Art and Design - BA (Hons) *
Maker? Thinker? Futurist? Coder? Performer? Technologist? Conservationist? Designer? Interested? Many innovative creative studios now define themselves as interdisciplinary, a word which we define as the fluid movement across the fields of art, design and technology....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Maker? Thinker? Futurist? Coder? Performer? Technologist? Conservationist? Designer? Interested?
Many innovative creative studios now define themselves as interdisciplinary, a word which we define as the fluid movement across the fields of art, design and technology. Rather than specialising in a particular creative discipline, our cutting-edge course reflects how these studios practice by exploring the intersection between art and design, with the implementation of new creative digital technologies.
What's covered in this course?
Our course will prepare you to be ready for employment within the creative industries by providing you with long-term creative skills to map out your creative future. With you at the centre, we will explore the intersections of art and design, providing a space where you can understand, develop and create a career in the evolving creative industries. You will develop the necessary self-awareness to question, make, play and create with others.
The versatility of our experimental studio environment will enable you to explore the necessary collisions that innovative ideas creation now requires, while enhancing a range of core skills including design thinking, creative problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and making.
Whether you choose to combine creative coding with foraging for natural materials, photography with artificial intelligence, or welding with audio performance, you will respond to live briefs set by real-life clients.
The flexible, student-centred approach to the curriculum, informed by professional practitioners, will enable you to be imaginative, confident and convincing in designing and shaping your role in tomorrow’s free flowing, boundary free creative industries.
Creative Technologies Pathway
All students will be introduced to the fundamentals of interdisciplinary art and design practice with a focus on new creative technologies, which forms the core ethos of this course. In line with the development of our digital futures we are introducing an optional pathway in Creative Technologies which will give you the opportunity to focus specifically on further developing your digital skills through a breadth of technological approaches.
I fully support the approach to cross-disciplinary teaching, using art, design and digital technology to explore design methodologies. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration, experience and preparing students for future employability – I think this is extremely important.
Jason Bruges, Founder of Jason Bruges Studio.
Why Choose Us?
- Our cutting-edge course is future focused, and has been designed in collaboration with leading industry partners.
- Creative Technologies are one of the leading future jobs markets.
- You will work on live briefs set by real life clients, and in your second year you will have the opportunity to choose to do a work placement, or study abroad.
- Our course explores and unites the fundamental creative principles that are common to all three schools of Birmingham City University’s Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts (BICA). These are the School of Art, the School of Visual Communication, and the School of Games, Film and Animation.
- Our innovative programme combines in one BA course the leading-edge teaching and learning that is available across BICA, taught by interdisciplinary staff from across BICA.
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels.
|LEVEL 2 QUALIFICATIONS|
|IELTS||6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.|
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|A Level and Advanced VCE||
|AS and AS VCE||Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts|
|Access to HE Diploma||
|Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)||
|IBO Certificate in Higher Level||
|International Baccalaureate Diploma||
Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)||Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects.|
|OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma||DMM|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||
|UAL Extended Diploma in Art & Design||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Creative Media Production & Technology||Merit overall|
|UAL Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts||Merit overall|
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need to submit a good digital portfolio.
Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications|
6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in each band.
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses).|
International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).
Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 years
- £13,500 per year
- Full Time
- 4 years (with Professional Placement)
- Show fees
Sorry but we are unable to display the fee breakdown for this course at this time. Please check back later.
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Project materials (mandatory)
This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the materials selected.
Clothing and safety equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of safety equipment in order to use the workshop facilities.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
Personal equipment (optional)
Whilst not essential it is advised you own a computer or laptop capable of creative work. It might also be useful to purchase a digital camera during the first year. Advice can be given from the School once you have started the course.
Gallery visits (optional)
It is advisable for all Creative Arts students to visit exhibitions, galleries and other creative and cultural institutions and events depending on your own individual area of interest. Travel and entry costs may be associated with this.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
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
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
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
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.
You will be required to submit a portfolio to complete your application.
A digital portfolio can be submitted via your applicant portal, and we ask that this is submitted within four weeks of making your application. Please see our portfolio guidance page for tips on putting your portfolio together.
Applicants from selected locations in the West Midlands may also be offered an opportunity to present a portfolio in person. If this option is available to you, you will receive an email with further details once you have submitted your application.
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.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)
This module introduces critical thinking and building self-awareness to create a community. Through group discussions and debate you will be supported to develop learning strategies. You will be introduced to creative design thinking, verbal and visual communication tools, and core writing skills. You will look at a body of thoughts from across the world, capturing a global, diverse range of voices.
This module explores the connectivity of materials, and how materials collaborate with each other. You will collaboratively test, experiment and prototype, by exploring: fusion; confusions; knotting; welding; embedding; joints; and breaking things. You will look at a body of materials and their applications from across the world, capturing a global, diverse range of voices.
