Certificate in Fine Art

Our Certificate programme is a bespoke, flexible way to study Fine Art


Our Certificate programme is a bespoke, flexible way to study. It’s ideal if you’re serious about developing your technical art skills, but have limited time. The Certificate in Fine Art allows you either to focus on one discipline or to work across multiple disciplines, from Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture or Digital Media.

The Certificate is internally awarded; it is not part of the RQF (The Regulated Qualifications Framework) and can’t be used as credit for another qualification.

Certificate in Fine Art Programme Overview

What you will study

The Certificate in Fine Art is typically one full day (10.30am-4.30pm) a week, completing six modules over two years. It can also be completed in an accelerated mode; two full days a week over one year. 

In either mode, the Certificate in Fine Art can be started at the beginning of any of the three terms throughout the year. The programme is designed to fit around students’ busy lives and can be paused as often as necessary (with advance notice and for whole terms only); there is no time-limit to completing the Certificate and students can move between the standard and accelerated mode from term to term.

The Certificate course is not formally assessed (nor is it necessary to complete work outside of the taught sessions). You will, however, need to meet the minimum attendance requirement (80%) and complete all six modules to pass the programme. At the end of the Certificate you will have the opportunity to exhibit your work at the annual Certificate Show Students are also able to take advantage of free places on the Academy’s public courses, which are subject to availability at the discretion of the Academy.

Our Teaching Approach

Our teaching body is second to none. All our tutors are practising artists. They include prize-winning artists, artists with work in national collections and members of leading arts organisations.

Central to our philosophy is that teaching and learning should be in small, supportive groups: our tutors get to know students individually and students learn from both the tutor and from each other within teaching groups not exceeding 15 people.

The Certificate is internally awarded; it is not part of the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework) and can’t be used as credit for another qualification.

Please see the Certificate Programme Handbook*,  Student Handbook*, and Student Terms and Conditions for more information.

*Please note handbooks maybe subject to change and will be reissued upon enrolment.

Click here to book a chat and/or tour with our Academic Team over the phone or in person to discuss any of our Academic Programmes.

Elective Skills Workshop Programme

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Electives for the 2024/2025 Year

*This mapping document is illustrative of the types of Elective Skills Workshops options available within an academic year. This is for your guidance only and the Elective Skills Workshop Courses courses offered each term are subject to change.

Electives are allocated on a first come first serve basis per term and we cannot reserve places in advance or guarantee places on your first choice of electives.

The programme is made up of six modules called Elective Skills Workshop Courses. These courses are common components to all our academic programmes at the Academy, so you will be working alongside a diverse group of students from a range of our pre-degree and degree courses. You will choose your Electives from a range available each term. The day you attend will be dependent on the course you choose each term.

The Certificate is a flexible programme and can be customised to your needs. Should you want to take a course in more than one discipline at the same time (painting and drawing, for instance), this can be arranged since the skills classes take place on different days.

You will have a tutorial each term with the Certificate Programme Leader, Zoe Toolan. Tutorials are 30 minutes one-to-one and provide you with the opportunity to discuss your individual practice, goals and educational development and progression, academic and administrative issues and general wellbeing. Tutorials are available in person or via Zoom.

Our Certificate in Fine Art is taught across both of our campuses, conveniently located within walking distance of each other in the London Borough of Southwark.

Our Mermaid Court campus houses a Wood & Metal Workshop, a sculpture studio and a Library (165A Borough High Street, London SE1 1HR).

Our Bankside campus houses nine large studios, including a print room, a ceramics studio, a digital suite and painting and sculpture studios. There’s an auditorium for artist talks and lectures plus two gallery spaces, where you’ll have opportunities to show your work (185 Park Street, London SE1 9SH).


Having attended an open day at the Academy, I was inspired by the method of teaching as well as their ethos, so was very keen to enrol to enhance with the aim of enhancing my work. Speaking with the Principal, I explained that I felt stuck in my practice and would welcome further guidance. I was selling my art, but was not really content with the body of work I was showing. Tanya had suggested the ‘Painting in Practice’ course would help me develop as an artist.

Since then I havn’t looked back – the time has flown by, my work has improved and I am so pleased that I made the decision and am so grateful….READ MORE

Iaysha Salih, Certificate Student

FEES 2024

Fees for the Certificate Programme can be paid termly or annually.

