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Fine Art

BA (Hons)

School - School of Arts & Media

Subject area - Art and Design

UCAS Code: W100 BA/VA

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,820 per year

In Brief:

  • Study contemporary fine art on a course that enables you to specialise or move between any media of your choice with the teaching and guidance of experienced practitioners
  • Benefit from strong international links and exchange programmes throughout Europe
  • Develop your professional skills and practice in a new state of the art facility that boasts a large dedicated studio space, a printing workshop and editioning suite, a 3D workshop, a digital rapid protyping workshop and first class photography studios with the guidance and help of a dedicated team of instructor/demonstrators
  • Overall satisfaction with this course is 96% (University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS data)
  • Overseas study available
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This fine art course prepares the next generation of contemporary artists and creative thinkers for their professional practice. This ideas-led, practical course will enable you to explore your ideas through a range of media including painting, sculpture, fine and digital print, installation, performance,  fibre/textile,  film and video, animation, community engagement and social practice, sound art, book works or any hybrid practices forged by you personally and suited to your expressive needs. This is further supported by a critical and contextual framework that is tailored to your needs as a maker and  creative  practitioner.

The course is further enriched by embedded and co-curricular opportunities that includes real world professional experiences to support you to develop your individual practice through public exhibitions, site specific projects, live briefs, and gallery, museum and education placements. There are also opportunities to study in Europe via our well established Erasmus Exchange scheme.

Our graduates find employment in high profile arts and cultural activities both nationally and internationally and this course has a proven and enviable record of relevance and expertise in the formation of artists and cultural practitioners.

Course Details

The BA (Hons) Fine Art programme (formerly BA Hons Visual Arts) is a distinctive, contemporary, fine art course promoting an informed approach where theory integrates with practice. It is media independent, enabling you to specialise in any medium or move between and/or combine media of your choice.

You will have a unique experience of the course as you are encouraged to take responsibility and take ownership of your personal learning within a supportive environment.

Art is a philosophical and an aesthetic activity. All arts practice is strongly driven by the philosophical, cultural and social contexts. Artists engage with the world around them. Our students are informed and active citizens

Our graduates have proven their relevance and expertise in the arts; they are engaged in high profile arts activity nationally and internationally. Others populate artists' studios throughout the UK, as well as progress into teaching or arts administration.

Year 1

Year one aims to establish the groundwork for your creative practice. It introduces a range of methods and materials, making strategies and models of practice. It also provides a foundation of knowledge, skills and understanding, places individual arts practice within a broader social and cultural contexts and encourages you to explore individual paths of study.

This module will introduce you to a breadth of technical processes to explore and expand your developing studio practice. The module focuses on technical skills acquisition through instructional workshops which offer the opportunity to experiment and explore and  ignite interest in new areas of  investigation.
During this module you will begin to develop your own visual language within an emerging studio practice, through a greater understanding of the nature of fine art studio practice. It offers the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of your practice and extend your knowledge base of the expanded field of fine art.
This module introduces you to key intellectual movements (such as Classical Culture, Christianity, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Post-Colonialism) and scholarly personalities (such as Plato, Aquinas, Darwin, Freud and Marx) that have shaped the cultural history we have inherited and which have created the context for the making, understanding and appreciation of art.
This module will further develop your techniques and processes to explore and expand your developing and burgeoning studio practice. The module focuses on technical skills acquisition through instructional workshops which offer additional skills to help support your making and creativity.
During this module you will further develop and build your own studio practice and be offered the opportunity to exhibit work in a professional public setting.
This module explores the histories of contemporary art works and traces their lineage through the experimental practice of Modernism and Post-Modernism.

Year 2

Year Two allows you to take ownership of your learning and prepare for independent study. You are encouraged to contextualise your studio practice and gain a better understanding of the social, cultural, economic and political contexts in which you work. There are opportunities to explore Live Briefs  and professional opportunities in exhibitions, site specific projects, or gallery, museum and education placements. There are also further opportunities to study in Europe via the Erasmus Exchange scheme.

