Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Fine Art

  • NFQ Level 8
  • Points Required 362*
  • Course Code AU928
  • Award Honours Degree Abinitio
  • Duration 4

Course Summary

The degree is designed to offer students the widest possible experience in materials and media - drawing, painting, digital media photography & video, ceramics, printmaking, sculptural studies, work in context, visual literacy and visual material culture and history/theory of art. These are taught with a focus on the student’s own research and art-making initiatives as the years progress.

More information on preparing a portfolio is available from our Digital Portfolio Guidelines document here.


The obvious answer is to help you acquire the skills that will help you to become an artist. Studying Fine Art encourages students to develop individual ways of thinking and of expressing themselves in visual and theoretical terms. It fosters an awareness and responsiveness to the world around and within. It recognises the value of individual approaches and provides an environment for learning and confidence building that show in numerous personal and professional ways. One of the most important things to remember about Fine Art is that there is no map, no agreed way of doing things. Here at ATU Sligo, we provide students with the skills and resources to make this an exciting journey.


Students are equipped with the practical skills, knowledge, and intellectual resources necessary for a rewarding career in the arts. Contemporary and historical art practices are examined through a series of lectures, seminars and written assignments.

As students progress through the degree, there is an increasing emphasis on individual research and outcomes. External engagements include a regular visiting artist lecture series and national and international study trips. Students have opportunities to engage with collaborative projects with local and national art institutions.


Modules include Visual Literacy, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Visual and Material Culture, Digital Lens-Based Media and Ceramics.


Students develop their skills from the modules introduced in Year 1 as advanced modules in Year 2. There are six modules in Year 2 - Drawing, Painting, Digital Lens Based Media, Ceramics, Printmaking and Visual and Material Culture.


Students move from set practice modules to one overall studio module where they develop their practice in their own direction and increase their use of individual studio space. Sculpture and Drawing Modules lend extra areas for development and expression. History and Theory of Art and the Work-In Context modules complement the practical modules. Work in Context offers real-world experience within the arts sector and students often complete this module through organising public art events and curation projects. In year three students work in Creative Interdisciplinary Practice with other creative programmes.


Studio practice is emphasised in the final stage of the programme. Students also conduct self-directed research in History Theory as well as practice based Critical Writing. The Professional Practice module places emphasis on preparing students for work in the industry and understanding how to thrive after graduating.

Click here to view our Fine Art Instagram account

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements for CAO courses at ATU Sligo are available for download below:

* CAO points for entry to this degree will include an applicants additional portfolio points. The portfolio points are combined with points from academic results.

This degree is classified on the CAO as a restricted course. Therefore, applicants must apply before the 1st of February.

CAO points are a combination of academic results and a digital portfolio. The portfolio carries a weighting of a maximum of 100 additional points to academic results. Entry requirements can include a Digital Portfolio and Questionnaire or a Portfolio Review and Interview.

More information on preparing a portfolio is available from our Digital Portfolio Guidelines document here.


The Digital Portfolio Application has three deadline dates. The digital portfolio must be uploaded to our Digital Portfolio Application Platform in advance of the following portfolio acceptance deadlines:

  • Submission Deadline 1: 15th February 2023
  • Submission Deadline 2: 15th April 2023
  • Submission Deadline 3: 15th May 2023. This is the final submission date for portfolios.

We encourage applicants to submit their portfolios as early as possible. There's an overview of how to bring together a portfolio in our Digital Portfolio Guidelines document here.

Digital portfolio's can be uploaded through the ATU Sligo Digital Portfolio Application Platform

Please note Mathematics or previous study in Art is not required to study this degree.


From academic Year 2023 ATU Sligo Fine Art Degree programmes will accept applicants directly into second year of the programmes.

Requirements for Direct Entry are:

· 3 distinctions in a QQI Art and/or Art and Design Course

· Interview

· Portfolio

Please note that all applicants by direct entry are advised to also apply to the CAO for a Stage One place.

Applications by Direct entry can be made on a rolling basis and early application is advisable.

Applications for direct entry open from the 15th of February onwards.

Applications for Direct entry may be submitted directly in same way as for CAO.

Please state if applying.

· Direct entry to Advanced Stage Application Only


· Direct entry to Advanced Stage and CAO Application

Career Opportunities

While many of our graduates go on to become successful practicing artists including painters, printmakers, sculptors and installation artists, ceramicists, filmmakers and photographers, others choose to make careers in related areas.

Many of our graduates work in arts administration and arts management, exhibition curation, including private and public art administration in local authority art offices, museums and art centres and galleries both nationally and internationally.

Graduates also work in the art education field in schools, colleges and university as well as art education officers in museums and art centres.

Further Study

Fine Art graduates can pursue postgraduate study in universities in Ireland, the UK and abroad.

Graduates of the Level 8 honours degree often choose to progress to an MFA in Fine Art or related areas such as MA in Arts Management, MA in Principles of Teaching and PHD in Art Research areas.

Graduates of the Level 8 honours degree may also complete a Professional Master of Education (PME) in Art and Design to become a secondary school teacher of Art.

Level 8 Graduates may progress to the Master of Arts in Creative Practice here at ATU Sligo.


"It's challenging in a good way. I like how open it is to pursue what you want to do creatively."

Hannah - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate, award winner and solo show exhibitionist, Secondary School Art Teacher

"The large studio facilities gave me time, space and freedom to explore multiple mediums. I also appreciated the variety and expanse of books available online and in the Library.”

