Image representing Fine Art Practice

Fine Art Practice - FdA

UCAS code W104


Planning to start this September? We may still have full-time vacancies available for this course. View 2019 course details.

This two-year programme will prepare you for involvement in the dynamic cultural sector. Designed and taught by practicing contemporary artists, the programme has developed many links with galleries, artists and museums in the south east of England to give you a real advantage when embarking on a career in the arts. This qualification is taught at West Kent College's University Centre in Tonbridge and is awarded and quality assured by the University of Kent.


The programme embraces the rich history of the subject and the vibrancy of current debates to allow you to develop a unique creative identity relevant to contemporary practice. 

The qualification is at level 5 of the UK qualification framework and is equivalent to the first two years of a degree programme.

The majority of students progress to the College's BA (Hons) Top-Up Degree in Fine Art to convert the Foundation Degree to a full undergraduate honours degree. This can be achieved with a further year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. Thereafter, students may progress to postgraduate study, such as a Masters degree. A number of graduates progress to relevant employment, with some going on to become practicing artists, lecturers, teachers, gallerists, gallery assistants, arts administrators, art technicians and curators.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

Stage 1

Compulsory Modules

  • HA356 - 2-D Processes - (20 credits)
  • HA357 - 3-D processes - (20 credits)
  • HA358 - Research and references (20 credits)
  • HA359 - Making and Meaning (40 credits)
  • HA360 - WBL Professional Engagement (20 credits)

Stage 2

Compulsory Modules

  • HA672 - WBL Site Referenced Exhibition (30 credits)
  • HA673 - Developing Fine Art Practice (30 credits)
  • HA674 - Critical Studies (20 credits)
  • HA675 - WBL Summative Exhibition (40 credits)

Teaching and assessment

The programme builds skills and confidence through live engagement with professional exhibiting and presenting work to an audience. The curriculum covers a blend of practical, theoretical and vocational subjects with many transferable skills that will improve your employability. 

Teaching is geared towards identifying and developing your individual art practice. One-to-one studio tutorials are central to this experience and you will have access to at least one tutorial of 15-30 minutes each week. Each term of the programme also features demonstrations of skills, workshop sessions, practical seminars, art history lectures and talks by visiting professional artists. You will be assessed by the continuous assessment of coursework throughout the year. Practical coursework will be assessed either as a portfolio of work or exhibition. Contextual studies will be assessed by essays and verbal presentations. Work-based learning will be assessed by a blend of reflective essays, verbal presentations and presenting work for exhibition in a live, professional context.

The teaching staff consists of practicing artists with national and international exhibiting reputations. They also have wide experience of teaching fine art on other programmes at prestigious universities. You will be allocated a personal work space within a dedicated fine art studio. There are excellent facilities for 3-D, printmaking, photography and digital media. he programme has an excellent ratio of staff to students which will ensure that you receive significant weekly contact with teaching staff in the form of tutorials, seminars, lectures and demonstrations.

The delivery of the programme is flexible to allow you to build your studies around employment and personal responsibilities. All teaching material is available online through virtual learning resources. The second year focuses on exhibiting work and you will have the opportunity to exhibit your work in a professional context in a museum and gallery. You also have the opportunity to explore in greater depth the vocational possibilities associated with fine art practice.

