There are around 160 full-time undergraduate students at the Slade studying on either the four-year BA or the three-year BFA studio based programmes in Fine Art. The BA and BFA are of equal academic standing and have the same entrance requirements. The BA includes a history and theory of art component and an additional course chosen from another UCL department. The BFA includes a practice-based critical studies component.
Slade Undergraduate Open Day Presentation
with Peter Davies and Melanie Counsell
The practice-based element is themes around three areas: Fine Art Media, Painting and Sculpture. At the end of Term 1, students select one area. Students will initiate and develop their own programmes of work with tutorial guidance and technical support.
Workshops and seminars develop students’ skills and technical abilities, supplemented by visiting artists, contemporary art lectures and, when possible, gallery visits.
Whilst normally organised in-area, a temporary year-group structure is in place for the 2020/21 session. This will be reviewed in light of developments with the Covid pandemic.
In Years 1 and 2, BA Fine Art Students complete courses in History and Theory of Art, assessed by written assignments. In Year 3, a longer Independent Study is written. BA Fine Art students must also pass an additional subject module – a unit of study taken in another department.
BFA Fine Art students complete Critical Studies course in each year, aligned with their practice and art research.
Both BA and BFA students may apply for a period of study-abroad as part of the Slade’s exchange programme. Places are available on a competitive basis.
The BA and BFA Fine Art programmes aim to:
- develop the individual visual intelligence each student brings with them to the School
- develop in each student a critical awareness and understanding of fine art and its contexts
- provide the intellectual and practical resources to enable each student to realise his or her creative potential as a professional artist
- provide studio-centred teaching and a forum for debate through which students become increasingly professional and articulate in their questioning
The tutorial system
Each student has a personal tutor within their year group, and meets at least twice per term. One-to-one tutorials can be arranged, subject to availability, with other Slade tutors from across the undergraduate, graduate and PhD programmes.
Content-led seminars are arranged around themes, such as photography. Some are pre-organised, with some slots left empty to respond to students’ current interests. These seminars aim to relate the students practice to specific ideas and subjects to develop critical awareness.
All students will take part, both as observers and as presenters in studio crits. The crit provide a forum for students to present their work to students and tutors across all the years and subject disciplines. The aim is to relate the work to a broad context beyond the year groups and subject disciplines in which it is produced. The crit also aims to develop students' understanding of how to locate, place and present their artwork for exhibition, performance or public setting.
All Year 1 BA and BFA Students must complete the Core Programme. Led by tutors from the History and Theory of Art programme, with contribution from Critical Studies and studio staff. This provides a solid grounding from which to begin the History and Theory of Art and Critical Studies programme, in a way which is relevant to students’ practices.
Visiting Artist Programme
Each area has a programme of visitors including artists, critics and curators who give tutorials, lectures and participate in seminars. Recent visitors include: Recent visitors include: Jonathan Allen, Michael Armitage, Oreet Ashery, Stefania Batoeva, Sutapa Biswas, Holly Blakey, Maeve Brennan, Lisa Brice, Heath Bunting, Bonnie Camplin, Alice Channer, Celine Condorelli, Chen Chieh-Jen, Lewis Hammond, Than Hussein Clark, Enrico David, Siobhan Davies, Peter Doig, Kaye Donachie, Eloise Hawser, Jana Euler, Extinction Rebellion, Adham Faramawy, Azadeh Fatehrad, Denzil Forrester, Charlie Fox, Lothar Goetz, Max Haiven, Ayeesha Hameed, Mark Harris, Eloise Hawser, Lubaina Himid, Andy Holden, Marguerite Humeau, Evan Ifekoya, Tarek Lakhrissi, Joshua Leon, Rachael Jones, Isaac Julien, Samson Kambalu, Mikhail Karikis, Patrick Keiller, Ibrahim Mahama, Paul Maheke, Johnathan Meese, Rosalind Nashashibi, Harold Offeh, Isabel Mallet, Melanie Manchot, Jennifer Martin, David Medalla, Dawn Mellor, Jade Monserrat, Oscar Murillo, Ima-Abasi Okon, Heather Phillipson, Amalia Pica, Planningtorock, Candida Powell-Williams, James Pyman, Morgan Quaintance, Raju Rage, Rachel Reupke, Maggie Roberts/Orphan Drift, Prem Sahib, Larissa Sansour, Hannah Sawtell, Malik Nashad Sharpe, Tai Shani, Marianna Simnett, Alexandria Smith, Melanie Smith, Hannah Starkey, Clare Strand, Sintra Tantra, Luc Tuymans, Bedwyr Williams, Zadie Xa, Shen Xin.
