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Course details

Study options

Full-time: 3 years, Part-time: 6 years

UK/EU fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

International fee

£14,045 per year (2020/21)

UCAS points

112 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Markeaton Street and Britannia Mill, Derby Campus

If you do not achieve the typical entry points required, you may want to consider studying this course with foundation year.

View with foundation year optionView with foundation year option

Course description

Discover your artistic potential on a course at the forefront of contemporary fine art practice.

Join us to work with leading artists and educators in developing your creativity through experimentation with media, materials and ideas to emerge as a confident practising artist. You will develop your individual artistic practice in our outstanding modern studios, working within and across a wide range of artistic disciplines. Our tutors are highly respected and internationally renowned artists, researchers and educators who will inspire and enthuse you. We will equip you with the professional skills to fulfil your ambitions as a practising artist or to pursue careers in fields ranging from community arts to curation. 

Top20for Art**Guardian University Guide 2020
Interactive sculpture in Ilam Park

Watch our students create interactive sculptures in Ilam park near Ashbourne.

All students engage in creating conceptually challenging art that pushes the boundaries of personal expression.  What makes our programme unique is the emphasis we place on ‘making’ skills in developing a studio practice regardless of the discipline engaged in. A key strength of the programme is having an intake of 30 students per year in order to ensure we have a close-knit community of art students that can be fully supported. It is because of this close support that we have excellent retention, high numbers of good degrees, and positive student feedback.

We feature in the top 15 in The Guardian University Guide 2020 for art and have achieved over 90% satisfaction for 4 consecutive years. This is based on criteria such as students’ satisfaction with course content, teaching and feedback as well as the employment track record of our graduates. Our graduates are in work or further study within six months of completing this course (HESA 2016). 

A significant part of this course is spent in our modern studios where you explore your own individual ideas and experiment with different working methods, materials and processes. We provide you with your own dedicated and permanent studio space from which you will work throughout your time on the course.  

The wide-ranging facilities on offer encourage you to explore a variety of paths in your artistic practice – everything from painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and installation to sound, film and video, digital media and performance. You have access to resources such as our industry standard Apple Mac suite, a large printmaking studio, darkrooms, music studios, and workshops for large-scale projects involving plaster, ceramics, wood and metal.  

We offer an outstanding specialist Art and Design Library, a bureau for professional fine art printing, and a digital media equipment centre from which you can borrow industry-level video, film and photography equipment.

Visiting Professor Yan Wang gives a demonstration of Chinese portrait painting with BA Fine Art student Richard as a model

Visiting Professor Yan Wang gives a demonstration of Chinese portrait painting with BA Fine Art student Richard as a model.


All art and design courses are based at our Markeaton Street site where modern, purpose built studios and labs provide a modern creative space for our arts students. Markeaton Street encompasses Chandos Pole Street (home to our Fashion and Textiles courses) and Britannia Mill (home to Fine Arts). Students on any of our theatre related courses also get to study at Derby Theatre, and Dance students study at Deda.

Markeaton Street is a 15 minute walk from Kedleston Road, and is serviced by regular free site shuttle buses. 

Explore our facilities through our Virtual Tour:

Explore our Markeaton Street Virtual Tour

Explore our Britannia Mill Virtual Tour

Fine Art student Richard Lapthorn

The Fine Art Studios are a bustling creative environment. Each of us is given a space directly appropriate for our artistic needs. There are also workshops in everything from analogue photography to casting in bronze.

Richard Lapthorn
BA (Hons) Fine Art

What you will study

Year 1Year 1Year 2Year 2Year 3Year 3

Code: 4FA504

Introduction to Studio Practice

This module introduces you to the nature of the fine art studio – its culture, underpinning philosophies and work ethos. You will begin to learn these key ingredients of fine art practice through engagement with guided practical and exploratory studio-based activities. Emphasis will be placed on how to initiate creative practice from given starting points within an outlined workshop framework.

Media and materials will be explored as part of this process, both as investigations into deepening studio practice and as a set of discrete technical based workshops. You will be encouraged to reflect on your work and begin to understand how to draw on a wide variety of sources as a means of underpinning and extending this.

You will begin to look at others’ fine art practices as a means of informing the development of your ideas and studio work.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 4FA505

Experimentation and Curiosity

You will begin to clarify your emergent studio practice through self-initiated and self-directed research into areas of interest, both in terms of potential themes and concepts you wish to express, and practical ways and means of doing this. You will use this module to test out workshop media, process explorations undertaken in the Introduction to Studio Practice module, by applying these to areas of developing practice.

