School of Visual Culture

Are you fascinated by the spectrum of human creativity: art, design, architecture, film, media, aesthetics? Interested in history and the objects, processes, institutions and concepts of art and design in the contemporary world?


The BA in Visual Culture gives you an opportunity to study the histories and theories of modern and contemporary art and design practice in a creative art school setting. This programme is suitable for anyone with a broad interest in history, culture, and society. You do not have to have any prior knowledge of art and design before you start. Your study will be based around lectures, seminars, tutorials and field trips. There will be opportunities to work with studio-based NCAD students, this engagement may take the form of critical/professional writing and publication projects, curation and event development.

You will be educated to become visually literate, expressive and articulate. On graduation you will have gained a broad range of critical and research skills associated with an arts degree. Future career opportunities in the arts for graduates of the BA in Visual Culture include exhibition curation, critical writing, journalism, publishing and arts management.

A portfolio submission is not required; places are allocated through the CAO based on Leaving Certificate points.

An opportunity to study the history of art and design practice in a creative art and design school setting.

Year 1

  • Introduction to Key Concepts in Art & Design
  • Histories of Visual & Material Culture
  • Professional Practice: Mediation
  • Histories of Art & Design 1
  • Technologies of Visual Culture

Year 2

  • Professional Practice1 and 2: Institutions and Situations
  • Histories of Art & Design II
  • Understanding Digital Cultures
  • Contemporary Theories & Practices

Year 3

  • Work Placement
  • Collaborative Practices
  • Economies of Culture
  • Professional Practice: Exhibition
  • Research Practices

Erasmus & BA International

Visual Culture students are encouraged to take up opportunities to study abroad through the Erasmus programme. This can be either as a semester abroad during year 2 or as a full year of international study between year 2 and the final year.

How will I be assessed?

Assessed course work may include group and individual presentations, text and image essays, curatorial projects, event development, self-publishing, and the development/adaptation of online platforms.

Students can leave at the end of Year 3 with a BA (Hons) Degree; students who reach the appropriate standard may stay on for further postgraduate study in one of a number of MA programmes: MA Art in the Contemporary World, MA Design History and Material Culture.

Masters Programmes in Visual Culture

The MA Art in the Contemporary World is a taught programme that examines contemporary art practices and their critical, theoretical, historical and social contexts. 

The MA in Design History and Material Culture is a pioneering course that examines the history of design and material culture from the eighteenth century through to the present day.

NCAD 2018/19 Course Prospectus

BA Visual Culture


As a consequence of the breadth and depth of understanding and experience acquired in relation to modern and contemporary visual and material culture, Visual Culture graduates have a wide range of local and international opportunities open to them, including: arts administration (in contemporary and heritage contexts); publishing, journalism, critical writing; work in museums and private galleries; or pure art and design historical research and lecturing.

Increasingly graduates progress to further study at Postgraduate level to refine their creative and critical abilities and approach. The School of Visual Culture offers a range of highly regarded Masters programmes, as well as a 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 20

CAO Course Code

AD215 Visual Culture

Entry Requirements

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

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

FETAC: 5 Distinctions Full Award

CAO Points 2016  325
Portfolio Requirement None
Degree Awarded BA Visual Culture / BA Visual Culture ( International) 
All Undergraduate applications for Year 1 entry and Advanced entry through the CAO.

NCAD Minimum Entry Requirements


For further information please contact:

Head of School
Prof. David Crowley

School Secretary

Neasa Travers