The programme typically involves an average of 12 timetabled hours over two days per week for the duration of each 30 week academic year. You will also be required to devote time to self-directed study outside of timetabled hours; this will vary according to assessment deadlines and modules ongoing but on average you should expect this to account for 10-20 hours per week. The College’s studios, learning resource centre (LRC) and technicians are available throughout the week for self-directed study and you will be encouraged to make as much use of these resources as your time allows.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • Provide a high standard of higher education.
  • Provide a teaching and learning environment that will facilitate the confidence and skills necessary to engage with fine art practice.
  • Be focused on how the teaching and learning develops and builds the skills and attributes appertaining to the vocational possibilities associated with the subject.
  • Provide a teaching and learning experience that is inclusive to students from a range of backgrounds who would not normally be able to study this subject at HE level.
  • Provide a learning and teaching experience that allows students to use a practical engagement with material processes to build their critical, intellectual and professional skills.
  • Prepare students for progression to honours level or professional practice by facilitating a strong engagement with professional principles of fine art practice.
  • Provide a teaching and learning experience that is firmly located in the world of contemporary fine art practice, and encourage them to critically situate themselves within this milieu.
  • Provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable experiences, involve realistic workloads, are relevant and in line with the standards of the industry, allow students to experience first-hand what it is like to work in the industry and to offer support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds.
  • Enhance the students learning experience by offering specialist lectures and facilities.
  • Provide high quality teaching in a suitable environment with industrial equipment and appropriately qualified and trained staff.
  • To provide flexibility, knowledge and skills, plus a range of personal qualities and attitudes essential for successful performance in professional working life.
  • Continue to build on already strong industry contacts, partners and WBL providers to ensure a continued high standard of professional interaction and vocational relevance.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • A critical understanding of well-established principles in the field of fine art practice and the way in which those principles have developed
  • Ability to apply underlying concepts and principles of fine art practice outside of the context in which they were studied and apply them within the forum of professional practice
  • Use a range of techniques, processes and technologies appropriate to fine art practice to critically analyse and practically situate their art work
  • Understand the fine art practitioner’s relationship to a variety of audiences, both specialist and non-specialist
  • Engage with and develop practical skills that will enable a broader, critical engagement with fine art in a professional context
  • Reflect upon and engage with professional and personal development through an engagement with vocational possibilities associated with fine art practice
  • Show an enhanced confidence in dealing with practical and theoretical processes associated with fine art
  • Develop a contextual grasp of how fine art practice has developed and the relationship to contemporary practice

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • The building on knowledge and understanding, attributes and skills in effective ways in the contexts of creative practice, employment, further study, research and self-fulfilment.
  • Research and building on learning in different contextual frameworks and situations, both within and beyond the traditional fields of fine art practice. 
  • The investigation, analysis, interpretation, development and articulation of ideas and information through the use of visual languages. 

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • Confidence and ability to become increasingly independent in their study
  • Develop an independent and individualised response to concepts, skills and materials inherent to their practice
  • Start to position their developing practice in relationship to the professional realm and creative industries, including an understanding of various commercial and non-commercial outcomes of practice
  • Demonstrate a proficiency in using the process of open ended investigation to strengthen resolved outcomes
  • Begin to understand how the process of practically exploring concepts can enable an increasingly complex relationship towards areas of professional practice

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • Successful application in a workplace environment of the range of knowledge and skills learnt through the programme
  • Acquire competences and skills that will enable them to work within the creative industries 
  • Communicate information in both practical and theoretical contexts using subject specific terminology
  • Show independence of thought in setting and maintaining personal targets
  • Utilise practical skills and consider their application in other creative contexts
  • Information skills – the ability to use information technology in a variety of ways. The ability to source, navigate, select, retrieve, evaluate, manipulate and manage information from a variety of sources. And use emergent technologies to promote, publicise and make work
  • Management and problem solving skills, the ability to solve problems and to use information sources, deal with a combination of routine and non-routine tasks, to identify and solve routine and non-routine problems


The majority of students progress to the Colleges BA (Hons) Top-Up Degree in Fine Art to convert the Foundation Degree to a full undergraduate honours degree. This can be achieved with a year of full-time study or two years of part-time study. Thereafter, students may progress to postgraduate study, such as a Masters degree. A number of graduates progress to relevant employment, with some going on to become practicing artists, lecturers, teachers, gallerists, gallery assistants, arts administrators, art technicians and curators.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a minimum of 64 UCAS Tariff points from one of the following qualifications: 

- BTEC Extended Diploma in a relevant subject at grade MPP or above 
- Two A Levels at grades CC or above, including a relevant subject 
- BTEC Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Pass grade or above 
- An equivalent qualification in a relevant subject 

Although not a mandatory requirement for entry to the programme, students' aptitude for study at this level and their future employment prospects will benefit from holding GCSEs in English and Maths at grade C or above (or an equivalent level 2 qualification). 

Mature applicants (those aged 21 years or over at the start of the course) who do not hold one of these qualifications but who possess relevant experience or skills, and who can present a portfolio of work which demonstrates their creative potential, are welcomed and will be considered on an individual basis. 

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

A materials fee is payable for each year of the programme. This will contribute to the cost of: - maintaining and updating the department’s resources and equipment; - basic materials and equipment, including paper, charcoal, paint and pencils; and - venue hire for the final off-site module in the second year of the programme. This fee is currently set at £50 per year. You will also be required to participate in visits to Maidstone Museum and a gallery space and we advise you to budget approximately £50 to cover the cost of travel for these visits.

Contact West Kent college for more information about accommodation and living costs


For more information about funding, please see the West Kent College website.