University of Chester

Programme Specification
Fine Art Painting BA (Hons) (Single Honours)
2017 - 2018

Bachelor of Arts (Single Honours)

Fine Art Painting

Fine Art Painting

University of Chester

St Helens College

St Helens College

Town Centre Campus

St Helens

Undergraduate Modular Programme


Classroom / Laboratory,

3 years

7 Years

Annual - September




17a. Faculty

17b. Department

Arts and Humanities Art and Design

Art & Design


Art & Design

Friday 1st June 2012

The main objective of the BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting Programme is to offer students the highest quality education and learning experience in Fine Art Painting. 

The broad objectives of the BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting Programme are to:

  • Facilitate a supportive, environment that promotes an experimental, questioning ethos that stimulates and challenges the parameters of fine art painting;
  • Provide a programme of learning that allows the development and application of a combination of analytical, intellectual and conceptual skills to fully realise a personal, creative and academic identity;
  • Facilitate the opportunity to develop a distinctive and individual portfolio of fine art painting that embraces current fine art philosophy and practice;
  • Provide the opportunity to stimulate and foster aesthetic, creative and professional awareness and achieve personal learning goals through the study of fine art painting;
  • Promote a level of professional practice in preparation to meet the changing artistic environment and for further study at a higher level, on-going development through professional practice and lifelong learning.

The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, professional practical skills and transferable/key skills in the following areas; Students gain the knowledge and understanding to:

Level 4.
• be aware of and understand the major art and design movements and concepts whilst developing an appropriate vocabulary and language (L4 Module AR4906 Contextual Studies);
• recognise and select techniques, materials and processes that underpin fine art painting practice (L4 Module AR4905 Introduction to Painting);

Level 5.
• articulate and apply knowledge, philosophy and inquiry to foster higher study and research (L5 Module AR5907 Painting Critical Study);
• examine how fine art theory and methodologies underpin and reflect your understanding of the fine art painting process (L5 Module AR5907 Painting Critical Study);

Level 6.
• assemble a distinctive creative portfolio through exploration of contemporary fine art painting concepts in the development of a personal visual language and artistic identity (L6 Module AR6906 Critical Study in Context);
• formulate critical thinking and innovatory practice in fine art painting through self directed work (L6 Module AR6905 Painting Major Study).

Thinking or Cognitive Skills 

Intellectual Cognitive Skills that will enable the student to:

Level 4.
• review and discuss the major art and design movements and concepts and develop an appropriate vocabulary and language (L4 Module AR4906 Contextual Studies); 
• apply techniques, materials and processes which are employed within fine art painting practice (L4 Module AR4905  Introduction to Painting)

Level 5.
• analyse and employ concepts, proposals and solutions to self initiated activities (L5 Module AR5906 Painting Language & Identity); 
• research effectively in order to demonstrate innovative and distinctive fine art painting solutions (L5 Module AR5906 Painting Language & Identity)

Level 6.
• synthesise and formulate personal reflections and findings through interpersonal communication and within the context of scholarly activity (L6 Module AR6906 Critical Study in Context); 
• arrange and evaluate knowledge, research methods and personal attitudes in selected areas of fine art painting (L6 Module AR6906 Critical Study in Context).

Practical and professional skills that will enable students to: 

Level 4.

  • identify and make appropriate use of materials and techniques and processes (L4 Module AR4908 Drawing Process and L4 Module AR4909 Image Capture & Printmaking);
  • recognise and effectively deploy visual imagery and aesthetic language (L4 Module AR4908 Drawing Process);            
  • Level 5.
  • employ professional competence in a wide range of relevant studio and workshop techniques, materials and processes, taking into account current Health and Safety requirements (L5 Module AR5908 Career, Studio & Gallery Practice and L5 Module AR5909 Drawing Personal Development);
  • examine and appraise the global, commercial context for the fine art painter (L5 Module AR5908 Career, Studio & Gallery Practice)
  • Level 6.
  • formulate a comprehensive understanding of the work of other fine art practitioners both contemporary and historical (L6 Module AR6906 Critical Study in Context); 
  • create a personal visual language and studio practice relevant to fine art painting (L6 Module AR6905 Painting Major Study).

