Search for courses or information

BA (Hons) Fine Art (with Foundation year)

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.

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

Find out more

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.


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.

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

We consistently review our courses to ensure we are up-to-date with industry changes and requirements from our graduates. As a result, our modules are subject to change.

  • Professional Life (Mental Wealth)
  • Art & Design Workshops, Processes & Skills
  • Art & Design Studio Practice Practise & Portfolio
  • Art & Design Specialist Workshops, Processes & Skills
  • Art & Design Specialist Studio Practice & Portfolio
  • Art & Design Contextual Studies
  • Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 1
  • Contextual Studies 1
  • Research into Practice 1
  • Experimentation and Application 1A
  • Experimentation and Application 1B
  • Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 2
  • Contextual Studies 2
  • Research into Practice 2
  • Advanced Experimentation and Applications
  • Advanced Practice

  • Professional Life 3 (Mental Wealth)
  • Practice 3
  • Independent Major Project Part A
  • Independent Major Project Part B
  • Research into Practice 3 – Contemporary
  • Practice in Fine Art
  • Research into Practice 3 –Extended Research Project

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.

Who will teach on this course

Emma McGuire

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

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.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

You may also be interested in

  • Why study at UEL?

  • Student finance

  • Accommodation

  • Information Advice Guidance

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.

Visit Country Pages