Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) focuses on contemporary art and the development of a meaningful artistic and professional career.

Our focus is on encouraging the emergence and development of a meaningful artistic practice through experimentation with a range of creative media and processes. This is underpinned and supported by teaching the necessary skills, techniques, and research methodologies to foster your creative, practical, and contextual development. You will be taught by lecturers who are practising artists themselves with established local, national, and international reputations.

Key dates

February 2023 Intake 13 • 02 • 23

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Duration

3 years full-time in Auckland

Qualification

Bachelor's Degree (Level 7) 360 credits

Costs

Domestic $9,050 + $300 Student Services Levy
International $27,000 + $300 Student Services Levy
Fees Free Applies
All 2022 fees are subject to change and regulatory approval

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Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts Course Outline

Fine Arts explores traditional and contemporary materials, techniques, and approaches in relation to students' own ideas and creativity. Learning takes place within an integrated programme of studio-based and contextual courses that prepare students for a range of creative professions. Whitecliffe provides individual studio space, which can be accessed seven days a week. Students are further supported by technical equipment and support. At the end of each Semester, students stage formal assessment exhibitions within their studio space. These displays provide opportunities for showcasing work to the public and are essential for resolving existing ideas and considering new directions.

The uniqueness of the Whitecliffe Bachelor of Fine Arts qualification is that it begins by aligning the subjects of Fine Arts and Photo Media (Photography and the Media Arts) together, allowing students to experiment with all forms of working before choosing to focus on a specialism for further study. This means Whitecliffe graduates are better prepared to work across new and traditional fields of contemporary arts practice utilising these highly sought-after transferable skills in an increasingly wide range of industries after graduating.

Whitecliffe's Form Gallery provides an excellent site for students, alumni, faculty, and visiting artists to exhibit. These exhibitions provide insight into professional contemporary practice and help students to connect with the wider arts community.

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Why choose Fine Arts at Whitecliffe?

  • As the consistent winner of the Eden Arts Schools Awards since its inception in 2011, Whitecliffe is firmly positioned as the art school leading Fine Arts education in Auckland.
  • The Whitecliffe Fine Arts department delivers a contemporary and internationally-relevant programme that positions Whitecliffe graduates for a life-long contribution to visual arts and the ever-expanding fields within the creative industries.
  • Students and graduates have consistently won awards of note and have the opportunity to engage with the wider arts community while they are studying, building their professional arts practice from the outset.
  • The award-winning faculty and high calibre of visiting artists ensure that Whitecliffe Fine Arts students are informed, connected, and current.
  • The primary focus of the Whitecliffe Fine Arts department is studio-based learning; that's why Whitecliffe provides students with quality studio space and a programme that ensures that they get regular contact with lecturers who are practising artists.
  • The Fine Arts Studios, along with the Form Gallery, is a hub for like-minded artists and an opportunity for students to see and discuss the work of their peers, their lecturers, and visiting artists.
  • Students can access their studio spaces seven days a week and are encouraged to use the studio as a making and thinking space but also as an installation site. In this way, the studios are an opportunity for the presentation of work to be trialled and tested.
  • End-of-semester exhibitions are a time for the formal assessment of work, but also a time to open the studios to the public, reinforcing the cycle of developing, presenting, and reflecting on work essential to contemporary arts practice.
  • Fine Arts students are trained to digitally document their studio projects and these images are combined with written research to form a contextual portfolio that accompanies each student's end-of-year assessment. This highlights the ability each student possesses to discuss all aspects of their work and the way that it might be considered in relation to historical and contemporary modes of art practice.
BFA Mid-Year Exhibitions

Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts Year One

All Bachelor of Fine Arts students will be required to complete the following four compulsory 15 credit courses in the first semester.

  • FA7501 Critical and Contextual IA
    Critical and contextual Introduction offers students the essential tools to confidently approach the development of their critical and contextual research and its application to studio practice.


  • FA7502 Materials and Processes
    A practical study into a range of art making processes and application including drawing, painting, screen printing, and 3D object making.


  • FA7512 Photography and the Media Arts
    A practical study into a range of lens-based processes, methodologies, and technologies. The course introduces students to camera and lighting, moving image, and sound recording.


  • FA7522 Visual Thinking
    An introduction to methods of visual research. Facilitates an introductory understanding of the fundamental research processes supporting the development of a studio-based practice.

After completing Semester One in their first year, students will then enrol in 7504 Studio I (45 credits), and 7503 Critical and Contextual (15 credits). These two courses interrelate with each other and provide the basis for students to create and develop their own ideas and creative outcomes and allow them to choose their specialism in Year Two.

Years 2 + 3 follow the same format (45 credit Studio and 15 credit Critical and Contextual courses) per Semester. Students select either Fine Arts or Photo Media as their specialism for the remainder of the degree.

