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Undergraduate study

Course overview

A fine art degree course at Teesside University provides studio-based learning that allows you to specialise in painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography and/or new media. You have open access to all media workshops to develop your personally defined project themes.

Fine art at Teesside University

Hannah Stothard talks about her experiences of studying fine art

What makes our fine art degree stand out?

Your own studio space, lectures with established artists, art form specialisms, technical workshops and an international art gallery.

What you learn

Develop your work as an artist from drawing to digital media, bookbinding to printmaking, screens to sculpture, canvases to community projects. We support all art forms – you have access to industry-standard technical workshops and are taught by practising artists and curators.

By studying a fine art degree here at Teesside University, you have your own studio for the duration of your course - a personal space to make, experiment and think critically about your work in a supportive environment with your peer community. Working both on your own and in teams, you can specialise or cultivate multimedia exhibitions. You gain insight from visiting international artists, and learn effective research and reflection techniques.

Career opportunities

This fine art degree develops your artistic and professional skills, preparing you for a career as an artist, curator, primary or secondary teacher, or art therapist. You can work in roles across the cultural sector – museums and galleries, community wellbeing and education projects, creatives businesses of all kinds.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

You study at MIMA School of Art & Design, an art school led by Teesside University and Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), an international contemporary museum and gallery. You gain a full artistic experience, learning in a social space that inspires dynamic ideas, fuels collaboration and allows you to build local, national and international networks with industry professionals for your future fine art career. An optional work placement year is included, at no extra cost.

Top three reasons to study fine art at Teesside University

1. As an art gallery and a university, our students contribute to making a museum, not just taking a degree course.
2. You are taught by accomplished and award-winning practising artists, writers and curators.
3. You work in your own individual studio with lots of space to develop your ideas.

And you may be eligible for a £2,500 Success Photography scholarship.

Alongside the optional work placement year, you can gain valuable experience and engagement with the sector through our shorter work placements, internships and work experience opportunities.
Find out more


Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Introductory Contextual Studies A: Encompass

This module challenges you to rethink our location within an ever-evolving community of artists in the twenty-first century. You are introduced to concepts and working practices associated with contemporary art in order to understand the approaches that it encompasses as a constellation for navigating future work.

You look to find new models for understanding, making sense, perceiving, and re-thinking the world we inhabit within an international and outward facing perspective. Through lectures, group activities and gallery visits, you critically reflect upon and explore new modes of thinking that challenge your own preconceptions about what might constitute art and art practice.

You produce a negotiated study plan, attend lectures and tutorials on new directions in contemporary art, keep a journal of notes and reflections from these lectures, write a short essay, and develop a presentation on a contemporary artist. The teaching is centred towards building and facilitating a community of learners to negotiate art’s shared space within the MIMA School of Art & Design and beyond.

Introductory Contextual Studies B: Rise

You develop your own frameworks and conceptual outputs as research informed learning in order to understand the relationships between diverse approaches in artistic practice. Through this, you consider how themes and approaches within your own studio outputs might fit with or challenge a legacy and future directions in artistic practice within an international perspective with the resources of MIMA and as a community of learners and artists.

You start the research for your Art in Action project and write a short proposal. You also write a negotiated individual or group project supported with MIMA School of Art & Designstaff, utilising information from the MIMA collection and diverse artistic approaches. This project examines your understanding of artistic practice and shows alternative methods for future facing considerations with how ideas and approaches are organised thematically. You keep an on-going notebook of visiting artist lectures or sessions at MIMA as needed.

Throughout the second semester, emphasis is placed on imagining a community of artists and learners based on experience or shared potential while developing vocabularies and understanding around art practice. From this, you begin to pose questions of how a community of learners are shaped: by you, your peers, lecturers and the greater MIMA community, as well as by our perceptions.

Introductory Studio Practice A: Spark

You use a range of strategies to facilitate the production of a new piece of studio work. Utilising a series of investigative studies designed to spark direct engagement with materiality and ideas, this module has an experimental approach to studio practice and encourages the development of appropriate technical skills. You may also attend technical inductions and workshops to show you the safe and correct use of specialist equipment. The workshops and activities seek to articulate an actively engaged approach to studio practice and could include sessions or projects at MIMA and the broader learning community, as well as hybrid materials, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography/lens media, or durational practices.