Stephanie - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate

Did you know?

We also offer this degree at Level 7 - AU822 Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art

From the academic Year 2023/2024 ATU Sligo Fine Art Degree programmes will accept applicants directly into second year of the programmes. Please see the Entry Requirements tab on this webpage for more information.

Final year YAADA students take part in a creative showcase each year. Check out the Yeats Academy of Arts, Design and Architecture Yearbook to see their work.

Previous study in Art is not an entry requirement. 

We are interested in people who want to pursue a career in art-making and related fields. Students on this degree are all ages and come from a wide variety of backgrounds. What unites them is that they are creative and imaginative people who can respond to the world around them in visual terms.

Students have dedicated studio space and access to specialised printmaking, ceramics, photography and digital media and woodwork workshops, housed in our super new purpose-built studio block.

The studio lecturers on our BA (Hons) in Fine Art are passionate about their subjects and are practising artists with national and international reputations.

We pride ourselves on taking care of our students and have year coordinators and individual tutors to assist students through each stage of their development.

It is important to have a good work ethic as a Fine Art student and to love making things.

Drawing is a thinking tool and as such is one of the most important tools the student can have, for this reason we include modules in drawing right through to the end of third year.

We want our students to succeed and have a carefully designed series of modules to equip students to be confident and versatile when they graduate. 

We offer a broader range of discipline modules in the first two years. Students specialise in the later part of the degree choosing their own path. Students may focus on one discipline if they wish and are equally confident should they choose to mix disciplines.

We offer a strong range of professional modules to help our students to explore their place in the industry, including group and individual projects in understanding fine art and related career fields. Supporting our graduating students with career advice and assistance in making postgraduate applications is strongly embedded into our professional modules and our ethos as a course.

We also offer several shared modules such as Creative Interdisciplinary Studies, where students are encouraged to engage with tutors and students on research and projects to gain an insight into other parts of the creative industries.

Fine Art students need to take time to immerse themselves in art, so we include lots of extra parts in our programme to deepen our student's engagement. This includes a regular visiting artist and art industry professional lecture series. Also, national and international study trips to visit museums, galleries and art fairs in Ireland and major European cities including London, Paris, Berlin and Venice.

Click here to view our Fine Art Instagram account


"I felt that I would learn more about different mediums in the ATU Sligo Fine Art degree. It gave me the opportunity of studying many different mediums of art from photography and ceramics to print, drawing and painting.

When it comes to modules, I particularly enjoyed learning about oil painting in Year 2. It was a new medium for me and I loved learning new skills but with freedom. In third year, the Work in Context module gave me the opportunity to interview artists. Here I learnt about the running of an artists day to day job.

The freedom to create and fulfil your own potential helped me flourish as an artist. Especially within my final year, it was like being a practicing artist in a studio yet having lecturers to advise on your work throughout the process.

My long term goal is to be a Secondary School art teacher. I got accepted to University College Cork and TUS Limerick for a Professional Master of Education (PME) in Art and Design. I chose UCC and started last September."

Nicole Dolan - BA (Hons) in Fine Art graduate and currently studying a PME in Art and Design


Course Format

Semester 1

Ceramics 1: Introduction to Clay Origins, Processes and Surface Treatments.05
Digital Lens Based Media One Intro Photography Film and Digital05
Painting 1 (Colour, Light and Composition)05
Printmaking 1 (Simple printmaking techniques)05
Visual and Material Culture 1 (Introduction & Historical Survey)05
Visual Literacy05

Semester 2

Ceramics 2: Extruded Form and Raku Glazing05
Digital Lens Based Media Two Intro to Digital Imaging05
Drawing 2 (Foundation in Drawing Mediums)05
Painting 2 (Introduction to Painting on Supports)05
Printmaking 2 (Advanced printmaking techniques)05
Visual and Material Culture 2 (Frameworks of Modernity)05

Semester 3

Ceramics 3: Developing Multiples, Press Moulding and Slip Casting05
Digital Lens Based Media 3 - Photography05
Drawing 3 (Expanding Applications)05
Painting 3 (Process and Concepts)05
Printmaking 3 (Project based printmaking 1)05
Visual and Material Culture 3: (The Contemporary World)05

Semester 4

Ceramics 4: Amalgamations, Thrown Form and Glaze Technology.05
Digital Lens Based Media 4 - Intro to Video Production05
Drawing 4 (Sustaining Practices)05
Painting 4 (Extending the Medium)05
Printmaking 4 (Project based printmaking 2)05
Visual and Material Culture 4 (Art & Social Practice)05

Semester 5

Drawing 5: Identifying Concerns05
History / Theory of Art 1 (Exhibition Catalogue Essay)05
Practice 1: Establishing Direction10
Sculpture Studies: Land Art, Ephemera and the Site Specific.05
Yeats Academy Creative Interdisciplinary Practice I05

Semester 6

Drawing 6: Refining a Practice05
History / Theory of Art 2 (Contextual Research)05
Practice 2 : Developing an Exhibition15
Work in Context (Identifying the Future)05

Semester 7

History / Theory (Undergraduate Thesis)10
Studio Practice 1: Preparing the groundwork10

Semester 8

Professional Practice (Developing Professionalism)05

Semester 9

Critical Writing: (Practice based) 05
Studio Practice 2 : Practice, Context and Display30