BA Fine Art / English Literature

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

In choosing to study a degree in Fine Art and English Literature (WQ13) at Aberystwyth University you will be part of one of the best art departments in the UK. The School of Art focuses on integrating traditional skills with contemporary theory and practice to produce first-class fine art students. We place drawing at the heart of the student experience in light of the recent revival of interest in traditional drawing skills; our School of Art is at the vanguard of contemporary art education. You will also follow the core syllabus for English Literature meaning you will complete you degree with a great combination of skills and competences. Expand the sections below for more information...


Studying Fine Art and English Literature together will allow you to develop creative and critical skills that will prepare you for a wide range of professions. At Aberystwyth you will be taught by leading experts in their fields and will have access to superb library resources and art facilities that will allow you to do your best work and fulfil your potential.

Why study Fine Art with English Literature at Aberystwyth?

The School of Art and the Department of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth are both well-established departments with strong international reputations. Our lecturers include practising artists, art historians, theorists, literary critics, poets and novelists who are at the cutting edge of research and are highly regarded in their respective fields.In the most recent Research Excellence Framework assessment (2014) 97% of research submitted by the Department of English and Creative Writing was rated as being of an international standard and 100% of the School of Art’s research impact was world-leading and internationally excellent. Our students rated our courses very highly in the latest National Student Survey, with 88% of students from both departments expressing overall satisfaction. Both departments are large enough to offer a diverse range of modules and areas of staff expertise but small enough to be nurturing and supportive, allowing staff to get to know students and show an interest in their development.

91% of our 2014 Art graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating (DLHE 2014). This reflects our investment in innovative and strategic, student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results also show a significant improvement in many areas of our Art students' satisfaction. Our students reported 90% satisfaction with the quality of the teaching they received and our staff commended for their enthusiasm (95% satisfaction).

The 2015 National Student Satisfaction survey results show high levels of satisfaction among English students, with 88% satisfaction rate for the quality of teaching

93% of our 2014 English and Creative Writing graduates were in employment or further study 6 months after graduating, a 4 percentage point increase on the previous year and equal to the overall UK sector average (DLHE 2014). This increase reflects our investment in innovative and strategic student-focused employability initiatives which encompass all our academic Institutes and which we firmly believe are likely to improve our employability ratings still further.

The Department of English and Creative Writing is the oldest English department in Wales, and also the top English department in Wales, according to the 2011 Guardian University Guide. Our staff research interests cover a wide variety of topics and range from ancient Greek and Roman literature to contemporary poetry and novels, but we have particular strengths in Welsh writing in English, women’s writing, Romantic literature and Medieval and Early Modern literature.

The School of Art can offer you excellent facilities for the study of painting, the graphic arts, and photography, with studio facilities for painting, printmaking in intaglio, lithography, screen and relief printing, typography, black and white and colour photography. We also have a Creative Media Lab for the development of digital art, animation and video. The hundred-year-old listed building that houses the School of Art contains an art gallery that displays artefacts from the School’s extensive collection, with pieces dating from the 15th century to the present. At the end of your course you will be able to exhibit your own art in this exhibition space. The School runs an exciting programme of guest lectures and workshops from all aspects of the arts, and fieldtrips and excursions offer you the opportunity to enjoy art in a variety of historic and cultural settings.

Students at Aberystwyth are well-placed to carry out research because the National Library of Wales is a short walk from the main university campus. The National Library is a copyright library, which means that it has the right to hold a copy of every book published in Britain and Ireland, so you will find plenty of material on any topic you want to research. The university’s other facilities include the Arts Centre on the main university campus, which has several galleries with a varied programme of exhibitions of paintings, photography, sculpture, ceramics and installations. The Arts Centre bookshop and studio both host frequent book launches, talks from visiting writers and poetry readings.

Our Staff

Through their active involvement with the practice, history and curation of art, staff members of the School of Art seek to provide a rich learning environment for the student. Their experience as exhibiting artists, publishing art historians and practising curators actively informs the teaching.

