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Contemporary Art Practice - Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture

BA (Hons)
BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice - Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture

This multidisciplinary BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice – Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture degree, focuses on developing your skills across technical, conceptual, contextual, personal and professional areas, through individual practice and collaborative projects.

The course is informed by current debates surrounding production, presentation and consumption of contemporary fine art, and provides you with a unique opportunity to develop your own visual art voice.

An integral part of your experience is the opportunity to undertake live projects, placement and work-experience, commissions, exhibitions and external events in close partnership with regional arts organisations and other industry partners. These opportunities will develop your practical and conceptual skills, and will inform the evolution of your own practice and determine your preferred working methodologies.

1st in Scotland for career prospects in Art - Guardian University Guide 2021

1st university in Scotland for overall student satisfaction in Art - National Student Survey 2022

This course has one study option

Mode of Attendance

  • On Campus

Mode of Study

  • Full Time

Start Date


Course Length

4 years

You are able to specialise in 4 pathways: Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture.

Year 1

You will develop fundamental core skills and knowledge of Contemporary Art Practice through studio projects, lectures, seminars and specific subject related technical workshops in drawing, printmaking, moving image, sculpture, photography and contextual and critical studies.

Year 2

You will extend your core skills in Contemporary Art Practice through emerging thematics and technically driven projects that enable you to develop your own personal interests and narratives. You will have the opportunity to participate in international and national study trips to broaden your contextual knowledge and increase your professional awareness within the field.

Year 3

Year 3 consolidate your skills acquisition and extends your personal direction and knowledge through self-directed study and development of professional skills in relation to external contexts. You will undertake a Professional Skills module focussing on external facing perceptions and the role of audience in the digestion of contemporary fine art.

Year 4

You will make an informed decision as to the nature of your supported independent Honours project, which will be reflected in your final award title. This year is about engaging in supported independent study that combines technical, visual, conceptual and contextual practice to produce a professional body of work for public consumption through exhibition and a written thesis.


Modules and delivery order may change for operational purposes. The University regularly reviews its courses. Course content and structure may change over time. See our course and module disclaimer for more information.

Detailed module information

Learning Methods

You will work in a spacious studio environment as well as dedicated workshop facilities for Printmaking, Sculpture, Photography, Moving Image; and advanced digital production in two and three dimensions.

The course’s teaching and learning focuses on the development of skills across five key areas: technical, conceptual, contextual, personal and professional.

You will learn though optional industry-linked projects, European exchanges, study trips, placements and live competitions, which are all an integral part of the course. Group activities are plentiful and manifest through exhibitions, publications and public art activities, developing your professional and practical experiences. There are also socially engaged learning through subject specialist external projects with partners in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and beyond.

Activity Summary

Year 4

  • Lectures - 40 (average) students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Seminars - 8 students per group, 4 hours per term
  • Tutorial - 1 student per group, 4 hours per term
  • Project Supervision - 40 (average) students per group
  • Demonstration - 15 students per group, 4hours per term
  • Practical class or workshop - 40 (average) students per group, 6 hours per term
  • Supervised time in studio / workshop - 40 (average) students per group, 58 hours per term
  • Independent Study - 40 (average) students per group, 370 hours per term
  • External Visits - Variable numbers from stage 4 cohort, one week study visit to Orkney or Shetland, Helmsdale or international (all trips optional) in term two, one week in duration

How long is a BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice - Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture course?

The duration of a Contemporary Art degree is 4 years. This includes lectures, seminars, independent study and other activities.

Independent Study

Throughout the course particular emphasis is placed on your development of independent learning through self-directed fine art project/s. In Year 4 you are required to study independently with the emphasis of supported study through tutorials, seminars, crits and exhibitions.

Staff Delivering on This Course

There is a combination of academic and technical staff teaching on this course, all staff having specific expertise in one of the named routes and are active researchers or practicing artists within the subject.

Expert practitioners in the industry contribute to course as Professional Associates, the ‘Life After Art School’ lecture programme and through the Guest@Grays programme, which invites national and international artists and designers to speak about their work and aspects of essential professional skills acquisition.

There is also input from Graduate in Resident artists, PhD and master's students.


Typically students are assessed each year:

Year 1

  • 1 written assignment, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 3 group critiques

Year 2

  • 2 written assignments, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 3 group critiques

Year 3

  • 2 written assignments, including essays
  • 2 portfolios
  • 2 project outputs
  • 3 group critiques

Year 4

  • 1 dissertation
  • 1 portfolio
  • 3 group critiques


We aim to provide you with feedback within 20 working days of hand-in for all written exams, coursework and practical exams.


Academic Support

The Inclusion Centre advises and supports students who disclose a sensory or mobility impairment, chronic medical condition, mental health issue, dyslexia and other specific learning differences. Applicants are encouraged to arrange a pre-entry visit to discuss any concerns and to view the facilities.

Online Learning & Support

All undergraduate and postgraduate students, whether you are learning on campus or by online learning, benefit from using our collaborative virtual learning environment, CampusMoodle. You will be provided with 24/7 online access to your learning material and resources, along with the ability to interact with your class members and tutors for discussion and support.

Study Skills Support

The Study Support Team provides training and support to all students in:

  • Academic writing
  • Study skills (note taking, exam techniques, time management, presentation)
  • Maths and statistics
  • English language
  • Information technology support

Library Support

The Library offers support for your course, including the books, eBooks, and journals you will need. We also offer online reading lists for many modules, workshops and drop-ins on searching skills and referencing, and much more.



