Professional Diploma in Fine Art - Gateway to Art (QF Level 4)

Art Administration & Management
Art & Culture
Art Making & Tasting

Programme Overview

Programme Objectives

The Professional Diploma in Fine Art (PDFA) programme is formed on the basis of the School’s teaching experience in art of over 16 years and the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s professional experience in engaging art practitioners throughout the past 39 years. 

This is a programme designed with a learner-centered approach, with unique accessibility and flexibility in its content and structure that allow it to cater for the vocational / professional needs of a wide range of art practitioners as well as the vocational / professional interest of non-practitioners who are attracted to the field of art. Participants, depending on their needs and interest, can opt to enroll into individual modules without completing the whole programme.

This programme offers a learning platform in art to:

experienced practitioners (e.g. practicing artists and designers) for their exploration of new cultural insights and hands-on operational or administrative skill sets, as well as a practical taste of traditional mediums or artistic mediums that they may be less familiar with;
experienced practitioners (e.g. art administrators) for cultural nourishment, for a more thorough understanding of artistic mediums, and an enhancement of operational or administrative skills;
non-practitioners (e.g. art lovers) for an exposure to the art administrative sphere, and an overview of the topics of cultural aesthetics and the artistic mediums.

Depending on the choice of the participants, no matter they are practitioners or non-practitioners in the art field, the modules can help ignite their interest or complement their knowledge in the areas that they are less familiar with, and/or brush up their skills and knowledge in the areas that they may be more acquainted with.  

In the programme:
The Art Administration & Management modules aim at guiding participants to a critical understanding of the real art administrative world in Hong Kong, focusing on authentically local topics and issues that genuinely deserve local attention.   

The Art & Culture modules aim at guiding the participants to become aware of the contemporary situations, and to genuinely look into the cultural and historical origins through art.  

The Art Making & Tasting modules aim at guiding participants to get a taste of and to genuinely look into the art making process, from the making of a single art piece to the making of an art event. 

Programme Features

An alternative and authentic way to open up a professional gateway to art and to actually get into art:
The PDFA offered by the HKAS is the only professional programme in town that:

  1. is offered and supported by an authentic arts centre which is equipped with insiders’ knowledge and professional experience of the art scene;
    The Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC) has a history of 39 years, it is the first independent and non-profit-making arts organisation in Hong Kong, with strong and established professional connections in the area.
  2. is eligible to provide participants with direct exposure and an actual gateway to relevant art projects and activities;
    The HKAC acquires wide and immediate exposure to the art scene, both locally and internationally, it is also a major presenter of art projects and art events in town.
  3.  genuinely look into local concerns and address local needs;
    On top of drawing on overseas perspectives and references, this programme is designed to authentically tackle local issues.
  4. offers an all-rounded gateway which encompasses and incorporates different but essential streams in professional art study, including Art Administration & ManagementArt & Culture, and Art Making & Tasting; the theme on local essence will interpenetrate the 3 designated streams and thematically bind the streams together.
  5. offers a flexible study mode and an accessible structure to facilitate the learning of full-time workers and different parties;
    The programme is specially designed with multi-entry and multi-exit points to provide flexibility and affordable study load for part-time participants with work and/or family commitment.
  6. takes into consideration the development of potential progression pathways on upper Qualification Framework Levels.
    Programmes and modules that are adequate for QF Level 4 and Level 5 have been correspondingly designed in order to offer participants opportunities for progression and continual study. 

    (In the context of academic qualifications, QF Level 4 refers to a qualification comparable to Higher Diploma or Associate Degree, and QF Level 5, comparable to Bachelor Degree. For details on QF, please also visit:

Programme Philosophy

The Professional Diploma in Fine Art (PDFA) programme is vocational in nature, it is designed, from a practical standpoint, to complement (but not to substitute) similar academic programmes that are being offered at other institutions. 

The vocational / professional needs addressed through this programme are oriented towards staff-development, on-job training and development, and/or enhancement to professional engagement.  This is not a career-oriented programme with a focus on particular job, trade or profession.

The programme aims at igniting participants' interest in art, offering them a taste as well as an overview of selected art topics from an alternative angle and with a sophisticated notion. 

Focusing on the connection between art and life in Hong Kong, this programme draws on local implications, and it offers a holistic view on actual practice in the art ecosystem of Hong Kong.

Art is at the same time considered as a tool and a key to interpret contemporary phenomena, relation between art and everyday life is therefore addressed in every module and different levels of the programme to enhance relevant understanding.  