The Painting Area
Tutors from the undergraduate painting aim to enable each student to pursue their ideas in and around painting in all its forms in the most committed, imaginative and experimental way. Work may manifest itself in a wide variety of different mediums and materials. Interaction with each other is an essential aspect of the painting course. One-to-one tutorials are a crucial part of the course and regular seminars and crits take place where students are encouraged to discuss and present their work to fellow students and staff. Workshops are programmed to introduce painters to stretcher-making and materials. An integral part of the course is the extensive programme of visiting artists and critics, who give tutorials and lectures and participate in seminars.
The Sculpture Area
The undergraduate sculpture academics embrace an expansive idea of sculpture towards the expression and exploration of ideas in space, using material or dematerialised processes. We encourage experimentation, invention and intervention which may incorporate object making, installation, the uses of appropriation and the found object, drawing, still and moving image, sound, text, printed matter and performance. Staff and students engage in rigorous, discursive conversation, exploring and developing the ideas generated by student activity, and the subject of sculpture and its possibilities. We consider production in its broadest sense, the contexts of space and place, audience, process, temporal and haptic encounter through the discussion of work, the contexts of art practice and relevant historical and contemporary models of thought. When permitted, field visits are made to galleries, studios, factories and sites. Technical support is provided in the use of wood, metal, plastic, ceramics, construction, casting, carving and moulding techniques, moving, still and 3D digital image, sound and printed media. For the 2020/21 session, technical workshops will operate at a reduced level and will provide Production Support service.
Fine Art Media in the BA/BFA
The undergraduate fine art media tutors encourage a diverse approach to exploring media and ideas. The area allows students to specialise and develop expertise in a chosen medium or a combination of approaches that test the boundaries and relationships of different media. Students can develop their practice through a broad range of technologies and approaches that include film, video, photography, print, electronic and digital media, drawing, performance, sound, object-making, installation and the production of texts and publications. An experimental and critical approach is encouraged and a wide range of conceptual and practical expertise is provided by staff who are practitioners specialising in the field. Technical tuition and theoretical and philosophical discourse relevant to the area are introduced to students through workshops, gallery visits and seminars, when permitted.
History and Theory of Art courses in the first two years are thematic, looking at both historical and contemporary art. They provide a grounding in histories and theories of art which contributes to students' overall development as artists and their awareness of the relevance of these critical studies to the contemporary practising artist. The programme helps students to contextualize their practice-based work and to understand and negotiate the complex relationships between making art and the ways in which contemporary and historical art is interpreted, displayed and understood. The programme takes the form of lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, written papers and, when permitted, gallery and museum visits. It is structured to encourage increasing independence of thinking and the third year Independent Study is an in-depth research project on a subject chosen by the student and developed through regular supervision. Students are expected to participate actively in the programme: reading set texts in preparation for seminars and generating discussion through informed questioning and debate. Through a range of assessed assignments, seminars, tutorials and more informal discussion, students develop and refine their skills in articulating ideas in spoken and written forms and their powers of criticism and self-criticism.
BA Fine Art students take one additional course from a vast range of options offered in other UCL departments (subject to availability), normally in their second year. This may relate to their practice-based work, for example, a course in anthropology, psychology, architecture or film, or it may provide an additional skill such as mathematics or computing. Students may apply to take an intercollegiate module at other University of London colleges.