You experiment working in different media in order to begin an interdisciplinary practice whereby you use skills attained to best communicate your ideas and intentions. An emphasis is also placed on the development of studio culture rooted in the resources at MIMA School of Art, the community, and artistic ambition.

Introductory Studio Practice B: Magnify

You extend your studio practice towards building an expertise of communicating your own artistic vision through the development of a negotiated body of work. You engage in further workshops in line with MIMA and the course and demonstrate your own individual research towards building skills and outputs that form some of your practice moving forward.

You choose the focus of study and this acts as a practical introduction to the design of self-authored projects in consultation with your negotiated study plan and in support of the co-created nature of the course and reflective approaches. Through this, you identify the relevant points of your practice, engage in peer-to-peer reflection and the building of support networks, as well as developing intentionality and establishing an initial personal approach to studio practice.


Year 2 core modules

Developing Contextual Studies B: Spectacle

You build upon skills and experiences learned from the Practicum, the Artist talk series, lectures on contemporary art practice, curatorial discussions and put into practice, and the understanding you’ve learned over the past two years.

You consider social, ethical, practical and current conversations of art practice and curation through an engagement and understanding of current practices at MIMA and considering core themes as art and action, co-production, community led and artist-led. You consider your practice as outwardly looking as well as developing digital skills in the creation of a project blog. Lectures, seminars and the Artist talk series assist you in realising, organising and co-producing a group exhibition/event of your own work in synergy with the Developing Studio Practice B: Resonance module you undertake simultaneously.

You are in charge of organising logistics, planning, installation, developing promotional material, and implementing professional practices for the realisation of this exhibition. You also revisit artist statements, which are reworked and expanded to reflect your current artistic practices. Alongside the Artist talk series, there is a theoretical strand that contextualises artist-led curation and broader ideas around curatorial practice and deeper consideration of contemporary art practice and theory. You develop a separate visual bibliography or artefact that can investigate a subject relevant to your practice and consider how your work can be outward facing.

Developing Studio Practice A: Fulcrum

You develop and experiment with you own artistic vision. Building on skill learnt in the previous year and alongside the Developing Contextual Studies A: Odyssey module you broaden your own knowledge through self-initiated practice developing your own agency with art and developing your own voice. You test out ideas through a variety of medium, material, context and theory to expand your knowledge of making in line with contemporary practices. This could be through painting, sculpture, performance, photography, digital, post-internet, video, 2D, 3D, 4D practices to explore interdisciplinarity and the crossovers between making processes and contextual aims.

You consider your practice as outwardly facing and respond to current trends in contemporary practice to be research active and reflective. The purpose being to engage you in an experimental process that will develop skills of critical thinking and critical practice-making to raise awareness of social and ethical implications in practice-making alongside being future focused.

The studio project is underpinned by an Artist Statement.

Developing Studio Practice B: Resonance

You build on the Developing Studio Practice A: Fulcrum module in semester one and develop work from experimental ideas and interdisciplinary enquires to actioning and realising works that are considered more in-depth of the chosen contextual and practice routes and resolving your research active ideas.

You further interrogate your studio making through further investigation into contemporary art practices. It helps to realise your own artistic agency and extend your knowledge and expertise in making and resolving artworks to a more finalised state in preparation for future careers. You are assessed on a studio presentation.

You enhance your studio practice and focus on developing work from ideas towards realisation which are examined throughout the semester. You engage in further technical workshops and demonstrate your own individual research towards building skills to form an element of your practice. From week ten you go on to support the BA level six students in the realisation of their degree show.

Practicum: Odyssey

This module centralises your own voice to consider your practice in a wider definition of a community through developing a practicum project. In line with the ethos of the MIMA School of Art & Design the module focuses on taking the material and contextual discussions around practice in theoretical terms and connecting to a real world situation to develop your own cultural agency.

You develop skills that are socially and ethically engaged. The module introduces different approaches to contemporary art from research and curatorial perspectives to co-production and community-focused, event-based practices. You undertake a practicum project that is future-focused and self-initiated and connected to the arts that allow you to participate, investigate and experience a real art-world experience relevant to your own aims and develop a short reflective project report.

