Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices BA

  • For Entry: September
  • Duration: 3 years
  • School: Art & Design

Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices students combine the study of philosophical issues with practical work in the studio. You will be part of both our Fine Art and Philosophy programmes.

Art, Philosophy & Contemporary Practices at Dundee

We enable students to investigate philosophical issues while gaining practical studio experience as an artist. 

Sculpture by Aaron McCarthy

Why study this course at Dundee?

Our interdisciplinary course unites excellence in research and teaching within a mainstream university environment. Our academic staff have national and international reputations as practising artists, theorists and philosophers. They contribute significantly to the shaping of contemporary culture and debate.

We have a large number of high-quality studios and workshops. These support a wide mix of disciplines. This includes printmaking, sculpture, photography, painting, digital film, sound, performance, and multimedia installation. Facilities include digital imaging suites, computing workstations and a world-class art library.

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. The programme reflects current cultural practices integrating practical and theoretical studies beyond disciplinary boundaries. It will particularly suit those with a strong interest in philosophical ideas which they can use as a foundation for developing visual practice.


Did You Know?

  • Our staff enjoy national and international reputations as artists, theorists, philosophers and writers

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • combine making with reflection
  • express imaginative visual ideas
  • use critical thinking and analytical abilities in your creative work




Who should study Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices?

 You are:

  • creative
  • analytic
  • a maker and a thinker
  • enthusiastic
  • visually imaginative


You want to:

  • learn how to express philosophical ideas through art
  • improve your artistic ability
  • develop your critical thinking and analytical ability


Art & Media Programme

Art, philosophy & contemporary practices is one of three courses that comprise the art & media programme. The full list is art, philosophy & contemporary practices; fine art and time based art & digital film. This programme has an established reputation as the only interdisciplinary arts curriculum in Scotland.

The bringing together of three distinct pathways under the art and media programme offers a broad educational experience. It also enables access to a wide range of staff expertise. 


Learn more about DJCAD

For further examples of student work, staff profiles and news visit the DJCAD website.

Related Courses

The programme is centred upon a productive dialogue between art practice and theory within, across and beyond individual academic disciplines.

APCP is one of three courses that comprise the Art & Media programme (Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices; Fine Art; Time Based Art & Digital Film). This course has established an enviable reputation for its innovative interdisciplinary arts curriculum. The bringing together of three distinct pathways under the Art and Media programme offers a broad educational experience and access to a wide range of staff expertise while also allowing you to gain deep knowledge and extensive skills in your chosen subject pathway of Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices.

The programme is delivered through active learning in the studio and the sharing of ideas through discussion. The main components of teaching at Levels 1 and 2 are studio projects along with workshops, lectures, seminars and tutorials.

At Levels 3 and 4 you will increasingly engage in self-directed research supported by technical and idea based workshops, lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials.

Level 1 

Students can enter Art, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices after successfully completing our Art and Design (General Foundation) course or on successful completion of a recognised foundation course or equivalent.

In the Art and Design (General Foundation) course you will learn the core values which will enrich and expand your personal visual language as well as a module in Philosophy that will introduce you to key thinkers and themes from the history of philosophy, and build critical reading and thinking skills. 

Level 2

  • Foundations of Contemporary Practice 1 (Towards a Vocabulary of Practice)
  • Contemporary Practice 2 (Towards a Personal Voice)
  • Existential Themes in Technology, Culture & Film
  • Aesthetics

Level 3

  • Independent Creative and Professional Practice 1
  • Independent Creative and Professional Practice 2

plus two of the following:

  • Love and Desire in Plato
  • Film and Art
  • Art and Philosophy Now
  • Questions of Vision in Art
  • Cyberphilosophy
  • Understanding Media 
  • Wittgenstein and Marx's Capital
  • Optional one semester of exchange study at an international institution

Level 4

  • Honours Creative Practice
  • Dissertation
  • Oral presentation
  • Degree show exhibition

Level 4 takes a similar shape to Level 3. The studio practice module provides you with a period of sustained visual enquiry and practice which will culminate in the presentation/exhibition of your work for Degree Show examination at the end of the year. Depending on your individual strengths and interests you have the option to write a dissertation that either closely reflects on your creative practice or engages in a philosophical argument.

At all levels assessment will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the programme and will typically include a combination of presentation of your studio work, essay and oral presentation. The final examination for Honours students takes the form of a major presentation/exhibition and a dissertation.

Our graduates are highly sought after professionals well equipped for a great number of professions. As articulate practitioners or theorists trained in creative practice they are resourceful and flexible. Possible careers include:

  • Artist
  • Arts administration
  • Management
  • Curation and cultural policy making
  • Publishing
  • Writing and journalism
  • Criticism
  • Research
  • Consultancy
  • Teaching profession

Jonathan Richards, Graduate

"The Art, Philosophy and Contemporary Practices course is unique and encourages strong interdisciplinary relationships between departments and offers students varied and stimulating modules that helped shape our overall learning experience.The tutors and technicians were continuously approachable, helpful and supportive. The APCP year benefits from being smaller in size to many of the other courses, therefore as a peer group is very supportive and motivating.”