*Unless otherwise stated, there would be no formal articulation or credit transfer between the Professional Diploma and the Higher Diploma programmes or the Bachelor degree programmes of the School.  Recognition of the qualification for exemption purpose is also at the discretion of individual programmes / institutions.





Programme Structure

The Gateway to Art programme is accredited at QF Level 4, and the Into Art programme, at QF Level 5. As signified by the title of the programme, the Gateway to Art programme at QF Level 4 primarily opens up a gateway to participants who may be relatively new to the topics, and the standard of the modules is accordingly more general.   The modules in the Into Art programme at QF Level 5 programme picks up certain discussion on relevant modules on QF Level 4 and continue to investigate the topics in a more sophisticated way, guiding the participants to get into and to further explore the art scene. Each level of the programme consists of 12 modules, 5-6 modules would be offered on each level and in each term, and there are 3 terms per year.    

The modules to be offered in each term will spread across the 3 designated streams of studies: Art Administration & Management, Art & Culture, and Art Making & Tasting.  The 3 streams are designed to embrace different aspects that are essential in the professional art scene. Participants can choose among the streams according to their background, interest and corresponding needs. It is possible for participants to only enroll into individual modules. 

The normal length of study for the programme is 1 year (given that there are 3 terms throughout a year, and participants take 2 modules per term). A participant who satisfactorily completes any of the 6 modules on the same QF Level in the programme, with at least 1 in each designated stream and within a maximum of a 2-year period, subject to the availability of the programme, would be eligible to apply for graduation and obtain the Professional Diploma.  

The School is currently only offering programme of QF Level 4 and QF Level 5.





Art Administration & Management

Covers administrative and operational skills essential for the art field
On number
1) Art Funding >>
On operation
2) Art for Sale? >>
On venue
3) Art Spacing >>
On presentation
4) About Art Writing >>


Art & Culture

Covers cultural, aesthetic and art historical essences from a global perspective
On history
1) Art vs Design? >>
2) Art Stories >>
On contemporary society
3) Applied Aesthetics >>
4) Visual Vibrancy >>


Art Making & Tasting

Offers a tasting of the practical and technical skills of artistic mediums*
On medium
1) The Making of Art Pieces - 2D >>
2) The Making of Art Pieces - 3D >>
3) Exploration of Traditional Craftsmanship >>
On contemporary society
4) The Making of an Exhibition >>



* – The modules in this study stream differentiate from the modules in the Higher Diploma and Bachelor Degree programmes offered by the School, which focus more heavily and seriously on extensive art making skills, techniques and process, and which lead to a substantial level of finishing of artworks of designated mediums. This stream of modules being offered in the PDFA programme mainly offers a taste of the specific artistic mediums on relatively introductory and broad-based level.

To complete the programme: participants only need to select 6 modules from each of the corresponding QF level as specified above (with at least 1 in each of the 3 streams).

To attain modular knowledge: participants can select any module from the above to study.






General Information

Duration & Mode of Study

Participants can basically enter the programme in the beginning of every term and leave the programme at the end of every term. It is also possible for participants to only enroll into individual modules. 

There are 3 terms throughout an academic year. Normally, participants are expected to take 2 modules per term, and complete 6 modules in 1 year (with at least 1 module in each of the 3 streams). 

Normal length of study:-        1 year (part-time mode) over 3 terms  
Maximum length of study:-    2 years (part-time mode) over 6 terms

Modules will be offered on part-time basis, mainly on weekday evenings or weekends Participants can choose according to their interest and time-tabling arrangements.

Each module consists of 8 lessons, 1 lesson per week, and each lesson with 3 contact hours in class.

*subject to the availability of the programme

Other Study Modes

Modular study
It is possible for participants to only enroll into individual modules.

Customized arrangement
Tailor-made training arrangements are possible for individual groups / organizations according to their needs. Please contact us for further details.

Medium of Delivery

The medium of instruction will be Cantonese supplemented with English. Learning materials will be in Chinese or English as appropriate. Upon group or sufficient amount of request and with prior arrangement, English delivery is possible for selected modules.


A participant who satisfactorily completes any of the 6 modules on the same QF level in the programme, with at least 1 in each designated stream and within a maximum of a 2-year period, subject to the availability of the programme, would be eligible to apply for graduation and obtain the Professional Diploma of that corresponding QF Level. Statement of attendance may also be issued within 1 year upon module completion and upon request. 

Accreditation & Articulation

Professional Diploma in Fine Art - Gateway to Art at QF Level 4 is accredited by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications for a period from July 2015 to June 2018.