Foundation Degree in Fine Art Practice (FdA)

    Full time
    2 Years
    University of Kent at Canterbury
This exciting two-year programme will prepare you for involvement in the dynamic cultural sector.

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 transferrable skills that will improve your employability.

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.

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 awarded and quality assured by the University of Kent. It is at level 5 of the UK qualification framework and is equivalent to the first two years of a degree programme.


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 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.

Practical skills:

The programme will encourage you to use practical skills to develop a personal fine art language.

• Painting using oils and acrylics: you will be encouraged to develop skills to engage with contemporary issues
• 3-D skills, including lost wax, glass, plaster, clay and other installation techniques
• Drawing in a variety of media
• Printmaking, including etching, lino print, monoprint and screen printing
• Photography: an induction into digital SLR and applications of skills for fine art practice and the documenting of work
• Digital imaging: you will develop a basic skill set in Adobe Photoshop and apply it towards fine art practice

Professional and vocational experience:

The experience gained here will give you an essential advantage for professional practice and employment.

• Exhibiting work in a professional gallery context
• Exhibiting within a site-specific museum context
• Working with a client such as curator or gallerist
• Promoting work to a client or audience
• Maintaining a professional practice, including pricing, logistics and studio management
• Curatorial and organisational skills

Transferable skills:

The curriculum draws attention to the transferrable skills within the modules and will enable you to develop these fully.

• Engage in problem solving
• Reflection on learning to improve performance and self-management
• Use of information technology in a variety of contexts
• Develop entrepreneurial skills in promoting professional practice
• Understand how practical skills can be applied vocationally

Communication skills:

You will develop confidence in talking and discussing art and art work in a variety of contexts.

• Verbal presentation: deliver information to a variety of audiences in different contexts
• Academic writing skills: referencing; using research; structuring a question; and analytical skills
• Essay writing skills: correct use of grammar and punctuation; assembling independent research; and structuring and organising material
• Discussion skills: talk about art and art work in a variety of contexts such as tutorials, seminars and asking relevant questions

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.

The College is able to supply a basic level of materials such as paper, inks, brushes and acrylic paint. However, you will find it useful to own the following items:

• A4 or A3 sketch book (ideally hard back)
• Acrylic paints (student quality, primary and secondary colours as well as black and white)
• A small selection (approximately 4-10) of brushes of various sizes will be sufficient for the start of your studies
• Pencils (2-B, 4-B and 6B are best for drawing)

It will also be useful to have your own masking tape, scissors, erasers, Stanley knife/craft knife, blu/white tack and a metal ruler.

There is no specific reading list. However, before starting the programme we will encourage you to visit major galleries and contemporary art spaces such as Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Serpentine Gallery, Hayward Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery.

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.

Following receipt of your application, we will invite you to an interview and ask you to bring a portfolio of your work. The interview and your portfolio will help us to assess your suitability for the programme. We will also consider your application form, including your personal statement and reference, and the entry requirements when making a decision.

Applications should be made through UCAS.

The programme is developed to closely match the realities of contemporary professional fine art practice. You will benefit from the following:

Experienced teaching staff

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.

Learning environment

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.

Teaching and learning

The 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.

Flexibility of teaching

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.

Real exhibiting opportunities

The second year focusses on exhibiting work and you will have the opportunity to exhibit your work in a professional context in a museum and gallery. You will also have the opportunity to explore in greater depth the vocational possibilities associated with fine art practice.

This programme will be of particular interest to students who wish to engage more seriously with professional fine art practice but who also need the flexibility to build their studies around employment or other responsibilities.

The curriculum is designed to accommodate a range of educational backgrounds and experiences. A variety of level 3 qualifications are considered suitable for entry to the programme and we welcome applications from mature students (those aged 21 years or over at the start of the course) who may not meet the formal entry requirements or have been out of education for some time.

Year 1

The emphasis of this year is on expanding your skills and ideas through practical investigation and experimentation. The Research and References module is an introduction to academic research skills within the context of contemporary practice. The course also allows for professional engagement and vocational possibilities within Fine Art.

• 2-D Processes (20 credits)
• 3-D Processes (20 credits)
• Research and References (20 credits)
• Making and Meaning (40 credits)
• Work Based Learning: Professional Engagement (20 credits)

Year 2

Building on the investigations of the ?rst year, you will begin to focus on the skills needed for professional practice by engaging with public exhibiting opportunities. The ?rst of these is held in a museum and the second in a professional gallery. The ‘Critical Studies’ module will develop your academic analysis and research skills.

• Work Based Learning: Site Referenced Exhibition (30 credits)
• Develop Fine Art Practice (30 credits)
• Critical Studies (20 credits)
• Work Based Learning: Summative Exhibition (40 credits)

Fine Art Student Work

Fine Art Facilities


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

• A BTEC or UAL level 3 Extended Diploma in a Visual Arts Subject which equates to a minimum of 64 UCAS points
• Two A-Levels at Grades CC or above, including a relevant subject
• A Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Level 3 from BTEC or UAL
• 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/4 or above (or an equivalent Level 2 qualification). Mature applicants with relevant experience or a portfolio of work, which demonstrates their creative potential, are welcomed and will be considered on an individual basis.

Institution Code: K24
Course Code: W104
Campus Code: W

Jacqueline Chase

The course is really flexible and the teaching staff are of such a ...

Jacqueline Chase, BA (Hons) Top-Up in Fine Art (2yr Part-time)
success stories

Jacqueline Chase

The course is really flexible and the teaching staff are of such a ...

Jacqueline Chase, BA (Hons) Top-Up in Fine Art (2yr Part-time)
success stories

Andrew Gallacher

There is also valuable peer-to-peer learning. Our year group has students with a ... Andrew Gallacher, BA (Hons) Fine Art
success stories

Jane Cordery

It was about following a passion and about learning and improving my art ... Jane Cordery, BA (Hons) Fine Art
success stories