Fine Art - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full Time (3 years)
September 2017

Situated in our historic Grade I-listed art school, based in Margaret Street, you'll enjoy the freedom, space and support needed to establish your own artistic voice.

There are no set pathways to learning and this means you’ll have genuine freedom to experiment in any media appropriate to your ideas, encouraging you to experiment in or across painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, installation, film and video.

What's covered in the course?

There are no set pathways to learning and this means you’ll have genuine freedom to experiment in any media appropriate to your ideas. This course encourages you to experiment in or across painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, installation, film and video.

You'll be supported throughout your studies by our experienced and talented tutors and technical staff - all professional artists in their own right.

As well as learning important skills for your future career development from our practical and professional practice modules, you’ll also be introduced to the context and curation of art.

You will enjoy our close links to the Ikon Gallery, Ort Gallery, New Art Gallery Walsall and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and be inspired by the studios and galleries set up by former students, such as The Lombard Method, Grand Union, Stryx and Ort Gallery.

The course concludes in a public professional exhibition of your practical work supported by individual websites.

"The tutors were always on hand to help and were of great support. They were the ones who guided me through my work process, gave me confidence and, best of all, helped me gain a place at the Royal College of Art." Alicia Dubnyckj

Why Choose Us?

  • Birmingham School of Art is celebrating 130 years of art at Margaret Street – its Grade I-listed building has been the inspiration for countless artists and practitioners of international reputation over the years. There has also been a multi-million pound investment in facilities for photography, casting, woodwork, metalwork, silk screen, etching, 3D printing, laser cutting, and printed and constructed textiles
  • You'll instantly become part of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media’s 6,000-strong student community, and you will  be supported by our highly experienced staff, who are all nationally and internationally active artists
  • You will curate exhibitions, have the opportunity take part in work placements and exchanges, and go on national and international study visits
  • Each year the onsite project space, the International Project Space (IPS), will be the hub for a series of residencies, exhibitions and events, and we will work with a number of local, national and international partners to deliver a range of projects with our students.
Student ambassador helps Open Day visitor

Open Day - 19 November 2016

Our next University-wide Open Day will take place on Saturday 19 November 2016. Come along to find out more about our courses and see our facilities.

Register now

This course is open to International students

School of Art

Discover Birmingham School of Art

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work in jobs such as:

  • Artists
  • Graphic designers
  • Teaching and other educational professionals n.e.c.

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

In addition to qualifications, applicants will also need a good portfolio. .

112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2017/18
GCE A Level/ AS Level BBC at A-Level or 112 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A-Levels
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass overall with 60 credits, 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2. Must be in a relevant subject pathway
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM - 112 UCAS points
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
BTEC Diploma in Foundation Studies in Art and Design Distinction
International Baccalaureate Diploma 14 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 112 UCAS points - Higher Levels
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 112 UCAS points
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) Grade Pass plus grades CC at A-Level (or equivalent qualifications) to achieve a minimum total of 112 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2017/18
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 14 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.


International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

From A/AS Level with a minimum of 2 A Levels

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Guidance for UK/EU students


UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Portfolio Guidance

Hear our student's top tips on putting together your fine art portfolio prior to interview.

Please note, international students will be required to submit a digital portfolio. See further information.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is not available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

The first year introduces you to practice and context, workshop methods through projects, seminars and field visits. 

You will begin to develop your own language, interests and understanding to enable you to establish a practice. Your practice is supported by presentations, seminar discussions of historical and contemporary themes and ideas, and collaborative practices with other students in the school or faculty.

Students Sebastian van Driel and Samantha Rhodes describe why they chose to study fine art at Birmingham City University and what their first year was like.

Our first year studying fine art

Modules explained:
Context, Methods and Making
40 credits

This 14-week module acts as an effective bridge between your prior study and the start of the course, recognising the span of the social, cultural and ‘life’ experiences within your cohort. We employ small group tutorials, group critiques, collaborative group activity and contextual lectures, each of which supports this transition, learning and development. 

Themes and Concepts in Art
20 credits

This module supports and advances the historical and theoretical knowledge that informs your studio practice. It promotes intellectual curiosity and critical reflection, developing your confidence in speaking and writing about art.

Establishing Practice
40 credits

The overarching aim is to introduce the skills and understanding necessary to initiate and organise a self-directed fine art practice in relation to contemporary art and historical precedents. 