All academic staff in the Department of English and Creative Writing are active scholars and experts in their fields. They are either qualified to PhD level or have commensurate experience. Our Lecturers either hold or are working towards a Higher Education teaching qualification and the majority of academic staff also hold the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (40 Credits) You must take the following modules:

Semester 1

Encountering Texts EN10020

Semester 2

Ancestral Voices EN10220

Year 1 Core (60 Credits) Fine Art joint honours students must take:

Semester 1

Looking Into Landscape: Reading, Researching, Responding AH11520

Art Practice C AR10920

Semester 2

Art Practice D AR11020

Year 1 Options You may choose up to 40 credits from the following modules

Semester 1

Greek And Roman Epic And Drama CL10120

Re-writing, Re-visioning Texts EN10120

American Literature 1819-1925 EN11220

Semester 2

History Of Greek And Roman Ideas CL10320

Contemporary Writing EN10520

Year 1 Electives Fine Art joint honours students may take:

Semester 2

Representing The Body AH10610

Year 2 Core (20 Credits) ENGLISH - You must take the following module

Semester 1

Literary Theory: Debates And Dialogues EN20120

Year 2 Core ( Credits)

Year 2 Options Joint honours Fine Art students should select at least 40 credits of art practice from the following:

Semester 1

Painting 1 AR20120

Painting 2 AR20230

Photography 1 AR20720

Photography 2 AR20830

Life Studies 1 AR22110

Printmaking 1- Relief Printing And Screenprinting AR22320

Printmaking 2- Relief Printing And Screenprinting AR22430

Interdisciplinary Making 1 AR23300

Interdisciplinary Thinking 2 AR24100

Semester 2

Painting 3 AR20920

Painting 4 AR21030

Photography 3 AR21620

Photography 4 AR21730

Book Illustration 1 AR21820

Book Illustration 2 AR21930

Life Studies 2 AR22210

Printmaking 3- Intaglio, Stone And Plate Lithography AR22520

Printmaking 4 - Intaglio, Stone And Plate Lithography AR22630

Interdisciplinary Making 1 AR23320

Interdisciplinary Thinking 2 AR24120

Year 2 Options You should choose at least 20 credits from the following modules

Semester 1

Literary Modernisms EN20920

The Shapes Of Tragedy EN22020

Semester 2

Nineteenth Century Literature EN20720

Place And Self EN22120

Literature Since 1945 EN22920

Year 2 Options Students may take a further 20 credits of elective fine art modules from the above list

Year 2 Options You may choose up to 40 credits from the following modules

Semester 1

Contemporary Queer Fiction EN31620

Forms Of Children's Narrative Prose EN37820

Writing Women For The Public Stage, 1670-1780 EN38720

Semester 2

Society,sexuality And Subversion In The Middle Ages EN31220

Shakespeare, Jonson And Company EN33020

Demons, Degenerates And New Women: Fin De Siecle Fictions EN33420

Final Year Options Joint Honours Fine Art students must take either AR30130 or AR32540 in Semester 2 of the final year

Semester 2

Exhibition 1: Graduation Show AR30130

Exhibition 2: Graduation Show AR32540

Final Year Options Joint Honours Fine Art students should select from the following modules for their remaining final year credits:

Semester 1

Life Studies 3 AR31610

Painting 5 - Paint Directed Practice AR31730

Printmaking 5 - Print Directed Practice AR31930

Photography 5 - Photo Directed Practice AR32130

Book Illustration 3 AR32330

Final Year Options ENGLISH - You should take 40 to 80 credits from the following modules

Semester 1

Undergraduate Dissertation EN30000

Reading Theory / Reading Text EN30120

Elizabethan Drama: Hieronimo To Hamlet EN30220

Victorian Childhoods EN30320

Twentieth Century Welsh Writing In English EN30420

The American Novel In The Nineteenth Century EN37520

Semester 2

Undergraduate Dissertation EN30040

Romantic Eroticism EN30520

Reimagining The World Wars: Contempoary Historical Fictions EN30720

Haunting Texts EN30820

Detective And Crime Fiction EN34620

A Virtuous Vice? Or: The True History Of The English Novel EN37620

American Literature In The Twentieth Century EN39420


Career prospects

The Fine Art side of your degree prepares you for a career as a professional artist, photographer, printmaker, book illustrator, graphic designer or fashion and textile designer. Alternatively you might be interested in becoming a museum or art gallery curator, arts administrator, conservation officer or art therapist. The English Literature side of your degree makes you an ideal candidate for a career as a journalist, publisher, editor, author or literary agent. You could choose to go onto further study in one of your degree subjects and pursue a career in lecturing and research, or you could take a PGCE and teach either Art or English in a school. However, your options are not limited to careers that are directly related to your degree scheme. Other career prospects include public relations, marketing, law, librarianship, local government and management.

