BA (Hons) Fine Art

Our distinctive approach to Fine Art blends creative studio work with critical and theoretical analysis of art. We use this carefully balanced combination of theory and practice to nurture highly employable and informed practitioners.

The practices of painting, drawing, installation, and digital fine art are integrated with twentieth century cultural history and theory. Over the period of study you will be supported by expert staff in developing your own creativity in one, or a hybrid, of the four studio practices.

We will help you to acquire technical skills and encourage you to develop your own style and approach, whether that's conventional, experimental or something in between. A historical perspective will underpin your studio activities and enable you to better understand your work contextually and conceptually.


Our facilities provide an ideal space in which to develop your creative skills and thinking. They include purpose-built studios, a fully equipped wood and metal workshop, a range of performance spaces, a state of the art 'black box' installation space, and digital studios. You will have 24/7 access to your own studio space and there are opportunities for study trips to museums and galleries in the region and further afield. Recent destinations include Berlin, New York and Rome.

Live@LICA is the cultural hub of the University and includes the gallery and art collection, the Nuffield Theatre and our International Concert Series. As a LICA student you will have access to many events, shared facilities and resources, including talks and performances by visiting artists and academics.

As well as enhancing your creative abilities, you will develop transferable skills, including analysing visual and textual material, carrying out research, planning and organising exhibitions, making presentations on your own work, participating in group discussions, and communicating effectively.

Our employability levels compare favourably with disciplines across the University and our alumni go on to thriving careers in a wide range of professional arenas. Some graduates become professional artists, set up their own studios, or go on to higher degrees; many are in demand for related careers in arts administration, galleries, education, art journalism, television, web design, art therapy, healthcare, and community work.

Year One

During your first year we'll encourage you to develop your own ideas and creative practice via our studio practice module. By the middle of the year you will begin to specialise in digital art, painting, drawing, sculpture, installation or a combination of these (although you can change your discipline later if dictated by the direction of your studio work). A LICA-wide module on modernism in the arts introduces you to the key artists, ideas and movements of modernism. You will also take a third module, either from one of the other disciplines in LICA or from a range of subjects offered across the University.

Year One: Compulsory Modules

Modernism in the Arts | History and theory of the arts from the mid-nineteenth century to mid-twentieth. Lectures will follow two co-ordinated strands, one chronological and the other thematic. The chronological strand will begin in the 1840s and examine key developments in the arts, their theory and context (including technological and intellectual developments), on a roughly decade-by-decade basis, alternating general history with examination of specific case studies. Term 1 will cover the period 1840-1900, term 2 1900-1940, and term 3 1940-60. The thematic strand will examine particular aesthetic issues associated with the rise and development of Modernism. It will also include explicit teaching on study skills appropriate for first-year students of the arts, especially related to essay writing. There will be seminars within which students discuss issues arising from both strands in small groups.

Fine Art Practice | Seeks to establish fundamental Fine Art practices and principles and initiate development of critical understanding of basic concepts, approaches, possibilities and ways of working. The course invites the student to engage with the practical disciplines of Painting, Sculpture, Digital Art, Drawing and inter-media practices that combine two or more disciplines. This creative work alongside academic work in LICA100 initiates training as an 'informed practitioner'. This practical course combines technical skills with different approaches to the disciplines as appropriate to developing individual interests as a practitioner of fine art. The teaching and learning systems for this course are designed to expose the student to ways of working and thinking as a practitioner; to thinking visually.

Year Two

Creative practice through studio-based courses comprises a quarter to a half of your modules in years two and three, and you'll develop a significant body of high quality work for the end of year exhibitions. Cultural and theoretical studies continue with a second year course on critical theory and a third year dissertation on a topic of your choice. These are complemented by a range of options offering in-depth examination of contemporary art practices. You may also opt for interdisciplinary modules from other LICA subjects, gain employability skills, experience a work placement, or study entrepreneurship.

Visiting performers and academics will help to broaden your curriculum experience and your tutors will encourage you to question and explore in a supportive and vibrant learning environment.

Year Two: Compulsory Modules

Critical Reflections | Lectures introduce theory and make connections across the arts. For the weekly two hour seminar/workshop, Art students work in their subject groups on ideas and examples specifically tailored towards Art. The structure of the course is an introductory lecture, followed by six three-week blocks of study covering areas such as; form and structure, semiotics and authorship, phenemenology and spectatorship, sexuality and gender, race and ethnicity, and class and society.

