problem solving; communication and presentation skills; adaptability and flexibility; independence and teamwork and good time management is important.

From the sample detailed in the employability section a significant number of our graduates have become highly successful arts professionals. Numerous others have been employed in a number of other professions including:

  • Conference/ exhibition organisers
  • Web designers
  • Graphic designers
  • Business professionals
  • Curator
  • Artist
  • Educational Producer

A significant number of our graduates have been appointed in Higher Education Institutions nationally and internationally. 

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Margaret Street exterior

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 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 and lecture/seminar rooms.