People in a hall looking at displays


Fine Art (with Foundation Year)

Please note there are no vacancies on this course for September 2019

About this course

Entry year:
Course code:
Tariff points:
Art and Design
City Campus
Four years
Study abroad:
Programme leader:
Julian Scott
Key fact:
Study in a renowned contemporary arts venue and take one of two available pathways - Fine Art or Art and Visual Culture - to choose your creative direction.

Page last updated 13 August 2019


Why study fine art?

Fine Art sits at the centre of the UK's dynamic art scene. Operating around the societal worlds of artists' studios, collectives, galleries, and public spaces, contemporary art generates powerful new ideas and platforms for debate in an international context.

Artists develop ideas by making them visible, playing active roles in society as cultural commentators, teachers and activists. In addition to established artists' networks, contemporary art is circulated by curators, commissioners, and the private sector.

Working as an artist is social, practical, and theoretical, and can involve you in an exciting range of cultural and educational activities in the UK and abroad.

Why UWE Bristol?

BA(Hons) Fine Art is a studio-based course that actively encourages different creative approaches.

The course is based at Spike Island, an internationally renowned contemporary art venue on Bristol's harbourside. Part of UWE Bristol's City Campus, it offers a vibrant creative environment, free studio space and a range of work and volunteering opportunities.

Thousands of visitors and art professionals attend our annual Degree Show, offering an excellent platform to showcase your work. You will also have access to excellent facilities at Bower Ashton Studios.

Choose from two pathways - Fine Art or Art and Visual Culture.

Fine Art develops your practice in areas such as painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, print, time-based or digital media.

Art and Visual Culture critically engages you with your practice through the production of artworks and written text, underpinned by theoretical perspectives.

All our staff are active practitioners, with the conceptual, technical and professional skills to support a variety of approaches.

Our City Campus is a powerhouse of inspiration and collaboration, and home to our City Creatives. It spans across Bristol and is made up of Bower Ashton and renowned contemporary arts centres Spike Island, Arnolfini and Watershed.

Showcase your work to talent scouts and potential employers at the final year Creative Industries Degree Showand graduate with an impressive portfolio of work.

International students

This course will give you the skills and confidence to find out what type of artist you are. Not only will you develop your creative portfolio while studying the foundation year, but you will have the opportunity to reach and improve your English language and communication skills through a unique module designed for those in the creative arts.

Find out our country specific requirements on our Country Information pages

Where can it take me?

Our students are regularly selected for fellowships and national competitions, including the New Contemporaries, a platform for emerging artists.

Past students recently took part in the Royal Academy Premiums school show at the RA Museum.

Many go on to careers as artists, designers, curators, arts administrators and educators, or to postgraduate study such as master's degrees or teacher training.

Watch: The learning and teaching experience

Accreditations and partnerships:



The optional modules listed are those that are most likely to be available, but they may be subject to change.

Year zero (foundation year)

You will study:

  • Drawing and Making
  • Developmental Project: Building a Creative Identity
  • Foundation Project
  • Academic Skills.

You normally need to pass your foundation year before going into Year one.

Year one

You will study:

  • Introduction to Fine Art
  • Exploring Practice in Fine Art
  • Critical Perspectives
  • Introduction to Professional Practice.

Year two

You will study:

  • Developing Practice in Fine Art or Developing Practice in Art and Visual Culture
  • Professional Practice: Work Experience
  • Creative Analysis.

Plus, one module from:

  • Developing Practice in Fine Art 2
  • International Exchange.

Final year

You will study modules (the number depending on credit requirements) from:

  • Preparation for Extended Study in Fine Art
  • Extended Study in Fine Art
  • Preparation for Extended Study in Art and Visual Culture
  • Extended Study in Art and Visual Culture
  • Independent Research Project
  • Professional Practice: Graduate Strategies.

The University continually enhances our offer by responding to feedback from our students and other stakeholders, ensuring the curriculum is kept up to date and our graduates are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for the real world. This may result in changes to the course. If changes to your course are approved, we will inform you.