The critical studies component of the three-year BFA Fine Art programme is integrated into the undergraduate practice-based course and the tutorial system. Students’ understanding of critical studies will be developed through their participation in lectures, seminars, workshops tutorials, and the visiting artists’ programme. Critical studies is designed to provide students with the ability to reference their work within a relevant contemporary and historical cultural context, to enable students to develop verbal, written and practical skills in relation to the development of their work and to enable them to develop effective methods for the presentation of their work. It is supported in the first year by an introductory core course into the contexts and histories of art practice and a Critical Studies course in years two and three.
Practice-based work in the BA and BFA
Students receive an annual tutorial report and present a portfolio of practice-based work for assessment at the end of each year. Students must demonstrate development of their practice, critical awareness, and their participation and contribution to the programme. These end-of-year assessments lead up to the final-year degree exam and progression to a career as a practising artist.
The degree exam contributes 80% of the final degree mark for BA Fine Art students, and 100% of the mark for BFA Fine Art students.
History and Theory of Art in the BA Fine Art
In the first year, students complete one written exercise for the Core Programme in Term 1, and one written exercise for one of the Term 2 short courses. Both essays are formative (the mark does not count towards the final degree.
In the second year, students complete one written exercise for the Term 1 course, and one written exercise for the Term 2 course. The aggregated mark of these essays contributes 10% to the final degree mark.
In the third year, students complete a longer Independent Study, supervised by a member of the History and Theory of Art team. The mark from the Independent Study contributes 10% to the final degree mark.
Through coursework, seminars, tutorials and more informal discussion, students develop and refine their skills in articulating ideas in spoken and written forms and their powers of criticism and self-criticism. The programme as a whole promotes independent research and the critical contextualisation of studio work.
Critical studies in the BFA
Critical Studies is assessed in years one and two and must be passed in order for the student to progress to the following year of the programme. Students are required to identify and articulate their works’ critical context and practical concerns by presenting a text and by making a presentation of their work at their end of their Critical Studies course.
Visit the Slade
Applicants for our undergraduate programmes are encouraged to attend one of our virtual open day events. These are scheduled for Thursday, 17 December 2020, and you can book via Eventbrite for one of following sessions:
During these events, you will be able to speak with our tutors and ask any questions that you may have. Unfortunately, we do not expect to host our usual Open Studios event in December 2020.
Application procedure for Fine Art programmes
All applications to the BA and BFA in Fine Art at the Slade must be made through UCAS by 29 January at 6.00pm (GMT).
UCAS codes UCL: U80 / BA Fine Art: W100 / BFA Fine Art: W101
All applicants are required to submit one portfolio for inspection by the entrance examiners. To provide resilience in the 2020/21 application cycle, all portfolios must be submitted electronically. Portfolios must be uploaded by 11.59pm (GMT) on Friday, 12th February 2021.
Portfolio Handling Fee
All applicants must pay an inspection fee of £15 or US$20. The handling fee is not returnable.
Once you have submitted the UCAS application, you will be sent a link to Slideroom (please note that this may take a few days, whilst UCAS transfers the application to us). Applicants should submit up to twenty images with each image no larger than 5mb. Titles should be included for each image including the date the work was made, size and materials. Applicants with time-based or performance elements to their work may include a showreel with a maximum duration time of five minutes, no larger than 500mb. We also encourage applicants to upload a short video featuring pages from sketchbooks.
Applicants must upload their portfolio to Slideroom by 11.59pm (GMT) on Friday, 12th February 2021. If you do not wish to use Slideroom, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Portfolios will be reviewed in February.
If portfolios are not sent in the specified format, they will not be viewed and your application will be rejected. Portfolios will not be viewed without payment of the Portfolio Inspection Fee. The inspection fee is not returnable.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview at the Slade. We expect interviews to take place in late February or early March. (Please note: this is being reviewed in light of UCAS's recent decision to extend the application deadline).
If you are selected for interview, you will be sent a date and time. Interviews in 2020/21 are planned to take place using Microsoft Teams, in order to provide resilience and reduce the risk of postponement or cancellation due to Covid.
