Course specification and structure
Undergraduate Course Structures Postgraduate Course Structures

UDPAINTI - BA Painting

Course Specification

Validation status Validated
Highest award Bachelor of Arts Level Honours
Possible interim awards Bachelor of Arts, Diploma of Higher Education, Certificate of Higher Education, Bachelor of Arts
Total credits for course 360
Awarding institution London Metropolitan University
Teaching institutions London Metropolitan University
School The Sir John Cass School of Art, Architecture and Design (The Cass)
Subject Area Art
Attendance options
Option Minimum duration Maximum duration
Full-time 3 YEARS 8 YEARS
Part-time Day 6 YEARS 8 YEARS
Course leader  

About the course and its strategy towards teaching and learning and towards blended learning/e-learning

Introduction: Painting in the Cass
Consideration has been given to the following: the University’s mission statement, the new undergraduate regulatory framework, the views of students and external examiners, developments within the subject area, and the changing needs of the cultural industries and professions. Graduate attributes for each level of study, as derived from the 2016 QAA Art & Design Subject Benchmark Statement, integrated throughout the course and expressed through module, level and course outcomes.

The course is taught in an integrated manner by means of four year-long (30 week) modules of study per level. These are delivered in parallel and in permeable relationship to one another.

A four-year Extended degree programme beginning with Year 0 is available to students who would benefit from a period of diagnostic study before progressing onto degree studies.

Teaching and learning strategies:
The BA (Hons) Painting course aims to provide an intellectual and creative framework within which the activities of painting practice may be understood and developed. It is to this end that the teaching methods used have been selected as the most suitable for the encouragement of the synchronised development of both analytical and synthetic skills. Teaching and learning combine a balance of structured teaching with independent study.

Level 4 orients students to Higher Education (HE) subject(s) by introducing them to sound working methods and understanding of the programme’s ethos and aims and employaibility. Structured guidance and instructive tasks inform the level 4 of the course. A series of introductory studies provide grounding in the subject and discipline of painting, enabling students to progressively develop an autonomous approach to project work, while also examining and exploring a wide range of cultural production, with increasing levels of self-directed study and negotiated project work subsequently undertaken throughout levels 5 and 6.

Level 5 consolidates practical, theoretical and professional skills, fostering emergence of an independent perspective through practised integration of critical and technical skills and an increasing mastery of painting. Attention is paid to professional practice, employability and pre-work related activity such as CV development and industry sector research with support from the Careers and Employability Office and to personal project planning

Level 6 is one of maximum independence and is centred on the student’s own area of interest in painting. The work in CCS 3: Dissertation, Final Project and Professional Practice: Exhibition brings together the whole of the student’s learning. By this stage, students are expected to demonstrate their ability to originate, develop and create a major project of their own devising, showing appropriate evidence of their subject field as well as awareness of institutional contexts in which they operate, demonstrating a professional standard of competency, both practical and conceptual. Employability is addressed through a range of work related activity including students presenting themselves and their work on and offline to potential clients and curators, networking, researching and gaining experience making work for clients, competitions and other professional outcomes.

Projects of various kinds and intensity (indicative, applied, short or extended, collaborative and individually realized) are the main vehicle of learning and teaching and signal means of assessing learning outcomes. Project-based approaches are introduced at level 4 in context of the Negotiated Learning Agreement (NLA) and self-assessment guidelines. These support the development of self-evaluative skills and the implementation of independent research and study. Initially projects and exercises will be framed and explained by the teaching team. Increasingly, as the course of study progresses, the conception and content of work is transferred into joint ownership, between the student and teaching team. In level 6 students are expected to work independently towards achievement of agreed objectives. Project working is reviewed on a regular and ongoing basis and formative feedback is given. Each student receives regular feedback on the progress of his or her project work prior to the summative assessment at the end of each year level. On completion of each level students are evaluated against benchmarked level-outcomes and interim counsel on progress is given. Project teaching and learning is supported through taught exercises, workshop demonstrations, hand-outs, briefs, lectures, tutorials, displays of work, critiques and presentations, portfolio preparations, essays, library research, seminars, visits and web based learning.