Collaborative Practice 1
20 credits

The ability to work collaboratively in a team is a vital employability skill within the creative industries. This module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create a group project with students from complementary disciplines. 

Year two

The second year is about further exploration and development, testing out ideas and taking risks.

You will strengthen your own fine art identity through experimentation and reflective discussion in the form of individual and group tutorial sessions. You will also engage in a range of live projects, collaborative activities and placements with the additional option of an international exchange.

Modules explained:
Developing Practice
40 credits

This 14-week studio practice module enables you to build upon the technical, practical, analytical and research skills introduced in Level Four. As a further development and progression of the Establishing Practice module, Developing Practice aims to provide the opportunity to reflect upon your prior approaches to art practice (related to both historical precedents and contemporary art practice), and to further explore how methods and materials are related to meaning and context. 

Critical Theories in Art
20 credits

This module focuses on the way in which people have written and thought about art in the twentieth and twenty-first  century. From a series of ten weekly lectures, seminars, film screenings and study visits a series of key themes will emerge, articulated around different ways of actually being an artist.

Live Project
20 credits

This module provides an opportunity for you to apply your knowledge and skills to an external, professional context. In consultation with your supervisor, and it will be a ‘real life’ response to an appropriate problem or issue.

Work Placement
20 credits

The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the workplace, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context.

In your second year you will get a choice of one of the following:

Collaborative Practice 2
20 credits

The module is an opportunity to learn and critically reflect on the skills of collaboration by enabling you to create an interdisciplinary project with students from complementary disciplines, or with academic staff. Collaboration is a vital employability skill within the creative industries and this module allows you to develop these skills, making use of University facilities and with the support of academic staff.

Extending Practice
20 credits

This 14-week studio practice module enables students to build upon the technical, practical, exploration and experimentation from the previous Developing Practice module and apply further rigorous analysis to speculative practical and contextual enquiry and research.

Transcultural Art and Design
20 credits

This 14-week module aims to develop student’s knowledge and understanding of contemporary worldwide art and design practices. These include Europe-based practices by individuals from black and minority ethnic communities as well as practitioners in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania.   

Year three

Our Professional Practice modules give you the confidence to consolidate your theory and practice and create a body of work which is a platform for your future career.

Our graduates include award-winning professional artists, designers, curators, teachers and professionals within Birmingham's thriving creative industries sector and beyond.

Modules explained:
Practice and Professional Presentation
40 credits

This 32-week module builds on your prior imaginative, practical and theoretical investigations. This is consolidated in a fully resolved and coherent body of artwork presented at a professional level.

Professional Portfolio
20 credits

This module enables you to develop, synthesise, consolidate and fully resolve your practice to a professional standard, in the form of a verbal and visual presentation. This module clearly relates to the Practice and Professional Presentation and Practice-Led Dissertation modules, encompassing the content from these to then be realised in a 10-15min ‘pitch’ and online website portfolio. 

Major Project
60 credits

The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. You will be guided towards choosing a research topic, which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise.

On our Fine Art  course, you will be encouraged to experiment and investigate ideas which develop your individual creativity.

With no rigid pathways, the course gives you the chance to work in areas such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, drawing, photography, film and video.

Hours in the classroom

Contact varies between levels, but as a rough guide students will be engaged in lectures, seminars, studio and other guided activities for approximately three days a week. 

Teaching breakdown

30 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
65 Time in independent study RoyalBlue
5 Time on placement LightSkyBlue

Assessment breakdown

96 Coursework FireBrick
4 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Hope Chapman

Hope Chapman

Hope applied for the BA (Hons) Fine Art course with a longing to work in the art industry. Attracted by the phenomenal up-and-coming art scene in Birmingham, she knew the Birmingham School of Art would offer the perfect environment for her to develop her passion. She graduated in 2013 and now works for artist Pryce Lee in property development, filming coordination and modern art. More about Hope.

Josephine Reichert

Josephine Reichert

Josephine made the decision to move from Berlin to Birmingham, as the self-directed study seemed to be a much fresher approach to teaching art, compared with local universities. She graduated in 2008 and is now the Director of Ort Gallery, an artist-led gallery space in Birmingham. Read more of Josie's experiences.

View more examples of student work...


These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"Birmingham is good But the university is Better! I have loved my experience here and met so many new people. IT is better than what I expected. My course is amazing and the lectures are inspiring. My only advice would be to choose this university."