The BA and BFA programmes are of equal academic standing and have the same entrance requirements.
Details of entrance requirements, including grades for international qualifications and English language requirements can be found in the UCL Prospectus.
In exceptional circumstances, a candidate who does not satisfy the published requirements may be admitted to the programme on the recommendation of the Slade Director and with the permission of the Dean of Students (Academic).
Applications from 'mature' candidates (aged 21 or over), who may not have a standard educational background, are welcome and are considered individually on their merits.
Applications for deferred entry are not normally considered.
English Language Requirement
Any applicant whose first language is not English must be able to provide recent evidence that their spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programme.
A list of all the qualifications accepted and the grades required can be found on the UCL website. The Slade requires the Standard level for the BA, BFA and Affiliate Study.
UCL’s tuition fees are set annually and cover registration, tuition and supervision for each academic year, or part of an academic year that you are enrolled. Tuition fees may be subject to an annual increase. The fee does not cover artists' or other academic materials. Current fees and further information about fee status, how to pay and living expenses can be found on the UCL Money pages.
Whilst we usually do encourage our students to visit the Slade on one of our Open Days or for our annual Open Studios event, it is not currently possible in order to maintain social distancing within our building.
Virtual open days are planned to run in the second half of the autumn term, and details, including a booking form, will be available shortly.
Please note that the studios are private working spaces and ad hoc or unplanned visits can not be arranged.
We offer two undergraduate programmes, the three-year BFA in Fine Art and the four-year BA in Fine Art. For information on programme content, please see our BA/BFA Degree and BA/BFA Admissions sections.
For further general advice about university study in the UK, UCAS provides a listing of programmes for the UK and contact details for Universities and Colleges.
Will I be able to access the studios and workshop and media facilities if the Covid pandemic is ongoing in 2021/22
In 2020/21, the Slade offered a studio allocation of specific hours to every student who was located in London. Workshops run a production service for students. Whilst we endeavour to maintain this, studios and facilities may need to close due to local outbreaks or as advised by local and national government. We hope to be able to return to our usual studio format as soon as it safe to do so.
No, we consider everyone in the same way, regardless of age.
All applications to the Slade should be made through UCAS by 29 January.
No we do not accept applications for deferred entry.
You should apply for either the BA or the BFA. For details about the difference between the two programmes, please look at the BA/BFA Degrees section above. There is not a quota for each programme, so the best candidates will be selected regardless of whether they have applied for the BA or BFA.
No, we do not accept applications through clearing.
We offer around 40 undergraduate places each year.
It is possible to transfer on to the second year of the BA in Fine Art, but applications for transfer on to the BFA are not accepted. It is not possible to transfer onto the third or fourth years of the BA. You will need to apply in the usual way through UCAS indicating that you are applying for advanced entry and giving full details of the course you have completed for your first year elsewhere. You should also indicate in your UCAS statement whether you would be prepared to be considered for entry into year 1 if the entrance examiners consider that this is more appropriate. Please note that transfers are rare as space is not usually available in year 2.
The BA and BFA programmes have the same entrance requirements. Three GCE A levels at Grades A, B, B (or equivalent) are required. In addition candidates must possess GCSEs (or the equivalent) in English Language and Mathematics at Grade C or higher and show evidence of a broad general education.
For UK-based students, UCL also requires a Modern Language GCSE at grade C or above for all of its programmes. If you are not studying a Modern Language GCSE this will not prohibit the consideration of your application. For students who do not have a Modern Language GCSE, UCL will provide opportunities to meet the language requirement once enrolled at UCL.
A range of other UK as well as international qualifications is recognised and full details can be found in the application and entry section of the UCL website.
Many applicants take a Foundation in preparation for degree study in Fine Art, but it is not an entrance requirement at the Slade. However, if you are applying directly from your high school, please bear in mind that your portfolio will be considered alongside candidates applying from Foundation Courses, and will be held to the same high academic standards.
No, we do not have a one-year accredited Foundation at the Slade, but we do run an intensive ten-week Foundation course as part of our Summer School.