Studio Practice | This module requires students to direct their own research and to develop, through negotiation, a self-reliant and independent approach to studio practice. Students are also expected to take increasing responsibility for the creative and conceptual direction of their work. To support the creative development of the individual student the appropriate teaching and learning mechanisms are one-to-one tutorials, group tutorials technical workshops and peer-feedback.

Optional Modules | The following is a list of second year Fine Art optional modules currently available or planned to be made available to major and combined students studying Fine Art, Film, and Theatre. Other LICA modules are available. Not all modules will be made available every year and prerequisites apply to some modules.

  • Documentary Drawing (2nd years only)
  • Documentary Film and Art (Art and Film students only)
  • Expanded Painting (2nd year Art students only)
  • Media and Performance
  • Work Placement

Year Three: Compulsory Modules

Dissertation | Final-year students pursue an independent research project leading to a dissertation. This is an opportunity for students to study in depth a topic of particular interest to them, and to demonstrate what they are able to achieve in independent work. Topics must be in the area of expertise of a member of staff, and are subject to approval, but within those limits students have a great deal of freedom to choose what they want to research. Guidance is given in designing a good research project, how to find and use relevant literature, and how to write an extended essay in a scholarly manner.

Advanced Studio Practice | This module is a student centred course, which requires students to direct their own research and to develop a self-reliant approach and an increasing responsibility for the creative and conceptual direction of their studio practice; leading to independence. To support the creative development of the individual student the appropriate teaching and learning mechanisms are one-to-one tutorials, group tutorials, and peer feedback.

Optional Modules | The following is a list of third year Fine Art optional modules currently available or planned to be made available to major and combined students studying Fine Art, Film, and Theatre. Other LICA modules are available. Not all modules will be made available every year and prerequisites apply to some modules.

  • Creative Enterprise
  • Documentary Film and Art (Film and Art students only)
  • Media and Performance (Film and Art students only)

Please note:

The application procedure for BA (Hons) Fine Art has changed. Please be sure to read the Application Procedure below carefully.

Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

  • A-level: AAB-ABB including one subject outside Art and Design.
  • General Studies: Accepted as one of the best 3 grades, if 4 A-levels presented
  • Key skills: Not included in offer
  • Scottish Highers: ABBBB
  • Irish Leaving Certificate: Offers will be made on the basis of 5 or 6 Higher level subjects. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office (01524 592028) for further information
  • International Baccalaureate: 35 pts overall with 16 pts in HL subjects
  • Foundation Year: Not a formal requirement. About half our entry come straight from A-level courses, the rest have done a foundation year or equivalent
  • Mature students: Applications welcome: you should have experience of academic work in a subject other than art, as well as a portfolio of practical work. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office (01524 593174) for further information.
  • Practical skills: A portfolio of practical work is essential; it should include imaginative, expressive and analytic as well as objective drawing

Applicant Profile

We seek applicants with genuine commitment and motivation. You need a good quality portfolio and a willingness to learn, a passion for art, and a readiness to think about and discuss art in order to further enhance your practice. If you aren't interested in thinking and writing about art as well as making it, this isn't the right place for you.

Some of our students have taken a foundation year, others haven't. We happily cater for both groups. If you have completed a foundation year, you won't find that the first year is a repeat of your previous course.

Application Procedure

You will be required to submit an e-portfolio as part of the short-listing and selection procedure. This should comprise of 20 items (artworks/videos) that demonstrate, through a combination of finished work in any media, working drawings, and sketch books, your potential and suitability for our course. We are looking for evidence of practical skills, such as good drawing and use of techniques, technology and materials, and also evidence of creative thinking, the ability to take an idea and transform it imaginatively.

We would strongly encourage you to start your application process early so that you can submit your digital portfolio, as there is little advantage gained in waiting; volume of artwork is not a key driver in our decision making as it is the balance between a closely edited selection of work and the qualities evident in your UCAS form that we are interested in.


Profile Photo

Victoria Gray

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2007

"The studios are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week which is extremely important to me as art is a subject that canít always be refined into a structured timetable."