Communication skills that will enable students to: 

Level 4.
• identify and be aware of team roles and team work (L4 Module AR4907 Academic & Personal Development); 
• employ C & IT in the production of work (L4 Module AR4907 Academic & Personal Development)

Level 5. 
• identify personal strengths and needs and demonstrate the ability to self-evaluate and self –appraise (L5 Module AR5907 Painting Critical Study); 
• examine ideas and information in visual, verbal and written forms (L5 Module AR5907 Painting Critical Study)

Level 6.
• select and manage previously learned skills to unfamiliar and increasingly complex and unpredictable situations (L6 Module AR6907 Professional Presentation); 
• evaluate independently, set goals and demonstrate effective time management to meet deadlines (L6 Module AR6907 Professional Presentation).

Directed teaching that provides a well-balanced, progressive and sequential learning path dominates level 4. The students are actively encouraged to take a responsible and active role in their own learning. Academic & Personal Development (AR4907), Contextual Studies (AR4906) and Image Capture & Printmaking (AR4909) are taught using traditional methods supported by the aid of computing and digital technology. The Academic & Personal Development (AR4907) module will ensure that students become confident and competent in academic study while Contextual Studies (AR4906) allows the opportunity for students to make an oral presentation and achieve an understanding of presenting themselves and their work. This systematic approach of applying general principles and basic knowledge lays the foundation for the ensuing years of academic study developing the attitudes and skills needed to comprehend and evaluate the student’s own intellectual growth. Image Capture & Printmaking (AR4909) allows an opportunity to develop essential digital media and computer skills as well as supporting image making through a more graphic process suited to commercial enterprise.

At level 5, whilst the intuitive, creative and problem solving aspects of fine art education are being embraced, the methodology of good painting practice is progressively developed, along with the broadening of the mind and the intellectual pursuit of continued studies in Painting Critical Study (AR5907). This module allows the student to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to define and research a historical context and relate it to the present. Painting Language and Identity (AR5906) and Drawing Personal Development (AR5909) enable the student to experience and gain an in-depth knowledge of the subject of painting and allows the development of a highly personal, creative identity. The Career, Studio & Gallery Practice (AR5908) module enables students to understand the need to establish a safe working environment and working practices while considering the realities of professional practice through visits to exhibition spaces and studios, working on live projects and exhibiting. These modules establish and underpin the transition to independent learning.

All modules in level 6 of the programme expect students to be critically self-aware, giving themselves opportunities to empower and employ their academic, innovative, creative and technical abilities thereby demonstrating the transition to independent learning. This process is further enhanced by tutorials, which support the students in extending the boundaries of their knowledge and developing new approaches to their work, thus challenging established concepts culminating in a holistic appreciation of the regional, national and global contexts for fine art painting.

The module Professional Presentation (AR6907) provides the opportunity and challenge to enhance self -confidence, integrity and individual personality. The benefits of self and professional respect manifest themselves in presentation to peers. It enables students to grasp the fundamental aspects and knowledge of presentation forms, exhibition techniques and a variety of publicity strategies. The Critical Study in Context (AR6906) module enables students to work on an extended piece of writing which looks for a well developed, imaginative, original hypothesis, using contemporary information in an appropriately rigorous and scholarly manner. Painting Major Study (AR6905) is the articulated synthesis of learning and allows the opportunity to aspire to a lifelong career path incorporating creative and professional expertise which, as well as fulfilling ambitious personal goals, will lead also to the enrichment of society and art based industry. The module requires students to extend their intellectual and problem solving capabilities and draw upon their skills to research, develop and experiment with propositions and solutions with developing confidence and ability. Additionally this module offers the opportunity to implement previously learned knowledge, realise personal potential and achieve a professional standard of work.

