Frequently Asked Questions

Fine Art FAQs

Is it best to undertake a Foundation course prior to starting the Fine Art course at Lancaster?
Do I need a Foundation course to be accepted to Fine Art at LICA?

Art foundation courses are not an essential requirement for this degree; they are considered but not accepted in lieu of our academic entry requirements. The reason for this is twofold, Foundation Courses across the UK are uneven in quality and many schools are equally good, plus we value A-Level achievement alongside the portfolio. Roughly half of our students come straight from A-Level whilst half have completed a Foundation course. The benefit of a Foundation course is that it allows you to develop your practice, independence and portfolio. However, our first year is designed to cater to both school and Foundation students without repetition for either.

What qualities do you look for from a student wanting to study Fine Art at Lancaster?

The type of student that is suited to this programme has:-
• Ability to work and think creatively and academically
• Wants art history & theory mixed with studio practice throughout the degree
• Achieves AAB - ABB or equivalent at A-Level + portfolio

Do you have to complete an Art A-Level to be considered for the Fine Art programme?

An Art or Design qualification is desirable but not essential for Fine Art at Lancaster as we assess your suitability for our courses from your UCAS application and Digital portfolio.

Why do you ask for a Humanities subject outside of Art & Design?

We ask for a Humanities subject to ensure that students are capable of dealing with the academic nature of our course where our distinctive approach to Fine Art blends creative studio work with critical and theoretical analysis of art.

What proportion of the course is academic as opposed to practical?

Generally, there is a 40/60 split (in favour of practice) between studio and academic work at Lancaster. Students can choose to alter this balance depending on the optional modules they choose to complete their enrolment.

Can I study Fine Art as a minor subject?

No, you can only study Fine Art as a single major or combined major with certain subjects. This is due to the practical and theoretical aspects of the course alongside the need for dedicated studio space.

Do I have to buy my own Fine Art materials/equipment for this course?

Yes - students have to purchase their own materials and equipment. Prior to starting the First Year, we will send you a letter with details of a basic kit list. Although we have a fully equipped workshop and a shop selling most art supplies the kit list covers very general items you will need in the first days and weeks of the course or those things that are best personally owned. As you begin to focus over the three years on a particular practice, say sculpture, you must be willing to acquire some specialist tools and materials.

Do joint-honours Fine Art students get their own studio space?

Yes, students on joint-honours courses involving Fine Art (eg BA Hons Fine Art & Creative Writing) are entitled to studio space, accessible 24/7.

Which media can your Fine Art department support?

We teach across all the major fine art disciplines of Sculpture, Installation, Painting, Drawing, Video, Sound, Live Art and Fine Art Photography, and importantly we support approaches where these are mixed into hybrids. Our students are encouraged to look widely for ideas, approaches and media; while they use ‘fine art thinking’ they are magpies who gather influences and material from Textiles, Film, Dance and even the sciences.

I’m considering a career in illustration – would this Fine Art course be a good fit?

No. While many fine artists use illustrative methods (Paul Nobel, Michael Landy) we do not teach conventional illustration, and while we have an inclusive approach to media we are a Fine Art degree, so we do not support graphic design, ceramics or conventional printmaking.

I want to defer my application to LICA’s Fine Art course to next academic year so I can take a Foundation course – is this possible?

If you wish to defer your place to the following entry year please contact our Admissions Office ( who will who will ask an Admissions Officer to review your application. Please give your name, UCAS personal ID and make it clear which entry year you wish to change to. If the change is allowed, we will inform UCAS and the updated deferred entry will appear on UCAS Track.

Fine Art Portfolio Guidance

If you apply to a Fine Art programme at Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) then we will ask you to provide a digital portfolio as part of the selection process. This means, that if you meet our academic entry requirements and overall profile, we will be in contact with you to request a portfolio in the form of a Blog. We ask all candidates to use Blogger - and cannot look at work on other platforms.

Your portfolio can comprise of finished work in any media (drawings, photographs, paintings, 3D work, digital media & short films) alongside working drawings and sketch-books showing your potential and suitability for our course.

The portfolio may include coursework, for example from A-Level or Foundation and your school or college may provide guidance, however, we are also looking for self-initiated work.

What We Are Looking For:

A distinctive approach that represents you as a creative individual.
Evidence of practical skills, such as good drawing.
Use of a variety of techniques, technology and materials.
Evidence of creative thinking and the ability to take an idea and transform it imaginatively.
Evidence of a personally driven engagement with your practice e.g. a personal sketchbook or independent work.
A considered and well-presented collection of creative work (no more than 20 items (images/films) uploaded to your blog.
An awareness of contemporary art and art history and the ability to relate this to your own practice.

What To Avoid:

Artwork that is directly derivative of another artist e.g. ‘in the style of’.
Artwork that does not use Fine Art thinking and approaches e.g. cartoons.

Further guidance and instructions are provided during the application process, however, if you have any queries please contact our Undergraduate Admissions & Recruitment Co-ordinator:-

Morganna Monk


T: +44(0) 1524 510 898