Creativity doesn’t just happen in the studio, workshop or darkroom. It’s a way of life. A lot has changed here since we started out over 160 years ago, but this simple equation of making and living still shapes everything we do.
At Plymouth College of Art, we invite and inspire new modes of creative practice that redefine citizenship in the 21st century. Our undergraduate programmes examine the interconnectedness of the arts and society, exploring distinct disciplines, expanded fields of study, and the spaces emerging between, across and beyond.
Located in the coastal city of Plymouth with many points of access to the world, we encourage our students to work at the threshold of their practice, gaining new knowledge through shifting boundaries and unexpected routes. Studying here, creative practice is not merely aesthetics or making forms, it is making futures — yours and ours.
Our three-year BA Honours degrees demand an energetic and inquisitive approach to critically underpinned practice, which is central to all the programmes. As well as producing practical creative outcomes to a range of projects and live assignments you will also be expected to contextualise your ideas culminating in the writing of a dissertation which is often very influential on the development of practical work and vice versa.
Our programme of BA (Hons) degrees has a consistent structure and direction, ensuring that all subjects have business and professional practice embedded throughout. The first year is an introduction to processes and materials, and to the differences, for example between working as a freelancer and as part of an organisation within the industry.
You’ll also be introduced to contemporary issues, concepts and approaches in the area that you choose to study. Across the range of programmes, you’ll develop strong visual awareness and communication skills. The second year builds on these foundations, and you’ll concentrate on refining your creative practice by working on live briefs, undertaking work placements, or preparing for internships.
It’s an ideal time to explore the potential of cross-disciplinary approaches in the studio, before beginning your third year review of your practice. You’ll continue to refine your practice in the final year, and have the opportunity to enhance your practical and professional skills, culminating in an exhibition at our annual Degree Shows. Students have also exhibited nationally at New Designers, Free Range, D&AD New Blood and Graduate Fashion Week.
- BA (Hons) degree level study takes place over three years full-time, or six years part-time. Please note a part-time study mode is not available on all courses. For more information visit our course pages.
- Extended BA students commit to a four-year study programme, including a preparatory year before specialising on a BA (Hons) degree course.
Scholarships of up to £2,000 per year may be available for international students, subject to eligibility and availability. For information on part-time study fees please email email@example.com. Please note we do not offer part-time study for international undergraduate students.
- January Start (Distance Learning) Degrees
- Please note, if you are joining one of ourJanuary-start degrees beginning in the Spring term, you will pay the tuition fees advertised for the academic cycle preceding that calendar year (for example, if you begin your studies in January 2023, you would pay the fees for the academic year 2022/23). Due to this study route's accelerated first-year, Jan-start degrees are only available as a full-time programme. For more information on how our January-start degrees work and which courses are available, please click here
- BA (Hons) Degrees
- We offer places to students who have a GCSE profile of at least five GCSEs, grades 9 - 4 (A* - C), including English Language.
- Applicants also need a portfolio and 112 - 120 UCAS points, earned through an Art & Design Foundation Diploma, A-levels, BTEC Extended Diploma MMM grade, Access to HE Art & Design, Irish/Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers, the International Baccalaureate, or other international qualifications.
- We welcome applications from candidates without formal qualifications who can provide evidence of their creativity.
- We also welcome applications directly into the second and third years of our BA (Hons) programmes from students from other degree courses nationally, and from those from Foundation Degrees and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs) who want to complete their full BA (Hons).
- The tariff points shown online are valid for the current application cycle only, and for entry in September 2020, or for deferred entry in September 2021.
- Extended BA
- We offer places to students who have at least five GCSEs, grades 9 - 4 (A* - C), including English Language and a combination of AS and A-level qualifications or equivalent (with one in a creative subject).
- We also welcome applications from mature students who may not have the qualification profile but have other experience and knowledge. All applicants will be required to show a portfolio of creative work.