Mod-Code Level Title Credit Single
AR4905 4 Introduction to Painting 40 Comp
AR4906 4 Contextual Studies 20 Comp
AR4907 4 Academic & Personal Development 20 Comp
AR4908 4 Drawing Process 20 Comp
AR4909 4 Image Capture & Printmaking 20 Comp
AR5906 5 Painting Language & Identity 40 Comp
AR5907 5 Painting Critical Study 20 Comp
AR5908 5 Career, Studio & Gallery Practice 40 Comp
AR5909 5 Drawing Personal Development 20 Comp
AR6905 6 Painting Major Study 40 Comp
AR6906 6 Critical Study in Context 40 Comp
AR6907 6 Professional Presentation 40 Comp

Level four of the programme corresponds to Framework of Higher Education Qualification (FHEQ) Certificate level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Certificate of Higher Education. A candidate who successfully completes level four will have accumulated 120 academic credit points.

Level five of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Intermediate Level 5, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Diploma of Higher Education. A candidate successfully completing level five will have accumulated 240 academic credit points. These 240 academic credit points can be carried forward cumulatively towards the award of an honours level undergraduate degree award.

Level six of the programme corresponds to FHEQ Honours Level, successful completion of which would entitle a student to an exit award of a Bachelor Degree with Honours. A candidate successfully completing level six will have accumulated 360 academic credit points.



On receipt of application, candidates will be shortlisted and the successful candidates will be invited to attend an interview with the Programme Leader, bringing with them a portfolio of work appropriately selected to support the aims of the Programme. Candidates must be able to satisfy the following general admissions requirements and minimum qualifications in addition to satisfactory completion of an interview with the Programme Leader and/or members of the Programme Team. Applicants should possess a minimum of 5 GCSE’s at grades A, B or C including English Language in addition to one or more of the following:

• A minimum of 80 UCAS points, including a grade C in Art or an Art-based subject

• The remaining points may be achieved from GCE AS Levels, or from Level 3 Key Skills  

• Successful completion of ‘A’ level study with a minimum of two subjects passed        

• Successful completion of a Btec/EDEXCEL Art & Design Foundation Programme

• BTEC National Diploma / Certificate (Art and Design): merit / distinction profile      

• Successful completion of an Advanced Diploma 

• Irish Highers / Scottish Highers: B in 4 subjects, including Art or an Art-based subject             

• International Baccalaureate: 24 points including 4 in Visual Arts             

• QAA recognised Access course, Open College Units or Open University Credits

• Please note: A BTEC National Award or the Welsh Baccalaureate (core) will be recognised in our tariff offer 

• If English is a second language, then at point of entry students should possess IELTS grade 6, TEFL or an equivalent to GCSE English qualification. 

• Qualifications deemed equivalent to the above

Points achieved through Key Skills will be acknowledged. Exceptionally, applicants whose qualifications do not conform to the standard requirements may be admitted on the basis of appropriate prior learning or experience.

Applications from candidates with special needs are also considered on a case-by-case basis.

Although entry to the programme is not dependent upon students having formal fine art painting qualifications, all students are expected to demonstrate an aptitude for painting by presenting appropriate evidence in the form of a portfolio which should include evidence of an ability to generate concepts, sound drawing skills, an inquisitive, questioning attitude to all areas of work, sound working methodologies and evidence of evaluative skills. 

Mature students and International students will be considered for admission on an individual basis. Mature students with no or few formal qualifications will be expected to show their aptitude and suitability for the programme via a portfolio of recent artwork. The interview process demonstrates the Department’s desire to meet student's aspirations individually and recognises that individuality in the nature of their artistic ambitions.

 Applications to undergraduate programmes are made through UCAS APPLY system.

A UCAS tariff score of 80 points or above is needed for entry to this programme. This reflects the level of achievement attained by the successful completion of an EDEXCEL Diploma in Foundation Studies programme at pass grade. UCAS entry profiles may be found at APL claims, (Accreditation for Prior Learning), from candidates who wish to be accredited for prior/experiential learning are carefully considered.

The Programme has been designed with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) Level Descriptors and QAA National Benchmark Statements Art and Design (QAA 238 03/08) in mind.

In accordance with the National Benchmarks for Art & Design, at the threshold standard a student's work will have been informed by aspects of professional practice in the specialist area of fine art painting. On graduating with an honours degree, students should be able to:

  • present evidence that demonstrates some ability to generate ideas independently and/or collaboratively in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity;
  • demonstrate proficiency in observation, investigation, enquiry, visualisation and/or making;   
  • develop ideas through to outcomes that confirm the student's ability to select and use materials, processes and environments;  
  • make connections between intention, process, outcome, context, and methods of dissemination.

