Post Baccalaureate - Higher Diploma in Fine Arts


Program Description

The Higher Diploma in Fine Art is the equivalent to the Post Baccalaureate in the United States, and is known informally as the 'Post-Bac.' This one-year course assists you to find your voice as an artist and prepares you for application to and potential enrollment in an MA/MFA programme.

The Post Bac is also applicable for students who have a degree in a subject other than fine art and who wish to transfer onto a fine art educational track by progressing to an MA/MFA programme. As a student who is in the process of finding your artistic identity, the Post Bac facilitates the development of your voice and studio practice through individually negotiated independent study.

As a Post Bac student, you will produce a final exhibition, the quality of which will demonstrate your understanding of fine art practice at the graduate level. You will develop and deepen your understanding of the critical discourse informing contemporary art and be prepared for the next stage of your artistic development.

Programme Description

Studio Practice and Critique is at the core of the programme, taking the form of negotiated projects for independent study that also involve portfolio preparation and career planning. Studio courses provide teaching in a choice of disciplines where you work alongside undergraduate students. Historical and Critical Studies examines key concepts in modern and contemporary art to assist you to contextualize your emerging art practice. The Burren: Culture & Environment introduces you to a wide range of environmental and cultural studies in the west of Ireland, ranging from natural history and geology through archaeology to modern history (one semester only). You will also visit galleries and museums in Dublin with optional visits to London and Berlin.

Course Structure

Year 1, Semester 1

  • Studio Practice and Critique 1: (Independent Study) 20 ECTS
  • Studio Practice and Critique 2: (Taught), 5 ECTS
  • Historical and Critical Studies 1: Introduction, 5 ECTS

Year 1, Semester 2

  • Studio Practice and Critique 3: (Independent Study) 20 ECTS
  • Studio Practice and Critique 4: (Taught) 5 ECTS
  • Studio Practice and Critique 5: (Taught) 5 ECTS - optional
  • The Burren: Culture and Environment, 5 ECTS - optional

Total for Post Baccalaureate: 60 ECTS

English-Language Module

The Post Baccalaureate Programme at Burren College of Art offers students an optional English Language Module for speakers of English as a second language. The aim of this module is to provide students with the essential English language skills for academic work at the Master’s level. Students will gain the language competence in academic English to write up projects and a final thesis to the required standard. This 100 hour English Language Module is also a preparation for the IELTS academic test.

Students who want to proceed to a Master's Degree in the English speaking world generally require an IELTS score of 6.5 or 7.00. The entry requirement for the NUIG recognized Masters programme at Burren College of Art is an IELTS score is 6.5 or a TOEFL IBT score of 92 (or equivalent).

As the Post Baccalaureate Programme of the Burren College of Art requires an English language entry level score of 5.5 in IELTS or 68 in TOEFL IBT (or equivalent) the English Language module will enable students to attain the higher score to allow them to enter the Master's programme. The Module will be provided by Clare Language Centre; an ACELS recognized English Language School on the Burren College of Art Campus. The cost for the additional module is €1500.


Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. The application deadline is 1st February annually, although late applications may be accepted if all places have not been filled. All eligible applicants are interviewed either in person or by telephone. Applicants should have a Bachelors Degree with first or upper second class honours in Fine Art, or a GPA of 3.50 or above; or evidence of equivalent achievement. In the case of an outstanding portfolio, a Bachelors Degree with a lower second class/2.2 honours/GPA of 3.0 may be accepted. A major in Fine Art is not a requirement.

Overseas Applicants

Overseas applicants from outside the EU must comply with Irish immigration rules regarding passport, visa, financial viability and evidence of student status (e.g. letter of acceptance from the College). English Language Requirements for non-native speakers of English: Applicants in this category should have competence in English, which is the language of tuition. They will be required to supply an IELTS unless their primary degree has been taken through English, certification of which must be supplied.

Cost & Fees

Tuition Fees:

  • EU Fee: €9,500
  • International Fee: €18,500
  • Programme Fee: €495
  • Activity Fee: €390
  • Optional Faculty-led trip to London: €690
  • Optional Faculty-led trip to Berlin: €690
  • Graduation Fee: €75

For more information, please visit our website at:

Contact: Lisa Newman at

Last updated Sep 2019

About the School

To be a hothouse for artists, led by artists – reflective and challenging; remote and connected; at the confluence of cultures.

To be a hothouse for artists, led by artists – reflective and challenging; remote and connected; at the confluence of cultures. Read less