Reflection on your own and others’ work will continue to develop, with the placing of your practice in wider historical, social and artistic contexts.

By the end of the module you should have the beginnings of a coherently developing practice within an area that potentially forms the basis for future developments.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 4FA506

Extended Contexts

In this module, you will be introduced to mixed / multi-media and site-specific practices within the field of contemporary fine art, which begin to explore varying methods of working within differing contexts. As part of this, the potential for group work will be explored.

You will be required to make a personally initiated exploration of given areas from technical, theoretical, contextual, conceptual and creative perspectives. Extending your choice of areas of media development and how work is sited will challenge you to broaden and deepen your ongoing studio practice.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 4FA507

Contextualising Practice

In this module, you will begin to learn how to locate contemporary fine art practice-based course material. This will primarily be through looking to external sources and documenting this in notebooks/sketchbooks.

Tutors will guide this sourcing and the research will be underpinned through class-based delivery of art theory. This is designed to enable an awareness of contemporary fine art practices and consider your own emergent practice in relation to this. Notation of primary and secondary source material in notebooks/sketchbooks will move toward more critical articulation through a piece of writing.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5FA504

Locating Practice

Drawing on studio work articulated at the conclusion of Level 4 you will develop your visual language and develop your practice to begin building a personal creative voice.

You will identify the beginnings of a clearly expressed critical framework establishing your area of studio practice within the broad field of contemporary fine art. There will be further investigation and experimentation in your chosen area of media development as a means of developing technical and conceptual aspects. An ability to self-initiate, source appropriate materials and technical approaches is essential to this module.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5FA505

Staging: Engaging Audience

This module will deepen work outlined in the Locating Practice module, into a clearly articulated and coherent whole. There will be a development of a body of work that shows clear analysis of areas of concern and synthesis into a visual language, through exploration of appropriate forms – allied to ongoing risk-taking. Through a refinement of your personal self-critical voice, you will develop the ability to identify areas of weakness and find strategies for overcoming them.

There will be a sense of resolution in the work that forms the basis for refinements to come at Level 6. There will be a further investigation and experimentation in your chosen area of media development as a means of reinforcing technical and conceptual aspects. A deepening consideration of appropriate tactics of exhibition and installation of own work will be essential.

More information
40 Credits

Code: 5FA506

External Professional Contexts

This module will challenge you to continue the development of your studio practice within an external professional context. The focus will be on a choice of media, methods and materials which will help extend your ongoing practice, in relation to an external context.

You will be encouraged to consider the imaginative possibilities of working in and from the landscape, gallery, museum or other site-specific location. You will be encouraged to develop your notions of site-specificity and appropriate working practices relating to collaborations with host institutions as part of your developing practice.

Additionally, this module will provide you with the opportunity to relate your academic knowledge and vocational skills to the professional work environment.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 5FA507

Practising Theory

Stemming out of studio practice, and through sourcing external references you will locate your developing studio practice within current contemporary fine art practices. This will build on methodologies engaged in at Level 4 where notebook/sketchbook work will be the primary resource into which source material, reflections and critical analyses will be formulated.

Class-based sessions will continue to underpin the theoretical dimension of the study. Critical reflection and a coherent piece of writing will be synthesised from the ongoing reflections in notebooks/sketchbooks.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6FA504

Resolution and Synthesis

You will initiate, develop and resolve a sustained studio-based practice of clear personal inquiry. You will demonstrate a critically clear intention as to the direction of the work, with ongoing refinement of a deepening conceptualisation and sophisticated use of media, materials and processes, with clarity of the connections between these. You will demonstrate your development of aesthetic awareness and critical appreciation of the work of others in relation to own practice to a high degree.

In the second half of the module you will synthesize elements in the resolution of a body of work that clearly articulates your personal practice at a professional level. This work will provide the positioning for future potential developments and demonstrate high levels of sustained independent practice involving initiative, confidence, critical analysis, self-organization and risk-taking. Your practice will be clearly sited within a theoretical framework, refining further skills of analysis, evaluation and problem solving, conceptual thinking and technical ability. The outcome of this synthesis will be presented to professional standard in a final exhibition.

More information
80 Credits

Code: 6FA505

Professional Practice

This module stems out of professional development work undertaken through ongoing studio practice modules at Levels 4 and 5 in respect of vocational training for the professional fine artist, including the examination of the place of the artist and the artwork in modern mediated culture.

