Fine Art and Illustration BA | Coventry University...

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Fine Art and Illustration BA (Hons) 2018/19 entry

Course code:


Study options:

3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
Flexible part-time

How to Apply

Coventry University


September 2018



Get in touch

For questions regarding study and admissions please contact us:

+44 (0) 24 7765 2152


Based firmly on studio experimentation and practice, this exciting degree exploits the synergy and crossover potential of the disciplines of fine art and illustration within a historical, professional, cultural and contemporary context, successfully blending traditional personal creative investigation with modern day commercial art.

We will encourage you to be imaginative, ambitious and resourceful, which should prepare you for the challenges of an unpredictable world. Following successful completion you should have the skills of an illustrator-artist with the creative, critical, reflective and technical skills to develop innovative, idiosyncratic and imaginative forms of visual communication.

For over 150 years, our creative community has played a major role in shaping cultural, political and social lives all over the world. Our graduates have won animation Oscars, Turner Prizes in portraiture, Academy Award nominations, Penguin book cover prizes, D&AD and Sky Arts awards. Some of our academic staff of this course in the past have exhibited at the Prague Biennale, the Royal Academy of Arts, Kwangju Biennale in South Korea and the Conflux Festival in New York and their work can be found in collections such as the Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Britain, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum Beelden aan Zee in the Netherlands.

Why Coventry University?

An award-winning university, we are committed to providing our students with the best possible experience. We continue to invest in both our facilities and our innovative approach to education. Our students benefit from industry-relevant teaching, and resources and support designed to help them succeed. These range from our modern library and computing facilities to dedicated careers advice and our impressive Students’ Union activities.

Global ready

An international outlook, with global opportunities


Career-ready graduates, with the skills to succeed

Teaching Excellence

Taught by lecturers who are experts in their field

Course essentials

A degree which offers you more, at no extra cost

Accreditation and Professional Recognition

This course is recognised by the following bodies:

Association of Illustrators

As current practitioners and researchers, our staff are fully engaged with the creative industries and broader art profession. The course has membership of the Association of Illustrators, one of our tutors is a member of Steering Committee for the National Association for Fine Art Education (NAFAE), while Graham Chorlton is a named painter on both the GCSE and A level syllabus.

What our students say...

The course allowed me to experience two different sides of the art world that complemented each other and proved to be the perfect course for me.

Patrick Simkins, BA (Hons) Fine Art and Illustration, graduated with a first in 2008, now Artist and Illustrator at P.Simkins Art

Course information

Designed with the modern-day artist in mind, this course will let you experience and gain essential skills and knowledge in two distinct art disciplines, while exploring new and exciting ways of combining techniques from both to create a body of work that is truly distinctive.

We focus on providing you with the support to find your unique creative voice, so that you can develop an amazing body of work to demonstrate your subject matter and individual identity to greatest effect. We will also teach you what to do with that work in order to pursue a successful career in the arts via a series of business and marketing workshops in your final year. These provide a thorough understanding of topics such as branding and presentation, marketing and social media, commissions and pricing, exhibiting, legal issues and ethics.

Contemporary fine art practice incorporates a range of approaches, modern and traditional, autobiographical and personal, issues or research-driven. You should consider these throughout your studies, as well as the wider social, political and cultural debates that inform and enrich art, your own and that of others.


of students agree that our staff are good at explaining things

Course specification
Download PDF (101Kb)



The first year will concentrate on developing your drawing, painting, sculpting and idea generation skills with some brief-driven work. These are intended to enable you to become more self-directed in your studies, more readily able to identify and deepen personal interests and concerns. You will complete the year by having the opportunity to design an exhibition of your work with your peers, building your knowledge of the professional realm of art practice.


  • Fine Art and Illustration Introductions 1

  • Studio Practice 1

  • Contextual Introductions

  • Contextual and Professional Introductions


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


In the second year, we aim to continue to support you in your creative development, considering your creative practice in relation to sites, situations, locations and contexts of display and experience. You will be introduced to industry inspired briefs as well as ‘real client’ briefs, which could take the form of commissions, exhibitions or competition briefs. For example, one recent project tasked the students with creating a live theatre poster with three winners chosen for publication, while another involved a street artist visiting us and hosting a live art battle event with the winning students painting a mural with the artist.