This will also be evidenced by some knowledge and understanding of:

  •  the broad critical and contextual dimensions of the student's discipline(s);
  •  the issues which arise from the artist's or designer's relationship with audiences, clients, markets, users, consumers,   and/or participants;
  •  major developments in current and emerging media and technologies in their discipline(s);
  •  the significance of the work of other practitioners in their discipline(s).

At the threshold standard, an honours degree in art and design confirms that the holder has acquired technical knowledge and practical skills. The student will be able to:

  • use materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with the discipline(s) studied, and will be familiar with good working practices.

On graduating with an honours degree in art and design at the threshold level, students will have demonstrated that they have some ability to:

• exercise self-management skills in managing their workloads and meeting deadlines;

• accommodate change and uncertainty;

 • analyse information and experiences, and formulate reasoned arguments;

• benefit from the critical judgements of others and recognise their personal strengths and needs;

• apply interpersonal and social skills to interact with others;

• communicate ideas and information in visual, oral and written forms;

• present ideas and work to their audiences;

• apply information skills to navigate, retrieve, and manage information from a variety of sources;

 • select and employ communication and information technologies.

The introduction to the QAA 2008 National Benchmark Statement states that:

The study of art and design as an academic and intellectual pursuit develops a range of cognitive abilities related to the aesthetic, the moral, ethical and social contexts of human experience. The capacity to visualise the world from different perspectives is not only intrinsically worthwhile as a personal life skill, but is also an essential part of the human condition. The engagement in the study of art and design is therefore a commitment to improving the quality of one's own and others' cultural experiences. The manifestation of these essential human capacities has always been through the production of artefacts, often for cultural consumption. Thus the study of art and design has always provided a vocational outlet for creative endeavour. In a world that is becoming culturally more sophisticated and requires greater innovation and challenge, the cognitive abilities and practical skills of artists and designers are in increasing demand." (Section 1.11) Furthermore the section dealing with subject specific knowledge and understanding goes on to state: “An honours degree in an art & design discipline also confirms that the holder has acquired relevant technical knowledge and practical skills, and will be able to employ materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and tools associated with the discipline studied with skill and imagination while observing good working practices and professional / legal responsibilities relating to the subject.” (Section 4.5) 

The teaching team believe these statements are at the heart of the philosophy, intention and structure of the BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting Programme. Intended Learning Outcomes are clearly stated and mapped to Module aims. These are linked to performance criteria, included in assignment briefs and written into Module Handbooks. There is a comprehensive College framework for the monitoring and improvement of quality and standards in learning and teaching and these will be used, where and when appropriate.


Students on the BA Fine Art Painting programme have the opportunity to fully maximise their development through the following features:

  • All students are allocated individual, permanent work spaces.
  • A very low student to staff ratio that allow students access and direct contact with supportive staff.
  • An ‘open door’ policy that allows students excellent access to painting staff.
  • National/International study visits to cultural centres.
  • Live project work and exhibition opportunities in a public gallery space.
  • Staff Rooms are located close to teaching and technical areas. Individuals and groups of students can request meetings with the Programme Leader and Head of Department at any time.

Students arrive with varied academic backgrounds and with differing levels of experience in the creative, practical and theoretical aspects of the subject, the programme team therefore intend to ensure that all students share an underpinning of practical, theoretical and technical study that will be built on in subsequent years. Throughout the programme the principle concern is for learning to encompass individual development, intellectual challenge and development of professional capability. The BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting programme therefore intends to use a combination of lectures, seminars, group tutorials, presentations and practical based studio activities, directed and self directed learning. Overall this will develop all associated skills, impart knowledge, encourage creative exploration and begin the development of self-motivated and effective learners who know how to access and use the available resources. The balance between research, conceptual exploration, technical aptitude, intellectual growth, aesthetic awareness and the practical achievement of vocational capability with degree level qualification is the basis for the structure and format of the programme. The programme is for the most part delivered via 6 x 3 hour sessions per week. How these sessions are used will vary according to the requirements of the module content and the pedagogic strategies of the individual lecturers.

