Fine Art BA (Hons)

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Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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Discover and develop your own perspective and ideas within contemporary art. Benefit from generous studio space, well-equipped workshops and digital studios. Showcase your work to a public audience.

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Expand your critical understanding of Fine Art, through an emphasis on studio centred practice and theoretical debate.

We will encourage you to engage with the ever changing nature of art practice, and respond to the complex and rapidly changing world we live in. In developing your skills and ability we support you to be innovative within your chosen area.

Our Fine Art team have a wealth of professional practice and subject expertise which includes painter Lothar Goetz. Guided by these experts you will have the freedom to explore your creative interests across a broad range of Fine Art practice including painting, printmaking, digital photography, film, sound, drawing, sculpture and performance.

Whatever pathway you choose, you will find that this course expands your critical understanding of Fine Art and you will develop your intellectual, creative and technical abilities.

Why us?

  • 94.2% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK undergraduate students)
  • Features an exhibition in your final year, in which you can showcase your work to the public
  • Guaranteed work placement for all students
  • All students are allocated generous size individual studio spaces with access to well-equipped workshop facilities
  • Access to FabLab Sunderland on City Campus, part of a global network of digital fabrication spaces that provide 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and a CNC router

Course structure

You will have your own studio space which facilitates reflection on work and peer evaluation. Tutors will give regular feedback as your work progresses. In addition, critique sessions encourage you to analyse work created by yourself and others.

During the first year of this BA (Hons) Fine Art course, you will experience a range of working methods. You can then specialise or continue to work across several media. In your final year, you'll display your work at our annual Degree Show, attended by industry experts and potential employers.

Assessment methods vary between modules. They include studio presentations, course work, essays and exhibitions.

Part-time students study the same course as full-time students. If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the daytime, and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Year 1 (national level 4):

  • Fine Art Media Skills (40 credits)

Take an introductory look at a range of basic fine art ideas, principles and working methods in painting, printmaking, sculpture and digital media.

  • History of Art (20 credits)

Learn about some of the major art movements from the end of the 19th century to the present day.

  • Fine Art Practice (40 credits)

Get an introduction to a range of fundamental fine art working methods in terms of idea development, and ways of collecting, researching and processing information.

Plus a drawing module or one optional module related to Arts and Design (for example, photography) or from another area (for example, a foreign language).


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Fine Art Methodology (40 credits)

Produce your own visual work, consider your own thinking and working methods, and achieve a better understanding of a personal methodology as a basis for future creative development.

  • Fine Art Contemporary Practice (40 credits)

Define a critique appropriate to the development of studio work. Further examine and challenge a range of practical and theoretical issues relevant to contemporary fine art practice.

  • Fine Art Professional Practice II (40 credits)

Learn about the context within which you work, and understand the variety of options available to the practicing artist.



Final year (national level 6):

  • Fine Art Professional Practice III (40 credits)

Produce a body of studio work alongside a reflective and analytical portfolio in an “art book” form.

  • Exhibition (60 credits)

Pursue an individual programme of work for your final exhibition, selecting from drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture or new media.

  • Dissertation (20 credits)

Engage with and explain a subject derived from visual culture in a self-directed project.

Priestman Building,
Green Terrace,


  • The University has invested in modern facilities that include generous studio space for each student and a fantastic Arts and Design Library. Facilities include:

    • Workshops for wood, metal and printmaking
    • Project spaces
    • Student gallery
    • Digital studio with video, sound editing and screening facilities
    • Digital suites with open-access Apple Macs
    • Digital sewing and embroidery facilities
    • Students also have access to facilities within Fablab on City Campus
    Modern facilities
  • FabLab Sunderland offers a diverse range of specialist digital design and fabrication equipment. Based at the Hope Street Xchange in Sunderland city centre, it is a creative space where anyone can make (almost) anything. Our students gain free access to FabLab's machines which include:

    • Epilog laser cutter
    • ShopBot CNC router
    • The Roland Modela MDX-20 milling machine
    • Roland Vinyl cutter GS-24
    • Dimension 1200es Series 3D Printer – ABS plastic (large capacity 3D printer)
    • Ultimaker 2 (small scale 3D printer)
    • Ulitmaker 2 Extended (medium scale 3D printer)
  • We subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date articles.

    Students are helped to develop their research skills working with lecturers and library staff to develop their awareness of art history as well as contemporary art and design and the wider contexts of the subjects.

    Some of the most important sources for your course include:

    • Art Full Text + Art Abstracts: A major resource for media and arts information
    • Design and Applied Arts Index: Covers journals featuring both new designers and the development of design and the applied arts since the mid-19th century
    • British Universities Film and Video Council (BUFVC): Provides resources for the production, study and use of film and related media
    • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’): Provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
    • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles
    • Screen Online (BFI), which is an online encyclopedia of British film and television, featuring clips from the vast collections of the BFI National Archive
    Journals and research - art
  • Our Arts and Design library section has a specialist collection of over 120,000 books, DVDs, videos, slides and one of the largest electronic information networks in the sector.

    The experienced library team provide a high quality service and are sensitive to the requirements and working methods of our students. 

    Library Services - arts and design


This course is based at the Priestman Building, the main base for art, design and performance on City Campus. Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides an excellent teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and creative learning environment.

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 112 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award).

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language; or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

If you are studying a HND or Foundation Degree you may be able to enter onto the final year of our degree courses. For more information, please contact

Portfolio requirements

We are interested in your creative potential so please prepare a portfolio of work you have completed so far. We are not looking for perfection as we appreciate you may still be developing work. We would like to see: 

  • A variety of work – we want to see a range of styles and technique
  • Work completed in or outside of your studies
  • Ideas that you feel didn’t work
  • Research: examples of various forms of investigation
  • Photographs of 3D, and large 2D, work
  • A USB stick or online link with any digital and screen-based work
  • Accompanied by work in progress, sketch books and development work

If you are an international applicant, please send a link to your online portfolio.

Fees and finance

Full-time fees

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK / EU
  • £10,750 if you are an international student

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £5,000 per 120 credits.

Please note that part-time courses are not available to international students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more in our Help and Advice article.

Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


This course is an opportunity for self-development and personal expression and also equips you with a range of transferable skills. It is all about creativity, communication and analysis. There is huge scope for demonstrating personal initiative as well as developing effective approaches to group-working.

Professional Portfolio

To enhance employability, we encourage you to develop a Professional Portfolio throughout your time at the University. This includes an online art blog and art book documentation publication of your work, with an artist statement and a CV. 

Career options

We aim to prepare you to become a confident professional artist, with transferable skills. Destinations for Fine Art graduates include public arts, curating and other areas within the creative industries. Some of our former students are now seeing their work appear in commercial galleries. Others have gone on to work in museums, galleries and many different types of employment and self-employment. A number have chosen to progress to postgraduate courses such as our well-regarded Masters Fine Art course.

Work placement guaranteed

All students studying on-campus undergraduate Fine Art courses can take up a CV-enhancing work placement, a University-led industry initiative, or a professional and business development boot camp. By the term placement, we mean we are offering you a taste of the industry which might last anything from two days to four weeks on a part-time basis.

  • Sunderland had the best studio spaces in which to work in by far.
    Anna Puhakka, Fine Art

    Anna Puhakka

  • The tutors I worked with were very open-minded and willing to talk through ideas.
    Emma Stark, Fine Art

    Emma Stark

  • Sunderland taught me that if you are passionate and really want it, you can make it happen.
    Michael Branthwaite, Fine Art

    Michael Branthwaite

Meet our academics