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

You have to obtain your qualifications at the first sitting of examination.

Courses starting 2016

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher BB (Advanced Higher) + BB (Higher) in different subjects
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5, at Higher level)
Essential Subjects Art and Design, or related subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level, IB Higher Level), an appropriate literate subject (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level) and one other subject outside art & design subjects (at SQA Higher, GCE A Level, IB Higher Level).
EU & International Visit our EU and International webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country"
Other Qualifications
SQA A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units
Scottish Baccalaureate Pass with BB at Advanced Higher
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A recognised Foundation Course or a relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma Grade B with ASL A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
Welsh Baccalaureate Pass with A-levels in appropriate subjects at AB
European Baccalaureate 75% overall with 7.5 in an Art & Design subject and 7.5 in a literate subject

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application. Find out more about fee status.

Fee categoryFees for students starting 2016
Scottish and EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2015 entry). Fees for September 2016 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2016.
Rest of UK students £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
Overseas students (non-EU) £12,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed for the length of your course. This means that the tuition fee you pay in your first year (shown above) is the same fee you will pay for each year of your course. We guarantee that this will not increase while you are studying with us. The only exceptions to this are our MBChB Medicine, BSc Medical Sciences and BDS Dentistry degrees which charge a different tuition for the clinical years.

Suitable applicants may be called for interview. For interview, a comprehensive portfolio of visual artwork and an appropriate example of written work must be submitted.

This truly interdisciplinary course requires abilities to think both creatively and analytically: you should feel equally comfortable making art in the studio, engaging with pencil, paint, ink, cameras or sculpture - as well as reading and writing. Both are required in this course which links the practice of making with the expression of critical understanding. Artists and philosophers teach this unique course, aided by academics in film studies, literature, art history and theory. A wide range of cross-disciplinary practices are reflected in the course content. Writing is an integral part of this course, as is the making of art. Students in Level 3 have the opportunity for foreign exchange if desired. An honours degree exhibition, a dissertation and an oral presentation of ideas and work are the culmination of four years of study.

Applicants should have the relevant qualifications listed in the 'Entry Requirements' section including English and Art/Design. A sound grasp of English is essential for textual analysis. Qualified applicants may be invited for interview on campus and will be asked to bring a portfolio and sample of essay writing.

It is not the everyday student who is suited to this course: we look for that unusual individual who combines many interests and abilities. Reading, watching films, attending theatre, listening to music, engaging in performance, travelling, climbing and writing poetry might be the interests, for example, of the sort of person who also enjoys making art and discussing ideas through intellectual debate. What we look for is a natural curiosity about the world, evidence of reflection and contemplation, active participation in making and doing, and a willingness to encounter new ideas. Applicants might come from many backgrounds. We do not expect lengthy experience with either art or philosophy, but rather look for someone with creative visual skills (in a sketchbook, drawings, photographs, etc) balanced with an ability to write clearly (evident in an essay). The interview process is the chance for us to assess a potential student who will work hard and will equally be your chance to learn more about a challenging and multi-faceted course.

Absolutely! Philosophy is taught as an Introduction in Year 1, and applicants are not expected to have previous studies in this area. However, we do look for a student who is naturally reflective, is able to read and write critically, and has an interest in thinking problems through carefully. We ask applicants to bring an essay done for one of your school assignments in order to assess an ability to write well.

Yes - this is a distinctive feature of this course. It combines ‘hands-on’ making in the studio along with philosophy as an academic subject, preparing students to think clearly and critically, and to articulate ideas with confidence.

Our students come from many backgrounds - often with strengths in English, Modern Studies, RME, History or foreign languages in addition to Art. We look for students with a lively curiosity about the world, an ability to think clearly, and someone who combines visual interests with academic strengths.  Generally, three Bs and a C at Higher (with English as one), and with Advanced Higher English preferred.

No. The feature of this course is that it integrates your studies. From the first year onwards, your studies will be linked, and you will be assisted by staff from both Art & Media and Philosophy to find the natural synergies that connect your theoretical and practical studies. In the years 3 and 4, your own ideas and interests lead your studies, and all supporting help from staff assists you in achieving your maximum potential in both areas, as an artist and scholar.

Yes, you will not be restricted to any one discipline or area of study, such as just painting or sculpture, for example. We encourage students to work through many types of media in the first two years especially, learning how to handle materials and work with increasing skills. Your ideas may develop in many materials — or, primarily in one — but this work will become the focus of creative problem-solving and ‘learning by doing’. This learning is balanced with theoretical studies and helpful critique.

Yes. Our graduates have done extremely well, with nearly half of them immediately going into professional posts, postgraduate degree programmes or related employment. There is no one path for our alumni—some have opted for teacher training, some for curatorial work or museum and conservation studies; some for art journalism, civil service, forensic art or even cultural anthropology. Professional careers ahead as artists await some others, aided by excellent critical skills. Having both areas of skills more than doubles your chances of employment or career success. And it is important to note-this course gives you the skills to be ‘self-starters’, a great plus for any employer.

  Degree UCAS Code KIS Data
Apply NowArt, Philosophy, Contemporary Practices BAWV15