As you work your way towards your final year, you will be encouraged to consider the larger themes, histories and ideas that contextualise the production and reception of your work. You will be encouraged to become cognisant with current trends and debates, such as post-disciplinary art forms and digital practices.


  • Fine Art Explorations 1

  • Studio Practice 2

  • Contextual Explorations

  • Contextual and Professional Explorations


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


After your second year, you have an opportunity to undertake a sandwich year studying abroad or on professional placement. In the past, students have visited Universidad Europea de Madrid in Spain and Leibniz University of Hanover, Germany.


  • Study Abroad

  • Professional Placement


You should aim to be working independently by the third year, exploring individual or collaborative interests to produce self-initiated art projects. You should focus on creating a professional body of work, aimed towards your chosen career path, by working with subject specialists to create bespoke projects best suited to your needs.


  • External Practice

  • Major Project

  • Contextual Studies Consolidations


The focus on preparing students for successful futures sets Coventry apart as a university.

The Add+vantage modules teach a range of work experience and extra-curricular activities that are taken each year, and broaden students knowledge and skills within a work focused environment. There is a very wide range of Add+vantage free-choice subject areas, and they are arranged in themes.


Our Design and Crafts courses are ranked 12th in the UK by Guardian University Guide 2018

In more detail...

  • Workshop facilities for print, wood, metalwork, photo-studio, ceramic, laser cutting and computer labs.
  • Ranked one of the 30 best universities in the UK for ‘Art and Design’ in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016.
  • Optional study trips at home and abroad, in the past to London, Liverpool, Birmingham, New York, Berlin, Madrid and the Venice Biennale.
  • Opportunities to show your work regularly – past students have exhibited at New Blood, Free Range and New Designers exhibitions in London
  • Strong track record of graduate employability – 93% of Fine Art students were in work or continuing their studies six months after graduation (DLHE 2014/15.)
  • Access to specialist photographic and media resources, including digital audio recorders and manual/digital still/video cameras via our dedicated Media Loan Shop.
  • Strong track record of student success in a range of competitions, including the D&AD Awards, the Macmillan Prize for Children’s Picture Book Illustration, Creative Conscience and YCN.
  • A thriving studio culture with dedicated workspaces for all students in purpose-built studios with permanent exhibition displays, supported by wide-ranging technical facilities in both traditional and new technologies.
  • Impressive guest lecture programme, which in the past has featured talks from: Simon Pope, Jane and Louise Wilson, John Stezaker, Peta Murphy Burke, Terry Atkinson, Merlin James, Harry Pye, Zineb Sedira, Bob & Roberta Smith, Thompson & Craighead, Michael Mayhew and Graham Crowley.

The opportunity to go on trips to a number of historical and contemporary museums and galleries which in the past have included: Tate Modern and the Saatchi Gallery.

Your main study themes are:

  • Fine art & illustration: This course introduces you to the principles of managing and developing a fine art studio practice, as well as exploring core concepts embedded within the discipline of illustration. You will initially engage in the subjects as separate entities, while you form an understanding and appreciation of the values aligned within the two disciplines, acquiring the knowledge and practical skills required to develop a strong idiosyncratic approach to both through varied media outlets in an historical, professional and contemporary context. You will have the opportunity to learn through a series of practical workshops, including traditional and experimental observational drawing, creative thinking, printmaking, painting, sculpture, lens-based media and essential computer software. You will be encouraged to develop a visual vocabulary through experimentation and appreciate the importance of context and precedence in the evaluation of your own work, that of your peers and of nationally/internationally recognised practitioners.

  • Studio Practice: You will have the opportunity to be taught how to relate your developing skills to a range of historical, cultural and practice-based themes as relevant to the illustration discipline in its broadest sense. Working on project briefs, live, competition, self-initiated or concept visualisation briefs, you will be expected to maintain an exploratory and experimental approach in an increasingly self-directed environment that addresses scientific, technical, narrative and cultural themes. Emphasis will be on ideas generation, encouraging you to formulate solutions, professionally, articulately and within strict deadlines. We will address specific core skills, such as measured perspective drawing and the image-to-text relationship. You will be expected to develop appropriate levels of negotiation, reflection, technical and visual research and ideas development together with growing awareness of professional practice. The projects will provide a professional experience of issues including scheduling, turnaround times, verbal and visual presentation, budgeting and meeting the expectations of clients and contractors.

