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Fine art courses

Would you like the opportunity to develop your ability to express yourself creatively through drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, performance art or film? Fine art courses have a focus on studio-based experimental work. Graduates of this course may work as artists, photographers or designers, or in art galleries, museums or cultural organisations, teaching or arts administration. A portfolio of artwork to demonstrate your creative skills is usually an entry requirement for this course.

Studying fine art at university

Example course modules

  • Exhibition and visual contextual research
  • Themes and issues in contemporary art
  • Understanding the visual
  • Creative analysis
  • Visual culture: design, style and identity
  • Introduction to art theory
  • Art, space and audience
  • 2D art practice: painting, print, photography
  • 3D art practice: sculpture, installation
  • 4D art practice: film, video, performance

Teaching hours / week

Average for this subject


Average for all subjects

The time you'll spend in lectures and seminars each week will vary from university to university, so use this as a guide.

More on studying and contact hours at uni

Who studies this subject

  • Female : 80%
    Male : 20%
  • Mature : 27%
    School leaver : 73%
  • Full-time : 91%
    Part-time : 9%

What students say about fine art

What you need to get on a course

Subjects you need

A-levels (or equivalent) usually required

  • Diploma in foundation art and design
  • Art or a design-related subject

Useful to have

  • Photography
  • Design technology
  • History of art

Application checklist

Here's a guide to what to expect from the application process - also check individual university entry requirements, as these may differ.

  • January application
  • October application
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio
  • Interview
  • Entry test
  • Work experience
  • Audition

Personal statement advice

Your personal statement is a core part of your university application, and getting it just right takes time. Before you start work on yours, take a look at our five quick tips on writing a personal statement. We'll help you past that writer's block!

Career prospects

Sources: HECSU & KIS
Fine arts students, particularly some mature students, are more likely than students of many other subjects to have no need or desire to find work after their degree – quite a few students have already retired and are taking the degree for the excellent reason that they love art, and they're willing to pay to study it. You should bear this in mind when looking at the stats below. If you need to earn a living once you've finished your fine art degree, be aware that freelancing and self-employment is common, as are what is termed 'portfolio careers' – having several part-time jobs or commissions at once. Many courses help you prepare for freelancing. Over one in 10 of last year’s fine arts graduates had more than one job six months after graduation, over twice the average for graduates from 2012. Graduates from these subjects are often found in arts jobs, as artists, designers, photographers and similar jobs, or as arts and entertainment officers or teachers – although it's perfectly possible to get jobs outside the arts if you wish.
Professional and accrediting bodies:

Six months after graduating

Typical graduate job areas
  • Artistic, literary and media occupations

Longer term career paths

Jobs where this degree is useful

  • Artist (many different media)
  • Arts curator
  • Jewellery designer

Other real-life job examples

  • Graphic designer
  • Arts officers
  • Professional photographer

What employers like about this subject

Students of fine art can expect to gain subject-specific skills including an understanding of different artistic techniques; the use of equipment and materials and the principles and history of art and art criticism. You can also develop useful transferable skills including communication, team-working, critical thinking, observation skills, and many courses also include an element of entrepreneurial training. Fine arts graduates can be found in industries including the creative arts, advertising, publishing, museums and galleries, libraries, design agencies, universities and the print industry.