Fine Art / English Literature

Key Facts

Code WQ13
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBB-ABB with B in English Literature, or English Language, or a combined English Literature and Language course, and B in Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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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.

Top 5 in the UK for Fine Art subject area (NSS 2016)
Top 15 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of English (NSS 2016)

School of Art: 100% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

100% of undergraduates from the School of Art who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Department of English and Creative Writing: 96% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from the Department of English and Creative Writing who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Views


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. 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.

The Department of English and Creative Writing is the oldest English department in Wales. 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.


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.


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

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

Entry Requirements

A Levels BBB-ABB with B in English Literature, or English Language, or a combined English Literature and Language course, and B in Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:
DMM-DDM with specified subject plus satisfactory portfolio

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall with 6 points in English Literature at Higher Level and with Art or appropriate at Higher Level plus satisfactory portfolio

European Baccalaureate:
65% overall with 70% in specified subject and with Art or appropriate plus satisfactory portfolio

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