• Overview
  • Levels and Modules
  • Start Dates
  • Entry and Portfolio Requirements
  • Fees and Discounts
  • Careers
  • Student Discounts and Offers
  • Tutors
  • Course Duration
  • Advanced Entry


fine art overview

What does the course involve?

The BA (Hons) Fine Art programme gives you the opportunity to develop your individual artistic talent to a professional standard. On completion of your studies, you will have built a portfolio that demonstrates your advanced skills and in-depth industry knowledge. This will be crucial as you go on to develop a career as a fine artist or in a related role within the creative industries.

Our tutors, who are all experienced practitioners, will guide you through a variety of projects and activities, providing you with as much one-to-one support as you need. They will work with you in developing an understanding of the practical disciplines of drawing, painting, photography, 3D installation, printmaking, and digital imaging.

You will also be actively supported in your own personal development alongside the development of your studio practice, reflective and critical visual research, and professional practice within contemporary fine art.

All of the course materials are online and communication is asynchronous, which gives you the flexibility to study at times that suit you.

Subject to minimum student enrolment numbers, you can choose from full-time, part-time or accelerated study modes on all BA (Hons) programmes. Find out more about the different modes of study.

Levels of Study

The programme is broken down into three levels:

  • Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education
  • Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education
  • Level 6: BA (Hons)

Download the Programme Specification for detailed information about the course or browse the tabs to find out more about what is involved in each of the three levels of study, the module descriptions and more.

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Levels and Modules

fa levels and modules

Level 4: Certificate of Higher Education

Level 4 will introduce you to a range of fine art disciplines including the core media areas of photography, digital imaging, and moving image. Your work will include introductions to drawing, painting, 3D installation, printing, photography, video, and digital image processing. All of your coursework will be completed with the guidance of support materials and ongoing dialogue with your tutor.

On completion of your studies at Level 4, you will have started to develop your own independent fine art practice within the field of contemporary art.

Level 4 Module Descriptions

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Fine Art Practice 1A

In this first studio practice module, you will develop your skills through a series of activities that will establish an introductory understanding of practice in fine art, as well as a framework to develop your individual interests. Support materials and activities introduce drawing, painting, monoprinting, photography and digital imaging. Through practical activities, and introductions to a range of processes, you will have the opportunity to explore the potential of different media within the context of contemporary practice.

You will also be asked to select work that you have completed for the activities to present in the forums for group discussion, which will enable you to form an understanding of context and an appropriate language for discussing art. At the end of the module, you will critically reflect on the development of your work in order to recognise key areas of personal interest and identify possibilities for further development.

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Fine Art Practice 1B

In your second studio practice module, you will develop your practical skills through focused, independent projects that explore and test the potential of media and concepts in more depth. The development of personal practice is supported through course materials, practical and reflective activities, one-to-one tutor dialogue, and forum discussion.

Through critical reflection, you will increase your awareness of the context of your practice in relation to wider cultural concerns and to contemporary fine art. You will select and present work for group discussion in the module forum, allowing you to further develop your knowledge of context and build confidence when discussing your work.

At the end of the module you will reflect analytically on the development of your work in order to identify key areas of personal interest and topics for further development. You will then make a careful selection of your work to compile a conceptually coherent presentation of practical work. Overall, this module focuses on building on your learning from the first studio practice module and gives you the opportunity to explore fields of personal interests in fine art practice.

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Fine Art in Context 1

This module introduces you to wider contexts and professional practices in fine art, including the creation of site specific artworks, artist videos, and the potential of collaborative practice in fine art.

Through support materials and forum discussion, you will extend your awareness of the creative advantages of collaborative practice within the areas of artistic video, site responsive work, temporary installations, and artist performance. As you carry out practical activities, you will learn about the professional attributes needed to successfully operate in a small group. You will also begin to understand the significance of networks in contemporary fine art and how they apply to professional practice. Guided group work will allow you to gain an understanding of the importance of creative exchange, articulation of ideas, negotiation skills, and methods of formulating ideas through dialogue with your peers.

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Fine Art: Visions, Contexts, Languages

This module encourages you to view the study of fine art in its historical, social, cultural and global contexts as integral to the development of your own informed and innovative art practice. Art is not created in insolation, but within cultures and societies. In this module, you will consider how recent and contemporary fine art practices are shaped by broader cultural contexts.