In line with Government guidelines on the reopening of universities, we were pleased to welcome undergraduate students, staff and applicants back to our campus in Autumn 2020. Further national restrictions announced in early 2021 forced us to close our doors once again, however as one of the UK’s last truly independent art schools, Plymouth College of Art’s dynamic and agile community is strongly positioned to adapt to changes required to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Teaching was moved online immediately with no disruption for undergraduate, MA and A-Level-equivalent post-16 students.
Over the Summer 2020 break, we redesigned our teaching to take advantage of our new hybrid teaching model, supported by one-to-one and group workshops that will happen on and off-campus in specialist workshops and on live digital platforms. Alongside this, the college has updated its support and training materials, moving academic, pastoral, careers, library and other professional support services online.
This route provides an opportunity to develop your portfolio and technical skills in a specialist subject area. We offer places to students who have at least five GCSEs, grades 9 - 4 (A* - C), including English Language and a combination of AS and A-level qualifications or equivalent (with one in a creative subject). We also welcome applications from mature students who may not have the qualification profile but have other experience and knowledge. All applicants will be required to show a portfolio of creative work.
We’re an independent, university sector art school with an internationally distinctive identity. Here you’ll find fashion designers, ceramicists, games designers, fine artists and photographers, all sharing facilities and ideas. It’s a truly collaborative cross-disciplinary environment.
Nationally, we’re a Founding Associate of Tate Exchange and internationally we act as advisors to the Cheongju International Craft Biennale. Our contribution to the creative industries and cultural agenda continues to grow, offering more opportunities each year to collaborate with leading artists from around the world.
We believe that contemporary arts practice is the catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation, and in order to achieve this we pride ourselves in providing high levels of contact time and studio access, not just a few timetabled hours a week.
Living what you do means getting immersed in learning, and that requires constant access to the facilities, technicians and tuition that you need to develop.
From day one on campus you will be encouraged to think of yourself as a professional practitioner. Whatever you wish to do, we can support you during your studies and help you to fulfil your long-term career aspirations. Our students go on to direct music videos for Dua Lipa, pitch fashions for ASOS, design games for Playstation and shoot photography for The Guardian.
Employability is at the heart of our curriculum design. We will bolster your practical and theoretical learning with an enviable programme of visiting lecturers, live projects and industry placements.
Alongside professional development, you’ll also gain skills in business planning, entrepreneurialism, project management, creative direction and budgeting. Working with you we’ll ensure your creative practice becomes a springboard to lifelong fulfilment and a rewarding career in the competitive creative industries.
Find out more about Employability at Plymouth College of Art on our Careers & Enterprise page.
Any history of Plymouth has to include the horizon. We are an international art college, welcoming students from around the world to share ideas and practice, and we encourage our students to explore global opportunities and horizons.
We use our onsite exhibition space, The Gallery, to showcase international creative artists, and we welcome guest lecturers from overseas at every opportunity, as well as curating, publishing and exhibiting abroad ourselves, and arranging exchange programmes with our partners overseas.
Atmosphere is a hard thing to put into words, but so many people who come to our undergraduate campus say the same thing: it feels like home.
Small but mighty, our talented community of 400+ undergraduate students, expert academics and highly-specialised technicians prides itself on ingenuity. Together we experiment, innovate and make things happen!
Our visitors say there’s a “family feeling” and “energy in the air” at Plymouth College of Art, and we have to agree. Wandering our undergraduate campus you’ll find filmmakers mingling with fine artists, ceramicists collaborating with costume designers, and staff conversing with students. You’re not a face in a crowd or a number on the list, you’re our top priority.
From unspoilt coastline and countryside to top clubs, arts venues and historic sites. Whatever you’re into, there’s something close to Plymouth College of Art for you to enjoy.
Whether you’re staying at home or your heart is set on a sea-view apartment, city-centre townhouse or lively student halls experience, Plymouth has a long-held reputation for it’s fun and friendly student scene and there are renting options to suit all budgets. Here you’ll meet new friends, make memories and above all, feel safe and secure in your first home away from home.
When you’re ready to get to know the college further, we recommend you book a one-to-one chat with our student recruitment team. You can informally discuss your aspirations, gain portfolio advice and application support, or ask to be connected with a subject leader from the courses you’re interested in. No question is too big or small!