  • Art in context: We consider the theoretical, professional and historical frameworks that underpin the visual arts. You will begin by examining the history of art from the Renaissance to the early 20th century and will have the opportunity to analyse the relationship of art and illustration to audiences and critics, building your own confidence in critiquing visual arts and expressing your opinions. We will introduce you to professional contexts for showing work and the many roles that exist to support the making, critiquing, exhibiting and disseminating of work. You will have the opportunity to test out and explore your conceptual understanding and practical skills relating to writing, curatorial and educational roles, putting theory into practice with a ‘live’ end-of-year exhibition. From the second year of the course, we switch to a more in-depth study of contemporary fine art and illustration practices, examining a broad range of work by contemporary practitioners. Students will be expected to develop their research ability and engage with relevant debates.

  • Art consolidations: Through the development and consolidation of a self-directed studio and professional practice enquiry, you should begin to identify your own specific practice within the context of fine art and illustration, extending and developing your ideas and approaches in a unique, explorative context. You will work in response to briefs, write self-initiated projects and propose external opportunities such as competitions, exhibitions, performance or public artwork. Through tutorials and studio critiques, you will be able to discuss ideas, strategies and methodologies with staff and students. During the final year of your degree, having already outlined your creative intentions, we aim to strongly engage you in studio practice, honing your creative identity, revising and developing your ideas in preparation for the final degree show. 

The course can be studied full-time over three years and part-time over six years, starting in September. You have the option of extending your studies by a year and undertaking study abroad or a professional placement.

The course is essentially studio-based, although in trying to strike a productive balance between traditional and emerging modes, you may be encouraged to use some of the University’s specialist digital and media resources.

We aim to draw on a range of creative sources help you to formulate ideas, discuss and revise your work effectively and quickly. For example, case studies will be used to offer insight into the impact of social, cultural and political contexts which affect illustration and related practices. In the second year, you have to create your own social movement, which involves picking a subject and creating both online and physical projects in reaction to the movement.

During tutorials and studio critiques, you will be asked to discuss ideas, strategies and methodologies with staff and fellow students adapting and developing your approaches in the light of this dialogue, at the same time enhancing your interpersonal skills, work ethic and methods of self-evaluation and critical reflection. Through a menu of technical workshops, you should be able to acquire introductory skills in printmaking, sculptural processes and digital imaging, as well as being inducted into safe working practices within the studio and various workstations.  

Individual work will take the form of a series of briefs and self-initiated projects modelled on current professional and creative practice and will culminate in a body of work that reflects a resolved and focused application of ideas. Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to produce a number of artefacts and installations, resulting in a body of realised creative outcomes which make reference to contemporary fine art practice, whilst embodying a personal and authored vision. Within supporting log books, sketchbooks and through discussion, you will be expected to evaluate, analyse and contextualise your work.

You will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of exhibiting your work. For example, in your second year, you will be responsible, with staff support, for planning and putting on an exhibition of work by the whole year group, including all aspects of exhibition making and publicising an exhibition.

During your course of study, you will have opportunities to visit major art events, museums and galleries across the UK – in the past, we have made visits to see Xany specific exhibitions to mention, as venues already mentioned previously. As well as a regular series of professional artist presentations though FACETS (the Fine Art at Coventry Talk Series), we are also participating in the AA2A (Artists Access to Art Colleges) project, a national initiative providing residencies to visual artists and designers, which enables students to work alongside and interact with them. We currently have four artists with us, who will be giving talks and showing work throughout the year.

You will be assessed on the evidence of practical work throughout your course. You will accrue marks on each module in relation to clearly defined learning outcomes. You will receive verbal and written feedback in each case. Subject specialists, who will be available to feedback once you have received your grade, will assess you.

Practical coursework will be assessed by how well it fulfils the module assessment requirements.

An estimated percentage breakdown of how your final grade is assessed is as follows:

  • Practical coursework: 70%
  • Essays/reports: 20%
  • Presentations: 10%

In order to achieve the award of Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a student must satisfy the University requirements of 360 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.

70% assessed by practical coursework

On successful completion, you should have learned:

  • Fine art and illustration fundamentals and their connection to creative endeavours in other disciplines.
  • The factors that prompt a body of work to coalesce.
  • The significance of contextual study and theoretical discourse.
  • Research strategies and methods that bolster your practice and its relevance.
  • Requisite awareness of entrepreneurial and career opportunities.