Total Course Fee (1 or 2 years) Per Term over 2 years (inc 5% surcharge) Per Term 1 year accelerated mode (inc 5% surcharge)
£4,180 £732 £1,463

Please note, these are our 2024/25 fees. Fees are subject to annual review and are likely to increase due to inflation in the following academic years (this is capped at 5% annually).

If you opt to pay termly, fees will be subject to a 5% surcharge.

Fees can also be paid within a longer, individually agreed payment plan to spread the annual fee across the academic year. Payment plans do incur a 10% surcharge.

A deposit of £100 as outlined in point 3.2 is also payable on acceptance of the offer.


Studying Fine Art at this level will incur costs in addition to fees, accommodation, travel and usual living expenses. Whilst some basic materials are provided for certain Elective Skills Workshop Courses, you will be required to cover the costs of other materials associated with your course.

The Academy has a small shop on site, where you will be able to purchase some materials. Some guidance on where to purchase other specialist materials is in the student handbook and Tutors can also advise you.


Some components of the programme will suggest students visit relevant exhibitions. These are quite often free as they are in commercial galleries. Where there is an entry fee, whilst we encourage you to take these trips, we understand it is not always possible, so they are not compulsory nor essential.


As a small independent art school, we are unable to hold places offered indefinitely. If your application is successful you’ll need to pay a deposit of £100 (which will be deducted from your first term’s tuition fee) and return your signed contract to secure your place.


As an independent institution, our courses are not subject to public funding and as a result, there is no exemption from fees for under 19-year-olds or access to student loans.


Once you’ve returned the signed contract and paid your deposit, you have a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind. If you choose to cancel during this time, we’ll refund your full deposit. After this period, the Academy reserves the right to retain this deposit if you fail to enrol.

You’ll need to pay your tuition fees before the start of the programme. Beyond the statutory cooling off period, you must inform the Academy of your intention to withdraw. If you wish to withdraw from your course after its official start date, you will be liable for a fee. Full details of the liability can be found in our Terms and Conditions. Should you need to, you can suspend your study for an agreed period. Please see our withdrawal and interruption of study policy for more information.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information on Fees.

We welcome applications from all enthusiastic candidates. Please email [email protected]  or call +44 (0) 20 7407 6969 to discuss courses further or arrange a visit.

To apply, please fill out the online application form here.

If you wish to apply by post, please email [email protected] to request an application form.

We consider each application on an individual basis and welcome candidates from a variety of backgrounds. No formal qualifications are required. We will assess an applicant’s suitability for the Certificate through a portfolio of work, personal statement and interview. Applicants must be over 18 at the time of entry and must demonstrate competency in spoken and written English, which will be judged through the applicant’s Personal Statement and interview. On receiving an application, we will offer suitable applicants an interview. In some cases, we may ask to see additional supplementary work.


As part of your application form you’ll need to submit a personal statement. This is your opportunity to stand out from the other candidates, to set the scene for your interview. Your personal statement should be approximately 500 words and cover the following:

  • Give us some context; What have you done previously (educationally, artistically and professionally)? Why are you interested in FIne Art ?
  • Tell us about the materials, methods, and processes you use to make work and what you’re interested in exploring in the future.
  • Tell us how and why artists have influenced your work.
  • Why do you want to study at Art Academy London? What do you hope to gain from the programme? What are your ambitions?


As part of the application form you’ll be asked to submit examples of your work digitally, so that we can assess your suitability for the programme ahead of a physical interview.

You should submit approximately 5 to 10 pieces. Digital examples must contain information about media and dimensions as a minimum, you may add titles and other explanatory text if you wish. This should be submitted as a PDF, Powerpoint or Word document.

For interview you’ll need to bring physical examples of your workwith you. This doesn’t need to be completely different content to the digital submission. This should be approximately 10 to 15 pieces of work plus your sketchbooks (if you use them). These examples do not need to be mounted or ‘presented’, but rather a collection of work. You should, however, consider the order in which you wish it to be viewed.

For both digital and physical portfolios you should include evidence of:

  • Drawing
  • Finished work
  • Work that demonstrates your range (include pieces that demonstrate your ability with different media and techniques)

You should consider the following:

  • We’re not looking for perfection. Including developmental, unfinished and experimental work is important too.
  • Be decisive. The ability to select and edit is important. You should have something to say about every piece and demonstrate that you can critically self-evaluate.


