Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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BA Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory

This information is for 2019 entry only. Information for 2018 entry.

This degree combines studio practice with contemporary philosophy and cultural theory, preparing you to be a critically aware artist graduate. It builds from the idea that art-making is enriched by conversations with thinkers, filmmakers, writers, philosophers and scientists.

Supported by artist-lecturers and visiting practitioners, you’ll work across different media to develop your practice. You’ll explore the relationship between art and society, examine theories of the image, the gaze and culture, and examine questions of gender, sexuality and cultural difference.

Placing art in its cultural context, you’ll have the opportunity to study related fields such as music, literature, cultural history, philosophy and film. You’ll work with artists and theorists across the School on current issues like ecology, cities, place, power and conflict. All of this will inform your practice, giving you the space to develop your creativity, and preparing you for a career in the arts and culture sectors.

Specialist resources

The University has a variety of resources to support your learning and practice.

Housed within a single central campus location, the School has been designed to best meet the needs of our students. You’ll work in professionally laid-out, well lit studios with 24 hour access and will benefit from versatile exhibition spaces and social areas. Resources include dedicated Mac and PC computer suites for video editing, animation and image manipulation, printmaking workshops for etching, relief and screen printing, and a photography darkroom for film developing and printing. A woodworking and casting area are also housed within the School, with additional facilities for digital and 3D printing available at the University.

The University has a variety of resources to support your learning and research. There is a wide range of museum collections and galleries on campus such as The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery and the Treasures of the Brotherton Gallery. We work closely with many different museums, archives, and cultural organisations in the region. Project Space, a multi-purpose space designed for the development of curatorial practice and visiting exhibitions, sits at the core of the School’s building.

From the start of the course, you are encouraged to find your own direction as an artist. You’ll have the chance to work across all fine art media with on-site facilities for digital media, painting, photography, printmaking and 3D processes.

You'll split your time equally between studio practice and the theory and analysis of culture. You'll also gain professional skills as you develop and exhibit your work every year. You’ll take field trips to exhibitions, galleries and fine art fairs and combine lectures with group seminar sessions to discuss contemporary art practice, which you can use to inform your own creative work.

In year 1, you'll build your knowledge of art and culture and use various media to develop your own creative portfolio. Compulsory and optional modules will introduce key themes and interpretive methods, consider the nature of cultural analysis, and examine the relationships between art, culture and society.

In year 2, you'll build upon and critically apply the knowledge and skills learned in year 1 and further pursue your own interests. Compulsory modules will deepen your understanding of the complex relationship between visual cultures, history and society, and encourage you to think conceptually about art and cultural objects and practices. You will also continue to develop your portfolio.

Year 3 balances studio work with researching and writing a dissertation – an independent piece of research on a topic of your choice, which can either complement your studio practice or focus on a topic arising from your theoretical study. You can choose to take a smaller dissertation and select one further optional module on an aspect of cultural theory.

Towards the end of the year you’ll display your studio work in a public degree show, applying your artistic and professional skills to interact with external agencies, the media and sponsors.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Introduction to Cultural Analysis 1 20 credits
  • Introduction to Cultural Analysis II 20 credits
  • Introduction to Studio Work 30 credits
  • Studio Work 2 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Cultural History 20 credits
  • Cinema and Media History 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Studio Work 60 credits
  • Keywords 20 credits

Optional modules

  • The New York School 20 credits
  • Cinema and Culture 20 credits
  • Seeing in Asia 20 credits
  • The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation 40 credits
  • Studio Work 60 credits

Optional modules

  • From Trauma to Cultural Memory: The Unfinished Business of Representation and the Holocaust 20 credits
  • Cultural Diversity in Museum and Material Culture - Case Study 20 credits
  • Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Historiography and the Visual Arts 20 credits
  • Movies, Migrants and Diasporas 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory BA in the course catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Studio tutors are practising artists, writers and curators who are contributing to national and international exhibitions and publications. Read the staff biographies on the School website to find out more.

This course combines studio, exhibition and curatorial work with lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and visits. You’ll also have the chance to enhance your learning by attending talks by visiting artists and speakers, as well as attending workshops, exhibition openings, conferences and other events.

Independent study is a vital element of this degree, allowing you to develop your creativity and build important skills in areas such as research, analysis and interpretation. In the upper years, we encourage you to carry out small research projects on your own or in student teams. The final year dissertation enables you to undertake substantial independent research in a topic of particular interest to you.


We usually use a combination of assessment methods that allows you to develop diverse skills. These include studio, crits, module presentations, essays and exams, depending on the modules you choose.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB not including General Studies or Critical Thinking.

Where an applicant is undertaking an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), the School may make an alternative offer that is one A level grade below that of our standard offer – on the condition that the applicant achieves a grade A in their EPQ (e.g. AAB at A level / alternative offer ABB plus grade A in EPQ).

NB: An EPQ is optional and not a requirement of application.

All applicants will also be required to submit a satisfactory portfolio of work.

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Pass with 60 credits overall including 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 must be at Merit level.


Extended Diploma: DDD-DDM.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M1 – D3, M1, M1 in three principle subjects.

International Baccalaureate

34-35 overall (with at least 4 in English Language).

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)


Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AABBB overall (AB at advanced level) OR AAABB (A at advanced level) OR AAAABB.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 77-80% overall and at least 60% in English.

Art Foundation Diploma: Merit/Distinction with an A level at grade A (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking).

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies Undergraduate Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If youre unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Next steps

Qualified applicants are invited to interview in groups. You’ll be expected to bring your portfolio to the interview, and we will inspect this while you take part in activities run by our current students in our fine art studios to get a sense of what it is like to study with us. You will then have a short interview where you can discuss your portfolio and demonstrate your awareness of both the course and your own practice.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Undergraduate Admissions Policy 2019


UK/EU: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

For UK and non-UK EU full-time students starting in 2018, the fee for 2018/19 will be £9,250. 

The fee for undergraduate students starting in 2019 will be confirmed in September 2018.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation, and as permitted by law. For example, the increase of 2.8% in 2017/18 was based on the government’s forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in the 2019/20 academic year will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans. The UK government has not confirmed the situation for future years, so keep checking our website for updates.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, youll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

This course offers you a unique combination of artistic, intellectual and professional skills. As a result, you’ll be well equipped for a variety of careers.

You’ll have the skills to work as a professional artist, designer or craftsperson, but the theoretical elements of the course will also allow you to develop critical, analytical, communication, presentation and research skills to work in multimedia and the creative industries, publishing, journalism, PR, film and television.

Many graduates from our School combine careers as artists with work in education, museums or galleries, or even go on to establish new cultural enterprises themselves – The Tetley, Leeds’ contemporary art space, is just one example. Others use their knowledge and skills to launch careers in fields such as journalism, broadcasting, marketing, technology, business or design.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Some recent examples include placements at Harewood House, the Cultural Institute, Urban Outfitters, Tigerprint, Leeds Museums and Galleries, Pyramid of Arts and Hang-Up Gallery.

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