What can you do with your fine art degree?

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a Fine Art degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employees and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

A fine arts degree gives you the perfect opportunity to develop and refine your studio skills and methods (painting, drawing, sketching, sculpture, photography, audio-visual techniques, and specialist software) which are essential to work as a professional artist, but you will also develop a broad range of transferable skills which are desired by a wide range of employers. These include:

  • the ability to develop individual ideas and collaborate with others
  • strong observational, research and analytical skills
  • creative problem-solving skills
  • the ability to learn from criticism and be objective about your work
  • an openness to new influences and concepts
  • entrepreneurial skills in marketing your work and running your own business/ being self-employed.

Career options

Studying fine art at Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices as it equips you with the skills, knowledge and contacts to enter the world of work and build a career that suits you. You could look at channelling your artist talents by pursuing a career as a professional artist. Many artists are self-employed; selling their work in galleries or selling directly through their own website, gaining commissions or selling licences.

You could also use your artist skills to inspire others and work as a teacher (primary, secondary, further education) or higher education lecturer. Teaching opportunities are also available outside of a traditional classroom setting and you could consider using your artistic flair to engage with people as a community arts worker.

You could also consider less obvious creative paths such as a concept artist for animation, comic books and films or a special effects technician.

There is also a wealth of ‘behind the scenes’ roles such as working as a commercial art gallery manager, exhibition designer, gallery curator or exhibitions officer.

It's worth remembering that many fine art graduates take the skills they have leant elsewhere and find their way into less directly related graduate professions including marketing, the civil service and the charitable sector.


Researching your career options

Given the diversity of career options open to fine art graduates, it is important to research and explore these fully so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

Prospects – what can I do with my fine art degree?

Target Careers – what can I do with my fine art degree?

Fine Art Trade Guild

The Art Workers Guild


Employment opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth fine art graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation:

  • Self-employed Artist
  • Art Teacher
  • Marketing Executive
  • Graphic Designer
  • Art Technician
  • Photo Editor


Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by fine art graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options related to fine art:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.  

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;  

Find a Masters

Find a PhD

Prospects

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn's alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest:

  • search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • select ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool select the LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most of your LinkedIn profile, select the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration. You could also improve your skills and experience by undertaking some freelance work, entering competitions, forming a collective or applying for commissions.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.


Consider an artist residency

An artist residency gives you a specific period of time, away from your usual distractions, during which you can engage in reflection, exploration, research and possibly discover new ways of working. No two residences are the same and can vary in terms of length, location and exhibition collaborative opportunities. To find out more visit: www.resartis.org/en/


Clubs and societies

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members can develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion.

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to your studies or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.   


Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.