In year 3, term 2, you will have the opportunity to undertake up to 4 weeks work experience within one or more placement experiences. This will enable you to gain first-hand experience and a real insight into professional practice. We have longstanding agreements with a range of organisations both in the city of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and beyond including Peacock Visual Arts, Scottish Sculpture Workshop, The Carbrach Heritage Trust and GHAT (Grampian Hospital Arts Trust). There is also opportunities for you to apply for open call placements in preparation for Year 4. Each placement is financially supported and the Student Placement and Support Manager will support you in finding placements.

Study Abroad

In Year 3, Term 2, there is the optional opportunity to undertake a period of international study exchange with partner universities/colleges across Europe, Canada and the US. 

Job Prospects

The course will provide you with a wide range of transferable and professional skills ensuring you will be equipped for a diverse range of careers within the creative and cultural industries and society as a whole.

Is Contemporary Art Practice a good career choice?

Previous BA Contemporary Art Practice graduates of Robert Gordon University have gone on to pursue the following careers:

  • Freelance Artist
  • Community Arts
  • Educational Art Assistant
  • Graduate in Residence

You may develop your individual creative practice through exhibitions, residencies, public art projects and many other forms of arts-related activity. Options include independent production, publishing, advertising, curatorial and archival work, gallerists, video & TV, arts administration, teaching and community arts.

There is also the option of extending your academic experience through postgraduate study at Gray’s School of Art or other postgraduate institutions.


What is needed for a BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice - Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture degree?

Standard Entry Requirements

Entry to Year 1

  • SQA Higher: BBC to include Art & Design and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English)
  • GCE A Level: BC to include Art & Design and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English e.g. History).
  • Irish Leaving Certificate Higher: H3H3H3 to include Art and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English)
  • IB Diploma: 24 to include Higher Level Visual Arts and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).

All applicants with the appropriate qualifications (or due to sit appropriate qualifications) will be invited to attend a portfolio review/interview and participate in a selection process.

Entry to Year 2

Suitable qualifications for entry to Year 2 (or above) may include relevant GCE A Levels, HNC/HND or Diploma in Foundation Studies (e.g. Art & Design, Design & Media, Fashion Design, Textile Design).

  • GCE A Level: BCC to include Art & Design and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English).
  • IB Diploma: 27 to include Higher Level Visual Arts and English (or a written subject requiring the use of English)

All advanced entry applicants with the appropriate qualifications (or due to sit appropriate qualifications) and who successfully meet the criteria will be invited to attend an ‘advanced’ portfolio review/interview and participate in a selection process.

Minimum Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirements for widening access applicants are:

Entry to Year 1

  • SQA Higher: CCC to include Art & Design & English or a written subject requiring the use of English

Applicants from Partner Colleges

A relevant HND from one of our partner colleges will be considered for entry into Year 2 or 3, subject to successfully meeting the partner course criteria.  

All advanced entry applicants with the appropriate qualifications (or due to sit appropriate qualifications) and who successfully meet the criteria will be invited to attend an ‘advanced’ portfolio review/interview and participate in a selection process.

Alternative Qualifications

Those who may not hold the standard qualifications listed are encouraged to apply if they can evidence other appropriate/relevant creative work, qualifications and/or life experiences. Such candidates are advised to contact the Student Admissions Service for further advice and guidance.

A portfolio review/interview is still a requirement for this category of candidate.

Interview/Portfolio Review

Suitable applicants will be invited to attend the School with their portfolio for an informal review/discussion with academic staff. This allows you to meet staff, see the teaching environment and allows the School to explore our ambitions whilst reviewing your work. We will discuss your folio work and specific interests within art and design, as well as your aspirations. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions.


International Students

The International College at Robert Gordon University offers first year degree entry into Art and Design courses at Robert Gordon University for International Students.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English should have an IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no component lower than 5.5, or an equivalent.

We accept a variety of in-country and secure English language tests, find out more:

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Please note, some courses may require a higher standard of English than stated in this page. Contact for further information.


Tuition fees for this BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice - Moving Image, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture course are as follows:

For Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Scottish Students: £1,820 per academic year
  • EU Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • Rest of UK Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • International Students: £15,000 per academic year

For Academic Year 2020/2021

  • Scottish/EU Students: £1,820 per academic year
  • Rest of UK Students: £6,750 per academic year
  • International Students: £15,000 per academic year

Additional Costs

The following course-related costs are not included in the course fees:

  • The cost of books that you may wish to purchase.
  • Costs associated with your placement / study abroad
  • Accommodation and Living costs
  • Printing
  • Studio Fund - £100 Year 1, £100 Year 2, £100 Year 3, £100 Year 4
  • £1,000 Materials
  • £50 Specialist Clothing
  • £350 Travel (optional)
  • £250 Field Study (optional)
  • £500 International Travel (optional)
  • £300 Camera (optional)
  • £1,000 Laptop (optional)

Student Funding

If you are a Scottish resident you are not liable to pay fees and should apply to SAAS for funding.

Students from other parts of the UK should visit the appropriate website:

Scholarships and Financial Awards

You may also qualify for a scholarship or financial award:

Widening Access Accommodation and Welcome Pack Offer

If you are applying to RGU for September 2021 and meet widening access criteria, you may qualify for free accommodation in your first year of study, along with our welcome pack to support your transition to university. Find out if you are eligible:


For new intakes course fees are reviewed and published annually for each mode of delivery. Tuition fees are fixed for the duration of a course at the rate confirmed in the offer letter.  For further information see


Have a question about the course? Get in touch with our Student Admissions Service and we'll do our best to help.

Get in touch

Taking this course, you will have access to some of the world's best facilities. 


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