Cardiff School of Art & Design>Courses>Fine Art - BA (Hons) Degree

Fine Art - BA (Hons) Degree

Entry Year

It takes a rare and special ability to become a fine artist. You need both technical skill and creative insight to produce work that conveys an original perspective.

Our BA Fine Art degree course gives you the space, freedom and support to fully express your artistic vision. Choose your own journey - define your interests and practices and immerse yourself in exploration.

You will develop skills through an engagement with traditional materials and contemporary technologies within a studio practice culture. Both a strong art historical and broader contextual view of your work is a crucial as part of your evolution as an artist.

Through blending material exploration, practice and philosophy, you will explore the intricate connections between theoretical and conceptual ideas and artistic intention. You will gain insights from diverse interdisciplinary contexts, engage with critical theory and learn to apply them through your work.

Be ambitious, disciplined and motivated in your practice and you'll graduate with the skills, confidence and critical ability to continue your journey as a professional artist.

Course information on this page relates to 2023 entry

Course Content

As you progress through the course you'll develop both your technical and creative skills through a range of material exploration and use of media. You'll have access to your own studio space and will work with the academic staff in defining and developing your interests and practices in numerous capacities, including:

  • Critical thinking / critical judgement (Immersion in both the historical and contemporary art practice / thinking)
  • Process & Material Based Learning: (painting, video, animation, printmaking, photography, drawing, performance, plaster, robotics, public art, participatory and inclusive practices, woodwork, metal work, ceramics, product design, bronze casting, sewing)
  • Individual Responsibility / Self Motivation
  • Independence / Confidence / Imagination/ Play
  • Enquiry driven speculative practice

There are frequent opportunities to interact with practitioners and external partners. You can choose to learn how professional practices operate through industry placements. Explore what entrepreneurship has to offer the contemporary artist. Or study abroad – taking inspiration from different cultures and people.

Your final year is spent producing work for exhibition. You'll also complete a business plan, dissertation, or critical review – it's your choice, depending on where you want to take your artistic career next.

Year One

Subject: introduction to concept, process & practice - 40 credits
Subject: introduction to independent studio practice - 20 credits

Dive in with material practice projects, designed to get you thinking about your individual studio practice. With support from your tutors, you'll start to build your critical thinking – and become familiar with the variety of processes you have to work with. Drawing is the primary means of gaining an understanding of your relationship to the world and is central to the study of fine art. By joining the directed drawing programme, you will develop ideas, communicate complex ideas and solve conceptual problems.

Field one: collaborate - 20 credits

Widen your horizons by joining students from other courses to collaborate on a project. You'll take inspiration from other disciplines to build on your experience and expand your creativity – and use your skills and artistic insight to apply them to your work.

Constellation: concept - 40 credits  

This module introduces you to the wider world of ideas, theory and contextual studies to help you develop your academic research skills and critical thinking. You'll focus on particular areas of interest in study groups and you'll become familiar with the exciting trans-disciplinary research and expertise in Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Year Two

Subject – practice based research - 40 credits

You will begin to explore your nascent artistic position through an in-depth study of key artworks within the cannon of fine art that you have a personal affinity with from a museum, gallery or private collection, with this as the focus of your research and the catalyst that will help you develop your practice and position. Alongside tutorials, lectures and group critiques, you'll spend time in the studio – as well as visiting galleries, museums and other national centres of excellence.

Field two: explore - 40 credits

You'll expand your experiences with challenging projects designed to encourage you to explore and experiment outside your immediate discipline. This transformative opportunity leads to new thinking and innovation – and opens up all kinds of future possibilities. You'll take on exciting projects that challenge you in new ways. You can also choose to travel, take a work placement, start your own business or try something new.

Constellation: critique - 40 credits

By critiquing literature, journals and exhibitions, you'll hone your ability to put your design practice into context. You'll also have opportunities to interact with students and staff and delve deeper into your areas of interest.

