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Course information

UCAS code

W190

Entry requirements

A-level:

Length

3 years full-time

Department

Art

Course overview

This degree aims to equip you with creative, interpretive, critical and analytical skills, so that you can participate in and contribute to the expanding field of contemporary art.

Why study BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll make and study contemporary art in a dynamic, critical and interdisciplinary environment
  • We'll equip you with the skills that will help you develop independent thought and confidence in your practice, as well as transferable skills suitable for employment in the creative industries
  • You'll have your own studio space from day one, and will have access to excellent facilities including specialist art practice areas
  • All staff on the programme are practising artists, curators and writers, here to respond to the work that you make and to help you understand how it contributes to, and challenges, the critical debates that exist in the study area and beyond
  • Since 1990, former Goldsmiths students have been nominated for the Turner Prize more than 30 times, and have won the prize on seven occasions.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Rachel Reupke (Home/EU applicants) or Lucy Clout (international applicants)

What you'll study

What you study

The programme has two elements:

Studio Practice (75% of the course)

You’ll have your own studio space from day one with access to excellent facilities and technical advice. Studios are not divided by year or discipline, so you will be studying alongside students from all stages of the programme working in a wide variety of media, including:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Constructed textiles
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Stitch
  • Fabric
  • Photography
  • Printed textiles
  • Video
  • Installation
  • Performance

Studio teaching is supported and complemented by workshop areas, which will introduce you to the techniques and skills relevant to the practical development of your work. 

You’ll have regular individual and group tutorials with your own tutor, with other tutors, and with visiting artists. You will also present your work for discussion with a larger group of students each term.

Critical Studies (25% of the course)

The lecture and seminar series in Year 1 offers a space for exploring and examining the historical and critical context in which art is made, seen and understood. The seminar options from which you can choose in Year 2 engage and extend your critical skills, enabling you to develop your ability to analyse, judge and write about contemporary art. Tutorials will guide your essay writing in Years 1 and 2, and will support the completion of your dissertation in Year 3.

All staff on the programme are practising artists, curators and writers, here to respond to the work that you make and to help you understand how it contributes to and challenges the critical debates that exist in the study area and beyond. We support your development and creativity and help you acquire independent learning skills. This approach requires you to be committed, to thrive on constructive criticism exchanged between staff and students, and to participate in discussing your own work and that of others.

Teaching style

This programme is taught through intensive studio and research art practice, tutorials and mixed-year studio practice presentations. You'll also attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. 

You'll be allocated a studio space that will be the focal point of your activities. Students from all three levels share the studio spaces, providing valuable peer support. You will determine the nature of your practice and, with guidance from the tutorial staff, be encouraged to work in any medium that you choose.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 9% scheduled learning, 91% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 9% scheduled learning, 91% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 6% scheduled learning, 94% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

Studio practice coursework is continuously assessed through individual tutorials and group seminars. This is complemented by studio presentations at Year 1, viva voce at Year 2, and a final exhibition at Year 3. Critical Studies is assessed through essays (Years 1 and 2) and a dissertation (Year 3).

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 92% coursework, 8% practical
  • Year 2 - 85% coursework, 15% practical
  • Year 3 - 100% coursework

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2016/17. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices.

Download the programme specification, for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements for this programme are usually:

  • Successful completion of three A-levels, International Baccalaureate or an equivalent qualification
  • PLUS successful completion of an Art and Design Foundation diploma
  • Portfolio of work

OR

Successful completion of a Foundation diploma, BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design (completed by the end of the academic year preceding entry).

Please note, students applying directly from A-Levels who have not completed an Art and Design Foundation or BTEC Extended Diploma in Art and Design will not be eligible for this programme.

Mature students without formal qualifications who have relevant experience are also welcomed.

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Selection process

After submitting your application you'll be asked to upload a portfolio online. If selected for interview, you'll be asked to bring along a portfolio of recent work and an essay. Find out more about the electronic portfolio requirements.

Fees & funding

Find out about our undergraduate tuition fees and funding opportunities.

Additional costs

Reading material is available digitally, however printed copies are available to purchase from the department at less than cost price.

We encourage you to make the most of the exhibitions and events in London and some modules include compulsory trips to free exhibitions as part of your studies. Sometimes we might suggest you also attend paid exhibitions or events, however these are optional and we encourage you to apply for funding from the Students' Union Academic Communities Fund.

As a joint honours student, access to, and support using, the Fine Art studio spaces and art practice areas is covered by your tuition fees. Some materials are available to purchase in the art practice areas, however you may also choose to purchase your own materials.

Facilities

Facilities

Our spectacular Ben Pimlott Building provides purpose-built teaching space on campus, including some of the art studios, lecture theatres, and digital media practice areas. The studios benefit from generous floor-to-ceiling windows. The department provides space for:

  • art studios
  • performance work
  • installations
  • temporary projects and exhibitions
  • a range of art practice areas

You also have access to College-wide facilities.

Studios

All students have their own studio space. This is a place in which to work, to meet and spend time with other students, and to have tutorials. It's also a base from which to organise your work in other parts of the college – such as the various art practice areas, the workshops, and the library – as well as your research visits to galleries and exhibitions in London.

The studios are occupied by students from all three years of the course. This arrangement maximises opportunities for conversation and exchange, and helps to encourage sharing of knowledge, interest and experience between students.

Student work

BA Fine Art degree show
BA Fine Art degree show
BA Fine Art degree show
BA Fine Art degree show
BA Fine Art degree show
BA Fine Art degree show
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Rosie Hastings artwork

Rosie Hastings

I hope to dismantle the mythologies of "straightening devices", pushing gender perception into a queerzone where masculinity is no longer anchored in the male body.