You will develop a working knowledge of the presentation skills needed to negotiate a place for individual work in wider contexts. You will gain an understanding of means of presenting own work professionally in a public context with regards to applications for projects to be considered within the creative industries.

You will be encouraged to make informed and critical judgements of individual skills in relation to self-promotion within contemporary Visual Art practice and personal career aspirations. Instruction will be given into tactics of self-promotion: CVs, artist’s statements, professional visual reproduction of studio work and letters of application.

More information
20 Credits

Code: 6FA506

Critical Enquiry

This module requires you to undertake a critical inquiry into your practice as an emerging artist. You will investigate key aspects of your work in relation to the wider field of international contemporary and/or historical art. By situating your own practice alongside those of artists who share similar preoccupations, and within the critical discourses in which such work has been interpreted and evaluated, you will be better placed to identify and articulate what is original and distinct about your own.

You are expected to engage critically with the ideas of acknowledged cultural authorities – artists, critics, curators, theorists, historians, philosophers, and so on – in order to explain, justify and critique the aims and methods of your art practice.

Your inquiry will expand your knowledge of art history, criticism and theory, and help you develop the language and skills needed to locate and explain your practice in the professional art world. In running alongside your level 6 studio-based modules, ideas prompted by your inquiry will be able to feed back into the development of your studio practice, enhancing its quality by deepening your awareness of the discursive field in which you are active. Assessment is by two coursework assignments: an oral presentation and a formal written study.

More information
20 Credits

Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.

Side-on black and white portrait of a young student looking to the sky for inspiration with bokeh lights

Open Days

Register your interest for a future Open Day and we'll be in touch as soon as we are able to welcome you on campus.

Register nowRegister now

How you will learn

A student working on artwork in the fine art studio at Britannia Mill

Fine Art studios

As a Fine Art student, you will have a permanent base within the recently refurbished Fine Art studios at the historic Britannia Mill site.

Take a look aroundTake a look around

Degree Show

Every year students from the School of Arts celebrate their time at University by showcasing their work at an end of year Degree Show at Markeaton Street and across the City of Derby. The Show usually runs throughout June and is a fantastic opportunity for potential employers, friends, family, industry and members of the public to see exciting creations by the next generation of artists, designers, creators and makers from Derby. The Show takes the form of:

Take a look at highlights from the 2019 Degree Show.

Art from Degree Show

Personal academic tutoring

Your personal academic tutor will work with you to help you get the most out of your time at university. Having someone to talk to about your academic progress, your university experience and your professional aspirations is hugely valuable. We want you to feel challenged in your studies, stretched but confident to achieve your academic and professional goals.

Find out more about personal academic tutoring

Who will teach you

Craig Fisher
Programme leader

Craig Fisher is Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Fine Art. He is a practicing artist whose current research is concerned with exploring the pictorial, sculptural and ‘site specific’ boundaries of art practice.

View full staff profileView full staff profile

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points112 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-level

No specific subject requirements

Specific requirements at GCSEGCSE Maths and English Grade C/Grade 4 (or above) or equivalent qualification
IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionYes - see interview details

Alternative entry qualifications:

We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.

Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.

Two students sitting in front of a laptop smiling

Academic Achievement Scholarship

We’re offering eligible students a £1,000 scholarship to celebrate your hard work and success.

Learn more about the Academic Achievement ScholarshipLearn more about the Academic Achievement Scholarship

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*

£1,155 per module*


£14,045 per year


* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK/EU students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for EU students post-Brexit

International students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University

Guidance for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree


We will nurture your artistic and creative independence, ensuring that you graduate as a self-motivated, resourceful and versatile fine art practitioner. Many of our students go on to become long-term practising artists – undertaking residencies, opening studios, exhibiting nationally and internationally, and lecturing.  

The skills you develop will be valuable across the creative economy so – apart from furthering your development as a practising artist – you could progress to careers in areas such as curatorship, art therapy, community arts or teaching. 

If you would like to set up your own creative business, look no further than our incubation unit – Banks Mill – which offers studio workspace and business development activities. You’ll become part of a vibrant and thriving community of artists, designers and makers. 

Our graduates also regularly choose to advance their knowledge on Masters programmes nationally and internationally, including the MA Fine Art at Derby.  

Fine Artist Paul Cummins is a University of Derby graduate who has gone on to curate one of the most memorable WWI exhibitions, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.

Contact us

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Additional costs and optional extras

We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.

Included in your fees

Mandatory costs not included in your fees


Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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