Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Female student working

This degree combines fine art studio practice with contemporary philosophy and cultural theory, preparing you to be a critically aware artist/thinker. 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.

You’ll initiate and organise curated exhibitions and events to develop both your practice and your ability to connect your practice with contemporary culture.

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 facilities

The School has excellent facilities and resources. You'll work in 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 audio production, video editing, animation and image manipulation;
  • printmaking workshops for etching, relief and screen printing;
  • a photography darkroom for film developing and printing;
  • a woodworking and casting area;
  • digital and 3D printing.

In addition to the wide range of museums and galleries in the city and beyond, the University campus features:

The University Library offers online books, journals and databases, has a wealth of archive material in its Special Collections, including manuscript, archive and early printed material, and provides a range of spaces for individual study or group work. You’ll also benefit from access to Box of Broadcasts, an archive of over 2 million TV and radio broadcasts.

Course details

From the start of the course, you are encouraged to find your own direction as an artist.

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.

During term time, we invite arts practitioners from around the world to talk to our Fine Art students. The Visiting Artists Talks provide an excellent opportunity to engage with national and international contemporary artists, art writers and curators.

Year 1

The ‘Studio Work’ module allows you to 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.

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 individual practice, which will be explored and developed throughout the year.

Year 3

You’ll consolidate your individual practices, which will culminate in planning and organising a curated exhibition and public degree show. You have full authorship of this project where you can apply your artistic and professional skills as you interact with your fellow students, outside agencies, sponsors and the media.

This will be supported by applying your research and critical skills to 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 will complement and support these projects with a choice of optional modules.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

For more information and a full list of typical modules available on this course, please read Fine Art with Contemporary Cultural Theory BA in the course catalogue

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Introduction to Cultural Analysis 1 20
Introduction to Cultural Analysis II 20
Introduction to Studio Work 30
Studio Work 2 30

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Cultural History 20
Approaches to Living Histories and Heritage 20

Year 1 discovery modules

You may study discovery modules.

Year 2 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Studio Work 60
Keywords 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
The New York School 20
The Wanderers. Critical Realism in Nineteenth Century Russia 20
Seeing in Asia 20
Showing Asia 20
Live Issues and Contemporary Art Practice 20
The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings 20
The Avant Gardes 20
Developing Your Professional Identity: Preparing for a Career in Within The Arts, Heritage and Creative Industries 20
Students Into Schools (Arts Humanities and Culture) 20

Year 2 discovery modules

You may study discovery modules.

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Dissertation 40
Studio Work 60

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
From Trauma to Cultural Memory: The Unfinished Business of Representation and the Holocaust 20
Cultural Diversity in Museum and Material Culture - Case Study 20
Antique Dealers: The Market for 'Decorative Art' from Curiosities to Retro 20
Africa and the Atlantic World: History, Historiography and the Visual Arts 20
Movies, Migrants and Diasporas 20

Year 3 discovery modules

You may study discovery modules.

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

Studio tutors are practising artists, writers and curators who are contributing to national and international exhibitions and publications. Their research informs and contextualises your learning and teaching.

This course combines studio, exhibition and curatorial work with lectures, seminars, screenings, tutorials, workshops and visits. You’ll also be encouraged to attend talks by nationally and internationally renowned visiting artists and creative practitioners, as well as attending workshops, exhibition openings, conferences both on and off campus.

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.

We encourage you to carry out small research projects on your own or in groups. The final year dissertation enables you to undertake substantial independent research in a topic of particular interest to you.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


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.

The University Library offers a free classes and resources on topics such as exam technique, public speaking, research and structuring essays throughout your degree.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB – ABB

Other course specific tests:

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.

Alternative qualification

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.



Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 to D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

34-35 points overall including 16 at Higher Level with 4 in English

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 to H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers TO AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR AAAABB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 75-80% overall.

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

Alternative entry

We’re 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.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB at A Level and pass Access to Leeds.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

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
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll 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.

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.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re 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

Due to the ongoing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, our usual admissions procedures are currently under review and subject to changes which will make them Covid secure. Information on the revised selection procedures will be issued shortly. If you have any concerns or question in the meantime, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office by email

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Contact us

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies Undergraduate Admissions


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.

Some of our graduates have gone onto postgraduate study and some have completed PhDs and are teaching in higher education institutions around the world.

The School is committed to helping you achieve your career ambitions - you'll be able to work closely with staff in the School to source opportunities throughout your degree to gain experience, develop your skills and build networks.

The optional study abroad or work placement year offer opportunities to gain transferable skills, develop your experience and build your networks.

The Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures offers a number of paid internships every year too.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s 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 about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners 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.

Student profile: Daniel Cole

When choosing an institution that would best prepare me for the art world, I became aware of the diversity that Leeds offers, providing diverse facets of culture coupled with a rich history.
Daniel Cole, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
Find out more about Daniel Cole's time at Leeds