The BA (Hons) in Fine Art involves you in a diverse and lively community of creative people; experimenting, challenging, learning and engaging in the business of being an artist in the contemporary world. This studio-based course is structured within our Fine Art studios to enable you to experience a deeper acquisition and performance of skill in your favoured media.

Our course still links the traditional approaches in art education, pioneered by the University when it was called Leeds School of Art, with contemporary strategies and thought in art practice using our modern up-to-date techniques and equipment. The course supports the development of your studio practice with an emphasis on craft and skill, whilst enabling you to position yourself and your practice in terms of art history and critical thought, so that you will be equipped with the tools to map and research your own concerns.

Frequent opportunities for public facing exhibitions and projects prepare you intellectually, practically and professionally for a wide range of rewarding careers in this exciting and dynamic discipline. We also arrange cultural visits to galleries, exhibitions and events of interest, including visits abroad and excursions within the UK.

On joining the course you will embark on an initial period of orientation, induction and familiarisation. You will then work in one of the specialist studio communities where there will be regular critiques, seminars and specific material workshops relating to your particular practice involving students from different levels of the course. There will also be critiques and seminars, which involve students from the different studios in order to support and develop your growing understanding of working within the complexity of 21st century discursive art practices. You will also be a member of a tutor group with students from your own level of the course and will come together to share concerns and ideas relevant across the studio communities. As part of the fine art course you will undertake and explore aspects of art history and critical debate, alongside tailored sessions which address your developing personal and professional practice.

Studio practice is linked to the external world at all times. You’ll be encouraged to find and negotiate opportunities to show and perform your work, particularly through exhibitions, events and other public-facing practices. Previous groups of students have created exhibitions and taken part in a range of external arts initiatives as part of their live professional practice.

Experienced teams of artists lead each studio, and working in your dedicated studio community, you will engage with a range of strategies to support your development. The teaching in all studios embraces the expansive field of fine art practice to enable both specialisation and cross-disciplinary communities of practice. Housed within a particular studio you will engage with the possibility of working across boundaries and technologies to pursue your individual interests and skills.

In all of our studios, in asking ‘What can art do?’ you will encounter approaches in contemporary art practice such as intervention, collaboration, and social engagement. You will explore media and ideas with a diverse approach and be encouraged to embrace appropriate forms of resolution such as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, installation, performance, screenings, text or sound works. You will engage with the contemporary currency of these forms of communication in the context of the historic medium specificity. The course will encourage you to test the boundaries and relationships between and across different ideas and media, or develop ideas intensively in a chosen media.

Studio S

Studio S is underpinned by the history, theory and practice of sculpture engaging with space, time and place.

You will explore notions of object, installation, public art and participatory practices to enrich your understanding. These considerations will be intensively explored as part of lively studio debates and theoretically informed practice-led sessions, designed to examine current thinking through form, object and material. Technologies that confront you daily in the world – photography, film, video, electronic and digital technologies are employed and embraced as part of current discourse. We will develop your techniques in visual and material practices and processes as part of our diverse but focused discussion about art now. You will be working in an excellent place from which you can conveniently visit the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle of The Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield and YSP.

Studio P

The values and approaches of Studio P are underpinned by the histories and practices of painting. Technologies that confront you daily in the world – photography, film, video, electronic and digital technologies are employed and embraced as part of the discourses in this area now. You will be encouraged to pursue your ideas with, and through, making art, its processes and associated debates in an informed and challenging way. Traditional and contemporary approaches of making phenomenal surface will be introduced to develop your understanding and skill. Theoretical lines of enquiry are likely to include ideas in and around aesthetics, politics and beauty.

Studio D

Studio D champions modes of working and process as a contemporary artistic approach. How and why these modes of working relate to the act of drawing is constantly evaluated through artistic enquiry in this studio. Traditional approaches to visualising thought and expression will be introduced alongside the more contemporary practices of chaos and chance, authorship, replication, duplication, reiteration and repetition.

You will be encouraged to extend your practice widely in two, three and four dimensions, in a range of materials, media and techniques. Text-based, book and printmaking processes are embraced within this community, incorporating the technologies that confront you daily. Photography, film, video, electronic and digital technologies are employed and embraced as part of the Studio D discourse.

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll embark on a short introductory programme with a strong emphasis on drawing, an approach for which the University is renowned. This initial period of orientation, induction and familiarisation introduces you to the staff you will be working with, the art University and your peers before you join one of the specialist studio communities.

Year Two — You’ll develop your work within your studio community where tutorials and critiques will extend your studio practice. You will enhance your professionalism through a focus on artists’ strategies and exhibition practice.

Year Three — You’ll consolidate your informed and positioned practice working within your studio community, undertaking tutorials and critiques to mentor you through your final year. You will position yourself as an emerging professional artist, undertaking an agreed project in the form of a public exhibition and an extensive research project.

Work Experience

Students are encouraged to negotiate their own engagement with external organisations and agencies to enhance their overall experience. In the past these have included ‘Think Out of The Box’ supported work experience with ESA at East Street Arts; bronze foundry work experience at SSW, the Scottish Sculpture Workshop in Aberdeenshire; work experience with the British Art Show 8 external project at Leeds Art Gallery; mentored awards by AON, a national project organised by Work Place Consultancy; and undertaking volunteer positions in the Learning Department at The Hepworth Wakefield and at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


Our students win many prestigious awards and prizes.