On successful completion, you should know how to:

  • Generate individual and innovative responses to briefs and constraints, demonstrating harmonious conceptual, technical and material development into a personal style.
  • Process complex and possibly contradictory information and/or ideas, clarify and explain complex and ambiguous issues for specific audiences/purposes, observing academic protocols where necessary.
  • Use a range of specialist media productively.
  • Manage digital files competently.
  • Produce a coherent and representative body of work.
  • Present and/or exhibit their work expertly and professionally.
  • Apply workshop and health and safety instruction intelligently.

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 16 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 1 hour of small group or individually guided work and 12 allocated hours of studio time.
  • Medium group teaching: 2 hours of seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: 1 hour of lectures each week.

In addition, you will be expected to work on your coursework assignments as self-directed study for a further 20 hours per week.

Our teaching is underpinned by a worldview of contemporary art; this is reflected strongly in the course curriculum what examples of course content from a global perspective? Any international themes/topics covered on course that we could mention in more detail?

You will study alongside students and staff from many different countries, enhancing your global perspective and intercultural competence. Each year we also offer study trips abroad, previously to Berlin, Paris, Prague and China.

You will be given opportunities to engage with international students throughout the world, working on Online International Learning (OIL) projects. 

Global ready

Did you know we help more students travel internationally than any other UK university according to data from the experts in higher education data and analysis, HESA?

In 2015/16, we were able to provide a total of 2101 experiences abroad that lasted at least five days, 76% of which were our own organised trips for undergraduates and 23% from postgraduate travel.

Much of this travel is made possible through our Global Leaders Programme, which enables students to prepare for the challenges of the global employment market, as well as strengthening and developing their broader personal and professional skills.

Explore our international experiences

1st for

international experiences

Sending more students overseas than any other UK uni


Student experiences

The number of student trips abroad for at least 5 days in 2015/16


and counting

The number of students we’ve helped travel internationally so far


global programmes

As well as trips, we offer other opportunities like language courses

What our students say...

The course allowed me to experience two different sides of the art world that complemented each other and proved to be the perfect course for me.

Patrick Simkins, BA (Hons) Fine Art and Illustration, graduated with a first in 2008, now Artist and Illustrator at P.Simkins Art

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: AHU005
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC to include at least one Art or Design subject. DMM in an Art or Design subject. 29 points to include visual arts or design technology at higher level. Minimum 5 GCSEs at grade A*-C including English or specified equivalents.


You may be required to submit a portfolio/show reel/written work (as appropriate for the particular course) and you may be asked to attend an interview if it is practical to arrange.


A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Foundation Diploma

Merit in Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.

Access Diplomas

A pass in the Access Diploma, plus GCSE English Language at grade A*-C, or a specified equivalent.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires an IELTS of 6.0 overall. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

English as a Foreign Language This course requires an IELTS of 6.0 overall. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Our International Student Hub offers information on entry requirements for your country, as well as contact details for agents and representatives should you need more advice.

More detail

Unconditional offers

We want to recruit the best students to Coventry and having assessed applicants' past, current and predicted performance and commitment to the course we feel that it is appropriate to reward consistently high-achieving students with an unconditional offer from a top university. It is a commitment from us with regard to an applicants’ potential as an excellent undergraduate and we hope that this will encourage such applicants to join the Coventry community.

Personal statements and references will also be taken into account and, for some degree courses, an interview will form part of the assessment. The criteria for unconditional offers will vary across the University as entry requirements for specific courses differ and not all degree courses will be taking part in the Scheme. The unconditional offer will be confirmed once a selected applicant has made Coventry their firm choice.

Coventry University has assessed that you are capable of achieving excellent grades and we have demonstrated this belief by making you an unconditional offer. This is our commitment to you so then we ask that you reciprocate this commitment by selecting us as your ‘firm’ choice and activating your unconditional offer.

We will consider other qualifications for a pre-result unconditional offer providing that you have an appropriate proven performance at GCSE (or equivalent) level and predicted grades in line with grades that we expect to see at A-level. Other qualifications that we may consider for a pre-result unconditional offer include: the International Baccalaureate Diploma, BTEC Level 3 qualifications, Cambridge Pre-U and combinations of qualifications (e.g. BTECS plus A-levels).

