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Undergraduate study
Fine Art (with Foundation Year) Fine Art (with Foundation Year) Fine Art (with Foundation Year)

Fine Art (with Foundation Year)
BA (Hons)



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.

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

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.

An optional work placement year is included, at no extra cost. Alongside this, 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

Foundation year core modules

Contextual Studies

You are introduced to the contexts of creative and design history, investigating problem solving and themes to inform your current studio practice. You research and learn to analyse ideas about past British and international styles, design and theory. This develops your understanding of the role of the designer, the meanings and vocabulary of space and design, and the relationship between design, society and the environment. You develop skills in research, analysis, communication and critical thinking, and produce and present interpretations of historical material.

Portfolio Project

Building on your skills in the design process, you develop a project portfolio directed towards your favoured design discipline, demonstrating your creative ideas, development and final concepts. You are encouraged to take a questioning, creative and innovative approach to design project work. You focus on experimental exploration, as well as challenging your ability to motivate and organise yourself to manage a design project and work to a deadline. This project culminates with a short presentation of your completed design work.

Research and Analysis

You are introduced to the creative design process and methods of researching and recording inspirational ideas which you can then develop for your own project work. You gather inspiration, stimuli and precedent ideas from a multitude of sources and sketchbooks – these are key in developing and experimenting your design, helping you curate ideas and document your design activity.

Specialism Project

You take part in a range of specialist studio activities. You investigate, experiment and explore pathways in fashion, textiles, graphics, interiors and product design. You study creative processes and develop independent project skills to help identify the specialist subject which best suits your interests and abilities.

Thinking Through Drawing

You are introduced to a range of fundamental drawing approaches for a variety of purposes. Practical workshops include measured drawing, scale, composition and perspective as well as creatively using colour, materials and expressive mark making. These experiences increase your observational skills that help you visualise and realise ideas for potential design projects.

Thinking Through Making

You further develop and deepen your knowledge gained from the induction programmes, enhancing your skills in model construction, prototyping, printmaking, and production analysis. You gain greater insight into the complexities of model construction and printmaking by working in detail with various materials, developing techniques and creative skills. This module is project-based – you transfer your knowledge from lectures to hands-on demonstrations in a workshop environment. You primarily learn through producing models and prints from drawings.


Year 1 core modules

Curatorial Methods

You are introduced to curatorial practice and approaches to forming curatorial displays. Through sessions in the MIMA classroom, you explore methods of curatorial research, considering different styles of producing an exhibition format. You reflect on exhibition histories, inclusive of multiple voices, and develop knowledge of contemporary curatorial practices as well as artist-led curation. You work with the MIMA programme team through exhibition tours and conversations about gallery hangs and interpretation approaches.

Developing Studio Practice

You undertake a self-authored project and develop a body of work that begins to establish your studio practice. You are encouraged to explore different making processes, looking towards identifying particular areas of focus. By thoroughly researching a variety of artists and thinkers you begin to identify ideas and concerns that may underpin your practice and consider the context within which this begins to operate.

Drawing and Printmaking

You explore and expand your approaches to visual investigation and representation through drawing, image and printmaking. You create visual language through observation, response, emotive expression and visual enquiry, experimenting with ideas generation and establishing new ways of looking and thinking.

MIMA History of Art, Design & Architecture

You are introduced to key art, design, architectural and cultural histories that are central to studying a creative subject. You explore a range of contexts and influences including art historical, ecological, critical theory, industrial, technological change, social and political movements, examining the changing face of art and design and informing your future research.

Skills and Studio Practice

You are introduced to a range of materials and skills workshops where you explore techniques and strategies to art making and developing a studio practice. Assignment briefs encourage you to explore different ideas and perspectives, sometimes using specialist equipment.

Working in the Creative Industries

You are introduced to the opportunities available in the creative industries sector, how to start a career path and vital employability skills including networking and digital presence. You learn about the structure of the sector and how it operates locally, nationally and globally, debating the role of policy and the importance of sustainability.


Year 2 core modules

Art and Place

You combine theory and practice to examine the challenges facing contemporary societies, and undertake small-scale projects that explore social, political and ecological changes around us. You develop the aims and forms in negotiation with module tutors. The outcome could be a collaborative project that explores the process of making work in a wider context such as: shopping centres, schools, outdoor parks, and other social settings.

Career Context

You develop your understanding of building a career in the creative industries through key skills in creative leadership, collaborative entrepreneurship and sustainability. You start with a theoretical introduction to these concepts and then work collaboratively on a group project to establish a creative business. You present your project and submit an individual reflective portfolio on your research and project experiences.

Expanding Studio Practice

You broaden your knowledge of art making processes and develop a self-initiated project that investigates ways to form a distinct artistic voice. You are encouraged to experiment and explore art making as a process of enquiry alongside the production of objects, while discussions and group critiques develop your critical thinking skills.

Global Future Contexts

You investigate a range of contemporary social, environmental, technological and ethical issues that inform all types of art and design practice. You broaden your awareness of using creativity as a form of contemporary social discussion – exploring issues through the development, production and presentation of potential future scenarios.

Sustaining Studio Practice

You focus on studio making through a deeper investigation into contemporary art practices. You begin to probe why certain decisions are made and how to contextualise your own artwork while examining contemporary practices. Realisation of an independent artistic agency and a deeper knowledge of art practice is demonstrated through a new body of work. The body of work demonstrates an expertise in making and resolving artworks to a more finished state.

Working with the MIMA Collection

Using the MIMA collection, you question the role of collecting and responding to historical narratives of artmaking. Through conversations with the MIMA curatorial team and sessions in the MIMA classroom, you examine ideas of display, mediation and presentation. You question the ways in which narrative, interpretation and experiences beyond the gallery can help the curatorial experience and consider the categorisation of objects both materially and contextually.


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

Art, Theory and Context

You examine approaches to written and visual communication that present key ideas and concepts underpinning a practice-based research project. You establish and investigate a research question through relevant research methods – the outcome is a critical text and small artifact, to demonstrate appropriate skills in academic and reflective writing as well as practice-based research methods. The essay and artifact, not limited to any specific medium or research area, must demonstrate a progression in focus and explore relevant artists and ideas to current debates in contemporary art theory and practice. The written element must also consider the placement and curatorial context of the artifact.

Final Studio Project

You build upon and consolidate your practice through the development and management of a project. You test out ideas to help determine the trajectory of your future practice in preparation towards the final major project.

Major Research Project: Fine Art (Exhibition)

This module is the culmination of all your previous learning, bringing a body of work to a point of professional resolution to showcase to a public audience through the degree show. This is achieved through the creation of a body of work that draws together the practical and theoretical concerns that underpin an advanced understanding of your studio practice and explores innovative and appropriate ways in which this new work is presented and engages with a wider audience.


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 64-80 UCAS points including an appropriate subject. 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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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: 4 years (or 5 with a work placement)
  • UCAS code: W104 BA/FAFY
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 64-80 tariff points

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

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UK students


Telephone: 01642 335008

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International students


Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

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