Learning and Teaching

Get regular structured tutorials and group critiques with your tutors and visiting artists.

Discuss your work and research material and receive advice, and suggestions on relevant areas to research. Consider and discuss aspects of art practices in group seminars. Visual culture lectures provide theoretical and cultural context for your practice.

Take part in structured projects, workshops and lectures that introduce a range of ideas and approaches to fine arts practice. Research relevant traditions, artists' practices, theory and professional work.

Experience different options for employment and career progression through professional practice and work experience modules. Attend lectures from visiting professionals and access case studies and competitions to gain valuable practical experience.

Locate your own practice within contemporary cultural contexts and become articulate about your ideas in relation to current debates.

Build a body of material that will help you transition into further study, employment and future art practice.

See our full glossary of learning and teaching terms.

Approximate percentage of time you'll spend in different learning activities*:

YearScheduled learning and teaching studyIndependent studyPlacement study

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year


You can expect to be assessed through essays, individual and group projects and group presentations. There are no exams.

You'll write critical evaluations of your work, where you'll critique and analyse it, and relate it to the broader context of media theory and creative practice.

See our full glossary of assessment terms.

Approximate percentage of marks awarded by each assessment method*:

YearWritten exam assessmentCoursework assessmentPractical exam assessment

*Calculated from compulsory and optional modules (where applicable) each year



Students who get work experience tend to graduate with better degrees. Experience also hones your skills, industry knowledge and professional network, making you a sought after graduate.

If you choose the five year (sandwich) course, you'll spend a year away from the University on a work or study placement after Year two.

We have extensive links with industry and commerce and the cultural and voluntary sectors.

Throughout your degree you'll explore and engage with the art world. Students recently worked with Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller, painting murals for his 'English Magic' exhibition at Bristol Museum.

Study year abroad

You'll have opportunities to study overseas on courses that are taught in English and are relevant to your degree. The study year abroad is not a paid placement. 

A significant number of students choose to study abroad in their second year through the Socrates-Erasmus programme. Project locations abroad have included Linz and Rotterdam.

We have well-established links with European arts colleges and universities, including Barcelona, Bologna, Rotterdam, Bergen, Bilbao, Berlin, Ravenna, Marseilles and Zurich. We also have links with institutions in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

We provide support and encouragement for students who want to apply for competitions, further study and funding.


Join field trips throughout the course, with regular gallery tours of London.

Past students have organised their own summer school at the Merzbarn, Kurt Schwitters' home in the Lake District. Hosted by the Littoral Trust, for minimal cost, students administrate and plan weeks of art activities for themselves.

A recent collaboration with the Kunstuniversitat Linz, Austria, resulted in a series of performances and exhibitions in two European cities in just two weeks. The students involved made the Entre Chien et Loup website to commemorate the event.

Study facilities

Studios for our Fine Art courses are situated on the ground floor in Spike Island, along with facilities for many of our postgraduate courses in art and design. 

The combination of research, study and working practitioners at Spike Island contributes to a dynamic, inspiring learning environment.

Work in a space that hosts a changing programme of exhibitions and residencies. Recent exhibitions include those by Cally Spooner and Turner Prize winner Laure Provost. Spike island offers opportunities for work placements, internships and fellowships.

Get support and help to use an impressive range of tools and digital equipment from studio technicians.

Access a range of resources available at other City Campus sites, including Bower Ashton, which houses the main library supporting the creative and cultural industries and student support services.

Attend lectures and seminars, including our prestigious Fine Art Lecture Series, at the Arnolfini and Watershed in Bristol city centre.

This mix of traditional and hands-on learning environments helps you quickly take on essential knowledge and skills, standing you in good stead for your professional career.

Learn more about UWE Bristol's facilities and resources.


Careers / Further study

Our graduates pursue careers as artists, designers, curators, arts administrators and educators.

They are regularly selected for fellowships and national competitions such as the New Contemporaries, a platform for emerging artists.

Others progress to graduate study at MA and/or PhD level, or teacher training.

