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BA (Hons) Fine Art (with Foundation year)

Course overview

Start date

September 2017

Subject area

Arts and Digital Industries





On campus

Course summary

We’re proud of our reputation for igniting the talents of brilliant fine artists with the help and support of some of the biggest names in British art. This extended course is perfect if you want a degree in fine Art but you don’t meet the standard entry requirements. 

First we prepare you for your degree during the Foundation year, bringing you up to speed with academic skills and a firm grounding in the subject. Then you can go on to do the full undergraduate degree.

Our fine art students work across a range of disciplines, including drawing, painting, sculpture, installation, film, photography and performance.

What exactly distinguishes fine artists? Well, they usually work independently, without a client. Their work may stand out for its beauty or meaningfulness thanks to innovative practice or a high level of craft or conceptual skills. Experimentation and risk-taking are an essential part of their individualism, too.

The emergence of such singular talents has long marked out UEL’s Fine Art course as exceptional. We’ve been well known for nurturing groundbreaking artists since the Chapman brothers started making their dramatic impression back in the 1980s.

It’s the diversity of our students and staff, with their wide, vastly differing backgrounds and experiences, which helps make this a uniquely rich and fascinating course.

UCAS points


Course options

Degree with Foundation Year

UCAS code


Contact us

If you have any questions, talk to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0) 20 8223 3333 or email

Get in touch

World-renowned artists

We’ll give you the chance to have personal tuition from world-renowned artists such as Turner Prize winner Grenville Davey, sculptor Richard Wilson and award-winning film maker John Smith.


Our students voted us top in London for academic support and top 3 for UK modern universities.

Purpose-built facilities

You’ll work in your own personal, purpose-built studio space and in well-equipped workshops that cater for fine art, from 16mm film to print making to bronze casting.

Enquire Visit UEL

Karolina Chojnacka

BA (Hons) Communication and Cultural Studies

During my Foundation year, I learned study skills, step by step, in an engaging way, so when I started the full course, I was better able to focus on the theoretical content, rather than worrying about how to write essays. It was also a great chance to learn with students from different courses and backgrounds.

Entry requirements


New UCAS Points

A Level
Must include passes at A2 in at least 1 subject
Extended Diploma (QCF) or Diploma (QCF)
International Baccalaureate
Diploma with 24 points including a minimum of 15 points at Higher Level
We would normally expect you to have Grade C in GCSE English and Maths. All applicants are required to attend an interview and submit a portfolio of their work.


(Including European Union)

We accept a range of qualifications from across the world. Please see our country pages for information on specific entry requirements for your country.


Access to HE Diploma (QAA approved) with 60 credits overall and 45 credits at Level 3

We will also consider the UEL New Beginnings pre-entry course

Your portfolio should contain between three and five projects that you have undertaken in the areas of drawing, print, graphic art or illustration. It should be between ten and fifteen sheets in length and should not exceed A1 in size.

The portfolio should show evidence of observational drawing, the development of an idea through to a completed illustration, and techniques and processes that you have worked with. We are particularly interested in seeing your sketchbooks / journals to see how you develop your ideas.

At interview you should be prepared to discuss your work, ideas and ambitions. You should also be able to discuss graphic artists, illustrators or animators who influence you.
Overall IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking (or recognised equivalent).

Level 2 equivalences such as Level 2 Functional Skills in English / Maths, Level 2 Key Skills in Communication / Application of Number and Level 2 Adult Literacy / Adult Numeracy

As an inclusive university we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application (particularly your personal statement) and may ask you to attend an interview or submit a piece of work to help us decide on your eligibility for the course. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.

You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre. Please click here for details.

What you'll learn

From the start of your three-year course, you’ll be developing your skills for the art world to appreciate.

Exhibitions of your work will be at the heart of your course. Throughout, you’ll be assessed on the quality of your work in a course which is about 75 per cent practice and 25 per cent theory.

Although you may decide to specialise in a particular area – such as painting or photography – there’ll be scope to work with a variety of media.

Your work will be exhibited for the first time at the end of your first term, and you’ll continue to develop your skills in your own studio space at our well-equipped AVA building in Docklands.

In your third year, instead of a thesis you can opt for a ‘contemporary practice’ course in which you’ll be part of a group organising its own external exhibition. In 2014, we had nine exhibitions of our students’ work in locations all over London.

