Fine Art / Art History

BA Fine Art / Art History Code WV13 Attend an Open Day Attend an Open Day

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You are viewing this course for September start 2024

Fine Art at Aberystwyth University will allow you to develop new or broaden and deepen your skills in painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, book illustration, experimental film, installation and site-specific performance. Your Art History studies will be concerned with research as well as the critical understanding, interpretation and display of visual culture delivered through core modules as well as specialised or interdisciplinary history and curating modules.

In choosing our Fine Art and Art History degree, you will join one of the best art departments in the UK. On completion of this degree, you will emerge with real-world capabilities, enabling you to pursue careers as artists, art historians, curators and/or educators.

Course Overview

Why study Fine Art and Art History at Aberystwyth?

  • Benefit from the disciplined acquisition of technical expertise, and the formation of creative intelligence, combined in equal measures with an historical, critical, theoretical and contemporary awareness of art history and visual culture.
  • Make a valued contribution to a close community of students and staff within a well-respected School of Art that was established in 1917.
  • Gain access to excellent teaching facilities that include well-lit studios for painting, darkrooms, print workshops, a MacSuite, seminar rooms, lecture theatre, galleries and a museum all housed in a magnificent Grade II* listed building.
  • Explore our internationally significant collection of fine and decorative art. As an Accredited Museum, the School runs its own galleries with some 20,000 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs dating from the fifteenth century to the present day.
  • Learn from experienced staff who are internationally renowned artists, curators and art historians.
  • Enjoy our close association with the university Arts Centre, that is one of the largest in the UK and a major venue for exhibitions by contemporary artists and designers.
  • Benefit from unrivalled access to the nearby National Library of Wales, one of only five copyright libraries in the United Kingdom, with over six million books, maps, prints and manuscripts, and a fine collection of paintings and works on paper.
  • Participate in our study visits within the UK or abroad (destinations have included Madrid, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, New York, Vienna, Barcelona, Venice, Moscow, St Petersburg, Florence, Budapest and Lisbon).
  • Enter the degree scheme directly from school or from a foundation course.
Our Staff

Our teaching staff are practicing professionals. As exhibiting artists, publishing researchers and curators, they provide an informed and stimulating learning environment. This ensures that the skills you learn at the School of Art are practice orientated, relevant and applicable.

For further information, visit our individual staff profiles.

Modules September start - 2024

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.

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


What career opportunities are there for me on completion of this degree?

As well as establishing careers as professional practicing artists, with significant exhibition profiles, our graduates have become employees of:

  • Design Council;
  • Arts Council;
  • Tate Gallery;
  • Victoria and Albert Museum;
  • Royal Academy of Arts;
  • Carlton Television;
  • The Observer;
  • Saatchi Gallery;
  • Damien Hirst;
  • BBC;
  • Viz magazine;
  • Royal Collections Trust.

Some of our graduates are, for example, currently:

  • University Professors;
  • Secondary school teachers;
  • Art gallery managers;
  • Museum or exhibition curators;
  • Arts journalists and researchers;
  • Children’s book illustrators;
  • Photographers;
  • Portrait painters;
  • Graphic designers;
  • Art directors in publishing;
  • Television presenters;
  • Medical illustrators;
  • Art therapists;
  • Animators;
  • Easel painting and works on paper conservators;
  • Postgraduate study can lead to further career options in teaching and lecturing. Each year a significant number of our graduates enrol on a Master of Arts degree scheme.

How does the degree prepare me for my career?

You will gain skills that are highly valued by employers, preparing you to:

  • Conceive creative solutions for specific problems;
  • Research, evaluate and organise information;
  • Clearly communicate both in writing and verbally;
  • Work independently and with others;
  • Manage your time;
  • Become self-motivated and disciplined.

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer.

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

In your first year, through the disciplined acquisition of fundamental technical skills, you will explore:

  • Fundamentals of drawing and painting and the use of colour;
  • Book illustration;
  • Printmaking;
  • Photography;
  • Interdisciplinary thinking and practice;
  • Life Room studies;
  • Academic writing skills;
  • Critical understandings of art and visual culture;
  • Fundamentals of European and American art organized by historical themes and styles, for example representing the body and looking into landscape.

In your second year you will:

  • Specialise in your chosen Fine Art discipline(s) and areas of interest in Art History;
  • Deepen your exploration of ideas and demonstrate technical proficiency in Fine Art;
  • Develop a programme of tutor-led self-directed practice and research that evidences an experimental approach to Fine Art and gives expression to a personal voice as an artist;
  • Grow a self-critical approach to creative working and professional methods;
  • Position your art practice within contemporary contexts and historical traditions;
  • Explore historical and current issues in our understanding of art history and visual culture;
  • Continue with your core art historical studies from 1990 to the present day;
  • Construct your own curriculum from a broad portfolio of optional art history modules.

In your third year you will be expected to:

  • Consolidate skill-, subject- and conceptual-bases acquired over three years;
  •  Produce a body of artworks that demonstrate conceptual and technical coherence;
  •  Articulate the broad critical and contextual dimensions of your discipline;
  • Demonstrate knowledge of historical, contemporary and emerging practices relevant to your field of study;
  • Work for a sustained period towards a public exhibition and/or art history dissertation;
  • Select from a broad portfolio of Art History modules that engage with specialised, interdisciplinary and/or curatorial aspects of the subject;
  • Generate ideas independently or collaboratively in response to set assignments or self-initiated practice/research;
  • Develop a personal, individual and imaginative response your chosen topic;
  • Develop a professional profile or identity as an artist or art historian.

How will I be taught?

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. Our programme is delivered through workshops, tutorials, demonstrations, practicals, lectures, crits and field trips.

Assessment in Fine Art is by coursework (portfolio of paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and related research materials, exhibition, presentation) and in Art History (essays, exams, presentations, dissertation, curated exhibition from the museum collection).

You will be assigned a personal tutor to whom you may turn for guidance and help, academic-related or pastoral. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice. 

Student Testimonials

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 that Art History is so many courses rolled in to one. It is not just looking at art. It is about social and political history, social anthropology, studying different cultures and learning about how artists communicate their ideas and thoughts through their own mediums. It has helped me to get a much greater grasp of history in general and to understand how to enjoy looking at art and comprehend its messages. Learning about art history has also taught me a lot about how to research and the importance of maintaining and appreciating our shared cultural heritage. Amy Barson

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 104

A Levels BBB-BCC to include B in Art or related subject, plus satisfactory portfolio

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:
DDM-DMM, plus satisfactory portfolio

International Baccalaureate:
30-28, plus satisfactory portfolio

European Baccalaureate:
75%-65% overall, plus satisfactory portfolio

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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