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Applying for the BA in Fine Art

Discover everything you need to know about applying for our Fine Art BA course.

Your guide from application to interview

Learn more about the application process, what we look for in applicants, and how to submit your work.

In this guide we'll go through:

  • writing your personal statement
  • a guide to submitting your portfolio and what to expect during the interview
  • a tour of our Fine Art studios and workshops with current students
  • an interview with one of our recent graduates, Joy Labinjo
  • examples of student work
  • how to find out more about the University and our Student Services

Writing your personal statement

Our top tips for writing your Fine Art BA personal statement:

  1. Connect your statement to the work in your portfolio
  2. Use straightforward and clear language
  3. Make a list of the points you want to make, then expand on them
  4. Don’t worry about word length at first

What happens next

Once we receive your application, we will email you to ask you to upload a digital portfolio to the Apply to Newcastle portal. This, along with your application, is how we decide if we wish to invite you to an interview. Our inspection of your work is a very important part of the selection process.

Find out more about this in the Submitting your portfolio section below

If you are successful at the portfolio stage, we will invite you for interview. You can choose to have either an in person or an online interview.

If it is an in person interview you will need to bring a physical portfolio with you.

If you are unsuccessful, we will notify you via UCAS.

Your portfolio



The portfolio should include coursework of any format, but also – very importantly – work you have initiated yourself.

We are looking for work that demonstrates:

  • creativity, enthusiasm, commitment and excitement about making art
  • ability to study through looking – e.g. drawings or paintings made from observation
  • sustained development and exploration of ideas or themes using different approaches and media

What we look for

We are not just looking for ‘finished’ work. We are interested in seeing where your ideas come from and how they develop.

We expect to see:

  • work in progress
  • notebooks
  • sketchbooks
  • working drawings
  • more resolved drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos
  • details of work eg close ups of sections of paintings
  • work from non 'fine art' parts of your programme: eg design, photography, fashion, media
  • work from outside of your studies: eg any extra classes/workshops you have done, work you do on your own, a video you might have for a band, stage design for a theatre company etc
  • we will look at video and listen to sound work either sent as files or as links to Vimeo etc

Don’t worry too much about making your portfolio look ‘professional’. We are only interested in the work and seeing what you are interested in. For example, a simple label beneath each work with the title, medium (i.e. ‘page from sketchbook’, ‘acrylic painting’, ‘screenprint’) and dimensions is enough.

Your portfolio should include 30-50 images of work and can include links to video. It must be saved as a PDF and uploaded to the Apply to Newcastle Portal.

Submitting your portfolio

When to submit your portfolio

You should aim to submit your portfolio in January before the UCAS deadline of 31 January. 

It is also possible to submit later but you may have to wait longer for a decision.  However, after 1 March, we will consider rejecting your application if you have not uploaded a portfolio.

If you anticipate submitting a portfolio after 1 March, you need to let us know by emailing

How to submit your portfolio

Once you have created your portfolio, ideally as a PowerPoint presentation, you must save it as one PDF file. You should then upload it to the  Apply to Newcastle Portal. Please do not upload individual images to the Portal.

The PDF should be no larger than 30MB. Please download our Portfolio Size Reduction Guide (PDF: 0.8MB) to find out how to manage the file size of images in your portfolio.

Step 1. Register to access the Apply to Newcastle Portal
Step 2. Click on Upload Documents next to your application to W150 Fine Art BA Honours
Step 3. Click Upload Document
Step 4. In the Document type drop down menu, choose Portfolio. Your course should automatically populate, but if you are applying to more than one degree, please choose the Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Fine Art in the Your course (Choice) drop down menu
Step 5. Click Choose Files and attach your file
Step 6. Click Save & Close

Your portfolio will display in the Documents Uploaded section. You can view the document by clicking View. Please note the Portfolio will take 15 minutes to disappear from the Documents Required section. Your status will then change to Awaiting Decision.

Late applications (received after 31 January 2024)

We will consider late applications for this degree programme. We will email you when we receive your application. We would expect you to upload your portfolio within two weeks of receiving the email.


If you are successful at the portfolio stage we will email to invite you to interview.

You can choose to have either an in person or an online interview. If it is an in person interview you will need to bring a physical portfolio with you.

These are usually held in the Art School and include a tour of the department, but they may be online.

You will be able to choose your interview slot from a range of dates and times. 

The majority of interviews take place by the end of March, but we do add additional later interviews, if necessary. If for any reason you’re not able to make any of the dates offered, please email us at so we can make alternative arrangements.

You can send us additional work made after you first sent us your portfolio. You can email us an additional PDF of images, an updated PDF of your portfolio to the Apply to Newcastle Portal, or you can send us an updated PDF of your portfolio.

If you have been inspired by recent visits to galleries or exhibitions you may wish to include material that will prompt discussion.

What to expect in your interview

  • the interview lasts around 20 to 30 minutes
  • you’ll be interviewed by two members of staff and a current student
  • if your interview is on campus, you’ll be taken on a tour of the department by the student on the interview panel. If it is online, you'll be able to watch a video of a student-led tour
  • it’s a chance for you to discuss your work and interests with us
  • we are interested in finding out about your previous learning experience, your interests, and the work you have brought to show us
  • we may ask you to talk about particular pieces of work or a project which has been very important to you
  • we are keen to find out if you are likely to benefit from the course, and whether we offer the kind of environment in which you will thrive
  • you will have plenty of opportunities to ask questions about the course, department, University and the city
  • you’ll be able to talk with other current students, either in person or online, so you can decide whether this is the right course for you

If you have any questions about applying to Fine Art BA Honours please email us at

Fine Art tour

Join some of our BA Fine Art students on a tour of our fantastic facilities. In this video you'll find our more about:

  • The Hatton Gallery
  • student studios
  • social spaces, such as the student-lead Art Cafe
  • our wide range of on-campus casting, print, metal, and wood work facilities
  • our team of Technicians and how they can support the work you do

Career Development

Integrated with the studio practice and running throughout the four years of the degree, LifeWorkArt is our unique professional development programme. It develops your understanding of the art world beyond university and of working in different areas of the Creative Industries sector.

In this video our recent graduate, Joy Labinjo, talks about her journey since University

Find out more about LifeWorkArt, and the typical careers our Fine Art graduates go into

Examples of student work

You might be interested in watching this video slideshow of examples of work completed by our Fine Art BA students.

It includes:

  • painting
  • sculpture
  • drawing
  • installation
  • video


Student health and wellbeing is a priority in the department. You will have a designated Personal Tutor who will be a point of contact throughout your studies. Your Personal Tutor is there to offer advice, discuss any problems or difficulties that arise and signpost other support offered across the university. This includes support with:

Personal Tutors can also guide you through the process of applying for adjustments such as extensions for assignments when they are needed due to personal extenuating circumstances.

Visit the University's student wellbeing web page for further information