Programme structure

The first year is intended to introduce you to the aims and learning methods of the programme and to a wide range of disciplines including painting, drawing, printing, video, sculpture and performance. In the following years, you will explore all of the practical and theoretical facets of being an artist. Your final study phase concludes with a thesis and a presentation in the graduation show.

Teaching strategies

The individual learning of the student is the kernel of our teaching strategies, which are:

  • Artistic practice
    invigorate continuous individual practice in the context of the BA Fine Art community
  • Tutorials
    one on one sessions between a student and a tutor (artist teacher), reflecting on the learning so far, the conversion of strategies into artworks and jointly developing advise for future steps
  • Independence
    encourage students to work independently out of experience and experimentation, with an understanding for the quality of the making, the context of the work and its strategical position, and to learn how to develop and trust intuition
  • Guidance
    support students through individual feedback and guidance
  • Communities
    foster discussions in peer situations to enable students to benefit from the context of a group
  • Workshops
    create an awareness for the wide options of techniques and technologies, relevant for the production of artworks
  • Presentations
    challenge students to rehearse the presentation of work as exhibitions and as verbal presentation
  • Seminars, lectures and reading groups
    provide an entrance to art history and art related theories as crucial contextual knowledge
  • Theory and practice
    link theory and practice through team teaching, involving teachers with experience from both fields
  • Research
    help students to understand research as an essential part of the artistic process and encourage to play with it
  • Professional Practice
    assist students to understand, what roles artists play in our societies, what economic, cultural, social and political conditions they have and enable them to design their future and that of the arts
  • Context
    assist students to understand their making in the wider context of contemporary art and contemporary societies

Programme structure - Curriculum

The curriculum spans over a period of four years and is constructed out of the following blocks at all year levels. Blocks contain specific courses.

  • Artistic Practice
  • Critical Practice is the heading for three distinct elements:
    • Critical Inquiry (all years)
    • Research Practice (year 2)
    • Professional International Practice (year 3 and 4)
  • IST (Year 2 and 3)

The studio remains the nucleus for all learning and teaching. In the studio the process of learning itself is made visible, for the student as well as for others. We see the studio as a space, where you can leave a thought behind and it is still there, when you return the next morning. The studio is the ‘flight simulator’ for professional practice. The studio in the context of an art school allows students to establish a critical and supportive community, and builds future networks and opportunities for a contemporary art practitioner.

The core of the learning in the years two, three and four of the BA Fine Art curriculum is studio practice. Increasingly more time and credits are allocated for individual artistic work. The development of ideas and its transformation into works of art and artistic strategies stand in the foreground.

Dedicated studio spaces are made available and highly qualified artists follow students with support, guidance and critical feedback. Artist-teachers provide critique and support in regular individual tutorials and in group activities. Students are strongly advised to engage in group activities and discussions as a necessary counterbalance to the development of their individual work.

Understanding the history of the arts as embedded in the history of our societies is crucial to maintain a reflected stand as a contemporary artist. The contemporary discourse in art related theories inevitably provides the resonating body and the timbre for every artist today.

All students follow a mandatory programme of lectures, seminars and projects in art history and theory and in relation to artistic research. A written thesis is part of your final exam. To align theory and practice in the process of making art, theory tutors are available for studio visits and studio tutors are invited to speak in theory seminars. Finally, there is also the possibility to enrol in a wide range of elective courses at Leiden University.

Research practice gives year 2 students the opportunity to get acquainted with various modes of research in and through the arts. Through seminars, projects and guest lectures by artistic researchers students will understand what importance research has for the production and perception of art and how art practice and art works contribute to our knowledge as mankind and societies, on eye level with and as an important counterpart to science. Students are provided with the opportunity to play with various notions of artistic research to inform the decision if they want to pursue research as artist actively and in what form.

Art is a highly individual practice and can often have a high degree of self reflection and self reference: but it is always a professional practice.

The role of the artists has changed over the centuries and keeps changing with an accelerating speed in contemporary times. An art market has blossomed which provides fortunes for some investors, dealers and selected artists. Collecting works of art can be a cultural and an economic act at the same time. The desire for culture and art grows as the continuously increasing number of people visiting exhibitions, biennials and festivals shows, leaving a substantial residue for businesses and tourism. National and regional governments and city councils have developed ingenious systems to support the arts. With this as a backdrop we understand professional practice as the necessity to understand the economy of the artists now and in future.

Through a programme of lectures and seminars Professional International Practice wants to enable the artists of the future to understand their own economy and their contribution to the economy of our societies, rather than waiting for a volatile market to pay attention and the sheer skill to attract subsidies. We invite experienced artists, curators, museum-directors, collectors, gallerists, economists, legal advisors and specialists from the wide range of science and society to present their thoughts. At the same time we engage students in the thinking of the many artists initiatives and collectives active in the Netherlands and abroad and aim to provide access to alternative thinkers, political activists and institutional critique. Furthermore students exercise in organising a few group shows. The aim of Professional International Practice is to pay tribute to the changing roles of artists and to enable the reinvention of our economy as artists.

It is a tradition at KABK that students spend a certain amount of time of their studies to widen their horizon beyond their discipline. This is called the individual study trajectory (IST). IST projects are offered academy wide and foster collaboration between the ten departments. As part of the IST programme students can also get access to many offers made by Leiden University. The final exam project contains 12 credits of IST as individual learning and practice.

Courses & ECTS credits 2023-2024 - Full-time programme

The bachelor Fine Arts amounts to 240 ECTS and lasts four academic years.

See below the curriculum overview for Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 for the full-time programme.

Courses Semester 1ECTS
Studio Practice21
Critical Practice6
100 Day Programme1.5
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 2ECTS
Studio Practice20
Critical Practice


Collaboration Week1
Collective 20
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 1


Studio Practice17
Critical Inquiry6
Studium Generale1
Open Practice / IST6
Collective 30
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 2


Studio Practice17
Critical Inquiry6
Studium Generale1
Open Practice / IST6
Collective 40

Total ECTS credits

Courses Semester 1ECTS
Studio Practice18
Critical Practice6
Collective 50
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 2ECTS
Studio Practice18
Critical Inquiry6
Open Practice / IST6
Collective 60
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 1


Studio Practice24
Thesis Writing6
Collective 70
Total ECTS credits30
Courses Semester 2


Final Exam Project24
Thesis Writing


Professional Practice3
Collective 8


Total ECTS credits30

Aim & Objectives

The aim of the programme is to enable students to participate actively in the continuous renewal of art as an important contribution to the cultural, economic and social well-being of our societies.

The objectives of the programme are to enable students:

  • to develop ideas independently out of experience, critical reflection and contextual awareness and to transfer them into works of art
  • to make informed decisions about the application of techniques and technologies in the execution of their ideas
  • to recognise making and thinking in the context of contemporary fine art and its historical development
  • to reflect critically upon the own work and that of others
  • to present their work to a wider public and to reflect upon it verbally
  • to contextualise the making and the development of strategies in the making itself, in a discursive sharing of the work and in writing about it
  • to understand research as an essential part of the artistic process.

These objectives refer to the general national learning outcomes and are expanded by them.