Year Three

Subject – consolidation - 40 credits

In your final year you'll reach a professional standard and define the parameters of your own practice. You'll refine practical and theoretical skills and use them to create original pieces that really make an impact. You'll put your work into context and explore its potential through open critiques and seminars with your tutors and fellow artists.

Field three: exposure - 40 credits

Your final term is dedicated to a major project and an exhibition of your work. This is where you draw together everything you've learned during the course and is the launch pad to your future career.

Constellation: contribution - 40 credits

Your practice is underpinned by your knowledge. Demonstrate your research and analysis skills in your final constellation submission, where you'll explore ideas in both written and practical forms.

Learning & Teaching

From the outset, you will gain hands-on experience in practical studio sessions and workshops – developing your core material skills. Lectures, lead by members of the academic staff, will broaden your theoretical understanding of your field, whilst smaller, targeted seminars are designed to provide guidance for meeting more individual intellectual and practical demands.

The core of your studio teaching will be delivered through tutor group critiques, where a high level of academic and peer-to-peer advice is given and through individual tutorials with academic staff. These are supplemented in the first and second year with academic led material practice projects, drawing classes and technical workshops with Technician Demonstrators.

During their first year of study each student can expect to receive between 14 and 22 hours of contact time per week via lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical workshops.


Throughout the duration of your studies, you will be evaluated on three main criteria, which underpin all of the disciplines being taught at CSAD:

SKILLS: The practical, technical and conceptual skills you acquire during your course.

CONTEXT: Your understanding and knowledge of broader intellectual context within which your discipline and work is located. This includes historical, environmental and ethical issues and will often be explored in your 'Theory and Context' modules.

IDEAS: Your understanding of intellectual and creative ideas from within and beyond your discipline; plus your ability to acquire new concepts and form new ideas. Ideas will be explored in your written work, as well as being evident in your practical progress.

Each of these criteria is given equal weighting during the assessment process. That is to say that they are seen as equally important and critical to your development; an emphasis which is designed, for example, to enable a more well-rounded skill set from a student who may be skilled technically, but weak in generating ideas, or a student with much creative flair who may struggle to hone a broad concept into a strong, individual design.

We provide a number of ways for you to track your progress en route to submitting your work for marking. Understanding that the emphases will revolve around the core areas of skills, context and ideas, you will also become familiar with the structured assessment form used by your tutors and learn to relate to your work back to the intended learning outcomes of each brief.

The main types of formative assessment are; academic (feedback from your tutors); peer (from your course-mates or project partners); and self-assessment (which is your own critique, in light of other forms of feedback). You won't just be receiving feedback at the end of a brief, however – your tutors will often assess your progress as your work develops, providing formative feedback at crucial moments where it is hoped to encourage you to take risks, maintain your motivation or shape-up your ideas ahead of deadline.

Employability & Careers

Whilst your learning is designed to develop you into a rounded and capable artist and intellectual, your curriculum is similarly structured with your potential in mind.

As such, the emphasis that will have been placed upon your work ethic, both creatively and academically, is matched with significant focus on real world experience; from building contacts and undertaking placements to live briefs and, should you choose so, support in forming your own business.

You can elect to take a route through your second and final years of studies where you can engage with businesses or prepare to launch your own for the moment you graduate. In your final year, rather than submit a dissertation, you have the option of devising a detailed business plan.

Throughout your time at CSAD, you will be meeting and hearing from professionals within your industry, honing your skills and ideas for commercial and professional advantage. Cross-disciplinary projects will prepare you for teamwork later on, whilst live briefs will prepare you for deadlines and the demands of tight specifications.