A programme of support materials, activities and forum discussions will introduce you to the wider themes in art and design. You will examine the ways in which art movements, individuals and discussion about visual culture have shaped historical and contemporary practice and debate. This module will also provide you with a repertoire of study skills - research and enquiry, visual and critical analysis of both artefacts and ideas, academic verbal and written communication proficiency - and an understanding of how such skills can be used to evaluate your own practice.

You will explore how these contexts relate to your own creative work and begin to place your practice in a wider contextual framework though the development of a reflective essay.

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Level 5: Diploma of Higher Education

During your studies at Level 5, you will begin to define who you are as a visual artist and start to identify your professional development goals and objectives.

You will focus on more advanced skills and processes, and consider professional practice in contemporary art. You will become familiar with professional factors in contemporary art such as exhibition, curation, collaboration, networks, audiences, the art market, selling your artwork, and art collection.

Level 5 Module Descriptions

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Fine Art Practice 2A

In the Level 5 studio practice modules, you will be supported in progressing further with your own self-critical direction for creative work and you will be encouraged to produce an ambitious body of work through sustained, focused practice. The development of your individual practice is supported through course materials and activities that centre on advanced media processes, as well as by tutor guidance and forum discussion. Through online forum critiques, you will further refine your skills in critical awareness and the ability to contextualise your practice.

On completion of this module, you will critically reflect on the development of your work in order to recognise key areas of personal interest and identify possibilities for further development. You will then make a careful selection of your practical artwork to present, paying careful attention to conceptual coherence.

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Fine Art Practice 2B

In the second fine art practice module at Level 5, you are encouraged to recognise and reflect on your cultural, intellectual and emotional relationship to the subject as embodied in your practical work. The development of your individual practice is continuously supported through course materials and activities that centre on advanced media processes, together with ongoing tutor guidance and forum discussion.

By fully investigating the potential of communicating in innovative ways, you will produce an ambitious and extensive body of work. You will also explore your motivations and how you connect to contemporary practitioners, and use this knowledge to make decisions about your own practice. Through reflection, research and discussion, you will enhance your overall understanding of art and identify emerging contexts, sites and methods of contemporary practice. Through support materials, activities, tutor guidance and research using the StudyNet online library, you will further develop the ability to discuss and analyse both contemporary and historical art.

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Fine Art in Context 2

This module offers practical opportunities to develop your professional skills, looking ahead to future work as a practising visual artist in the contemporary art world. You will research roles and opportunities for artists and consider possibilities for your own practice within wider social, cultural and global contexts. You will also further your understanding of the importance of professional networks. You will undertake either negotiated work experience, an exhibition, a collaborative project, site-based work or other practical, professional project for fine art practice.

You will be encouraged to consider potential career paths and adopt a self-reflective attitude about your strengths, motivation and career aspirations. You will engage and be supported by course materials, practical activities, group forum discussions, and tutor and peer interaction. Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to make your own contacts, build greater networks, and start to look beyond the immediacy of your own environment to both national and international modes of creativity.

Support materials with artist case studies cover artist funding opportunities, commissioning and site specific possibilities, writing a proposal, solo and group public exhibition, public performance, and artist residencies. You will also look at career pathways in the visual arts, such as galleries and museums, postgraduate study, art education and community arts. By the end of this module, you will have identified your strengths and interests, as well as practice-related professional contexts and opportunities.

Fine Art: Debates and Values

This module encourages you to see the study of critical and cultural issues as a vital tool for innovative and well-informed art practice. Particular attention is given to the analysis of ideas that specifically relate to your own fine art practice. The module provides you with the opportunity for in-depth investigation of a range of theoretical positions that inform contemporary practice. You will use these debate topics not only to reflect critically on your own work, but also to locate your practice within historical, social, cultural and professional contexts.

Through guided support materials, tutor guidance and forum discussion, you will examine theories and debates surrounding the production, circulation and consumption of contemporary fine art, as well as cultural perspectives and values that have shaped contemporary fine art practice. Topics for debate include issues regarding gender, modernism and postmodernism, globalisation, the media, feminism, sustainability, museology, and the implication of digitalisation in both national and global contexts.