Read all What Uni reviews

Overseas Opportunities

We are currently establishing a collaborative partnership with the Hong Kong Design Institute which will lead to future cultural visits and project opportunities.

Erasmus scheme

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

You could progress onto  a range of postgraduate studies, including an MA or PGCE. You could also potentially go straight to doctoral research study. The MA Fine Art programme at Margaret Street is a popular choice among graduating students.

For further information on courses Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5595 or go direct to the courses section of the website.

Trips and visits

Some students recently visited the Venice Biennale at the beginning of their Level Five studies, and this had a profound effect on their personal practices. Other visits/trips include Berlin, New York, London and Barcelona.

Student stories Vicki Eggs

Running Own Brand: CMYK London

Having graduated in Fine Art, Vicki Eggs initially used her passion for photography to create her own range of greetings cards. She now runs her own brand, CMYK London, featuring her own eye-catching designs on t-shirts, tea towels, mugs, bags and limited edition screen prints, which are already proving a hit with the buying public.

After graduating in 2005 I travelled around the world for eight months, taking literally thousands of photographs, and on my return decided to do something with them. I started making greetings cards and selling them to local shops and galleries in and around my home town of, Royston, Herts, leading me to set up my own greeting card company Ve Gallery in 2006. I then began working for a greetings card company with worldwide distribution. By the time I left two years later, to live in Sydney, I had designed over 200 cards and had developed a photographic style of working.

Enhancing your employability skills

You will learn of range of skills which will be key to enhancing your future employability.

Specifically you will learn to:

  • Develop your own practice and how to analyse this in relation to future employment options.
  • Identify the relationship of theory to practice and how this can be used to develop your own individual identity.
  • Negotiate, plan exhibit and present to a professional standard.
  • Work independently and collaboratively.
  • Be a self-motivated, organised, effective learner.

You will also learn skills in a range of workshop practices in relation to individual development, including photography, casting, woodwork, metalwork, silk screen, etching, 3D printing, laser cutting, and printed and constructed textiles.

Professional practice guidance will teach you a range of skills such as CV writing;  the use of social media and other platforms for self-promotion,  presenting yourself and your work in a professional framework using a range of appropriate communication skills, such as video and various types of presentation software.


You will have the option of an international exchange, and the opportunity to get involved in a range of projects and placements.

Our students have recently been on placements with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, working with and alongside  sculptor Rob Olins on a recent production of ‘The BFG’.

Students have also worked with the sound artist, Justin Wiggan, exploring the university archives in relation to the School of Art to create site-specific work.

The Fierce Festival and the Flatpack Festival regularly work with our Fine Art students.


OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Links to industry

Birmingham School of Art has a wide array of links with partner organisations regionally, nationally and internationally. These partnerships will provide work experience opportunities for you and contribute to your learning and teaching activities. Our overseas partnerships often result in opportunities for you to mix with students from different countries and gain different perspectives, as well as opportunities to undertake a period of study overseas.

Regional - Birmingham Museum and Art GalleryIkon GalleryEastside ProjectsMidlands Art CentreNew Walsall GalleryThe Mead GalleryVIVIDCapsuleGrand UnionQueen Elizabeth HospitalBirmingham Children’s HospitalBirmingham HippodromeBirmingham Repertory TheatreLibrary of Birmingham, and primary and secondary schools across the region.   

National - Arts Council EnglandTate BritainTate ModernTate Liverpool.

International - Established links with other significant institutions both in Europe and the USA, as well as in Canada, Russia and Japan.

These include: The Sorbonne, the Metz/Pompidou (France); Studio for Electronic Instrumental Music, The Hague (Netherland); Ars Electronica (Austria); University of CologneFree University of BerlinLeipzig Academy of Art (Germany); University of Ljubljana (Slovenia); MIT List Visual Arts CenterMassachusetts College of ArtCalifornia Institute of the ArtsUniversity of California (USA); Pacific Centre for Technology and Culture (Canada); Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (Japan); The Laboratorium (Russia). 

Alumni stories

Luke Perry

With a passion for art and engineering, Luke uses his expertise in both fields to design and build large-scale sculptures that celebrate the Midlands' industrial heritage. He is founder and director of Industrial Heritage Stronghold, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to "build public artworks which celebrate our industrial heritage in a very real way".

