BA (Hons) Painting

The BA (Hons) in Painting is for those who wish to focus on drawing and painting to become reflective artists with the skills necessary to effectively develop a personal artistic vision or voice. A range of options at Level 1 (HE4) also provides the opportunity to explore another visual art discipline to enrich and broaden your skills including sculpture and printmaking.

Degree overview

With our open learning approach, the OCA’s Painting degree provides a real alternative to traditional campus based learning. Our inspiring course materials enable you to work at your own pace, in your own time, and whenever you choose to study. We have a thriving community of students all following their passion and achieving at the highest levels, supported by tutors who are experienced teachers and practising artists. As you work towards your degree, your work will be assessed against a set of criteria by our accrediting university the UCA, one of Europe’s largest specialist universities for art, design, architecture, media and communication. This enables you to gain HE credits towards your degree and is based on an examination of your course portfolio rather than a formal exam. Click here to find out more about studying with the OCA.

What is Painting?

That the nature of painting is subject of continual debate will be confronted throughout the painting degree programme. While the programme asserts the importance of the development of traditional technical skills in drawing and painting as the basis for your enquiry and practice, that development process may result in your work growing in either traditional or more conceptual terms and you will be encouraged to pursue the route you desire.

As you progress through the levels, you gain a broad knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of Art and knowledge of emerging aspects of the discipline and those at the forefront of debate. The degree includes options in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. You will have gained the ability to communicate information and justify your work, and be a resourceful and independent learner. You will have a breadth of creativity and inventiveness, as well as a range of artistic techniques. You will be able to articulate and comment upon underpinning art theory and concepts through writing and speech.

The two mandatory course units at Level 1 (HE4) are:

In addition to the mandatory course units, students are required to study one of the following units:

Degree aims

  • To ensure students demonstrate proficiency in a comprehensive range of painting practices and techniques.

  • To develop students’ creative, and critical capacities and their ability to reflect on, interpret and evaluate their own and the work of others and to communicate this to others.

  • To develop students’ theoretical, conceptual and contextual understanding of fine art, the practice of painting and contemporary debate in the discipline.

  • To foster inventiveness, risk taking and reflection as a method of learning, to develop a personal language as a painter.

  • To equip students with professional and transferable skills to sustain a practice.

Course content

Full details of the content of the Painting degree, and pathways available can be found through the BA (Hons) Painting degree handbook and pathway documents, downloadable here. If you need more information about the content of this degree and the course units available through it, please call the office to speak to an advisor.

The BA (Hons) Painting degree handbook

The BA (Hons) Painting degree pathway

Caroline Wright

Programme Leader for Painting, Fine Art and MA Fine Art

My practice encompasses site responsive visual and performance work using media as diverse as glass and gold. I have made work for cities and rural spaces, community spaces, galleries, theatres, churches, on desolate uninhabited islands and for audiences in the 100s and of one. I studied at Norwich University College of the Arts where I graduated with a BA (2000) and MA (2002) followed more recently by a PG Certificate in HE (Art and Design) at University of the Arts, London and I am also a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am interested in issues around professional development for artists and in assimilation of teaching and creative practice by educators.

My practice is heavily research led; my approach is that of a conceptual archaeologist, trying to uncover and take control of the past and present, by resurrecting, enacting or undoing. In so doing, I explore the relationships we each have within the world, with each other and with the objects that surround us, looking at our histories and narratives. I am currently interested in constructing new stories by transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, often using a contextual or physical change to achieve new perspectives.

Many of my works are activated by people, be this as audience, as participants, as passers by, or as viewers. Some operate with subtlety, proposing small but significant shifts whilst others are more immersive. I use drawing both as a research tool and as a medium for finished works, enjoying this private occupation that offsets and balances my larger scale work. Recent pieces include Out of Water, a performance for the Cultural Olympiad London 2012 Festival that took place on Holkham Beach in Norfolk, On Tides and Fathoms – an eerie structuralist portrait of three solitary shelters in rural Suffolk depicted in film and respond/reply, a research project into the relationships between drawing and writing with a forthcoming publication.

I am currently based at Wysing Arts Centre near Cambridge. My work has been shown extensively in the UK and abroad and I have received several awards including an Artsadmin bursary and selection as an Arts Council England East Escalator Artist for visual and live art. I am a founder member of Artist Interaction and Representation (AIR) a body of over 18,000 artists and I currently sit on the board of Fermynwoods Contemporary Art.

I am currently course leader for OCA’s MA Fine Art, previously I was course leader for MA Drawing at Norwich University College of the Arts and also taught on MA Fine Art at the same institution for seven years. I am regularly invited to contribute to think tanks and conferences for organisations such as Engage, AN Publications, Making Culture Work and Artquest.

Caroline Wright profile image

Painting Degree course units

The available course units for the BA (Hons) Painting degree can be viewed below.

Level 1 (HE4)

Level 2 (HE5)

Level 3 (HE6)


Degree Programme Enquiry Form

Please fill in this form to begin the process of enrolling on the BA (Hons) Painting degree or one of OCA’s other undergraduate BA (Hons) degree programmes. You are not committing to anything by filling in this form, and a member of the Head Office team will be in touch shortly to further discuss your application.

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All of our degrees are accredited by the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist universities.

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OCA’s courses are independently reviewed. Read the report here: OCA’s QAA Review.