New Zealand Education - Think New Logo


University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury logo

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Painting

This course is available


Level of Study

Bachelor's Degree


4 years

Next start date

Expected Feb 2023


University of Canterbury


The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) is a prestigious degree that will give you a broad knowledge in visual arts, multimedia, and design before you specialise in one studio area.

The four-year degree is based within purpose-built facilities and students enjoy being part of a supportive community of practitioners.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts requires a total of 480 points:

  • 90 points of compulsory Fine Arts courses
  • 45 points of compulsory Art History and Theory and/or Cinema Studies courses
  • 270 points towards a specialist studio subject
  • 75 points from courses in Arts or other degrees.

Double degrees

It is possible to study a BFA with another degree.


Initial studies in Painting proceed from a mix of traditional and contemporary painting practice. Students are encouraged to develop a sound grasp of the rationale belonging to such practices and a practical knowledge of the basic formal issues which guide them.

Advanced studies are designed to encourage students to deal with more recent painting practice in depth so that, by the time their studies have completed, they are able to maintain a high level of personally-directed activity consistent with established practice in their field.

Further study

Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Arts; Master of Fine Arts; Postgraduate Diploma in Art Curatorship

A UC Fine Arts degree is accepted as an possible qualification to postgraduate studies in other tertiary institutions in New Zealand and overseas. UC graduates have been accepted into the best graduate programmes in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, the United States and Australia.

Career opportunities

Graduates in Painting will find careers as professional artists, art gallery directors, consultants, art conservators, art critics, art historians, lecturers and art teachers.

Entry criteria

General Admission to enrol for a bachelor's degree is University Entrance, or equivalent qualification.

To apply for admission to the Intermediate Year (first year) of the BFA directly from secondary school, you need to have met University Entrance requirements and:

  • achieve NCEA Level 3 Visual Arts in one or more subjects; and
  • have at least 14 credits in each of two other NCEA Level 3 subjects (that are not practical art subjects) is also strongly recommended; or
  • the equivalent standards in other secondary school qualifications.

All applicants also need to submit an application form, a letter of introduction and a portfolio.

Applicants must also satisfy our English language entry requirements:

  • IELTS (Academic): Minimum overall score of 6.0, with no band score lower than 5.5.
  • TOEFL (IBT): Minimum overall score of 80, with a minimum score of 19 in Reading, Listening and Writing.
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English - Academic): Overall score of 50, and no communicative skills score below 42.

Undergraduate application deadline: Semester 1 (February start) by 31 October.

Studying in NZ

Border reopeningPlan your study experience

Share this course

Share this course