Entry Requirements & How to Apply

Applicants should have a strong art and/or design portfolio and demonstrate a commitment to art and/or design, and preferably five GCSEs to include English Language (or Welsh First Language) and Mathematics* at grade C or above / grade 4 or above (for applicants holding newly reformed GCSEs in England) 

Following an interview and assessment of portfolio, our typical offers can range between: 

  • 96 - 120 points from a successfully completed Art & Design Foundation Diploma or/and
  • 96 - 120 points from at least 2 A Levels; Welsh Baccalaureate – Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be considered as a third subject
  • RQF BTEC National Extended Diploma / Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma: MMM - DDM
  • 96 - 120 points from a combination of Scottish Highers and Scottish Advanced Highers 
  • 96 - 120 points from the Irish Leaving Certificate at Highers to include 2 x H2 grades from any subject (minimum grade H4 considered)
  • 96 - 120 points from the Access to Higher Education Diploma within a relevant subject

 *For Welsh applicants sitting the reformed Mathematics GCSE, we will accept either GCSE Mathematics or Mathematics – Numeracy.       

For applicants only undertaking 2 A Levels or equivalent, or applying with other life experiences, other qualifications and/or art & design achievements will be considered along with the rest of the academic profile and we may issue a graded offer in lieu of an offer using the UCAS Tariff.

If you are studying combinations of the above, or if your qualification isn’t listed please either contact Admissions or refer to the UCAS Course Search for the entry requirements. Further information on our entry requirements, including qualifications from the EU can be found by clicking here.

International Applicants
Students whose first language is not English will need to provide evidence of fluency to at least an IELTS 6.0 standard or equivalent. For full details about how to apply and English Language qualifications please visit the International pages on the website.

Selection Procedure and Interview Days:
Selection is based on the receipt of a completed UCAS application and attendance at a School of Art & Design Interview.

Acceptance at interview is based upon a balance of three criteria:

  • Personal enthusiasm for and immersion in the practice and theory of Art & Design
  • Academic Achievement and ability
  • Quality of work, ambition and skills demonstrated in a portfolio

Read more about our Art & Design Interview Days

How to Apply:
Applications for this course should be made online to UCAS at Part-time applications should be made direct to the University at

For further information please visit our How to Apply pages at

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer into year 2 & 3

If you are interested in transferring credit from another institution to study at Cardiff Met for a course which accepts entry for year 2 and/or 3, you can find further information on this and information on how to apply on the RPL page. Please contact Admissions for any queries that you have on RPL.

Mature students

A mature applicant is anyone over the age of 21 who didn't go to university after school or college. Cardiff Met welcomes applications from mature applicants and further advice and information can be found here.

Tuition Fees, Student Finance & Additional Costs

For up to date information on tuition fees and the financial support that may be available whilst at university, please refer to

Undergraduate costs of study in CSAD 


CSAD provides a variety of basic materials. These enable students to develop their competence in a range of skills and demonstrate their technical ability. Materials needed in unusual quantities, or those that are specialised, expensive or unusual are at the student’s expense. Advice will be given about how ‘unusual’ is defined, which materials are deemed to be ‘expensive’, and examples given of what is viewed to be ‘unusual’. CSAD students often elect to spend on materials they prefer to work with, including sketchbooks and pens, as well as specialist equipment of their own choosing. 

In the main, no charges are made for the use of equipment, with the exception of some specialist high end equipment such as the Mimaki and 3D printers. Access to Cardiff FabLab is subject to student membership; it offers reduced fees for student use. 

For further information about additional course costs, including fees, equipment requirements and other charges for each undergraduate programme, please visit

Field trips and visits 

Field trips that are part of core learning will be paid for by the School. Additional visits are occasionally arranged which are optional and where the students may be asked to share the costs. The costs of study abroad, including exchanges, placements and projects are the responsibility of the individual student.

Contact Us

For general enquiries please contact the Admissions Team on 029 2041 6044 or email

For course specific enquiries, please contact BA (Hons) Fine Art Admissions Tutor, David Fitzjohn:


Key Course Information

UCAS Code: W100

Place of Study: 
Llandaff Campus

Cardiff School of Art & Design

Course Length:
Three years full-time. Four years full-time if undertaking year-long sandwich placement.

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Full terms and conditions in relation to accepting an offer to study at Cardiff Metropolitan University can be found by visiting