In addition, you will write a critically reflective essay, or negotiated equivalent, which demonstrates your research and communication skills and uses conventional academic referencing. To complement your studio practice studies, this module aims to support you in further developing your repertoire of visual and critical research study skills, and the way in which they are deployed to evaluate your own art practice.

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Level 6: BA (Hons)

The emphasis at Level 6 is on building a portfolio of ambitious work in preparation for a degree exhibition. This final level will provide a framework for your development towards opportunities within the professional art world.

Study at Level 6 also includes your final degree project, which is an opportunity for you to display the extent of your knowledge and advanced skills as a visual artist. You will engage in a period of sustained creative activity and demonstrate your abilities and potential to both professional and public audiences.

Level 6 Module Descriptions

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Fine Art Practice 3A

This module encourages you to recognise the skills and knowledge you have gained during your studies, to reflect on your personal abilities, to identify successful areas of practice from Level 5 and, if appropriate, select key areas for development. You will be urged to explore new possibilities with increased risk and ambition in order to fully engage with your practice.

You will also explore the potential of communicating in inventive ways, and produce an ambitious and imaginative body of work. You will further develop your art knowledge and identify relevant emerging contexts, sites and methods of contemporary practice. You will also reflect critically on your work and select key areas on which to focus, paying close attention to conceptual coherence. You will dedicate time to considering how your work communicates and to devising an appropriate strategy for engaging with an audience.

Through dialogue with your tutor and self-reflection, this module challenges you to question your value systems and motivations, and further consider how you connect to contemporary practitioners. You will use this knowledge to make decisions about your own practice. Through forum critiques, support materials and guided research, you will further develop your ability to discuss and analyse contemporary and historical art. You will select and present work for group critiques, allowing you to enhance your understanding of use of media, as well as identify emerging contexts, sites and methods of contemporary practice.

Fine Art Degree Essay

This module gives you the opportunity to negotiate, research and present an honours degree level essay, or negotiated equivalent, that presents an in-depth critical examination of a topic relevant to your own practice. You will also consolidate, review and extend your understanding of some of the ways in which histories, theories, cultural, social, technical and ecological issues inform contemporary practice, as well as the ways they can be used as creative resources to develop and gain insight into your own practice.

In addition, the module focuses on improving your research and communication skills to a university graduate level, including academic conventions for referencing. The module aims to enhance your prospect of employment within the arts, and your ability to undertake further levels of higher education, through the consolidation and extension of knowledge, understanding and skills in research, critical analysis and communication.

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Fine Art Practice 3B

This final studio practice module supports you in developing your final degree project work and portfolio. Through course materials, one-to-one tutor dialogue and forum discussion with your peers, you are supported in the process of identifying successful areas of practice for further exploration, as well as new possibilities for investigation with increased risk and ambition. You will fully engage with your practice to produce an ambitious body of work for your degree exhibition.

Working towards your final exhibition, you will think about how your work communicates and devise appropriate strategies for engaging with public and professional audiences. Throughout the module, you will be encouraged to build on your knowledge of art and identify emerging contexts, sites, and methods of contemporary practice relevant to your own work. You will critically reflect on your work and select key areas on which to focus in order to present a conceptually coherent fine art degree project.

In this final module, you will also explore current opportunities in fine art or related careers relevant to your individual aspirations. You will produce a professional presentation of your degree portfolio work with accompanying literature and promotional material, which you will tailor to suit your choice of career context.

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Start Dates

Most of our applicants are keen to start their studies as soon as possible, so we have intakes in February, June and October. Depending on the course you choose, you may be able to start in any intake, but there could be some restrictions. You can apply directly on our website at any time for any future intake and your Admissions Advisor will be able to confirm when the next start date for your chosen course will be.

Even if you are unsure about when you would like to start, or which course is best for you, contact us and a member of our Student Recruitment Team will be able to advise you.

start dates

Entry and Portfolio Requirements

We consider all applications on an individual basis and welcome applications from those with non-standard qualifications and from a variety of backgrounds.

Education, Skills and Work Experience

With all applicants, we like to see either some evidence of previous study within art and design or visual (skill) evidence of art and design experience.

