School of Arts and Cultures

Course Structure

Course Structure

Stage 1

Our first year studio-based modules introduce you to a range of methods and working strategies.

In Stage 1 you'll initiate and develop ideas. You'll speculate, research and experiment with a variety of approaches to making work.

Studio work

Semester 1: Studio Practice 1

You'll do four directed projects in painting, printmaking, performance and sculpture.

You'll have additional week-long workshops in variety of technical and conceptual approaches to making work. You can choose from workshops including digital media, time-based, installation and drawing.

Semester 2: Studio Practice 2

You'll do one project in drawing/duration. This focuses on elements of drawing, film and time-based work. The rest of the semester is self-directed.

The Semester 2 art history course is 'Preliminary Studies in Art History'. It gives an introduction to a variety of perspectives on key areas within the history of art. 

The balance between practical studio work and art history is set at 80:40 credits. For further information on modules, teaching methods and assessment, please see our degree description.

Resources, visits and guidance

In LifeWorkArt course, in Semester 1, we arrange visits to galleries, studios and art centres in the region. 

You can take part in exhibitions and international study visits.

We run a weekly programme of research lectures and seminars. These feature some of the most interesting and original artists, critics, curators, historians and art professionals working today.

You'll have academic guidance through:

  • individual and group tutorials
  • workshops
  • seminars 
  • studio ‘crits’

Stage 2

Find out about Stage 2.

Stage 2

In Stage 2 you take a studio-based practice module of 40 credits in each semester. The modules are designed to continue to develop your skills and ideas.

The modules give you a framework to combine:

  • specialist studio-based practice
  • complementary practice strands (ie video, web-based art, collaborative practice) 
  • art history modules

Studio work

In Stage 2 you'll develop your ability to work independently. You'll learn to make informed decisions about appropriate working methods, materials and technical skills.

We'll introduce aspects of critical thinking. You'll be asked to contextualise your practice in relation to the contemporary art world.

You can specialise in a particular studio discipline at this point. Or you can continue to explore possibilities and combine several ways of working.

Resources, visits and guidance

You'll have tutorial support related to your working methods. 

You can discuss your work with other departmental staff through the 'open surgery’ system.

You'll be able to select one complementary practice strand in each semester. These strands equip you with an additional technical, conceptual and theoretical understanding. 

The strands are taught across the studio disciplines. This lets you extend your range of technical skills and media-related issues.

Art history

In art history you choose one module per semester from the three/four on offer. You can choose specialist subjects, for example, Art in the Public Context, Art and Revolution or Exhibiting Art. 

Teaching is by lectures and seminars. You'll present seminar papers and join discussions.

Stage 3

Find out about Stage 3.

Stage 3

In Stage 3 you'll do sustained, intensive studio practice. There's an emphasis on individual research and inquiry.

You'll work on your particular interests and concerns in some depth. The work you'll produce will form a bridge to study in Stage 4.

Studio work

In Stage 2 you'll have defined more clearly the appropriate working methods for your ideas.

You can also choose to continue to work across studio disciplines. 

Resources, visits and guidance

You'll be assigned a studio tutor. You'll also be able to get advice and help through our 'open surgery' system.

You receive a varied programme of individual and group tutorials

In cross-year and cross-discipline crits you will discuss your aims and intentions. You'll develop the ability to subject your own practice to rigorous criticism.

Third year students can determine the balance between studio work and art history.

In the LifeWorkArt course, you'll develop project management. You'll organise group projects outside the University.

Art history dissertation

You'll start to develop your art history dissertation. You'll come up with your dissertation subject by talking with art history staff. 

The dissertation is a piece of sustained writing based on inquiry and research.

You'll be assigned a dissertation tutor. Wherever possible, this will be someone whose expertise is appropriate to your dissertation topic. 

You'll have tutorial discussions throughout the planning and writing of the dissertation. These help you to organise and structure your study.

Stage 4

Find out about Stage 4.

Stage 4

In Stage 4 you can concentrate solely on studio work. Or you can combine studio work with modules from Art History, LifeWorkArt or Intensive Career Development.

The main aim of your final year is to build on your studio inquiry of Stage 3. 

Studio work

You will do a self-initiated programme of studio work. 

This will lead towards a sustained body of work for the Degree Show. This exhibition will be open to the public.

We run studio-specific and cross-studio tutorial teaching. This includes a weekly ‘fourth year forum’. Students present work and ideas for discussion with the rest of their year group and tutors.

Resources, visits and guidance

During the final year you attend the weekly visitor lectures. You should have at least one tutorial with a visitor.

You will have several timetabled tutorials with your final year supervisor during the year. Tutorials with other members of fine art staff are available on an ‘open surgery’ basis.

The career development module lets you do work-related learning. You can so this in a variety of different contexts, both on and off the University campus.

Art history

The LifeWorkArt module will build on what you've learned so far in your degree.

An annual LifeWorkArt Conference is organised by students. It's run in collaboration with the three other fine art departments in the region.