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Undergraduate Course

Fine Art BA (Hons)

Become an artist with ideas generated through critical thinking and experimentation. Discover what drives your practice and learn to exhibit your work.

Student painting wall canvas

Push the boundaries of creativity and explore new ways of thinking and making art. Your time in the studio is a chance for you to experiment and express your creativity through art. Explore the histories and theories of art and consider how they connect to the work you do.

100% of Fine Art BA (Hons) students thought that the course challenged them to achieve their best work. (National Student Survey 2022)

100% of Fine Art BA (Hons) students thought that staff made the subject interesting. (National Student Survey 2022)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – WWC2
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022, September 2023
  • School – School of the Arts

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2022 entry £13,000 per year full time

Course overview

From the beginning of this course you will experiment with contemporary ways of making and embracing artistic practice. You will explore different materials and styles as you engage with:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Photography
  • Performances and video

As you progress through the course you will refine your skills, finding your personal style. As you discover the mediums and processes you enjoy working with, we will encourage you to pursue them. Alongside your practical work you will explore theories and histories of fine art. You will investigate ideas and research projects that build your understanding of art practices.

When you become a fine art student, you gain access to our creative workspaces. We have a studio space for each student, giving you the foundation you need to explore your creativity. We also have workshops dedicated to sculpture and printmaking. Our darkroom lets you explore traditional photography methods. The digital suites have Adobe Creative Suite installed for your use.

We also give you amazing opportunities to prepare for your future in the creative industries. These include opportunities to:

  • Work on live projects with gallery spaces and industry professionals
  • Showcase your work at our annual degree show and national graduate exhibitions.
  • Visit cities around the world to enrich your cultural awareness and see a variety of art practices
  • Take part in work placement opportunities and internships

Course structure

Year 1

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study: 

  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1 
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will introduce you to the historical, social and political contexts of art and illustration. You will consider the different materials, technologies and cultural circumstances that shape art, illustration and other creative practices. By studying these theories, you will expand your critical vocabulary and knowledge, helping you to reflect on your work. You will explore how mediums have shifted throughout history and examine what caused these changes.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to the conceptual, technical and material practices of Fine Art. We will encourage you to experiment as you learn new technical skills. You will start to assemble a portfolio of work and evaluate your strengths as an artist through annotation, reflection and conversations with tutors and peers. On this module we will cover:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpture
  • Printmaking
  • Time based art.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module you will build on your knowledge from Critical Contexts 1. Informed by literary texts and contemporary publications you will analyse different types of representation. You will do this using philosophical approaches and looking at symbolism. This will help you take a critical approach to contemporary representations. It will help you to adopt an analytical approach to both your photography and your written work.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

On this module you will investigate your ideas through projects that explore 2D, 3D and 4D space. You will continue to develop your established skills and pick up new ones too. As you create new work we will challenge you to question the conventions of art production. By doing this you will evolve your own ideas through experimentation and creative risk taking. Gather sources of inspiration and explore issues that stimulate your creative practice, this could include political movements, social issues or environmental concerns. 

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 1 
  • 2 compulsory modules in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will develop your critical thinking and research skills. You will gain the critical tools needed to place your work in the discussions that have informed creative practice. In lectures and seminars you will explore the key ideas, debates and practices that can help you work out your research focus. On the module you might explore:

  • Continental aesthetics and creative practice
  • The human, the animal and the post-human
  • New materialism: making, the studio and the social
  • Documentary and its forms.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

Establish and broaden your studio practice as you work to express your aesthetic voice with confidence. You will use advanced techniques and start to work at a professional level. You will undertake research to inform your practice and document it in your portfolio. We want you to gain a clearer perception of yourself as a fine artist by identifying your strengths, interests and areas for development. You will be introduced to ways of finding work based learning and presenting yourself professionally.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

Continue to develop your critical thinking and research skills as you prepare for your research project in your final year. At the end of the module you will use all you have learnt to write a research proposal. There are many topics you will cover on this module, some of these include:

  • Postmodernism: difference and intertextuality
  • Feminism and painting
  • Art after the internet
  • Ethics in illustration
  • Autobiographical practice.

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

On this module you will work independently as you develop your practice and consider the audience and context of the work you create. Your creative work will be reviewed regularly in peer critiques and 1 to 1 tutorials with tutors. Using the feedback provided, you can identify areas of development in your work and skills you can enhance. You will reflect on and evaluate your work and consider the theoretical issues that inform your thinking and making. The module ends with an exhibition of your work that reflects your emerging professional and personal specialisation. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a work placement so you can see how fine art translates into the workplace.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

  • 1 compulsory module across semesters 1 and 2
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module in semester 2

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.


Credits: 30

Compulsory module

On this module you will complete a piece of research that shows your ability to educate yourself and to construct a solid argument. Your idea for this project will come from your encounters with practice and theory and will be in an area of your choice. You will work with peers researching a similar topic to support each other and critique each other’s work. You will also be supported by a project supervisor in 1 to 1 tutorials.

Credits: 60

Compulsory module

On this module you will focus on creating a body of artwork that expresses your approach as an artist and demonstrates your specialism. You will be supported in this work through group critiques, 1 to 1 tutorials, seminars and workshops. By taking this module you will learn the diverse nature of professional practice by engaging in exhibition curation, marketing, project management and creative production.

Credits: 30

Compulsory module

You will consider your future as a professional practitioner in art. We will help you to gain an understanding of different professional situations in your area of interest and support you as you prepare for them. You will start to build a professional network with external partners and create a career plan for your future. You will also create a website to present yourself and your work professionally.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

We deliver your modules through:

  • Tutorials
  • Practical workshops
  • Group critiques
  • Seminars
  • Lectures
  • Studio demonstrations

Each module has 3 to 6 hours of contact time a week. We schedule our taught sessions between 9.00am and 8.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You will need to conduct independent study outside of this time. This might include creative exploration, reading, writing tasks and research. You can also arrange individual tutorials with your module tutors throughout the semester to receive feedback on your work and discuss the course content.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages.


There are no exams on this course. Assessment types vary from module to module. Some of your assessments might include:

  • Portfolios of work
  • Sketchbooks and developmental work
  • Exhibitions
  • Research reports
  • Essays
  • Personal critiques and reflections
  • Presentations

On each module you will receive ongoing feedback on your work from staff and peers. This will help you reflect and refine your work before your final submission or exhibition at the end of the module. Each assessment will be marked and returned with feedback so you can improve your work.

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in Fine Art

On this course you will gain the practical and creative skills you need to succeed in a career related to fine art. You will be able to demonstrate your versatility as an artist through your portfolio of work. You will also build skills in communication, project management and problem solving that can lead to a range of other creative roles.

This degree could be the first step toward your career as a:

  • Artist
  • Curator
  • Teacher
  • Creative producer
  • Project management
  • Arts administrator
  • Exhibition manager
  • Arts worker
  • Creative advisor or consultant

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

Fine Art MFA

MA by Research

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements


Portfolio Day

If your application is successful, you will be invited to a portfolio day. On the day, you will show your work to our tutors and discuss your work and the ideas behind it.

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

Fees and Funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay depends on whether you live inside the UK, or internationally (outside the UK). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry onto this course is:

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time

These prices apply to all UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page:

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2022 entry £13,000 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this course is £13,000 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree:

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

Study Abroad

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email

Course highlights

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