Matthew Evans

Matthew graduated last year and is currently studying on an MA Fine Art course. His work was selected at the Fine Art degree show for a £10,000 commission at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham. Working in collaboration with another student, this work has carefully evolved through consultation with staff and patients and is now complete.


BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Graduate jobs

Fine Art students like this course because the opportunities for them on graduation are immensely broad, and typically students will have multiple roles and jobs.

For example, graduates continue to work as a practitioner while curating and also go on to further study.

To be able to do this requires confidence, resourcefulness, flexibility and the ability to respond to, and create, opportunity.

The course prepares you extremely well for this. Remember, you will be a strong creative person.

Final year graduate shows

View some of the final year students' work from the 2015 Graduate Shows, in this video. You can also see work of the degree shows of 2014, 20132012, 2011 and 2010.

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Our international students

Our School is particularly popular with students from China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The school has a Visual Art and Culture top-up course at the Hong Kong Design Institute for BA (Hons) Fine Art students, which began in September 2015.

Our International Office in Shanghai was established in 2007 and we work hard to develop strong working relationships with countries in Asia.

We provide prospective students with a professional and efficient application and student service, and maintain close relationships with former students living in China.

We are the UK’s most successful recruiter for art and design in China and Malaysia, and we run courses in Hong Kong and Thailand.

The course provides the ability to study in one of the UK’s oldest art schools.  You will learn to develop your own creative practice in a thriving creative community in the heart of the UK’s second city on a course which mixes traditional surroundings with current international debates.

The ability to develop your own individual practices alongside a range of local institutions and industries will give a unique insight into the culture and markets of the UK.

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.


BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Popular home countries

Our students come from around the world but our fine art course is most popular with international students from:  

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

Birmingham School of Art (an impressive purpose built Grade 1 listed example of Venetian Gothic architecture) was the first major renovation project undertaken by the university (£5.5m refurbishment). The School provides an incredible resource for the production of art and its associated fields of study. The building has a range of facilities available including studios, workshops, specialist art and design library, bookable spaces, lecture/seminar rooms and ARTicle Gallery.

Located next to the city centre’s Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the School is just a five-minute walk from the new Library of Birmingham and Ikon Gallery.

Students benefit from an environment which thrives on the everyday interaction of education, culture and professional practise.


Our studio spaces make excellent use of height and light, and a special screening system allows each full-time student a dedicated area to work in throughout their course.


Workshops include one-to-one technical support and operate throughout the building, allowing you to develop ideas and skills working with print, wood, metal, plaster, photography, video, textiles, 3D printing, laser cutting and prototyping.


The School of Art library contains a wealth of artists’ biographies, catalogues, art and design magazines and DVDs, all of which are updated throughout the year. The library is also linked to others across the University so you can order any additional materials you might need.

Social space

A new student-led social space, designed by School of Art students, is a great place to relax, grab a coffee, and catch up with friends. Students also display their work, host film showings and private-view receptions in this space.


There are purpose-built spaces throughout the building to present your work, including areas for cabinet, wall and floor pieces, and installation project rooms.

ARTicle, our professional art gallery space, has proved a huge success and offers a diverse and exciting variety of shows every month.

Parkside Building

You will also be able to use facilities at our nearby Parkside Building, a new five-floor campus site packed with fashion design workshops, studios and social ‘collision spaces’ where you can share ideas with students and staff from different courses.

Our staff

All of our staff are practising artists, designers and writers, ensuring you will receive access to the latest thinking, activity and professional networks.

Meet all our staff

Franziska Schenk

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Franziska Schenk is an artist and researcher with an MA in Fine Art (with Distinction) and First Class Honours degrees in Fine Art (Birmingham City University), and in Art Education (Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt). A well-qualified, experienced Lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University and Honorary Research Associate at the University of Birmingham.

She is initiator of, and principal investigator on, funded art and science projects focusing on the conversion of nature’s iridescent colour to the painter’s palette – thereby introducing flow, dynamism, transience and an evolutionary element into painting.

Françoise Dupré

Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

Born in France, based in London and a permanent UK Resident, Françoise Dupré trained in London at City University (MA in Museum & Gallery Management), Chelsea College of Art and Design (MA History and Theory of Modern Art) and Camberwell College of Arts (BA (Hons) Fine Art-Sculpture).

Françoise is a self-employed artist-curator and a part-time senior lecturer in Fine Art at Birmingham City University, School of Art where she contributes to the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR) strand: Art in the Public Sphere.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295