What you'll study and when

Art & Design Studio (core)
Art & Design Workshop (core)
Contextual Studies (core)
Fine Art Studio Practice (core)
Fine Art Workshop Practice (core)
Contextual Studies in Fine Art 1 (core)
Fine Art Studio Practice A (core)
Fine Art Studio Practice B (core)
Contextual Studies in Fine Art 2 (core)
Fine Art Studio Practice C (core)
Fine Art Studio Practice D (optional)
Contextual Studies in Fine Art 3: Contemporary Practice (core)
Art & Design Dissertation (optional)

How you'll be assessed

At the end of the first term in your first year you'll deliver a presentation of your work to a panel of two staff members. No mark is given at this stage you'll receive oral and written feedback.

You'll repeat this at end of the second term in your first year, but this time you'll be awarded a mark.

In your second year you'll participate in the second-year show and discuss your work with two tutors. A mark is then awarded.

In your third year you'll present the best of your work in the degree show and a panel of all the academic team members agree a mark.

The marks at each level are moderated by a team of external examiners.



Course specification Foundation Year (if Required)

How you'll learn

We give our students incredible opportunities to succeed. You’ll exhibit externally. You’ll visit artists’ studios. You can become artists’ interns. More than anything, though, we believe it’s the quality of our fine art teaching here at UEL which makes this course such a stellar one.

You’ll be given the enviable opportunity to have personal and supportive tuition from professionals whose work is globally renowned in different areas of fine art.

Sculptor Richard Wilson is one of Britain’s foremost artists, admired around the world. Grenville Davey, who teaches on our BA course as well as running our MA course, won the 1992 Turner Prize for his brilliant creation of abstract steel objects.

Susan Stockwell’s elegant drawings, sculptures and instillations are exhibited across the world, from London’s V&A museum to the Tate Modern to China’s Shenghua Art Centre.

Filmmaker John Smith’s The Girl Chewing Gum, is considered to be one of the most important avant-garde films of the 20th century.

This link with such an extraordinary wealth of expertise also helps the strong integration between our students and the professional art world. Many of our students have worked for noted artists and galleries as interns or assistants.

Learning by doing

Civic engagement – working on real-life projects to benefit our communities – is enshrined in everything we do at UEL.

We give you the opportunity to make a difference to society, and to develop yourself personally and professionally, by learning or volunteering off campus in London and abroad.

We offer a number of funding schemes to promote civic engagement:

Civic Engagement Fund – provides money for projects that support, promote and reinforce connections between students, staff and communities.

Civic Engagement Bursary – supports students who can demonstrate engaged volunteering prior to starting at the University and who commit to continue volunteering as a student.

London Scholars – provides an opportunity to undertake a six-month academic project tackling real-life issues in London.

Global Scholars – funds overseas projects which you undertake with fellow students from other countries. In 2014, UEL students travelled to Spain, Thailand, USA, India, Bahrain, Ethiopia and Dubai.

Going Global – funds UK students to travel abroad for study-related visit as part of course. In 2014, students travelled to 20 countries as far afield as China, India, Brazil and Uganda.

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Join us as an undergraduate and we’ll give you a free, brand-new Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet loaded with core e-text books for every module you study, plus links to virtual learning resources.This ground-breaking technology is open to new students starting at the University of East London. Please note that Distance Learning students are not eligible.

Your future career

We’ve been developing outstanding talent for decades. Jake Chapman did this course before he launched one of modern British art’s most distinctive and controversial careers with his brother, Dinos.

Today, many of our students win places on the more competitive postgraduate courses such as those run by the RCA and Royal Academy. For instance, one recent graduate, Josh Berry, is making his name at the Slade while another, Beatriz Acevedo, is enjoying success at Goldsmiths.

Our graduates have an excellent record in landing jobs in a variety of areas.

“Our students are extremely employable because they’re impressively self-reliant and self-motivated,” explains Pete Cobb, the widely exhibited sculptor and printmaker who leads our course.

A good proportion of our students are still producing their art several years after graduation. Some set up their own studios or create niche businesses, such as making innovative stage props. Others build careers in curating, teaching, the cultural industries or arts administration.

You’ll benefit from our close links with the vibrant east London gallery scene and all the major art venues. We believe you’ll graduate from our course as a confident, original, well-connected artist.

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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