student painting, with blue overlay


BA (Hons) (Top-up)

Study Art at University Centre Leeds

See your future in full colour with the BA (Hons) Art Top-Up Degree. Delivered from studio space in the creative quarter of Leeds city centre, it offers a supportive and creative environment to explore and develop your artistic style. It combines practical, academic and industry practices to help you find and establish your place in this thriving sector. Offering a robust programme that is reflective of creative and cultural industries, this course will support you on your chosen trajectory.

There’s never been a more exciting time to develop your artistic flair - the creative industries are booming, with previous growth in the industry up by 7.4% (five times the growth across the UK economy as a whole). The arts and culture industries contribute around £10.5 billion to the UK economy (House of Commons, 2019) and in 2020 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the HM Treasury announced funding of £1.57 billion for cultural, arts and heritage institutions. This makes pursuing a career in the creative arts the perfect way to become a successful practitioner.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 1 year
  • Venue: Quarry Hill and Mabgate campuses
  • Fee: £8,745 full-time (per academic year for UK students)
  • UCAS Course Code(s): W7Y9
  • UCAS Institution Code: L21
  • Study Mode: Full Time
  • Validated By: The Open University
art student painting


The BA (Hons) Art (Top-up) Degree puts your creativity at the forefront and provides you with the opportunity to nurture a strong and coherent art practice. It offers multiple opportunities for self-promotion including: public exhibitions; working with gallerists and curators; self-promotion; collaboration with other artists, designers and makers; working with the public, exploring academic research; and creating an identity for your practice. The course is driven by the reality of being an artist in the real world and therefore is designed to offer real industry opportunities. The content has been developed with local galleries and art organisations, as well as freelancers.  

You will develop your creative skills through technical supervision, critical questioning and individual agency; consolidating your creative identity with an increased understanding of social, cultural and theoretical art debates and influences. You will also prepare for life as an artist following graduation, receiving plenty of time with tutors to discuss your practice, ideas and creativity across a diverse range of course modules.

This course is validated by The Open University 

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BLANK_ working Art Gallery

Set in the HE Creative Arts block at Quarry Hill Campus, is a working Art Gallery. BLANK_ is a project space with an accompanying publication that showcases new contemporary creative practice in Leeds. There are plenty of opportunities for students to be involved, including assisting artists and technicians with installation, open events and invigilation. 

Find out more about BLANK_ here


We are proud to work in partnership with

first fridaysloft164curator spacethe gallery at 164

How to Apply

If you would like to apply for to study full time, please do so via UCAS.

The institution code for University Centre Leeds is L21.

The application fee for applying through UCAS is £27.50.

Apply via UCAS

If you are a student currently studying at Leeds City College, Keighley College or Harrogate College and if all of the following applies:

  • you do not already have an application with UCAS
  • you only wish to study your full time undergraduate course with University Centre Leeds
  • should you be successful in your application and enrol onto this course, you agree to us submitting a record of prior acceptance (RPA) application to UCAS on your behalf 

Then you can make a direct application via the following link: 

Internal Students - Direct Application Form

For further information in regards to this please email

Course Information

You will study 120 credits and the modules may include:

Year 1 (Level 6)

Ideas and Concepts (20 credits)
The aim of this module is to engage you in your creative output, exploring and challenging various ideas and concepts through practical investigation.

Major Creative Project (40 credits) 

As the name suggests, this module enables you to produce and exhibit a body of creative work.

Collaboration Project (20 credits) 

Delve into the exploration of collaborative practice. Within the module you will develop a professional external project working across specialisms of your choice.

Contextualising Practice (30 credits) 

You will explore and develop an area of academic research related to your creative practice, culminating in a written dissertation.

Portfolio Review (10 credits) 

This module gives you the opportunity to present your work through interview to external industry professionals.

This programme’s range of practical academic and industry-focused modules allows you to experience the reality of being an artist through real industry opportunities. Through practical and written research, alongside collaborative projects, you will be given the opportunity to showcase many skills. A variety of assessments will also equip you with the confidence to put these professional skills into practice.  

Other benefits include:

  • Study a range of practical, academic and industry-focused modules
  • Explore and develop a range of specialist skills relevant to creative practice
  • Build your confidence through assessments that mirror real industry environments
  • Experience working within studio environments
  • Delve into contemporary art and design practices
  • Engage with local creative businesses, artists, collectives and entrepreneurs
  • Create a professional portfolio of work
  • Build a strong network of contacts
  • Organise and carry out a live external collaborative project with other students

Through modules like Collaboration Project, where students organise and carry out a live external collaborative project, our graduates understand the mechanics of their creative sector and have the creative and transferable skills to navigate and operate within it.

Our assessments draw on a range of skills to reflect the activities typical of a practising artist in the industry. 

Ideas and research are assessed through a presentation as well as written and practical outcomes. Reflection and evaluation are important in self-directed learning, feature in the collaboration module and inform the Portfolio Review.

Creative practice and practical outcomes are the chief component of assessment on the BA (Hons) Art course. The Major Project and Ideas and Concepts both require practical bodies of work that demand creative stamina. 

There is an expectation of presenting the creative work through exhibition opportunities both during the course and at its culmination; as well as having the chance to present work in an interview scenario to external professionals.

Assessment methods may include:

  • Portfolio
  • Log
  • Project
  • Interview
  • Research proposal presentation
  • Dissertation
  • Exhibition


Foundation Degree: Pass on the second year of a foundation degree in a relevant subject.

HND: Pass grade in a relevant subject.

GCSE: Together with a number of GCSE grades at 4 or above including

IELTS: IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any component.

International qualifications: International qualifications will be assessed against these criteria.

Mature applicants: We welcome applications from candidates who may not precisely match the academic criteria but can demonstrate experience in their chosen field as well as academic achievement at level 5. Candidates in this category will be interviewed to assess their
suitability for the course and asked to provide a portfolio of evidence to support their application.

RPL Claims: The course structure actively supports claims for Recognition of Prior Certified Learning (RPCL) or Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL)

Interview / Audition: All students must be able to demonstrate either by qualifications or testing that they have the required literacy skills to complete the course.

Portfolio: All students are to present a portfolio of artwork and supporting academic text which is disclosed during an interview or correspondence for distance applicants. International qualifications will be assessed against these criteria.

The course prepares you for a range of roles in a variety of areas, dependent on your own areas of interest and career aspirations. It allows the development of a strong body of contemporary work which may lead to work as a practising artist or further study, as well as many freelance or community projects and directives.

You may wish to follow a career in arts administration or curating, or go on to explore further areas of research following your dissertation.

Students may wish to progress internally on to the MA Creative Practice or PGCE course, or externally on to other creative MA programmes or teaching qualifications.

Job roles could include:

  • Artist
  • Freelance creative
  • Arts Administrator
  • Creative Project Management

For the latest version of the programme specifications for this course please click here.

For the latest version of the course handbook for this course please click here.

For the latest version of The Open University regulations please click here.

For the latest version of the staff profile please click here.

Additional costs for creative materials as well as resources such as books, journals or memberships for personal research. Local opportunities and trips are often subsidised, but optional national and international trips would require additional funds.



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