Art and Contemporary Practices BA (Hons)

UCAS code W190

What is special about this course?

This honours degree gives you the opportunity to acquire skills and develop your individual creative identity within the emerging practices of contemporary art.

Working through a range of practical projects, you will develop a clear understanding of the theories, concepts and principles of contemporary art practice.

The course will equip you with the creative integrity to enable you to operate collaboratively and demonstrate the value you can add to contemporary art practices that impact upon society.


Special features

  • Emphasis is on each individual student interpreting and contextualising theory, creative and technical skills to produce effective art that engages within the art world and wider community and context of contemporary art
  • Your studio practice, work placements and collaborative commissions will give you the opportunity to define your own creative identity and explore the evolving opportunities for art and creativity within the full context of contemporary art, health, recreation and education
  • There will be opportunities for national and international trips to enhance your experience


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • Entry to year 1, HNC, is 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above
  • Alternatively, NC Art and Design OR
  • Foundation Apprenticeship Creative and Digital Media
  • We will consider individual competence in art, design or lens based skills evidenced by a portfolio of your work and you may be required to attend an interview
  • Advanced entry to year 2 may be possible with the HNC Contemporary Art Practice, with a B or above in the Graded Unit, or equivalent
  • Entry to year 3 may be possible with the HND Contemporary Art Practice, including a Graded Unit result of B or above, or equivalent
  • In order to undertake required modules in year three, successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members 

Access routes

  • To year 1: NC Art and Design

Year 3 - BA

Modules may include:

  • Practical skills
  • Collaborative project
  • Theories, practice and protocols of working in the public realm

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Modules may include:

  • Major research project
  • Professional profile
  • Major final project

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, the theory elements will be delivered online through a combination of video conference seminars, tutor-supported study and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You will also have the opportunity to do an online induction at the start of the course. On-campus activities and practical sessions will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance, including social distancing. We hope to have some practical sessions in semester one, however the majority are likely to be in semester two (from January 2021), where this is not possible alternative options will be available.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face and video conference lectures, practical sessions, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time:  4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time: 8 years @ 20 hours per week

Where can I study my course?

  • Inverness College UHI
  • Perth College UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £11,650 £12,000
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,820 £6,000
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,940 £2,000

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion you may be able to undertake careers as a practicing artist, in community arts, public art, participatory art, collaborative practice, and curating.

Can I progress into further study?

You may be able to progress from the BA (Hons) Fine Art to our MA Art and Social Practice. 

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

During my third year placement at the Dundee Contemporary Art Centre print studio I learned a variety of printing techniques. I also helped Tayside Health Trust deliver an animation course to individuals suffering from brain trauma. What an amazing experience to be able to apply my learning to the public.

Matthew Taylor is studying in his fourth year of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice at our Perth College UHI campus.

I’m continuing as a regional art and wellbeing tutor for the Workers Educational Association as well as a project facilitator for The Life Changes Trust and Highlife Highland; I facilitate development and learning strategies for projects that are requiring support and/or a creative injection of joy in their day. I have worked as an assistant editor for Art North Magazine and wrote a column called Wayfinding for them. I’m also a working artist with two exhibitions under my belt, with a third one happening at An Talla Solais, Ullapool and I have been published in a book produced by an established artist that also works as an academic in a university in southern England. Additionally, I do public speaking and some public engagement for Inverness Museum and Art Gallery, Highlife Highland as well as the university. I really enjoy my work!
Lar MacGregor graduated with a first class honours degree from the  BA (Hons) Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice

My studies have helped me look at the bigger picture of an art career with classes designed to familiarise students with application processes for grants, awards and exhibitions, as well as how to promote ourselves. For one of my placements I worked at the Clay Workshop in Perth where I helped students and then organised and curated an exhibition at the end of my time there.

Debbie Frame is studying in her fourth year of the BA (Hons) Contemporary Art and Contextualised Practice at our Perth College UHI campus.

Apply for Art and Contemporary Practices BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2020

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.