Transferable Skills

Students of Fine Art and English Literature develop transferable skills that are attractive to employers in a variety of fields, giving them great flexibility in their choice of career. These skills include:

• the ability to think analytically and creatively
• effective problem-solving skills
• research skills
• self-motivation and the ability to work on your own initiative
• effective time-management and the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to work independently or as part of a team
• written and oral communication skills including effective public speaking
• attention to detail


Work experience can be invaluable in setting you apart from other graduates when you enter the job market by giving you relevant experience and helping you to make professional contacts. All undergraduates at Aberystwyth have the opportunity to take part in the Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which allows them to spend a year working in a relevant industry in the UK or overseas between the second and third years of their degree. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and increases your chances of finding graduate-level employment within a year of completing your degree. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales

GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will you learn?

You will divide your time equally between the Department of English and Creative Writing and the School of Art. In your first year in English you will take two core modules, designed to ease the transition from school to university and introduce some of the key concepts and techniques that you will return to throughout your course. You will also be able to choose from a range of option modules on subjects including Greek and Roman literature, twenty-first century poetry and fiction, and film and literary responses to existing texts. In your second year you will be introduced to the study of literary theory and will be able to choose to focus in more detail on two periods in literary history from a choice of four. In your final year you will continue to study literary theory and can choose to undertake a dissertation, in which you carry out an extended piece of research on a topic of your choice, or choose an option module from a selection that includes modules on Elizabethan drama, detective fiction, ghost stories and American film. This course format ensures that you obtain good general knowledge of literary history and theory while also giving some room for specialisation.

In Art your first year will provide a grounding in techniques of drawing, painting, print-making and photography. You will be able to choose an option module allowing you to focus in more detail on either drawing or painting. Your second and third years are much more open and self-directed, allowing you to choose to focus on the media and techniques that most interest you. You can choose to take modules on topics including painting, life drawing, photography, print-making, book illustration, installation and film. In your second year you will take a core module in professional practice that will help you to identify career goals and to develop skills in communication, information technology and CV writing that would be relevant in any career and also specific skills in staging an exhibition and promoting and displaying your work that would be relevant to an art career. In your final year you will stage an exhibition of your work that will be open to the public. This represents the pinnacle of your studies in Art and provides valuable experience for those who are considering a professional art career.

Among many skills you will learn: to employ relevant critical techniques when approaching texts; to develop a reflective practice in reading and writing; to consider the social, cultural and historical influences on a text; to articulate a detailed critical analysis of your subject; to work independently and manage your time effectively; to display technical competence in a range of media and artistic techniques; to develop powers of judgement with which to critique your own and others’ work; to show understanding of the relationship between current studio practice and its historical background; to develop an ethos of professionalism in your approach to art.

How will you be taught?

In English you will be taught through inspiring large-group lectures and lively, interactive small-group seminars. If you choose to undertake a dissertation in your final year you will have regular one-to-one meetings with a supervisor who is an expert on your chosen topic. Teaching in Art is delivered through a series of workshops and seminars alongside traditional lectures, with practical work forming a high proportion of your learning experience. Directed group work in the first year gives way to smaller specialised group projects and individual tuition in the second year. In your final year you will devise your own projects and receive one-to-one tuition to support you throughout.

Your English work will be assessed through essays, exams and oral presentations. In Art you will create a portfolio of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and related research materials which will form a large proportion of your continuous assessment. The culmination of your work is the exhibition in your final year. As well as the public presentation of your art in the exhibition format, you will explain in an accompanying piece of reflective writing the inspiration, ideas and practical issues relating to the making of it.

Your personal tutor

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

Student Views

The lecturers are really passionate and knowledgeable about art and their own disciplines. I feel like I am always growing and improving as an artist, as my tutors take time to give me good constructive feedback. Amelia Jenkinson

I love the variety you get from Fine Art - there are no fixed rules for the work you can produce and you able to fully express your ideas in whatever way you wish. The tutors are helpful and encouraging and there is always someone on hand to guide you, whether that be staff or other students. Jamie Carpenter-White

The first thing I noticed when studying Fine Art at Aberystwyth University was the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I really treasure the fact my course is run in such an architecturally beautiful building, surrounded by the particularly stunning seascape. I felt so at ease being in Aberystwyth and would recommend it to anyone wanting to do an Art degree. Laura Beryl Eileen Bosley

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