My first language is not English, what qualification can I take to meet the English language entrance conditions?
If English is not your first language you must provide recent evidence that your command of the English language is adequate for you to benefit fully from the programme at the Slade. This may be either substantial education (minimum twelve months) or work experience (minimum eighteen months) conducted in English and undertaken no more than the summer two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment, or an acceptable English language qualification or test result awarded no more than two years prior to enrolment. For full details of the qualifications that are acceptable and the minimum levels required in them, please see the listed acceptable qualifications on UCL's website.
The UCL Centre for Languages & International Education offers a range of English language programmes recognised for the purpose of satisfying UCL's English language proficiency requirement.
All applicants are required to apply though UCAS and submit a portfolio for consideration by the entrance examiners. Shortlisted applicants are invited for personal interview. The selection for the programmes is made on merit and great care is taken to give every application careful individual consideration.
The content of your portfolio should reflect the work you wish to show the examiners; demonstrating a range of your skills, talents and interests. You should include recent work, and self-initiated work (non coursework). For further details see the BA/BFA Admissions section above.
The examiners will be considering the following criteria when viewing portfolios: critical awareness; depth and scope of investigation; relevant use of processes and materials; the ability to realise ideas; the ability to contribute to and participate in the course and the ability to establish a self-initiated programme of work.
Information regarding format specifications (electronic portfolios). Will be sent to you by email once you have submitted your UCAS application.
Applicants shortlisted at the Portfolio Inspection will receive an email from the Slade inviting them to interview. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified via UCAS.
No. Applicants shortlisted at the portfolio inspection are invited to attend a personal interview at the Slade with their portfolio and further work.
If you are invited for interview and are unable to attend at the time you have been given, email the person who has sent you the letter giving details as soon as possible. Alternative dates and times can only be arranged during the scheduled interview week, where space is available.
As all interviews will take place remotely this year, it is expected that all candidates will attend an interview. We shall endeavour to offer interview times convenient to candidates’ timezones; however, this cannot be guaranteed.
Successful applicants will receive an offer in writing from UCL and this will be confirmed formally by UCAS. You should respond to the offer through UCAS. Applicants who are unsuccessful at interview will be notified via UCAS.
Offers may be 'unconditional', which means that you have already satisfied the entry requirements, or 'conditional' if they are subject to you completing a course you are currently on, or passing any exams you may have pending, or on obtaining certain grades. A-level and Scottish Higher Qualifications will be communicated to UCL directly by exam boards. Other applicants with conditional offers (including an offer conditional on a Foundation course) should inform UCL Undergraduate Admissions of their results as soon as they receive them.
If you are one of the many people awaiting A Level or AS Level results and you meet the conditions of your offer your place will be confirmed by UCAS. You will also receive further information from UCL in due course.
If you do not attain the exact grades specified on your offer, you should contact us immediately. Final decisions will be taken by UCL Undergraduate Admissions and will depend upon overall numbers meeting their conditions across the university.
Academic Departments are not able to give visa advice to applicants or students. Please contact Visa advice at UCL.
UCL has a number of scholarships. To check the details and see if you are eligible to apply for any of them, please see UCL's Scholarships and Funding web page. The Slade has a number of small scholarships. These are awarded by nomination in June each year. You cannot apply for these, but all incoming students are considered for any awards for which they are eligible. The primary criterion is merit. Successful candidates will be informed by post in June. For further information, see the section on Fees and Funding.
Yes, as well as feedback and teaching which is informed by the professional 'art world' knowledge and international perspective of Slade staff, the Slade runs its own bespoke series of careers talks for all final year students, in conjunction with the UCL Careers Service. Sessions are led by Slade staff, with invited guest speakers, and cover various topics such as artist fees, pricing work, fundraising and writing successful grant applications, finding a studio, how to write press releases etc. The programme has been recognised as 'best practice' across the wider University. For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/case-studies/2017/jun/getting-students-career-ready-ucl-slade-school-fine-art.