Peer review, critiques and self-assessment are integral as aids to learning, encouraging students to analyse and critically evaluate their own work and the work of others as well as developing communication and presentation skills.

Seminars, convenor groups, lectures Seminars and convenor group discussions are usually structured around a set topic or key texts that have been circulated in advance. Discussions can be staff or student led and can involve the presentation of papers or studio work. Lectures are undertaken by establishment staff and visiting artists and theorists, while imparting information they are also platforms for debate and the development of an outward looking agenda.

Self-directed Study is undertaken as part of the module timetable, technical support is available within open access workshop modules. Independent self-directed study forms an increasing part of the course.

Workshops and workshop demonstrations are a central feature of the course. Students have an induction to health and safety requirements of the various workshops before they are able to undertake the workshop modules or attend open access classes.

Employability is embedded throughout the course but more specifically in the modules: Studio Practice 3 Professional Art Practice 1 and Professional Art Practice: Exhibition and Display which provide an explicit opportunity for students to link their studies to art career and personal/professional development and work-related learning. The modules involve activities intrinsic to professional development, which enable students to understand employment opportunities, the concepts of professional practice, and more advanced approaches to personal development and career and lifetime outcomes. These modules enable students to understand and demonstrate the exercise of personal responsibility and decision-making within a group context and develop the attributes of self-evaluation, necessary for employment. With support from the Careers and Employability Office, students progress through study culminating in L6, learning to present themselves and their work online and externally, developing and refining CVs, undertaking employment research, becoming aware of employment or external project opportunities, making approaches and applications, undertaking relevant practical work, obtaining feedback or appraisal and critically reflecting on the experience and learning. Alumni also contribute to the employability modules offering studio and work-placements, study visits and as visiting lecturers.

Information Technology skills are necessary to the successful completion of the courses and they constitute embedded curricular elements both at level 4 (Contextual Studies module) and level 5 (Exhibition/Display module). IT is used particularly:

  • As a tool for presentation, design and layout, word and image processing
  • To search for and retrieve information
  • To present both moving and still image formats and document text in a publishable online form such as blog or journal

In addition, students are encouraged to make maximum use of the resources available to them in terms of the IT provision both within the department and the library. Advanced specialist digital skills are also central to a range of practice based modules. Blended Learning /WebLearn, which includes the provision of course and module information on the web, lecture notes, feedback, and blogs, enhance traditional pedagogical strategies. The department continues to formulate a strategy of e-enablement. The ideal is to expand the studio beyond the confines of the building and locality.

Course aims

The course aims to provide a taught undergraduate programme of studies that will equip students with the knowledge, skills and competencies needed for a career in professional practice in painting, the visual arts or related cultural industries. Through the core of the BA Painting programme students are afforded a solid academic grounding, both practical and theoretical, sufficient to permit them, as they progress, with increasing independence and autonomy, to conceive, plan and implement independent project work at Degree level and to set their painting studies in context. Development of technical skills in the production of artefacts is central to the aims of the course. Traditional, dominant and emergent models of artistic practice, including the newest forms of artistic production, distribution and display are supported and challenged through rigorous critical engagement with and study of an appropriate range of historical, theoretical and aesthetic approaches. The course promotes in students via group critique and presentations the transferable skills of communication (visual, written, and oral) essential to employability. The programme recognizes the increasing complexity of cultural practices informed by multiculturalism, globalization, and the new technologies, and consequently provides an opportunity for engagement with the public realm and the wider field of cultural and social practices. More generally the course encourages students to become mature, autonomous learners and self-reflective practitioners, equipped with the appropriate level of technical, conceptual, critical and research skills required to engage in professional art practice or to undertake further study at postgraduate level.