The purpose of this module is to develop a self-directed studio practice of individual relevance.  You will address and explore how to inscribe   meaning in your work and how to communicate with an audience.
This module will provide you with the opportunity to research and prepare for a life experience a Live Brief in a ‘real world’ situation that offers a professional development opportunity, whilst critically examining the ways in which visual arts practice is affected by notions of professionalism and allied contextual frameworks.
The module aims to introduce some key methods of visual analysis:  semiotics, iconography/iconology, gender, Marxism, non-European aesthetic systems. This module also offers an introduction to key interpretive tools to examine art works/cultural products and contextualise them within broader fields of enquiry.
This module will further develop a focused self-directed studio practice of individual relevance resulting in the production of a body of studio work through appropriate media and discipline areas, underpinned by an ongoing visual research project.
This module will provide you with the opportunity to engage in a Live Brief in a ‘real world’ situation that offers a professional development opportunity, whilst critically examining the ways in which visual arts practice is affected by notions of professionalism and allied contextual frameworks.
This module offers an opportunity to explore a debate within the visual arts of personal and individual relevance.

Year 3

Year Three aims to develop an individual, reflective and informed approach to fine art through the establishment of personal practice that enables you to take charge of the direction of your own learning.

The overriding emphasis of Year Three is on self-direction and maturing a personal practice which will be sustainable beyond graduation. It prepares students for professional life. You will be equipped with the skills to present yourself and your work face-to-face, in print portfolios and through the formation of a digital identity and online presence.

This module offers you the opportunity to pursue an extended programme of individual study enabling you to synthesise your previous learning and to continue to explore and experiment to forge a new body of work that displays a growing maturity.
The purpose of this module is to provide a synthesis of all your previous learning and to offer an opportunity to bring your studio work to a point of professional resolution/consolidation prior to your first major showcase to the general public and creative industries in the Degree Show.
This module offers a programme of research, reflection, structured learning and writing that helps you develop and understand the critical and contextual framework that underpins your practice, and articulate more effectively the relationship between theory and practice.
This module prepares students for life after art school and supports the development of a professional development plan, a hard copy portfolio, a digital portfolio, CV, interview skills and enables you to successfully present your work professionally.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Foundation Diploma in Art and Design Pass = 165 (plus other additional qualifications to a total of 280pts)
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English and Maths GCSE grade C
UCAS tariff points 96 - 112 points, including an art and design subject
GCE A level Grade C or above in an Art & Design subject
BTEC National Diploma MMM
BTEC Higher National Diploma Applicants may be considered for entry into year 2
Foundation Degree Applicants may be considered for entry into year 3
Scottish Highers 96 -112 points in a practice based Art & Design subject
Irish Leaving Certificate 96 -112 points in a practice based Art & Design subject
International Baccalaureate 29 points including a practice based Art & Design subject

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

Applicant profile

Applicants must display a high level of commitment to art and design. You need good academic drawing and observational skills, plus the ability to think creatively. Applications are welcomed from those studying at AS level and AVCE. We encourage applications from mature students with relevant experience  who may not satisfy the normal entry requirements. All applicants are offered an interview.

Portfolio Advice

To give you a very simple list, the skills we look for are:

  • Enquiry and use of sources  
  • Creativity  
  • Technical skills  
  • Knowledge and understanding of materials and issues  
  • Analytical ability  
  • Critical thinking  
  • At interview we consider personality, portfolio and examples of written work. We also take note of what is disclosed in your reference. Generally though, there are three essential ingredients to the perfect Fine Art student; enthusiasm, commitment and intellectual curiosity.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Full-time International £14,820 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs

Students should expect to spend approximately £150 on materials for live projects and up to £350 for optional visits and field trips should they wish to participate. Costs are approximated based on the current academic year.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


There is a variety of methods and approaches involved in the delivery of this course.

Modules are designed to facilitate personal development and continuity. They promote a broad understanding of fine art practice by introducing a diverse range of issues, concepts and approaches. Some modules involve a project, which provides the framework to investigate ideas and issues, utilising an appropriate selection of materials, media and working methods.

