• CollegeChelsea
  • Start dateSeptember 2018
  • Course length1 year

Graduate Diploma Fine Art

Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts is a full time, one year course.

The course enables you to develop your practice within a contemporary context, against the backdrop of the vibrant London art scene. The course is aimed at students who wish to progress to MA level or pursue a career within the field of fine art.

Course detail

Content: what students can expect

  • A studio-based and practice-led course that brings together a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, film and video, digital media, sound, print, performance and drawing
  • Practice and theory are integrated, helping you understand the contexts and conditions that shape and frame contemporary art practice
  • To be allocated a tutor group that you’ll meet on a regular basis to discuss each other’s work
  • Significant control over what you learn, the pace you do this at and how you might demonstrate this. Students will be helped in these decisions through on-going dialogue with their tutors as well as fellow students
  • To receive inductions into the processes and facilities available in the college’s studios and workshops, with specialist technicians on hand to offer support
  • To have access to Chelsea's shared workshops including ceramics, casting, laser cutting, photography, metalwork, woodwork and audio visual editing suite. View the Chelsea facilities section


The course runs over a total of 30 weeks. Learning and teaching are delivered through a programme of regular one-to-one tutorials, seminars and lectures, featuring a wide array of artists and practitioners.

The course is studio based and students work in a designated Graduate Diploma studio. The course is delivered through three units of study:

Unit 1 - Exploring your practice

You will establish and develop a working practice that best makes use of the College environment and your studio. You will ask fundamental questions about what it is to have a research informed practice where you will explore and articulate ideas through making work. This unit will help you develop a holistic approach where theory, practice and a professional context are interdependent within a practice that you will develop through the next two units.

Unit 2 - Contexts: Critical and Professional

Having explored potential ideas and theories that inform your practice in the first unit, you will next contextualise your practice within the diversity of current theories and debates. You will critically evaluate and identify references within art, literature, popular culture or theory. You will focus on your own specific interests to develop a secure grasp of the areas of concern that are important to your practice. The lectures and seminars act as models of how to focus, analyse and explore particular issues in greater depth.

Unit 3 - Practice: Development and Realisation

This unit asks you to develop your work towards a point of realisation in the form of exhibitions and through a portfolio. You will be expected to exhibit your work and, through the documentation of these exhibitions,  demonstrate your ability to consolidate your research-informed practice into an appropriate form. The exhibitions will also demonstrate your awareness of how your work might operate appropriately within a professional context.

Learning and teaching methods

  • Exhibition, group and work in progress crits
  • Group and individual tutorials
  • Independently directed research and study
  • Individual and group based analysis and evaluation
  • Lectures and professional speaker programme
  • Peer assessment, support and development
  • Presentation skills workshops
  • Project work, supported by integrated teaching of history, theory and contemporary practice
  • Speaker programme highlighting contemporary fine art issues
  • Studio based teaching and practice
  • Student presentations
  • Team work
  • Technical workshops
  • Visits and work-based learning opportunities
  • Workshops on documentation, portfolio presentation and digital skills

Assessments methods

  • Artist statements
  • Art submissions
  • Essays
  • Presentations
  • Projects
  • Research portfolios



Dr Katrine Hjelde

How to apply

2018/19 entry

Applicants can apply for this course using our online application form.


Application deadline

The home / EU deadline is midday, Friday 31 August 2018.

There is no deadline for international applications. Students should apply as early as possible.

Further information about the application process

You will need to enter the following information in the online application form:

  • Personal details
  • Current and/or previous education and qualification details
  • Employment history
  • Personal statement
  • CV (curriculum vitae)
  • Portfolio (international only)

International applicants - once you have submitted the form you will be emailed a link to upload your portfolio (30 images).

All Home/EU applicants will be invited for interview.

Entry requirements

  • BA (Hons) degree or equivalent academic qualifications
  • Evidence of ability in art or design
  • Alternative qualifications and experience will also be taken into consideration
  • Personal statement
  • Portfolio of work

English language requirements

All classes are taught in English. If English isn't your first language you must provide evidence at enrolment of the following:

Personal statement

This should be about 500 words long and include:

  • Your reasons for choosing the course
  • Your current creative practice and how this will help with your future plans
  • If you do not have any formal academic qualifications please describe your relevant education and experience

Portfolio advice

  • A range of artwork - such as drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, video
  • Clear documentation of work that is too large to bring to interview
  • Self-initiated as well as project or course work
  • Evidence of research and development of ideas
  • Evidence of recent written work - where relevant to your practice

What we look for

  • Evidence of visual and conceptual creative abilities
  • A clear commitment to the chosen field of study
  • The potential to develop the full range of practical, expressive, critical and conceptual skills necessary to complete the course
  • The ability to benefit from the learning environment and experience
  • An awareness of the contemporary and historical context of fine art
  • Some understanding of the role that contemporary critical thought and historical study can play in the development of personal creative work
  • The ability to communicate and discuss issues and ideas both verbally and in writing
  • The ability to manage your own time and initiate projects

Fees and funding

Home / EU fee

£10,600 (2018/19).

Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) fee

This course has an undergraduate-level qualification as an entry requirement, and the quoted Home / EU fee rate reflects the fact that most students enrolling on this course will already possess an undergraduate-level qualification. Home / EU applicants for this course who do not already have an undergraduate-level qualification, or students in receipt of Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), may pay a reduced fee.

International fee

£19,350 (2018/19 fees).

Course fees may be paid in instalments.

Additional costs

In addition to tuition fees you are very likely to incur additional costs such as travel expenses and the cost of materials. Please read the information on our additional costs page.


Find out about the accommodation options available and how much they will cost.

Careers and alumni

The course is aimed at preparing students for further study at Masters Level or pursuing a career in the field of Fine Art. This could include art practice, art writing, curation, arts administration, art consultancy, collaborative practice and community arts.