"I love the studio culture within the art department. Working closely with the other students every day allows you to form relationships and make new friends easily on your course."

"I love the family atmosphere of the college system on campus which groups everyone into a certain sector within the university and gives you a sense of home."

Profile Photo

Chloe McClellan

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2007

"When I first visited Lancaster I was attracted to the idea that the art studio was available twenty four hours a day and like the flexibility of being able to work at any time."

"The course offered at Lancaster means that you gain a historical knowledge of modern art and the ability to look at contemporary work in an explorative and critical way, thus informing your own individual practice."

"The art tutors here are really dedicated to pushing you to be fully engaged in your practice and really consider you as a future artist as opposed to just a student who needs to pass their degree."

"The studio centred teaching means that both you and your tutors are active and physically involved with your work. The studio culture has given me a new found critical awareness and understanding, where I can question and develop my existing practice."

Profile Photo

Ellie Barrett

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2007

"I found the city of Lancaster welcoming. It isnít too big and busy to be intimidating, but it is not so small thatís its claustrophobic. Itís buzzing but cosy!"

"The art facilities make it really easy to get immersed and energised in your studio practice. 24 hour access means that you can get things done whenever you feel like."

"There are so many places to meet people that itís easy to make friends. The range of pubs and clubs allow you to have different experiences every time you go out."

Profile Photo

Emma Turner

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2007

"I came to Lancaster as I was inspired by the art works around the studio when I visited. When I was interviewed, the tutors were interested in my ideas which was really encouraging."

"The studio environment is the best you could find anywhere. The people in the studio make working fun but also we motivate each other."

"I have made several of the best friends in my time here. One minute youíre meeting someone for the first time, the next time you feel like you have known them for years."

Profile Photo

Sian Phillips

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2008

"My final project consisted of 200 cocoon-like forms made from sugar and latex. Through embracing organic processes and using simple materials with tactile temptations, my practice re-evaluates and re-validates beauty through imperfection and impermanence. "

Profile Photo

Stephanie Bell

BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2010

"I was initially attracted to the university for its position in the league tables and its reputation as an established university and the high standard of research facilities available."

"It has been a challenging experience but one which I've learnt a lot from. Learning how to be self-motivated and driven has been the hardest but most valuable lesson. Independence and being self-reliant are key to survival at university."

"You have to be independent and dedicated to your practice as the course emphasises independent learning and being the 'informed practitioner' so much. The hours of contact time can vary but the tutors encourage students to email them at any time and see them in their office hour."

"After Lancaster I intend to study at Masters level and either go into something media or arts based. I intend to still display my work and continue my own business on the side."

"My experience at Lancaster has involved meeting a vast array of people from all walks of life who change your perceptions for the better, studying by the duck pond in the summer and having BBQ's and parties in the evening and not forgetting working in my nice warm studio whilst the rain poured outside!"


What is the ratio of theory / practice?

50% studio practice, 50% theory in first year; 60% studio practice, 40% theory in second year; 70% studio practice, 30% theory in final year. These are rough guidelines only.

Can I visit the department before deciding to apply?

We recommend that you book online for a Visit Day or Campus Tour. Details can be found at: On certain campus tour dates you can also 'drop in' to the department you're interested in for a talk and tour. Remember though that if you apply to Lancaster you will be invited to an Open Day / Interview which includes a talk, tour and the opportunity to chat to current staff and students.

Where can I find a reading list?

Start by searching for your course via the Online Course Search tool on the website: . Once you have reached the summary page for your course, click on the link to the Online Courses Handbook. This will take you to a detailed course description including links to individual modules and their reading lists.

What if I can't attend the open day I've been invited to?

We may be able to offer you an alternative. However, due to the amount of applications we receive this may not always be possible.

Can I enter direct into Part II?

If you have completed your first year at another institution you may be able to enter direct into Part II for all LICA undergraduate degree schemes. In most cases this requires you to submit a marks breakdown / transcript from your current institution as additional information when you apply.

Student Profile

Student Photo
I have made several of the best friends in my time here. One minute youíre meeting someone for the first time, the next time you feel like you have known them for years.Quote mark
Emma Turner,
BA (Hons) Fine Art, 2007
  • Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA)
  • The LICA Building, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YW, UK