Do you have a skill for drawing and painting? Do you believe you could be an artist? Are you interested in how contemporary art can communicate and affect people’s lives?

Do you have the burning desire to do this, and are you creative, imaginative and adaptable enough to embark on a career as an artist?

Every culture needs its artists and every artist seeks to change the culture. Painting is an old tradition that continually renews itself. Be part of the ongoing renewal.

The Painting Department embraces the diversity of contemporary painting practice and possibility. The discipline of painting in all its forms is supported in the context of evolving and expanding art practices. The course is rooted in investigation of painting’s unique tradition and history and encourages new interpretation, innovation and experimentation.

The discipline of Painting will be your point of departure towards establishing an individual art practice based on your interests and aptitudes. The initial focus is on relevant skills and techniques of painting and related media, and gradually extends to explore issues of content, meaning and context.

Year 1

See First Year 

Year 2

Year 2 extends the conceptual and technical aspects of your work as it gradually becomes more self-directed. Students are supported and guided by a staff composed of practicing artists.

Year 3: Studio + & International

Studio+ is an optional year between the second and final year of your degree. Open to all Fine Art students, it offers the opportunity to gain experience in a range of social and cultural contexts in the world beyond NCAD. This experience will be gained through work with different organisations with links to the School of Fine Art and will help you to build your skills as an artist. Studio+ can also include a period of study abroad through the Erasmus programme with internationally recognised art faculties partnered with NCAD.

Final Year

Final Year students prepare for their degree examination and presentation equipped with practical skills, conceptual understanding and supported by a personal tutor from departmental staff. Seminars, group critiques, gallery visits, workshops, demonstrations, lectures and visiting artists contribute to the course. Throughout all years, time is devoted to studies in Visual Culture where you will learn ways to analyse and situate your own practice, and that of others, in the contemporary world. You will be helped to develop your skills in visual literacy, expression and articulation. Students study the connections between history, theory and practice, in modern and contemporary contexts, in order to become reflective and effective practitioners..

How will I be Assessed?

Assessments occur throughout the programme at the end of each semester. Formal assessment results are issued at the end of each academic year. Modes of assessment include practical and verbal presentations and written assignments.

Download NCAD Prospectus

Many Painting graduates have gone on to successful careers as exhibiting artists nationally and internationally – even to representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale and the Saatchi/Channel 4 ‘New Sensations’ exhibitions. Others have found opportunities for employment in the wider cultural field as gallery administrators, community arts facilitators, educationalists and cultural commentators. The creativity encouraged by Fine Art training is much sought after and adaptable to a wide range of entrepreneurial activities.

A number of graduates also go on to postgraduate study, within the School and outside of Ireland. Following on from a Masters programme, the College offers a practice-based PhD programme supported by the Graduate School for Creative Arts and Media (GradCAM).

Please see the Study at NCAD section for full application details.

Duration 3/4 Years BA 
Places 40

CAO Course Codes:

AD104 Fine Art and Applied Art 

AD101 First Year Art & Design (Common Entry)



Leaving Cert: 6 Subjects (2 X H5 and 4 X O6/H7)

Subjects much include English, Irish and one of the following:  a third Language or Art or Design & Communication Graphics (DCG)


FETAC: 5 Distinctions Full Award

NCAD Minimum Entry Requirements

Portfolio Requirement NCAD Portfolio Submission
Degree Awarded

BA Fine Art / BA Fine Art & Visual Culture / BA Fine Art (International) 

Level 8

All Undergraduate applications for Year 1 entry and Advanced entry through the CAO.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Head of School
Prof. Philip Napier

School Secretary
Hazel Crowley

Claire O'Hagan