BA (Hons) Visual Arts (Top-up)

Start date(s):
13 Sep 2021
1 year
Level 6
Credit Value:
Course Code:
Study Mode:
Full Time
Attendance Type:
Attendance Pattern:
Framwellgate Moor Campus
Course costs:
This programme is validated by Open University


Course details may be subject to change

Explore visual art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts, printmaking, and photography, and gain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a career in this exciting industry.

You will learn through creative studio based activities, leading to negotiated imaginative outcomes, alongside self-initiated briefs, ensuring you can focus on the development of your personal style and portfolio.

One-to-one tuition, group tutorials and critiques in a practical, academic and pastoral capacity will form the basis of your time in college. Small group sizes ensure access to mixed media spaces and industry standard Apple Mac resources for personal and professional development.

Experience Higher Education

We offer a wide range of degrees, higher apprenticeships and professional qualifications.  Find out how our flexible higher education programmes have progressed the career of our ex-students!

Art room

Take a tour around our Art & Design facilities

Our students have access to spacious Art rooms, studio spaces, print rooms, Mac suites, and specialist equipment. 


HE Graphic Design

Amsterdam Trip Inspires Art and Graphic Design Students

Students from FdA Visual Arts and FdA Graphic Design visited Amsterdam.

Amy-Rose Welch - Lumiere PR

Visual arts student produces a winning design

FdA Visual Arts student wins competition to have her design displayed as an installation at this year’s Lumiere festival.

HE Visual Arts

New partnership with the Wood Pile Durham

We have formed a new partnership with the Wood Pile to ensure our students get adequate work experience opportunities.


  • To encourage the development of professional, innovative and creative outcomes in a supportive work-related learning environment.
  • To engage you in academic activities and negotiated projects, as simulated or live client briefs, underpinned by personalised learning and individual focus.
  • To promote engagement in industry focussed work, supporting the acquisition of professional skills relevant to employment or self-employment opportunities within the creative industries.


You will study the following three modules:
  1. Professional Context: Synthesise professional visual arts skills through creative activity centred on self-promotion and creative portfolio building to support progression into a visual arts career or further study.
  2. Visual Arts Research Study: Self-initiated and creatively designed in-depth research study on a topic of your choice.
  3. Final Major Project: Set your own self-initiated final major project(s) focussed on enhancing your personal style, opportunity for freelance, live work and work placements.

Time commitment

Average number of hours per week

Independent Learning


9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm
*Days and times of study are subject to change. Timetables are confirmed at the start of term.

Teaching & assessment

A range of teaching, learning and assessment strategies are incorporated into the programme and are appropriate for those studying at Level 6.

Personal Tutor System
A comprehensive personal tutor system is in place to make sure you have a direct personal contact with an individual member of the course team, to discuss academic and personal matters relevant to your learning. You will be allocated a personal tutor when first registering to the course.

Academic Support
In addition to support from your personal tutor, you will receive academic support from your module tutors. Support is given via tutorials at set intervals during the academic year and there is likely to be opportunity within some studio sessions for additional support.

Maths and English

Stobo Castle

Maths & English

Maths and English skills are essential for the workplace and university.

Industry links:

The programme places focus upon the opportunity for you to engage in, and gain credit for, the development of industry based work. You will be provided with the opportunity to negotiate your learning focus within course modules by defining a pathway in a chosen specialist creative discipline.

You will be able to incorporate live client work, conducted on a freelance or agency basis, within your module outcomes. This will be based on whether it is appropriate to negotiate project outcomes in modules Professional Context and Final Major Project.


While external work placement does not need to form any part of this programme, as a formal requirement, the course team highly encourage you to engage in such activities, to enhance your portfolios and to develop work based skills needed for progression.

Work related skills will be developed across the course from initial tutor led activities within the module Professional Context, through to Final Major Project where the potential exists for you to explore live projects in-depth, should you wish to pursue this rather than a simulated or conceptual approach.


HE Visual Arts 3

BA (Hons) Visual Arts (Top-up) course handbook

Click to view your course handbook below.



HE Information

Regulations for validated awards of The Open University.


You could progress to a master's degree or become employed / self-employed in this varied industry.

What else?


General - External students 2

Annual increases

Tuition fees are chargeable for the academic period required by the programme, with annual amounts charged for each academic year of the programme unless otherwise stated. It is to be expected that tuition fees will include an inflationary rise each year, for the duration of study. This will be agreed by the College Strategy and Resources Committee who will consider Increases in College costs, including the provision of teaching, supervision and course-related facilities.

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Fees and funding

Find out more about course fees and financial support for UK, EU and non-EU students, plus how to pay your fees.

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Refund Policy 21-22

View our refund policy for further and higher education programmes (page 2) and full cost courses.


Additional Costs

Additional costs include general art and design materials and access to a digital camera and personal computer (Mac or PC) with Adobe Creative software.

There will also be expenses for a yearly London visit, optional international visit, and costs associated with the mandatory presentation of creative outcomes in the final degree show exhibition.

Interview Instructions

Once an application has been received it is recorded and acknowledged by the college admissions team. The course team then views the application.

The process for interview is as follows:
  • Applications welcomed through UCAS and New College Durham Application Form.
  • All applicants are interviewed with portfolio of art and design work (international applicants via internet/email).
  • Acceptance, conditional acceptance, or rejection via UCAS and New College Durham application process after interview.

Entry to the course is at the discretion of the course team and based upon the combination of successful interview and a portfolio that illustrates an ability to meet Level 6 course learning outcomes.
Further Education

Getting ready for your college interview

Find out more information about your college interview.

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System Credits:


Entry Criteria

UCAS tariff points:
Standard Entry Criteria
  • You should hold a Level 5 qualification at course commencement (HND/FdA/international equivalent 120 ECTS Credits) in a visual arts related discipline.
  • All external applicants must be interviewed with an art and design based portfolio (international applicants via internet/email).
  • Evidence of digital literacy within portfolio to meet the needs of Level 6.
  • To have or be working towards Level 2 or equivalent in English Language (or a minimum 5.5 IELTS in each band for international applicants).

Non-standard Entry Criteria:
  • Evidence of appropriate creative experience or employment within the creative industries.
  • All applicants with non-standard criteria must be interviewed with an art and design based portfolio (international applicants via internet/email respectfully).
  • Evidence of digital literacy within portfolio to meet the needs of Level 6.
  • To have or be working towards Level 2 or equivalent in English Language (or a minimum 5.5 IELTS in each band for international applicants).

To gain entry to the programme, you must satisfy the standard or non-standard entry requirements to the course. If you fulfil the non-standard entry requirements, your application will be considered on the basis of relevant work experience and attainment of skills, which demonstrate an ability to study at this level.

Given the wide experience of potential applicants to this course, applications for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Accreditation of Experiential Learning (APEL) are welcomed in accordance with Academic Regulations. However, these must be discussed as part of the admissions process as once a student is registered to a programme RPL/APEL may not be considered for approval.