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The Sculpture Court full of artwork and people, as seen from the balcony. Andrew Perry

Undergraduate

Fine Art - BA (Hons)

BA (Hons)

Features

4 years
Full-time

Outline

On the BA (Hons) Fine Art programme, we welcome all students who are interested in the creative process, in the many practices and contexts of contemporary fine art, and who want to engage with the process of becoming an artist.
Our programme will help to shape you as an artist, whilst introducing you to the many other creative, critical and cultural possibilities within the diverse and evolving field of contemporary fine art.  

We encourage those who enjoy making and thinking, who are curious about the world in which they live, and who are keen to learn and share their learning with others to apply.

  • We expect you to be interested in forms of creative expression, practical learning, play and critical contemplation, along with a general curiosity about fine art and wider culture.  
  • We expect you to have enquired into the field of contemporary fine art outside of the school curriculum.  
  • We do not expect you to be a fully formed artist, or to display a particular technical aptitude. We want to work with you to develop your confidence in these areas.  
  • We do not expect you to have a fully formed conception of what art practice is, but we will ask you to be open minded, explore ideas and take risks as you develop an individual approach.

Our BA (Hons) Fine Art is a four-year, intensive, studio-focused programme which incorporates a range of learning and teaching approaches including critiques, tutorials, lectures, seminars and workshops. It is designed to support you in developing your own approach to creative practice and a critical understanding of contemporary culture. You will undertake a variety of studio-based courses within Art and will work closely with specialist staff who will encourage you to consider multiple approaches to creating and reflecting upon work. You will be supported to employ a wide range of materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies, and tools associated with the discipline. 

Through a range of courses, you will focus on your own production of artworks in relation to that of your peers. You will achieve a well-developed understanding of how art is disseminated, consumed, and valued in contemporary culture and society. We provide purpose-built studios to work in, first class technical facilities and workshops, and a wide range of dynamic learning activities that will offer personal as well as professional development. 

In your studio-based courses, you can work across several areas within fine art creative practice including, but not limited to: 

  • digital media 
  • drawing  
  • installation 
  • moving image 
  • painting 
  • participatory practice 
  • performance 
  • photography 
  • printmaking (3D and traditional) 
  • publications 
  • sculpture 
  • sound 
  • writing

Careers

Many graduates pursue careers as artists completing residencies and commissions, with a high percentage of our graduates establishing themselves in studios, workshops and artist-led organisations, developing international profiles as exhibiting artists and creative practitioners.  

Many of our graduates also enter other art-related professions, including (but not limited to):  

  • Teaching (from primary to tertiary education) 
  • Art education in community settings 
  • Work in galleries and other art organisations 
  • Jobs in the wider creative industries 
  • Postgraduate study

Why you should choose this programme

1

Our studio-based programme establishes an inclusive and exciting studio culture which supports communities of peers to co-develop one another’s learning along with providing hands-on experience of how to use a studio space and develop relevant practices using a studio space.

2

Our holistic approach to balancing and integrating practical and contextual studies of contemporary fine art readies students for work across a range of related creative and cultural sectors.

3

Experience specialist research-led teaching from internationally renowned practitioners who are practicing artists, curators, and theorists.

4

Experience a dynamic and evolving curriculum that encourages students to pursue paths of complimentary study and make use of a huge range of world class facilities and resources across the wider ECA and University of Edinburgh.

5

Our programme provides a wide variety of event-based learning including visiting artist talks, workshops, exhibitions, screenings, special events, gallery visits, day trips, field trips to international art programmes, projects with external organisations, graduate shows, and in year 3 of your studies there is the option to study abroad at a range of internationally renowned institutions.

Widening Participation

ECA works with the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation (WP) team.

Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

Find out about Access to Creative Education in Scotland (ACES), a Widening Participation programme for eligible S4 to S6 students at state secondary schools in the south-east of Scotland.

ACES website

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • See the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply
  • Find out about fees
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Application process

The portfolio guidance listed below is for 2024 entry. Portfolio guidance for 2025 entry will be updated by September 2024. 

Applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential which forms an important part of the selection process. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together, so it portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented. You will be judged on your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic within your image allocations.

For applications to the BA Fine Art degree programme we require:

  • 5 images of your Enquiry and Visual Research: what have you looked at? How have you examined your chosen subjects and why?
  • 5 images of Idea Development and Material/Technical Exploration: what materials ideas and techniques have you experimented with and how?
  • 5 images of Critical Judgement, Selection and Resolution: can you demonstrate an ability to self-edit and curate a coherent selection of works for this portfolio?
  • 5 images of Contextual and Professional Awareness: what kinds of philosophical and professional awareness does your portfolio communicate to the assessors? 
    • The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your own work, for example:
      • People working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past
      • People interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past
      • Natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places, events which have provoked a response

Each image can be accompanied by a 255 character long description.

Get in touch

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

futurestudents@ed.ac.uk
+44 (0)131 650 3565

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