An unconditional offer is what it says it is. So if you don’t meet your predictions then your place at Coventry is still guaranteed. However we would hope and expect that you continue to work hard to make the most of your potential and be best prepared to study at university level.

We can’t but our experience over the years has shown us that students like you with a track record of high grades and excellent predictions are very likely to achieve those grades. Our assessment takes into account all elements of your application to allow us to take a holistic view of your potential. There is still the opportunity to gain one of the Coventry University Scholarships if you achieve the required grades so there is a financial incentive to aim high. Unconditional offers are only made to individuals who have demonstrated their commitment so we believe their focus and determination is unlikely to waver in the final stages of their qualifications.

No, the unconditional offer is only available to those who will take up their place in 2017.

What our students say...

The course has allowed me to experience two different sides of the art world that have complemented each other and proved to be the perfect course for me.

Patrick Simkins

Tuition Fees

We pride ourselves on offering competitive tuition fees which we review on an annual basis and offer a wide range of scholarships to support students with their studies. Course fees are calculated on the basis of what it costs to teach each course and we aim for total financial transparency.

For more information, please visit our Finance pages.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


If you're a truly outstanding undergraduate candidate we may be able to offer you a Coventry University Scholarship.

Coventry University Scholarships are awarded to recognise truly exceptional sports achievement and academic excellence.



September 2018

£9,250 (per year)


For the September 2017 and January 2018 intakes, we're investing £1 million into scholarships for high achieving and enterprising students.

Our scholarships are worth up to £10,000 and every student that applies will be considered. Fulfil your potential this academic year with Coventry University!



September 2018

£14,850 (per year)

Course essentials at no extra cost

We're committed to communicating study costs clearly to make sure you're not faced with having to make any unexpected payments.

This is why our ‘Flying Start’ package provides you with a few course essentials. Your full-time fee for an undergraduate degree will cover the following:

UK field trips

Any mandatory site visits and trips within the United Kingdom.

Key material

This can include core textbooks, software and equipment.

Laser prints

1,000 A4 sides of black and white laser printing credits per year.

Optional year

Pay no tuition fees for optional work placements or study abroad trips.

What our students say...

The course has allowed me to experience two different sides of the art world that have complemented each other and proved to be the perfect course for me.

Patrick Simkins

Career prospects

Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to produce professional outputs which can be exhibited in public and used to target publishers, agents, media organisations, competitions and potential employers.

There are a vast number of career paths that can emerge from a degree in Fine Art and Illustration, for example, our students increasingly adopt a portfolio approach to their careers, working on a freelance or commissioned basis. They have gone on to work as practising artists, freelance illustrators, gallery curators, designers and teachers. Patrick Simkins, now a freelance artist himself, went on to work as an official ‘BT Storyteller’ artist for the London Olympics and Paralympic Games very soon after graduating.

We aim to teach you the skills to develop independent thought, innovation, imagination, critical reflection and confidence in your practice, as well as transferrable skills suitable for employment across the full breadth of the creative industries. Whether your career goals include publishing or exhibiting, working for clients or as a self-sufficient artist or all of them – you should be able to apply your skills in a variety of contexts and do so with confidence.

Where our graduates work

Some of our graduates have progressed to postgraduate study here on our suite of MA courses, while others have attended a range of institutions including the Royal College of Art, Chelsea College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Warwick University and the Slade School of Fine Art to name just a few.


Our graduates earn an average salary of £20,000 six months after the course (DHLE 2014/15)

What our alumni say

The course allowed me to experience two different sides of the art world that complemented each other and proved to be the perfect course for me.

Patrick Simkins, BA (Hons) Fine Art and Illustration, graduated with a first in 2008, now Artist and Illustrator at P.Simkins Art

By accepting your offer of a place with us, a Student Contract (“the Contract”) will be formed between you and the University. The Contract will detail all of your rights and also the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and will also contain all of the obligations that the University owes to you.  We would encourage you to read the Student Contract before you accept any offer of a place at the University. A copy of the Contract can be found here.

The tuition fees stated on the course webpage, prospectus and your offer letter will apply for the duration of your course, subject only to changes to the law or government requirement.

*Due to a delay in the UK Government's announcement of the Retail Price Index, the University is unable to set its fees for entrants in 2018 at this stage. Please note that we set fees for individual courses, and fees from previous years are no indication of fees for future years.