UK Applicants

For UK applicants, we require either between 240 and 260 points from GCE A Levels (or equivalent), including art related subjects, and English Language and Mathematics at grade C or above, or a relevant level of equivalent skills and experience.

International Applicants

You will normally have completed either a pre-degree course in visual arts, which may be a Foundation or equivalent course leading to a BTEC National Diploma/Certificate or equivalent international qualification.

All applicants from non-majority English speaking countries need to provide proof of English language proficiency. One of the following qualifications (or equivalent) is required:

  • GSCE English Language grade A-C
  • IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in any band)

Portfolio Guidelines

For entry to the course, we are looking for work that shows an interest in, and aptitude for, visual communication. It is often sufficient to provide a few examples that demonstrate your drawing skills, but you can also include examples of any work you have done in graphic design, illustration, photography, painting, printmaking, digital media, text based pieces, and other art and design media.

Your portfolio should show evidence of the design cycle, from generating ideas, through development, to a completed outcome. Including examples from your sketchbook or journal is a good way to showcase this. Above all, we want to see evidence of your enthusiasm for creativity and your eagerness to learn more.

For more information, please visit our Portfolio Guidelines page.

Reading and Materials Requirements

During your studies with IDI you will need access to specific pieces of equipment, which will enable you to complete your coursework. Sourcing these will be your responsibility and any costs incurred are not included in your fees. For further information about the equipment requirements, please refer to the programme Reading and Materials List.

The requirement is to have access to the materials, not necessarily to own them. For example, they may be accessed in an open access studio, media resource centre, library, StudyNet or Community Centre. Equipment and materials can be acquired as you work through the course materials, they do not necessarily have to be purchased at the start of your course and what you require may vary in quantity and range depending on the work you carry out.

If you have any problems gaining access to the equipment required, you can contact our Admissions Advisors who will be able to give you more information and answer any queries.

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Fees and Discounts


  • Our standard fees for degree level courses are £4,500 per level
  • There are three levels in a BA (Hons) degree programme
  • Fees are payable per level


From £576 per month
  • Two instalments of £2,304
    Total payment of £4,608 per level*
  • Eight instalments of £576
    Total payment of £4,608 per level*



From £288 per month
  • Four instalments of £1,152
    Total payment of £4,608 per level*
  • 16 instalments of £288
    Total payment of £4,608 per level*


*Please note these figures include a small administration fee.

Employers and self-employed student discounts

We offer a discount to employers who are supporting their employees to study with IDI. Students who are self-employed can also benefit from this discount.

We can also arrange a group price for employers who want to support a number of employees.

For details of payment options and to find out how this could benefit you and your business please contact Danielle Gray on 0131 777 9321 or Freephone 0800 917 1118 or by e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Future Finance student loans

IDI is partnered with Future Finance to offer current and prospective students on the following courses the opportunity to apply for loans:

  • All MA courses
  • All BA (Hons) courses

To find out more about fees, funding and Future Finance student loans, please click here.


Should our fees be subject to an increase at any time during your studies, your fees will be fixed at the level you paid at the start of your course, as long as you follow your original pattern of study.

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fa careers

This course will prepare you for a career as a contemporary artist, and also for a number of roles within the creative industries.

Following on from your undergraduate studies, you might want to specialise in one particular area of art and design by studying for a master’s degree. We offer awards such as MA Photography (Visual Communication) and MA Illustration (Visual Communication). You can find out more about our Postgraduate Programme in Art and Design here.

Whichever path you choose, you will have many opportunities to create a strong portfolio of fine art projects that will be an invaluable advantage when seeking employment in the art world.

Potential Careers:

  • Fine Artist
  • Creative Director
  • Teacher/Lecturer
  • Arts Administrator/Coordinator
  • Printmaker
  • Community Arts Worker
  • Museum/Gallery Assistant
  • Illustrator
  • Museum/Gallery Curator
  • Model Maker
  • Set Designer
  • Photographer


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Student Discounts and Offers

Through partnerships and initiatives, we are able to offer our students institutional discounts on various products and services to help you gain access to quality materials at an affordable fee.

Adobe Creative Cloud

As an IDI student, you would be eligible for a discount of up to 65% off Adobe Creative Cloud* on production of an approved 'Proof of Student Status' letter.