In week six of the module you create an event to develop skills in event-based programming and artist-led curation in preparation for semester two’s off-site exhibition.


Optional work placement year

Work placement

You have the option to spend one year in industry learning and developing your skills. We encourage and support you with applying for a placement, job hunting and networking.

You gain experience favoured by graduate recruiters and develop your technical skillset. You also obtain the transferable skills required in any professional environment, including communication, negotiation, teamwork, leadership, organisation, confidence, self-reliance, problem-solving, being able to work under pressure, and commercial awareness.

Many employers view a placement as a year-long interview, therefore placements are increasingly becoming an essential part of an organisation's pre-selection strategy in their graduate recruitment process. Benefits include:

· improved job prospects
· enhanced employment skills and improved career progression opportunities
· a higher starting salary than your full-time counterparts
· a better degree classification
· a richer CV
· a year's salary before completing your degree
· experience of workplace culture
· the opportunity to design and base your final-year project within a working environment.

If you are unable to secure a work placement with an employer, then you simply continue on a course without the work placement.


Final-year core modules

Exhibition: Resolution

You produce a body of work that draws together the practical and theoretical concerns that underpin your studio practice and explore innovative and appropriate ways in which this new work is presented and engages with a wider audience. The presentation of this resolved work confirms the expertise in place for future artistic ambition and professional practice. You work with your peers in exploring how the work is presented to the public and demonstrate your cultural understanding and critical awareness through the curatorial decisions and production values articulated and employed, gaining agency through artistic practice.

Independent Studio Practice: Reverie

You build upon and consolidate your artistic ambition through the development and management of a project. Through research and reflection within the community of learners, you progress your technical, communicative and conceptual skills, which evidence advanced learning and prepare the way towards the final module Exhibition: Resolution.

You test out ideas, building upon skills attained through previous study, to identify further needs towards the production of resolved work and help determine the trajectory of future practice. You demonstrate your understanding of the interdependence of curatorial practice and studio-based production through your selection of resolved work presented for critical review. You consider opportunities for sector-specific career and professional development.

Sustainable Practice and Pedagogy: Prolepsis

In what way can an art education contribute to your future aims and practices? You discuss the multiple paths that those with a BA (Hons) Fine Art might take and you design your own forward-looking life curriculum.

Key to the module is the professional studies and practice towards your final project. Utilising the unique connections to MIMA and ways artists can practice, you are tasked with not only contributing professionally to your final exhibition, but how you might impact the teaching community at MIMA School of Art & Design.

You find where the needs of the institution might intersect with your own desires so that your legacy also becomes the first steps in future learning and ambition.


Modules offered may vary.


How you learn

An academic staff team of specialist practitioners and theorists work in partnership with a weekly programme of visiting artists to ensure you have access to a diverse and extensive range of fine art expertise. You have contact with artist-led agencies, have the opportunity to establish a support network for arts practice and undertake study visits (including Erasmus student exchange) directly related to your personal research. Studio tutorials throughout the programme are designed to help you develop clear and realistic objectives for continued professional development and employment. Individual and independent learning priorities become an integral component in each study module and are supported by a fully established Negotiated Learning Plan at all levels of the programme.

How you are assessed

The continuous assessment structure allows key assessment deadlines to be located at the mid-point and end-point of each academic year.

Our Disability Services team provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs


Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Typically 96-112 UCAS points from at least three A levels (or equivalent). You are invited to bring a portfolio along on applicant days to show creative skills in art and design.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country

You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL



Career opportunities

Fine art graduates move forward into an increasingly broad range of professional futures including postgraduate study in visual art at Teesside University (MA Fine Art) and education through Graduate Teacher Training and Recruitment, acquire sponsored fellowships and arts-based residencies (facilitated by DigitalCity and Tees Valley Arts), develop independent practice through locally based studio groups (Saltburn Artist Projects, Navigator North and Platform Arts), work as curators for gallery-based exhibitions (The Heritage Gallery and Python Gallery), take advantage of local and regional opportunities for additional professional development (a-n and Arts Council England, North East) and, as self-employed artists, become professional cultural practitioners.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Talk to an international student enrolment adviser



Entry to 2021/22 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£13,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years (or 4 years with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: W100 BA/FA
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 96-112 points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2021/22 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 6 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)


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