This module explores the fundamentals of, and interconnective relationship between, different contemporary creative digital technologies. You will collaboratively experiment, test and embrace digital technologies, by exploring: coding; digital modelling; digital drawing; projection; filming; editing; VR/AR; sound; and, light. You will look at a body of technologies and their applications from across the world, capturing a global, diverse range of voices.
This module focuses on narrative, the different ways narratives can be created, and the possible exploration of: movement; performance (of materials or a person); presentation; spoken word; animation; costume; or set. You will look at a body of performance from across the world, capturing a global, diverse range of voices.
This module focuses on making, using found materials in the natural environment. The module will explore a range of possible themes, including: natural materials; foraging; growing; building; stone carving; nesting; thatching; collecting; or observing. You will look at natural materials and their application across the world, capturing a global, diverse range of voices.
This module is a round-up of the year, revisiting and building on what has been done to date. You and your peers will self-organise to look out to the wider community of Birmingham and collaboratively identify, develop and design speculative proposals. The module, and the year, will culminate with an outward-facing exhibition.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits)
This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional brief. The brief will be set by a local external client, user, community or audience, in consultation with the staff team, and it could be a ‘real life’ problem to be solved, or a simulation. It is an opportunity for you to engage in a professional manner, within the supportive infrastructure of the University. Where appropriate, the project may involve interdisciplinary collaboration with students from other courses. In this way, it reflects the collaborative, flexible nature of employment within the creative industries.
This module explores real-world challenge-based learning, through a nationally located live brief, set by an external client, partner, user, community or audience. The module will have an employability focus, an emphasis on building professional communication skills, and you will expand your knowledge of interdisciplinary design practice across the creative industries.
This module focuses on real-world challenge-based learning, through a globally located live brief, set by an external client, partner user, community, audience or institution. Building on the skills developed in the previous modules throughout year two, this module has a global perspective, and an emphasis on Global Citizenship, understanding different cultures, knowledge and working practices.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:
This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the creative industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and ADM Careers+. Typically, the placement duration is a minimum 70 hours, maximum of 140 hours. This can be achieved in one block, or can be dispersed over a longer period of time, if required. If you fail to secure a placement by the specified deadline, an “as live” industry standard project will be set by the module tutor. The work placement will be considered and approved by the module tutor in order to ensure that the learning opportunity is of benefit to you.
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits)
The purpose of this module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. You will be guided towards choosing a research topic, which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise.
In this module you will investigate the wider creative industries, locally, nationally and globally, to better understand what your potential future pathway might look like. In response to a series of supporting lectures from a range of industry experts, you will develop your professional identity by constructing a range of appropriate self-promotional materials.
This module is tailored to your individual strengths, research areas and career aspirations. You will follow your own pathway to make a body of work, navigating your way through the Thought Lab, Materials Lab and Digital Lab. This could be achieved individually, or in collaboration with others, using an external live brief or a speculative brief.
This course focuses on rapid learning and experimentation, and you will engage in real-world challenges. The course will enable you to question, explore, experiment, make, play and create with others.
Level 4 takes you and your peers from ‘I to Us’ to harness your self-awareness as part of how you learn and collaborate with others in your teams. You will navigate through ‘Labs’ that represent the fundamentals of interdisciplinary design process (defined as ‘between’ or ‘among’ defined disciplines). The term ‘Lab’ is used to communicate that the studio environment will be a place of experimentation. We define Lab as ‘a creative environment that encourages experimentation, play, risk-taking and making a mess.’
The three primary Labs are: Thought Lab; Materials Lab; and Digital Lab. You will iteratively move through these Labs in the first semester. Additional Labs will be introduced once the fundamentals of the interdisciplinary design process have been established. These new Labs are: Nature Lab; Performance Lab; and, Speculative Lab. What will connect them all is a sense of community and communal sharing. Throughout the module you and your peers will regularly bring your work together to share, display, discuss, and critique.
Throughout the course you will be asked to ‘creatively interrogate’ by examining, questioning, and then making a response to a given source, theme or object. These challenges are designed to expose you to new approaches to ‘sense making’ while considering different perspectives and different voices.
Level 5 uses the emergent process developed in Level 4 to move you and your peers from ‘Us to We’, from working with each other to working as a unit with external clients. You will focus on real-world challenge-based learning, through live briefs that are locally, nationally and globally located, set by an external client, user, community or audience. Building on skills developed in the previous module, the scope is now bigger, with broader perspectives, an employability focus, and an emphasis on building professional communication skills. You will collaboratively question and explore a live brief, while iteratively moving through the Thought, Materials and Digital Labs as needed as your projects grow and develop.
Level 6 encourages you to diverge to follow your own pathway, navigating your own way through the Labs. You may focus on one Lab, or a combination of Labs, or create new Labs of your own. You may choose to work individually or collaboratively. You will undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area of personal interest, and you will create a body of work. You will also integrate professional companies and the creative landscape to identify a future career path and develop a professional identity.