*Adobe Creative Cloud is only available in selected countries. Find out if you can gain access from where you live by clicking here.

Graphics Direct

IDI students can also receive additional discounts. Enter ‘IDI’ at the Graphics Direct checkout and you will receive an extra 10% off, even on discounted and sale items.


All of our tutors are professionals with first class educational experience. We guarantee our students a consistently high standard of tuition, guidance and support across all of the online art and design courses that we deliver.

Click on the images below to find out more about their practice and experience:

  • Joanna Kane

  • Paul Taylor

  • Sam Clark

Course Duration

The BA (Hons) Fine Art programme programme is currently available for part-time study. Subject to minimum cohort numbers, the course can also run full-time. Please contact one of our Student Recruitment Advisors to register your interest in full-time study.

  • Part-time – Completed in twelve semesters (four years)
  • Full-time – Completed in six semesters with two semester breaks (two years, eight months)
  • Accelerated full-time – Completed in six semesters (two years)

Expected minimum studying time commitment per study mode:

  • Part-time – 15 to 20 hours per week
  • Full-time – 30 hours per week

The hours per week indicate time spent on directed activities. However, you will also need to consider the additional time needed to read support materials and other resources, upload your work to the IDI-Study site, communicate with your tutors and interact with your peers within the forums.

If you begin studying and feel that the pace isn’t quite right for you, you can change your study mode within the first four weeks of study, or on completion of a level.

Advanced Entry

If you have a previous qualification in fine art or a closely related field, or extensive industry experience (at least five years), you may be considered for advanced entry onto either Level 5 or 6 of the degree programme.

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

Accredited Prior Learning (APL) is the process for accessing and recognising prior experiential learning or prior certificated learning for academic purposes. This recognition gives the learning a credit value and allows it to be counted towards the completion of a degree or other award.

Credit is the common currency of university programmes. Each course module has a credit value and these credits are accumulated towards the full award. For example, an honours degree requires 120 credits at each of Levels 4, 5 and 6.

The APL process is intended to stop learners repeating learning that they have already achieved.

There are two types of APL:

Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL)

Accredited Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) is learning that has been recognised previously by an education provider, evidenced by formal certification, and assessed and recognised for the award of credit.

If you have previously studied a course that has broadly the same learning outcomes as ones on an IDI programme, then you can apply to have these credited against your degree. However, if a qualification or credit is more than five years old, it could be considered out of date and may not be used towards a degree.

If you have international qualifications, we may ask you to provide an official document that states how your international qualification compares to UK qualifications. You are likely to have to pay for this service.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) is learning that has been achieved through experiences outside the formal education and training systems, normally associated with a working environment, which has been assessed and recognised for the award of credit by the University. It is different from formal learning, as it is often unstructured and can be more personal and individualised.

APEL applicants can develop skills, strengths and knowledge from a range of experiential learning. Please be aware that learning must be at an equivalent level to that on the modules offered on our programmes and you must be able to evidence it. This is typically done by means of a portfolio. It is usual for this to involve some sort of reflective writing about your learning, but it might involve many other forms of evidence too.

It is important to remember that it is the learning from experience rather than the learning itself that is assessed for credit and so you will need to be able to articulate this.

Making an Advanced Entry Application

When completing an application for advanced entry, you will be asked to provide evidence that you have confidently met the learning outcomes of the level(s) for which you are claiming credit. Your Admissions Advisor will help you with this

Completed applications will be submitted to our Admissions team and forwarded to the Academic Leader for review. After review, a recommended entry level will be given and you will receive feedback on your application. If your claim for Accredited Prior Learning (APL) is full or partly on Accredited Prior Experiential Learning (APEL), you will be invited to attend a viva via Skype to support your claim.

In some rare cases we can offer credits for one or more modules in a level, but this is not common or advisable, as the modules have been developed for you to benefit from the complete learning journey. There are also no payment plans in place for this situation and in most cases you will be required to pay for the full level.

If you are successful in your claim for advanced entry, you will be sent a conditional offer. This condition is based on confirmation of your claim for credits from the University of Hertfordshire’s Board of Examiners who will approve the award of credit on your student record. At this stage you will be invited to confirm your place on the course by making payment.

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