Opportunity for group work occurs in the Level 4 module Academic & Personal Development (AR4907) and Contextual Studies (AR4906) in the form of group presentations. In Level 5 students will work on a live project as members of a team, to complete a mural. Students also organise and show in a group exhibition in a public exhibition. This involves extensive planning, organising and the adoption of specific roles. The time allocation for the Programme reflects Higher Education practice in that 20 credits equal 200 hours of learning activity. Thus at Level 4 a 20 credit module comprises of a nominal 60 hours of tutor contact and 140 hours of self-directed learning activity by the student. At Level 5, 45 hours guided contact and 155 self-directed. Level 6 students have 35 hours guided and 165 hours self-directed. This is in keeping with the concept of a transition to independent learning as a student progresses through the levels of the painting programme. Tutor contact is in the form of lectures, workshops, seminars and tutorials. In addition to this, students are expected to spend the identified amounts of time in research activities, gallery visits, developing studio work and computer based activities. There is excellent accessibility to staff and this helps to ensure close co-operation between students and tutors in the development of individual learning strategies and the promotion of autonomous learning. This activity is supported by the tutorial system. Learning Outcomes are clearly stated on all Assignment Briefs and are included in all Programme Module Handbooks. Module Handbooks describe in detail assignment tasks, suggested reading, links and resources, a programme of study and a module marking scheme. The Programme provides the opportunity for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills, professional practical skills and transferable/key skills. Students are expected to actively participate in and contribute to seminars and studio sessions through critiques, presentations, debates, self analysis and constructive peer group comment upon colleagues work. Studio sessions and seminars help to engender a rapport and good working relationship between students and tutors and are vital to the monitoring of student progress in the acquisition and development of practical, evaluative and analytical skills. All pieces of practical coursework contain an element of objective evaluation and critical analysis to encourage students to investigate and examine their work as if it was that of another practitioner. This self evaluation/analysis is included in the assessment of that element of work although the coursework and modules themselves may be predominantly practical in nature.

Methods of delivery include:

  • Private study that involves sustained individual practice
  • One to one tutorials
  • Supervised studio sessions
  • Critiques
  • Seminars
  • Workshops and demonstrations
  • Contextual Journals Gallery and Museum visits
  • Presentations

The basic functions of assessment are as follows:

• Measure achievement against learning outcomes

• Measure achievement against specified assessment criteria

 • Identify student strengths and weaknesses

• Communicate written and verbal feedback to students on their progress

• Ensure national academic standards are met in comparison to other awards

Students work is assessed in order to ensure the programmes standards are met. All modules contain assessed work that is generated by an ‘Assignment Brief’. All assignment briefs will contain both evidence requirements for submission and a set of assessment criteria that explain what is being assessed. The assessment criteria will reflect the Learning Outcomes of the module and it is with these in mind that the examiner can make a judgement on an individual student’s performance. All assessed students work also needs to meet a national standard consistent with the award being offered.

ICT plays an important role in assessment. As a part of the Academic & Personal Development (AR4907) and Contextual Studies (AR4906) modules in level 4 of the Programme, all students are introduced to basic ICT skills and are expected to complete written, word processed assignment work and power point presentations for assessment. Visual software such as Photoshop is introduced in the digital element of Image Capture & Printmaking (AR4909) module. This module also involves the use of digital photography, image manipulation software and digital image scanners. It is hoped that students take responsibility for the integration of ITC into their everyday research, development and production of assignment work across all aspects of their learning. Student tutorials involve students writing up tutorial notes and emailing them to their Personal Tutor, this encourages the practice of self evaluative and analytical skills while enforcing the need for good ITC skills. The level five modules Painting Language & Identity (AR5906) and Painting Critical Study (AR5907) both demand formal, written proposals for assessment in preparation for final year study.