Read more

Careers

Skills

All our undergraduate programmes will give you the skills to develop independent thought and confidence in your practice. These skills will also be of use in other career paths you may wish to follow. You'll develop the following transferable skills:

  • critical and analytical skills
  • creative and practical skills
  • ability to express ideas clearly
  • IT skills

We provide you with a series of opportunities for specialist advice and further information to complement your studies and prepare you for professional life after graduation. Our students actively seek opportunities to exhibit their work beyond Goldsmiths through external networks while they are here. 

Careers

Many graduates have continued to be successful, practising artists long after graduating, winning major prizes and exhibiting around the world. The Turner Prize shortlist has consistently included at least one of our former undergraduates. Seven of the prize-winners have studied here: Grenville Davey, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gillian Wearing, Steve McQueen, Mark Wallinger and Laure Prouvost.

The interdisciplinary nature of the programme will enable you to work in a variety of fields (eg media, museums, education, the music business, and academia) and progress to a variety of careers, including:

  • practising artist
  • art historian
  • arts administrator
  • gallery curator
  • arts journalist
  • teacher
  • lecturer
  • writer
  • conservationist
  • designer

You can read more about potential career paths after graduation on our Department of Art careers pages. Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths

What our students say

Grace

"My work has developed so much as I've been allowed to pursue my own interests and ideas with good critical feedback from both tutors and students."

"I first found out about Goldsmiths when I was searching for well-regarded art degrees in the UK and there was certainly a lot of discussion about the BA course here. After coming to an open day, seeing the studios and learning about the very self-directed nature of their studio practice, I was certain the structure at Goldsmiths was perfect for me. I'm just coming to the end of my second year now, and I feel my work has developed so much as I've been allowed to pursue my own interests and ideas with good critical feedback from both tutors and students.

The atmosphere at Goldsmiths has also definitely helped my confidence as it's a very accepting place where you're encouraged to be yourself, even if it's a bit weird. Being a student ambassador has been equally beneficial and has allowed me to develop a lot of useful skills which I can actually apply to my career as an artist.

I hope to be able to carry on making art after I graduate, supporting myself with part-time or freelance jobs until I'm able to do an MA. I think the entrepreneurial spirit at Goldsmiths has really given me the best chance at succeeding in the art world, as well as the skills to do things by and for myself.

I'm currently organising an group exhibition around ideas of fiction and boundaries that will be held at Lewisham Arthouse. I was able to fund this project through a successful application to the Annual Fund at Goldsmiths. The show will include work from students in several different creative departments at the college."

Antony Gormley

“For me, art is not about objects of high monetary exchange – it’s about reasserting our first-hand experience in present time.”

Acclaimed sculptor Antony Gormley, recently knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours list for services to the arts, studied BA Fine Art at Goldsmiths in the late 1970s, and since then has enjoyed a career as one of Britain’s most critically acclaimed artists.

Antony is probably best known for his ‘Angel of the North’ sculpture (pictured), one of the most talked about pieces of public art ever produced. The figure – which is the height of four double decker buses – dominates the Gateshead landscape on which it stands, and typifies his preoccupation with encouraging us to reconsider the elemental world we live in. “The angel has three functions,” he explained. “Firstly a historic one to remind us that below this site coal miners worked in the dark for 200 years; secondly, to grasp hold of the future, expressing our transition from the industrial to the information age; and, lastly, to be a focus for our hopes and fears.” It has won numerous awards, and was named as one of the classic designs of the 20th century by the BBC.

In 1994 Antony was awarded the prestigious Turner Prize for his sculpture ‘Field for the British Isles’, which makes him one of seven Turner Prize winners who are former Goldsmiths students. Almost a quarter of those shortlisted for the award since it began have studied at Goldsmiths. 

Speaking about his work in a 2012 TED Talk, he explained that “art is not about objects of high monetary exchange – it’s about reasserting our first-hand experience in present time.” His pieces have been exhibited throughout the world, and he has participated in major group shows like the Venice Biennale. In addition to the ‘Angel of the North’, other permanent public works include ‘Another Place’ (Crosby Beach, England), ‘Inside Australia’ (Lake Ballard, Western Australia) and ‘Exposure’ (Lelystad, The Netherlands). 

Antony spoke to Radio 4 about his experience of studying at Goldsmiths: “The most important thing was the constitution of the course and what the tutors could provoke in the students – a kind of chemistry in every year. There was an understanding that the major energy, and the source from which you learned the most, was the energy of your fellow students. There was this absolute understanding that everybody there was absolutely compelled to keep going, and keep exploring, and keep actually articulating what they were exploring – either by showing it or talking about it. The whole thing was driven by the students.”

Jusna

"Studying Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths for three years was an excellent scaffold for my career."

"After my graduation in 2010, I completed an internship at the Department for Education as a Policy Advisor. This was an invaluable experience as I gained skills in analysing current regulations and legislations within education proposed by the government and making the required changes accordingly. I then went on to complete a postgraduate course in education and I am currently working at a comprehensive boys' secondary school in Barnet, as an art and design teacher.

Studying Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths for three years was an excellent scaffold for my career. My modules in history of art trained me in the critical skills and theoretical understanding required to adequately develop Key Stage 3, GCSE and A-level schemes of work; where students engage and analyse with ideas, images and artefacts from varied artists and cultures. Most importantly however, Goldsmiths has allowed me to develop my practice as an artist."

Image: one of Jusna's final year works

See more profiles for this programme