Course learning outcomes

Level 4 Learning Outcomes:

On completing the level the student should be able to:

  1. Show autonomy and critical self-awareness when at work in studio and workshop environments and other dedicated facilities, and engaged in the development and production of paintings;
  2. Show basic skills of visual literacy necessary for observation, recording, analysis, development, visualisation, evaluation and communication;
  3. Acquire and demonstrate basic skills of critical thinking, visualisation and systematic scrutiny, and skills of presentation and communication, informed by appropriate knowledge and use of painting materials, techniques and cultural contexts;
  4. Work collaboratively and independently, as needed, in response to set briefs and/or as self-initiated activity informed by an appropriate level of practical knowledge in painting;
  5. Indicate appropriate use of technologies and related techniques of painting practice in developing ideas and making connections between intention, process, outcome;
  6. Evidence the ability to study independently and professionally under structured guidance, setting goals and managing workloads in order to meet deadlines, and develop understanding within frames of tutorial guidance and professional practice, anticipating and accommodating change, while working within contexts of ambiguity, uncertainty and unfamiliarity.

Level 5 Learning Outcomes:

On completing the level the student should be able to:

  1. Illustrate increasing knowledge and understanding of contemporary painting practice, and apply, consolidate and extend their learning, both within and beyond their chosen field of contemporary painting practice;
  2. Demonstrate a critical appreciation of the issues which arise from the painter’s relationship with audiences, galleries, markets, participants, co-workers and co-creators and employability;
  3. Show informed awareness of developments in current and emerging media and technologies, and in particular interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary practise in painting;
  4. Evidence increasing practical skills, using materials, media, techniques, methods, technologies and equipment associated appropriately with painting;
  5. Demonstrate the effective use of materials, technologies and techniques associated with painting, and will be familiar with good working practices;
  6. Acquire and demonstrate a more concentrated and systematic knowledge of the processes through which paintings are made and understand the role of paintings as carriers of meaning and value;

Level 6 Learning Outcomes:

On completing the level the student should be able to:

  1. Acquire and demonstrate the capacity to research and develop a sound working methodology in relation to painting project development and in the context of a mature comprehension of the subject field and their area of specialist practice and employability within it;
  2. Acquire and demonstrate technical competence and practised conceptual understanding, in the form of a major degree–honours (level 6) project, realized in painting;
  3. Acquire and demonstrate cogent oral/visual and written presentations setting their project work and painting practice in context, and developing an evaluative critique using different approaches to practice;
  4. Develop and complete a substantial, independently produced final practical project, supported by scholarly understanding of painting;
  5. Research and develop a relevant topic and case study, draft and realize an academic dissertation in accordance with the conventions of scholarly argument and analysis, demonstrating appropriate use of primary and secondary sources, and showing competence in applied use of relevant theory and methods;
  6. Exhibit skills of synthesis and applied research in reframing ‘summative’ outcomes for professional display, showing knowledge of appropriate curatorial and promotional strategies.

Principle QAA benchmark statements

Graduate attributes for each level of the course, as derived from the 2016 QAA Subject Benchmark for Art & Design are integrated throughout the course and are expressed through the course and module outcomes.

Assessment strategy

The course structure comprises four equally weighted year-long, thirty-week modules at each level. Fine Art pathways share common core modules. At level 4 students undertake: Studio Practice 1: Ways of Seeing, Studio Practice 2: Painting which offers core discipline specific options, Studio Practice 3, and Critical & Contextual Studies. At level 5 the core modules are: Studio Practice 4: Themes, Studio Practice 5: Painting, Studio Practice 6, and Critical & Contextual Studies, with core discipline specific options available within Studio Practice 5. At level 6 the modules are: Project Development, Exhibition & Display, Final Project: Painting, and Critical & Contextual Studies: Dissertation.

Assessment Strategy
Students are assessed through a variety of methods related to the course’s outcomes, as set out above. Assessment includes combination of diagnostic, formative, summative methods. Students are expected to participate reflectively in assessment. A self-assessment form that covers the assessment criteria for the module will be filled in prior to submitting work for assessment. Students will grade themselves using the criteria given and also write a short critical appraisal (summary statement) of their work. This form will also be completed by the tutor and will provide the basis for discussion at the assessment feedback session after the formal coursework assessment has taken place.

Formative Assessment is built into all modules and is designed to provide students with feedback on progress and inform development. Students are expected to maintain appropriate records of their work as it develops within each module throughout all levels and to take part in regular seminar discussions regarding their own and others coursework. These sessions have a diagnostic function aimed at enabling students to meet the intended learning outcomes of each module.