Get inspired

Our award-winning careers service will develop your employment potential through career coaching and find you graduate jobs, placements and global opportunities.

We can also help find local volunteering and community opportunities, provide support for entrepreneurial activity and get you access to employer events.

Visit our employability pages to learn more about careers, employers and what our students are doing six months after graduating.

See also:

The Guardian - what to do with a degree in fine art

Prospects - careers in the creative arts sector.


Full Time Course

FeesAmount (£)
Home/EU-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Home/EU-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1156
International-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee13000
International-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit)1625
Offshore-Full Time-Annual (Per Year) Fee9250
Offshore-Full Time-Module Fee (15 Credit) 1156

Indicative Additional Costs

FeesAmount (£)
Additional Course Costs - Full Time - Home/EU - Indicative Maximum Cost Per year420
Optional Field Trip - (Maximum Cost)500

Supplementary fee information

Your overall entitlement to funding is based on how long the course is that you're registered on. Standard funding is allocated based on the standard number of years that your course lasts, plus one additional year.

You'll apply for funding each year that you study and Student Finance will take into account how long the course is in each year that you apply. So if you register for the five year course and then transfer to the four year course, the number of years you can apply for funding will change. Student Finance will reassess your funding based on how many years you have been in study, not just those years for which you received student finance.

Always seek advice before taking any action that may have implications for your funding.

Learn more about funding.

Additional costs

Additional costs are for items you could need during your studies that aren't covered by the standard tuition fee. These could be materials, textbooks, travel, clothing, software or printing.

Learn more about costs.


We are pleased to confirm that our New students webpages are now available for students starting this course in September 2019. Here you can find links to useful information about registering, course start dates, arriving on campus what to expect before and when you arrive.

We automatically send a message via your Welcome website plus an email to notify you once your Preparing to Study information is available. It is important that you regularly check your Welcome website for new messages.

Typical offers

  • Tariff points: 48
  • GCSE: For all applicants, Grade C/4 or above in English Language, or equivalent. Please note the University does not accept Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Certificates in Adult Numeracy and Literacy as suitable alternatives to GCSEs.
  • English Language Requirement:

    If English is not your first language, you will need to meet the UK Border Agency's and the University's minimum English language requirements, such as the International English Language Test (IELTS) overall score of 5.5 with 5.5 in each component.

  • A-level subjects: No specific subjects required. Points from A-Level General Studies and AS-Level subjects (not taken onto full A-Level) can be included towards overall tariff. You must have a minimum of one A-Level.
  • EDEXCEL (BTEC) Diploma: No specific subjects required.
  • Access: Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma; no specific subjects required.
  • Baccalaureate IB: No specific subjects required.

Entry requirements

Applicants will be invited to submit a digital portfolio for review. We are interested in your creative ideas, skills and ability. For guidance on what to include in your portfolio, watch our portfolio advice video.

We recognise the individual nature of each application and our typical offer should be viewed as a guide. UWE Bristol welcomes interest from applicants who may not have the standard entry requirements. We will consider evidence of your relevant personal, professional or educational experience where it demonstrates an ability and potential to succeed on the course. Please include details of any relevant experience in your application.

Students who expect to achieve a higher tariff score may also be interested in our BA(Hons) Fine Art course.

Read more about entry requirements.

International Students

Our Art and Design foundation courses will give you the skills and confidence to find out what type of artist you are, as well as delivering a specific module that will improve your English language and help you adjust to studying in the UK.

Find out our country specific requirements on our Country Information pages.

Offer Types

If you have not received your exam results, your offer from us will be conditional and will be subject to you achieving the tariff points/grades required for your course.

If you have already satisfied the academic entry requirements of your chosen course, you are likely to be made an unconditional offer. Please note that we will only make unconditional offers if you have already achieved your qualifications.

To make sure our applicants are academically prepared for when they start their studies here, we do not make unconditional offers to those that are still studying their Level 3 qualifications (such as A levels, BTEC, Access or equivalent). We hope that this will encourage our applicants to value their academic achievements as much as we do.

How to apply

Read more about undergraduate applications.

For further information


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