A 7,000 word dissertation with a 1,000 word proposal is required for assessment in level 6 module Critical Study in Context (AR6906) and an element of the Professional Presentation (AR6907) module includes a 2000 word processed evaluative statement and hand out to support an oral presentation. Students also use Powerpoint presentations in Academic & Personal Development (AR4907) and Contextual Studies (AR4906) modules.

Formative assessments occur at assessment points at the end of each semester and provide support and guidance for later summative assessments. Knowledge and understanding, professional practical skills and Transferable/Key skills are assessed by coursework. Coursework may include a variety of methods e.g. essays, journals, sketchbooks, practical portfolios, oral presentations, evaluations. Assessment is linked to assignment assessment criteria and learning outcomes.

On graduating from the Fine Art Painting Programme a typical student will be competent in the use of a range of painting and drawing related media, processes and methodologies. They will be capable and practiced in experimental, problem solving activities and possess the necessary skills and knowledge to realise a personal creative development that stimulates and challenges the parameters of fine art painting. Graduates will possess the abilities that enable the development and application of a combination of analytical, intellectual and conceptual skills to fully realise a personal, creative and academic identity. They will have developed a distinctive and individual portfolio of fine art painting that embraces current fine art philosophy and that demonstrates aesthetic, creative and professional awareness. Graduates from the painting programme will be analytical and enquiring, be able to critically evaluate, identify solutions from complex and unpredictable contexts and make informed judgements and communicate to specialist and non specialist audiences. Graduates will have developed an understanding of a complex body of knowledge, understand artistic and cultural precedents and aesthetics and will be able to confidently explain the contemporary context of their own painting practice. They will be able to review, consolidate and extend their knowledge, use initiative and be capable of sustaining critical rigour to critically evaluate material of their own and that of others. Graduates will possess the necessary problem solving skills in preparation for employment in a wide range of creative and cultural industries. Career paths such as teaching at primary, secondary, further or higher level, art therapy, curatorial roles in galleries or museums and commission work will confirm the value of embedded transferable skills. Finally, other graduates may, having achieved a level of professional practice, follow the path of professional practitioners developing and realising their own work.

Extended access is an essential part of the St Helens College mission to maximise local and regional educational opportunities. The Degree programme will have a direct link to the College’s Diploma in Foundation Studies, Access to HE and National Diploma Programmes thus providing a coherent, in house progression route dedicated to widening access. Priorities include increasing widening participation, the active promotion of life-long learning and engagement with employers. St Helens College respects diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity. The College strives to ensure that no student receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of social background, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, nationality or ethnic or national origin. St Helens College will take positive steps to eliminate discrimination, reduce the effects of past discrimination, continue the drive to increase levels of under-represented groups and promote equality in all aspects of student admissions and experiences in St Helens College. No student should be disadvantaged by unjustifiable conditions or requirements. All students of St Helens College are expected to treat each other with respect, as well as staff and visitors.

Before starting the programme, students will be provided with an induction period, in which they will be registered and enrolled onto the programme.

The first week of the programme timetable is designated as an Induction Week and should cover any issues or queries that students may have. This will include the following:

  • College registration
  • Introduction to academic and support staff
  • A detailed introduction to the programme
  • Issue of student handbooks
  • Introduction to University of Chester Principles & Guidelines
  • Explanation of credit system and assessment strategy
  • Campus tours and programme related resources
  • Library induction and membership
  • Student Services induction
  • Introduction to the Students Union and Membership.
  • Introduction to the College Careers Service
  • Informal social gathering of all staff and new students
  • Freshers' Fair
  • End of induction group and individual tutorials
  • Induction questionnaire

    Any students who feel that they require extra assistance with their studies will be guided to the Learner Support Unit. This unit can offer support for the following:

  • Dyslexia

  • Specific Learning Difficulties

  • Deafness, deafened and hard of hearing

  • Blindness or Visual Impairment

  • Learning Difficulties in General

  • Physical Disabilities

  • Mental Health issues

    There are also support mechanisms available to students for:

  • Students that are struggling academically

  • Careers Advice
  • Finance/Welfare advice and support
  • Coping with a disability or learning difficulties
  • Overseas Student Support
  • Specialist Counselling Service

Back - to previous page  Print - launches the print options panel