Enhancing employability skills
Our course seeks to respond to the rapidly evolving creative industries, to enable you to not only be ready for immediate employment, but also for future evolutions within the industries, by providing you with long-term skills and employability. Informed by professional practitioners and researchers, the course reflects pioneering practices that cross art, design, and creative technologies. The course will enable you to be imaginative, confident and convincing in taking up and even designing and shaping your future role as a creative leader and practitioner of change.
The course offers strong employability potential for students as the Digital Creative sector is the largest growth sector of the creative industries. All skills and capabilities developed on the course are highly transferable and will support you to develop a range of knowledge, skills, behaviours attributes and attitudes which will enable you to be successful not just in employment but in life. The breadth and fluidity of the course will enable you to build an awareness and development of the following transferable skills: adaptability; creativity; collaboration; problem solving; communication; listening; analytical reasoning; critical thinking; attention to detail; and, writing.
Key employability skills will also be acquired through:
- Working on live briefs with real clients in an employment context, enabling you to collaborate, communicate effectively, build social skills and develop a global perspective.
- The option of a work placement module, professional placement year, and multiple live briefs will be offered with potential employers as real partners in learning.
- A Personal Tutor will help you reflect on your employability.
- School Employability Leads, Academic Supervisors, Careers Advisors and Graduate Plus Teams will be able to provide support and advice.
As a student on our BA Art and Design course you will be offered the choice of taking one of the ADM Faculty Modules. Each module will have a live focus whether that be working across the City collaboratively with students from across the Faculty, working within industry in work experience placements or working on live project briefs.
You will have the option to take a year-long professional work placement sandwich year to spend time directly working in industry through our BA (Hons) Art and Design with Professional Placement Year. This presents a fantastic opportunity to gain confidence, build experience and develop workplace skills before graduating through a work-based learning opportunity. If you choose this route you will be supported by the course team in researching their chosen area of work and given advice to secure a placement (or placements) that enable you to develop key employability skills in a direct, interesting and meaningful way. It provides the opportunity to spend a year completing structured work experience anywhere in the world, before returning to Birmingham School of Art for the final year of the BA Art and Design course to apply what has been learnt working in industry.
Links to Industry
The course is directly supported by Jason Bruges Studio, and founder Jason Bruges is our Visiting Professor: Design Studio Practice.
Birmingham School of Art has a wide array of links with partner organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. These partnerships will provide work experience opportunities for you, and contribute to your learning and teaching activities. Our overseas partnerships often result in opportunities for you to mix with students from different countries and gain different perspectives, as well as opportunities to undertake a period of study overseas.
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.
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
The course provides the ability to study in one of the UK’s oldest art schools. You will learn to develop your own creative practice in a thriving creative community in the heart of the UK’s second city on a course which mixes traditional surroundings with current international debates. The ability to develop your own individual practices alongside a range of local institutions and industries will give a unique insight into the culture and markets of the UK.
Facilities and Staff
In 1884 Birmingham Municipal School of Arts and Crafts - the first municipal school in the country, opened at Margaret Street where Birmingham School of Art still stands today. This building, with its rich history and rare heritage of practice-led knowledge, is home to our BA Art and Design course. The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and design, 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.
Our course is situated within an inclusive physical studio environment. This incubator space has making at it’s heart, it is a place of doing, enabling agility and iteration. The layout is flexible and open plan. Like a laboratory, our space brings together the exploration of art, design and creative digital technologies to allow for the necessary collision and serendipity that innovative ideas creation now requires. The layout is loosely divided into Labs, and equipment within the Labs will be on open display and ready to use. These resources will be in addition to the extensive workshops already available in Margaret Street, that include photography, casting, woodwork, metalwork, silk screen, etching, 3D printing, laser cutting, and printed and constructed textiles.
The specialist library, workshops and studio facilities at the School of Art provide a hub of creative activity for you to immerse yourself within.
Take a look around some of our facilities, classrooms, studios and workshops in our virtual walkthroughs.
Dr Lara Furniss
BA Art and Design Course Director
Lara has twenty years professional experience working internationally across many art and design disciplines. This extensive cross-disciplinary professional experience directly informs Lara’s teaching, with a primary interest in developing new pedagogic approaches to non-discipline specific problem solving. Lara’s research interests have emerged directly from her professional practice and academic experience within Higher Education. Her PhD study explored evolving design practice and design education in the 21st Century. The study examined the processes of internationally renowned UK design studios and the implications for design pedagogy. Studios included Ron Arad Associates, Heatherwick Studio, Punchdrunk, Jason Bruges Studio and Assemble.More about Lara
Lecturer in Illustration
Kristian is a multidisciplinary artist and lecturer at Birmingham City University. A graduate of the MA Fine Art program at Manchester Metropolitan University, his work focuses on ‘New Media Art’ and digital Interaction, combining generative graphics, algorithmic procedure, and sound/sensor-driven technology. Kristian’s research currently centers around ‘surveillance culture, invisibility, and the human-computer interaction of modern society as a result.More about Kristian