Contemporary Arts Practice

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How to Apply

Apply on UCAS's site

For individuals who want a broad educational experience across the visual arts.

  • Work across a range of subjects, media and materials
  • Taught by practising artists and makers
  • Scope to specialise in the latter stages of the course

Why study Contemporary Arts Practice ?

Designed for individuals with more than one field of interest, through this course you can study a combination of visual art disciplines. With emphasis on making and thinking, you’ll cover a range of subjects.

The first year of the course is structured and project based; you’ll be taught in a shared studio or workshop with academic and technical staff. You’ll learn new practical skills as well as developing those you already have.

As the course progresses, we’ll encourage you to explore your own individual studio practice in the areas of study you choose. You’ll benefit from support and encouragement from staff who are practitioners in their specialist fields. In addition you’ll have access to the range of technical facilities the School of Art and Design offers.

Course structure

In your first year we’ll encourage you to work in a number of disciplines, gaining extensive knowledge and fundamental skills. You’ll experiment, focusing on broadening your making and thinking skills.

You’ll study context and theory within practice-based modules, supported by lectures and seminars that will introduce you to contemporary arts practice theory.

In years 2 and 3 you’ll have the opportunity to specialise in one discipline, or maintain a broader portfolio through to graduation. Specialist strands of study include: drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, graphic art, mixed media textiles, printmaking, photography, performance and moving image.

Running in parallel to your study, you’ll take advantage of professional development opportunities – you can expand your skills in areas such as web-design, marketing and project management. By gaining the necessary expertise, you’ll maximise your potential as an artist or maker after graduation.


  • Year 1
    You’ll choose modules from two subject areas. Subject areas are 2D (painting and drawing), 3D (ceramics and sculpture), graphic arts and mixed media textiles. Optional modules are photography and moving Image, printmaking (etch) and screenprint. Alongside these subjects you will attend contextual studies lectures.

  • Years 2 and 3
    You can continue with two areas of study, or specialise in any of the subjects you studied in year one. Contextual studies lectures continue and you’ll also begin a programme of professional practice, with opportunities to publicly exhibit your work. In your final year you’ll complete a dissertation. You’ll be able to develop your professional practice, in preparation for your career after your degree.

Course assessment

You’ll be assessed entirely by coursework such as portfolios, exhibitions, written papers and live presentations. There are no written exams.

Study abroad

You’ll have the opportunity to study in a wide range of locations around the world. Our students have completed Erasmus+ and Exchange programmes in a variety of countries including Norway, Germany, Japan, Australia and the USA

Field trips

You’ll have opportunities to participate in regular field trips across all the course modules. Subject areas also organise international study visits to places like Berlin, Paris, New York and Venice (please note that you’ll have to pay for some study visits).

Work placements, industry links and internships

There are opportunities for you to undertake work placements as part of the professional practice programme.


We’ll encourage you to participate in competitions such as the Porthleven Prize and the Gane Trust Travel Grant among many others.

Teaching methods

You’ll be taught through practical workshop sessions, individual supervision, seminars and lectures. You’ll also have access to an extensive weekly programme of visiting lectures from practising artists, curators, critics and gallery owners.

Application method

All applications are through UCAS

International students should visit our international pages for more information about our entry requirements, fees and scholarships, and student support.

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Typical offer range for UK / EU applicants

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC required with a Grade B in Art, or other art/design related subject. Applicants will be invited to interview and will be required to bring high quality portfolio
  • BTEC - Overall Merit, Merit, Merit (MMM) required. Applicants will be invited to interview and will be required to bring high quality portfolio.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 27 with HL Art subject at grade 6 or above preferred
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher). Any selection procedure/further requirements will also apply.
  • Diploma in Foundation Studies (Art & Design) - We recommend that applicants undertake a pre-degree foundation diploma in Art and Design in combination with the above qualifications. A Merit Grade is preferred.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Applicants will be invited to interview at our Sion Hill Campus and will be required to bring high quality portfolio in support of their application. More details will be supplied to applicants who meet the entry criteria for the course.

Career opportunities

Graduates of Contemporary Arts Practice will have a broad portfolio of expertise to accompany specialist knowledge in a particular field. The majority of our graduates progress to art-related employment or self-employment, whether as a studio-based artist, public artist or through employment in the realm of arts management or arts administration. The course also attracts many students wishing to pursue a career in teaching.

List of current alumni careers
Graduate careers include:

  • self employment as practising artists and makers;
  • curatorship;
  • gallery administration;
  • teaching;
  • art administration; and
  • community based art work.