BFA End of Year Exhibitions

Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts Year Two

Year Two Fine Arts students develop a broad learning base utilising a variety of media. In Terms 1 - 3, students participate in a series of set assignments, tutorials, and workshops that assist them to experiment with a range of media and techniques, evaluate complex issues and discuss critical frameworks relevant to contemporary art practice. In Term Four, students focus on the transition from working with set assignments to working on a self-directed project that extends studio-based visual and theoretical research. Intensive supervision from the faculty supports their creative, practical, and contextual development.

BFA End of Year Exhibitions

Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts Year Three

By undertaking a negotiated studio research project in Year Three, students will creatively engage in a largely self-directed course of study to produce practical work, which is evaluated within a critical framework. Year Three students accumulate a contextual portfolio, which contains photographic documentation of their studio work as it has developed throughout the year alongside an annotated bibliography of relevant reading material. Students also complete 40 hours in an internship component that connects them to the industry.

By the end of Year Three, students will resolve a professional body of work that represents an original area of inquiry which is then presented together with the rest of their cohort at the Whitecliffe Graduate Exhibition. This exhibition is well attended by industry professionals and is an important opportunity to showcase student work, supporting them to graduate with momentum, to have confidence and make a contribution to their chosen discipline and the wider arts community.

BFA End of Year Exhibitions

Life After a Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Arts

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our graduates are proven self-starters, many of whom become self-employed or owners of successful small businesses within the creative fields.

BFA End of Year Exhibitions

Key Information for Students

NZ Government key information link for students, that provides more information to support your decision making for this programme

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Admission Requirements

Domestic Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Minimum age: Domestic students must be at least 18 years of age at the commencement of their study.
  • NCEA University Entrance or equivalent CIE/IB award.
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained exceptional marks in accomplishing NCEA Level 2, including UE literacy requirements (5 credits in reading and 5 credits in writing at level 2).
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who have gained a Level 4 Arts and Design certificate of at least 60 credits.
  • Discretionary Entrance is available to students who are over 20 years of age.
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed.
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability.
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway


International Student Entry Requirements:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copy
  • Minimum age: International students must be at least 18 years of age during their first semester of study. Where the student is under 18 years of age for part of their first year of study they must have evidence of a guardian domiciled in Auckland.
  • IELTS Academic overall score of 6.0 with no band less than 5.5 or equivalent
  • Academic Transcripts: School or previous tertiary results
  • Interview: All applicants for this programme are interviewed. International student interviews are conducted via telephone or online
  • Portfolio: This is brought to the interview and should include between 12-24 examples of original work showing breadth of ability. International Students may submit their portfolio digitally
  • Letter of Intent: A 250-word letter of intent outlining reasons for wanting to study the BFA programme and desired pathway
  • Full-time study: International students enrolled into a degree or higher-level programme, including low residence and/or online or blended learning delivery, will be required to enrol into 60 credits per semester and meet the attendance requirements of the programme.


BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Requirements:

This programme has Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) requirements, the following specifications will support you to be successful in your studies.

Required IT Specifications:

Minimum Hardware requirements

  • Mac - Intel processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
    OR 
  • MacBook Air with M1 Chip 
    OR 
  • Intel® or AMD processor with 64-bit support; 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later 
  • 8 GB RAM (Recommended 16 GB)   
  • 250 GB SSD or higher hard drive with 10GB free space minimum    
  • Wireless capability 802.11n dual-band    
  • Up-to-date antivirus software    

Minimum Operating System     

  • Windows 10 (64-bit) version 1809 or later; LTSC versions are not supported
    OR     
  • Apple macOS Mojave (version 10.14) or later 
  • Internet and data plan.    

Not Supported:    

  • Chromebooks    
  • Windows X or Windows S OS    
  • Tablets (except Windows Surface Pro or iPad Pro)

Macbook Pro (preferred)
AND dedicated GPU (Graphics card)

May use Apple iPad Pro for drawing. 

BFA End of Year Exhibitions

Where could this programme take you?

Many of our graduates have gone on to be successful exhibiting artists, both in New Zealand and overseas. However, a Fine Arts degree also prepares graduates for a wide range of careers, giving them essential skills for the modern job market: the ability to think creatively and flexibly; to work independently or collaboratively; to respond constructively to criticism, and to participate in intelligent debate. Our emphasis on business skills - such as budgeting, marketing, career management, and public relations - also prepares graduates for self-employment or to engage in a range of creative industries.

Jobs related to this programme

Exhibiting Artist

Gallery Manager

Tertiary Teacher

Art Consultant

Conservator

Art Magazine Editor

Curatorial Assistant

Secondary School Teacher

Arts Administrator

Set Design and Construction

Art Project Manager

Find out more about career opportunities

Talk to our team

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If you would like to ask us a question or request more information, please detail your enquiry using the form below. If you would like you can contact us directly on 0800 800 300, email us or use the contact us form.

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