The Academy operates a fair and transparent admissions process to ensure that the widest range of people (with the motivation and ability to study at the correct level) have an opportunity to benefit from the Fine Art education we provide. To find out more information please see the Art Academy’s Admissions policy and Criminal Convictions Policy and Procedure.


As a student of the Academy it is very important you are aware of our Academic Regulations and Policies. These apply to any of our students studying on any of our Pre-Degree and Degree programmes and outline the agreed procedures and protocols to ensure all students understand both expectations and support available to them. To find out more information please see our Academic Regulations and Policies page.


We are committed to supporting accessible learning and welcome students with disabilities and special educational needs.


We encourage you to disclose any disabilities or special needs when you apply, so we can plan any support that we may need to provide at the earliest opportunity, including during the admissions process. Admissions decisions are always made on the basis of a candidate’s ability and/or potential to complete the programme.


Provided that a candidate is suitable for the programme applied for, we will make reasonable adjustments for applicants with a physical or mobility impairment in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

Art Academy London’s premises are old buildings which inevitably means that access to some areas can be problematic for people with a physical disability. However, work carried out on our main Mermaid Court building over the last few years means that we can accommodate most students with physical disabilities on academic programmes.

Where necessary, we will make appropriate arrangements to mitigate any accessibility issues such as rescheduling of classes, workshops, tutorials, lectures and other events to spaces within the main building of Mermaid Court, which is wheelchair accessible. It may also include the provision of facilities to undertake classes and workshops in techniques and processes outside of the dedicated space in which they normally occur (i.e. printmaking) and individual provision of facilities such as storage spaces, where these are normally in unaccessible areas. The library is currently inaccessible to wheelchair users and alternative arrangements are in place for students with mobility issues to access the library resources

Some of our buildings will remain inaccessible for the foreseeable future (our second building at Mermaid Court). We are committed to improving access to all our buildings and are working towards making all areas of our campus fully accessible to all.


Portable induction loops can be provided during open days, interview and in teaching spaces if required.


If you have any other disability, specific learning difficulty, health, or mental health difficulty, please contact us to talk about options for support.



We welcome students with Special Educational Needs. A bespoke programme of Elective Skills Workshop courses will be mapped if necessary, and alternative assessment models employed where appropriate to provide a parity of opportunity with non-SEN students. Our SEND Coordinator will act as a personal tutor and first point of contact for all SEN students, and will also ensure that all other tutors working with SEN students understand that student’s needs and how to support them. In the final year of study, SEN students may be given additional support as necessary as they work towards their Graduate Show.

The SEND Coordinator, and other staff members as relevant, will keep in regular contact with the parents of SEN students if appropriate, including meeting with them to discuss the progress of the student and any issues arising in their course of study.


Students or applicants who declare a disability, specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia), long term health condition or mental health disability are asked to complete a ‘Student Declaration and Identification of Support Needs’ form. This is in addition to the declaration requested at application and is intended to ensure we capture the information we need to ensure a safe and successful educational career at the Academy. A member of the Academic team will then contact the student to discuss their individual support requirements and agree actions, which are made available to relevant tutors and support staff, informing them of any services and adjustments required.


If you don’t find the answer to your question here please contact the Academic team on +44 (0) 20 7407 6969 or email [email protected]

Do you take mature students for the Certificate in Fine Art? 

Yes, applications from mature students are welcomed.

Do I need to have done formal art training before applying for the Certificate in Fine Art? 

No. Selection is made during the interview. We will consider your ability, commitment and prior experience.

What is the structure for paying fees for the Certificate in Fine Art? 

Fees can be paid yearly or termly – full details can be found on the ‘Fees & Funding’ section of the Certificate webpage. The first term must be paid for prior to the start of the course. Furthermore there is a deposit required from all students enrolling on the course.

Is the Certificate in Fine Art recognised or accredited? 

The Certificate is not accredited. It is internally awarded; it is not part of the RQF (The Regulated Qualifications Framework) and can’t be used as credit for another qualification. It acts as a bridge between our Short Courses and our Academic Programmes and is an excellent way to build up your portfolio, or simply improve your skills. Many students from the Academy’s Certificate programme have gone on to further or higher education and accredited courses within the Academy and at other art schools and universities.