External projects offer an opportunity to participate in a professional ‘real world’ setting outside of the studio environment. The concept of the external project is introduced in year 2. All modules involve self-directed/student-driven study.

Lectures are used to disseminate a specific body of knowledge. Ideas and issues generated by lectures are elaborated in supporting seminars and/or studio practice.

Seminars are a forum for the discussion and debate of ideas. It may be initiated and led by staff or may be focused around a student presentation.

Teaching workshops are used as a means of teaching the specific skills associated with a particular technique or working method, allowing subjects such as stretcher-making and printmaking to be taught within a broadly-based, thematic module.

Critique (crit) sessions are to encourage the examination of work in relation to your peers.

Regular individual tutorials allow for a more detailed discussion of work-related issues. They can be either one-to-one or delivered in the form of a group tutorial.

A wide variety of assessment methods are used. For example, studio-based project modules may require the assessment of visual, verbal and written work and on independent artwork whereas theoretical modules will require a written submission.


The weighting between practical and written work assessment across the course is:

  • Practical studio work 60%
  • Contextual and written work 40%


Graduates have gone on to pursue careers as artists, lecturers, teachers, arts officers, curators, gallery education officers, art therapists, university/college instructors and demonstrators, and gallerists. Our students are self-motivated self-starters and many have gone on to forge their own businesses and enterprises in a variety of fields. Not all our graduates go on to pursue a career as an artist, though many will pursue careers in the arts.

The Visual Arts course encourages an approach to learning that emphasises resourcefulness, initiative and creativity – transferable skills that enable our graduates to thrive in whatever career path they choose. An art school offers an educative experience like no other and an artist requires self-discipline, project management skills and an ability to work with others. All these skills are developed here at Salford during the course of study. An art education also offers a culturally enriching experience and a portal which can lead to a myriad of other interests.

In recent years our graduates have achieved notable successes in major galleries and museums regionally, nationally and internationally including: The National Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa),  Institut d'Art Contemporain (Lyons, France), Irish Museum of Contemporary Art (Dublin), The British Art Show, Liverpool Biennial, Curwen Gallery (London), Cornerhouse (Manchester), the Bluecoat Gallery (Liverpool) and many more.

Career Prospects

Alumni Profile

Sarah Hardacre

Sarah Hardacre graduated in 2008 and has recently exhibited her latest work ‘The Vanity of Small Differences’ at the Paul Stolper Gallery in London.  Her first solo exhibition at the contemporary gallery, ‘Heaven with the Gates Off’ opened in May 2012.  Sarah has exhibited nationally and internationally in the USA, Germany, Norway and Ireland. Her work is included in the collections of The British Museum, the British Council, the Irish Museum of Contemporary Art, Damien Hirst and private collections worldwide.  

Laura Robertson

Since completing her studies in 2008, Laura Robertson has worked as an artist curator at The Royal Standard, an artist led space in Liverpool.  She was instrumental in the growing reputation of The Royal Standard which led to it becoming a partner of the Liverpool Biennial in 2012.  She has curated major exhibitions and participated in an event with Tate Modern and has also since founded an online arts magazine, The Double Negative, which has a growing reputation and has been featured on BBC Radio and The Guardian.

Links with Industry

This course thrives on inviting artists and arts professionals to deliver presentations to our undergraduate and postgraduate students. Most recently this has included:  Rachel Maclean, Liam Young, Hannah Farrell, Sarah Hardacre and Alan Birch

Further Study

MA Art and Design: Contemporary Fine Art


The course has access to a number of industry standard facilities on site, allowing you to expand on your artistic skills whilst studying here at Salford. All students will receive full inductions by trained workshop technicians, including how to use the machinery safely.

  • Print Workshop, to support printmaking and how to incorporate print practice and strategies into your own work. Including: Mono-print, dry-point, etching, screen-print, photo-silkscreen, cyanotype, bookworks etc.
  • 3D Workshop for those interested in mixed media pieces or sculpture.
  • Photography Studio, industry standard photographic studio and infinity room, darkrooms and digital printing facilities.
  • Digital Rapid Prototyping Workshop, which includes 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutting, mould-making etc.

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