Recently, these have included:

  • The Kenneth Armitage Student Sculpture Award
  • Aon Art Community awards
  • Winner of The Northern Art Show Award Bursary
  • Winner of The Drawing Year at The Princes Drawing School
  • Winner of the Free Range Emerging Artist

Our students have also been shortlisted for the Royal British Society of Artists Rome Scholarship, John Moores Painting Prize, The Lynn Painters and Stainers and the Royal Academy Summer Show.

As part of live projects they have performed in The Art Party Conference Scarborough; collaborated with the Scarborough Winter School 2016 at Crescent Arts and exhibited in the USA at Syracuse University and the Cooper Union in New York and in ‘The Ones to Watch’, a regional exhibition competition.

Course Specification

Contact Hours & Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree programmes at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Programmes are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the programme. 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the programme. Each level (year) of the programme is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of learning, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or supported sessions and remaining hours are allocated for studio/workshop access and independent learning. Individual programmes have their own learning cultures based on their specific use of the teaching and learning methods listed here. These methods feature differently depending on the programme, level, aims of module, content of the sessions and progress through an academic year.

For further information see our Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University document.

Destination Careers

Graduates go into a wide variety of careers including independent art practice, community arts, curating and teaching. Some go on to further study at master’s or doctorate level.

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Portfolio Guide

A well presented portfolio says a lot about an applicant and their work. Our guidance is not meant to limit your creative statement.

In general terms however we would expect the following:

  • Examples of drawing that may also include colour usage and an understanding of 3D
  • Examples of idea development
  • Sketchbooks and notebooks
  • Examples of the use of a range of materials and processes
  • Critical diary, notebook, evidence of gallery visits, essay etc.
  • Evidence of final pieces (if too large or site specific, photographs will suffice)

At this stage in your career we like to see experimental innovative drawing and developmental work as well as your examples of finished work.

We would like to see a personal and well presented portfolio.

However there is no need for heavy card and plastic sleeves. We do not need to see all the work you have produced - around 20-30 samples in your main portfolio would be ideal.

We also run a range of daytime and evening portfolio development courses specialising in preparation for further and higher art and design education. For more information on current courses please click here.

Interview Guide

When you arrive at reception you will be met by a member of the course team who will take you to the studio where you will be asked to lay out your work. You will be part of a small group of applicants who have been given the same half day interview slot.

You and the rest of the group will be given an illustrated talk about our Fine Art Programme. There will be opportunities to ask questions. You will be shown around the department and some of the facilities used by the Fine Art students.

During this time the course staff will have been looking at your work. You will then be invited to attend a 15 minute individual interview with two members of staff.

You should be prepared to be in the University for up to three hours. If you have had to travel long distances and have a train pre-booked, please let us know in advance and we will try to arrange the timing of your interview so you can get away in time.


This is identified from one or more of the following:

Good use of drawing and visual research skills.

  • Portfolio of work

The ability to generate and develop a range of creative ideas.

  • Portfolio of work
  • Interview

Skill and inventiveness in the use of a variety of media and techniques.

  • Portfolio of work

A good understanding and use of visual language.

  • Portfolio of work
  • Interview

A dedication to the subject area and ambition to succeed.

  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work
  • Evidence of exhibitions
  • Interview

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs:

Equipment & Materials

Level 4 (First Year) Equipment: Toolkit £50 (we will provide details of equipment required prior to enrolment); digital camera £100-£200 (If you do not already own one and are considering making a purchase we’d suggest you wait until you start your programme so that we can advise as to the most suitable without going to unnecessary expense.)

We will provide you with much of the core materials you need for key elements in your programme as your studies progress.  We will also provide subsidy in the form of computer print credits. However during most of your time you will be deciding what materials to work in and have your own ambitions as to what you want to achieve. Because the nature of the work students produce is so varied we have been carrying out research into what they typically spend to complete their modules. So far we have found that our students spend on average the costs stated below. We provide a contribution towards students’ final project cost in the final year though the expenses throughout the programme vary significantly as some of our students choose to work with very low cost materials or work more in the digital domain whilst others decide to work on large scale, physical objects that involve expensive materials

Based on our research students spend the following on materials:

Level 4 (First Year) Materials approximately: £10- £150

Level 5 (Second Year) Materials approximately: £10- £200

Level 6 (Third Year) Materials approximately: £10- £300

As well as excellent computer resources in our dedicated suites and studios, the University has wifi available throughout its buildings so if you own a laptop or netbook you will be able to access the internet at all times. If you are considering purchasing either of these we recommend you wait until you have enrolled before doing so. As a student at a Higher Education Institution you will be able to take advantage of reduced prices for Apple equipment as well as purchase education only versions of software that are substantially cheaper than commercial rates. We can also advise you of a suitable specification to go for.


During the year we will undertake a series of trips. The trips are an essential part of your programme and are built into the academic year, so you are expected to take part in programme visits. 

There will be an annual European trip opportunity and it costs in the region of £350 - includes travel and accommodation. There will also be an overnight trip opportunity costing approximately £130.

Other regional visits will cost approximately £10 each or be free of charge.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

Our Terms & Conditions are here.

If you would like to download the Key Information on this programme click here.

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Term Starts
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University


BA (Hons) Fine Art

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"This programme involves you in a diverse, lively community of people experimenting, challenging and learning."
Sheila Gaffney, Programme Leader
BA (Hons) Fine Art