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Students looking at art and design pictures in studio

Art and Design

Undergraduate Pathway in Art and Design

Birmingham City University (BCU) is walking distance from Birmingham’s Creative Quarter – home to art galleries and studios, countless street murals, and an annual film festival.

Enjoy industry-standard facilities at the historical School of Art: print, wood, metal, ceramics and glass workshops, a specialist arts library and public exhibition space.

BCU is ranked 1st in the UK for Photography and 21st for Graphic Design (The Guardian 2024).


  • Two or three semesters


  • September
  • January
  • May

Entry Points

  • Foundation

Progression Degrees

BA (Hons) Art and Design

You will study in an experimental studio environment and develop creative skills that will help you map out your future in the creative industries. You will respond to live briefs set by real-life clients, with the opportunity to improve your digital skills.

Find out more: BA (Hons) Art and Design

BA (Hons) Fine Art

This degree embraces traditional making skills, such as:

  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Sculpture
  • Installation
  • Digital media.

With encouragement to blend these skills in specialist studios and workshops, you will learn how to navigate the changing face of the creative industries.

Find out more: BA (Hons) Fine Art

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

You’ll develop a variety of design approaches and creative problem-solving techniques, giving you the resilience to succeed as a graphic designer. You will adopt a multidisciplinary approach, exploring the following areas:

  • Branding
  • Packaging
  • Motion design
  • Editorial
  • Typography
  • UX/UI
  • VR/AR
  • 3D rendering.

Find out more: BA (Hons) Graphic Design

BA (Hons) Illustration

If you have a passion for image-making and illustration, this degree will give you the skills to capture and communicate ideas through pictures. You will be encouraged to find your visual voice through experimenting, risk-taking and critical reflection.

Find out more: BA (Hons) Illustration

BA (Hons) Photography

This degree will help you develop a creative, professional identity and signature style by combining technique, theory, and experimentation. You will explore the following photographic practice:

  • Fashion
  • Documentary
  • Portrait
  • Moving image
  • Landscape
  • Fine art.

Find out more: BA (Hons) Photography

Birmingham City University School of Art campus tour

Programme Details

Foundation Modules

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication*

Throughout this module, you will learn the academic skills needed for success at a UK university, such as:

  • Time management
  • Public speaking techniques
  • Appropriate language styles
  • Professional communication and presentation
  • Researching and referencing techniques.

Creative Workshop*

During this module, you will develop and demonstrate imaginative and flexible approaches to different art and design techniques. You will develop your ideas within the creative studio environment.

Critical Thinking*

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of critical thinking. You will learn how to examine and comment on components of an argument, so that you can develop a structured and analytical response.

Extended Media Experimentation

You will explore your own ideas while experimenting with processes and techniques and discovering the characteristics and properties of selected media.

Information Researching, Recording and Responding in Art & Design

During this module, you will learn how to undertake in-depth research while exploring many ways to record your findings. You will also learn how to respond to problems, enabling you to develop your skills, self-confidence and studio practice.

Interactive Learning Skills and Communication & Preparation and Progression in Art and Design

This module will cover topics including:

  • Understanding cultural and gender differences
  • Methods for planning, preparing and producing a major art and design project
  • Preparing for exhibition.

Knowledge & Understanding of Creative Practice in Art & Design

You will develop an understanding of contemporary, cultural, social and historical contexts in art and design. This will help you develop your creative practice and make informed decisions about your pathway choices.

Mass Communication*

This module will introduce you to the core concepts and principles relevant to mass communications, including some of the major theories.

Media Experimentation in Art and Design

You will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of media – experimenting with both traditional and contemporary processes and techniques. You will gain an understanding of the potential and limitations of media, using critical review and reflection in the planning and development of your own ideas.

Personal Combined Experimental Studies in Art & Design

This module will cover topics including:

  • Reviewing and reflecting on your own work
  • Challenging previous thoughts, ideas and beliefs
  • Health and safety requirements
  • Record-keeping.

* Additional four modules in the three-semester programme

Entry Requirements

In addition to GCSE Maths and English or equivalent at grade C/4 or above, you must submit a good portfolio if:

  • You are entering the two-semester programme without a related academic subject
  • You are entering the three-semester programme.

Workshop Requirements

All students accessing the 3D workshops, plaster room, glass room, water-jet cutting room and the kiln room will need to wear safety footwear with toe caps. Such footwear can be purchased from any safety footwear provider (e.g. Sports Direct) and can be as cheap as £12. The shoes should be S1P and comply with EN 20345.

There is no long-term storage facility for personal items in the workshops, so you will need to bring the safety footwear with you each day you are accessing the workshops.

Career Prospects

  • Art Therapist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Fine Artist
  • Illustrator
  • Freelance Photographer

Industry-standard Facilities

Birmingham School of Art is based at the heart of the city centre, just round the corner from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Take a look at where you will be studying and the facilities available to you.

Our Facilities – School of Art
Student working on their portfolio

Art Support

Want to study Art and Design but don’t yet have a portfolio of work? Check out our Art Support Hub, where you can access:

  • Taster videos on working with materials such as craft wire and salt dough
  • A virtual tour of our latest in-college Art Exhibition
  • Inspiring stories of BCUIC student success in the creative industries.
Explore our Resources
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