Summative assessment provides a measure of achievement made in respect of performance in relation to learning outcomes. On completion of each level, progressing students will be required to submit a portfolio of their practical work together with all supporting material. Assessment criteria reflect the learning outcomes for each level.

Organised work experience, work based learning, sandwich year or year abroad

With support from the Careers and Employability Office, students progress through study culminating in L6, learning to present themselves and their work online and externally, developing and refining CVs, undertaking employment research, becoming aware of employment or external project opportunities, making approaches and applications, undertaking relevant practical work, obtaining feedback or appraisal and critically reflecting on the experience and learning. Work-related learning is a core element in the course with at least 70 hours working on live projects for real organisations. Students will experience a competitive recruitment process / pitch for opportunities and they will be required to reflect on their experience of the project and undertake forward career action planning. The course has two core modules with built-in work-related learning, enabling the student to undertake professional activity, either employment, a work placement, professional training, volunteering activity in the not-for-profit sector, or where available, within Fine Art’s Virtual Business Environment at the university

Course specific regulations

ACADEMIC PROGRESSION: As a condition of progressing from level 4 to 5 and level 5 to 6, students are required to have gained 120 credits per level, that is, by achieving pass marks (40%) in all four modules in the preceding level of study.

Level 6: In order to achieve an honours degree award on this course, students must have completed and passed each Level 6 module at 40% or above.

Part-time study is defined as 60 credits per year. Consequently, in part-time mode, the duration of study for a 360-credit degree will be 6 years. The pattern of study in this instance shall be as follows:

Year 1 – FA4001, FA4005
Year 2 – CP4013, FA4003
Year 3 – FA5001, FA5005
Year 4 – CP5013, FA5003
Year 5 – CP6013, FA6001
Year 6 – FA6003, FA6005

Modules required for interim awards


Arrangements for promoting reflective learning and personal development

The course places a high value on learning how to learn and to this end it has developed a number of reflective learning strategies including the following: peer review, self-assessment and the implementation of a reflective critical journal to be kept as part of the Project modules. The three taken collectively encourage self-analytical, critical and evaluate skills. Self-directed studies along with the use of Personal Development Planning (PDP) encourages meaningful engagement with personal development planning through the curriculum, enabling students to reflect on, plan and review their own personal progress and development.

Arrangements on the course for careers education, information and guidance

The course has two core modules with built-in work-related learning, Guidance and tuition in these modules is arranged with the University’s Employability and Career’s service, alumni input and mentoring where avaialble.

Other external links providing expertise and experience

Residencies; students are encouraged to seek opportunities to undertake projects outside of the school either individually or as part of a group. Study visits are arranged to a wide range of venues in London, elsewhere in the UK and also abroad, e.g. to international art events such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel.

Career opportunities

Graduates of this course may go on to further research or study, or choose to work in cultural institutions or commercial galleries as an artist, curator or consultant. There will be employment and self-employment opportunities in art/culture journalism, as well as in education.

Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three relevant A level subjects such as the arts, humanities and social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in relevant art and design subjects) plus a portfolio review
  • GCSE English at grade C (grade 4 from 2017)

We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, and encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

Official use and codes

Approved to run from 2016/17 Specification version 1 Specification status Validated
Original validation date 09 Aug 2016 Last validation date 09 Aug 2016  
JACS codes W120 (Painting): 100%
Route code PAINTI

Course Structure

Stage 1 Level 04 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP4013 Critical & Contextual Studies 1 (Art) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM
FA4001 Studio Practice 1 Ways of Seeing Core 30        
FA4003 Studio Practice 3 Core 30        
FA4005 Studio Practice 2: Painting Core 30        

Stage 2 Level 05 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP5013 Critical & Contextual Studies 2 (Art) Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR TUE AM
FA5006 Methods and Enquiry 1 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
FA5007 Professional Practice 1: Fine Art Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
FA5P01 Project Work 2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM

Stage 3 Level 06 September start Offered

Code Module title Info Type Credits Location Period Day Time
CP6013 Critical & Contextual Studies 3: Dissertation (... Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR WED AM
FA6008 Professional Practice 2: Painting Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON PM
FA6010 Methods and Enquiry 2 Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR MON AM
FA6P01 Major Project Core 30 CITY AUT+SPR THU AM