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Undergraduate

Our Undergraduate courses are delivered and supported through a diverse range of learning and teaching experiences. Here you’ll find fashion designers, ceramicists, games designers, fine artists and photographers, all sharing facilities and knowledge.

At Plymouth College of Art we understand that art students are instinctive activists and collaborators, keen to explore and develop their creative practice through inquiry into social and commercial contexts.

Our proposition is quite simply that making is as important as reading and writing, as science and maths, and that the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. This is a place for making things, for making things happen, and for making a difference. A place of agency.

During the course of your studies, you will experience a variety of learning opportunities which will be delivered as taught or supported sessions, and directed study.

You will also have access to college-wide resources which include workshops, project spaces, and our library. Alongside specific skills taught and supported within your programme, college resources are open access for all students. We encourage mobility across subject areas and the development of interdisciplinary practice.

Consurgo founder Richie Manu leans on a desk and chats to a fashion student in our brightly lit fashion studio

We provide a base room for every programme in the college, offering a space for learning and teaching, alongside social interaction with your peers.

A variety of learning and teaching methodologies are used to support the development of practice in the context of subject and/or cross-subject requirements and the specific module learning outcomes.

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree courses are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our courses encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice, while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.


Formative assessment is an interim review of your work undertaken at key points during your learning.

It provides an indicative measure of your progress, allows you to consider your work in relation to that of your peers, allows you to agree with staff any adjustments you need to make in order to satisfy module requirements, and is designed to help you improve your performance.

This is a feedback mechanism and does not contribute to the final mark.

Summative assessment is carried out at the end of your module and provides an evaluation of your progress, generates a final mark, and determines whether or not you have met the learning outcomes to pass the module.

Feedback is a fundamental part of the learning experience and at Plymouth College of Art we use a number of different approaches to providing supportive and evaluative feedback against student performance.

Formative feedback might take the form of a verbal appraisal through tutorial, or peer-led discussion, and often forms part of critique or seminar discussion on work in progress.

Scheduled Formative Tutorial points offer a chance for reflective review on individual progress towards achieving Learning Outcomes.

Summative feedback provides critically reflective comment at the end of a module, based on the work submitted and its achievement of the Learning Outcomes. This takes the form of written assessment feedback and indicates areas of strength and areas for improvement.

It also provides a clear articulation of individual performance against each Learning Outcome in the module. In addition, students are offered a feedback tutorial with their tutor, with the exception of the final major project module.

Academic misconduct is defined as any improper activity or behaviour by a student which may give that student, or another student, an unpermitted academic advantage in a summative assessment.

Examples of academic misconduct include;

  • Plagiarism: representing another person’s work or ideas as one’s own, for example by failing to follow convention in acknowledging sources, use of quotation marks, etc. This includes the unauthorised use of one student’s work by another student and the commissioning, purchase and submission of a piece of work, in part or whole, as the student’s own.
  • Collusion: cooperation in order to gain an unpermitted advantage. This may occur where students have consciously colluded on a piece of work, in part or whole, and passed it off as their own individual efforts or where one student has authorised another to use their work, in part or whole, and to submit it as their own.

For more information please read our Academic Misconduct Regulations here.


Lecturer Becky Dodman stands next to a textiles student and discuss his work laid out on the print table in front of them, a mix of bright colours and fabrics in our bright and open print studio

Your learning will consist of a combination of timetabled contact sessions and self-study (including personal use of College resources).

During your timetabled course hours, you will have contact with academic lecturers and technical demonstrators. This may consist of taught studio time, workshops in the College LABS, practical demonstrations, individual and group tutorials, study visits, study zone workshops, lectures (including visiting artists) and group seminars.

Contact hours in academic year 2021/22 for all PCA undergraduate courses will equate to approximately 12 hours per week across all years of study. Note there will be variation above and below this average from week to week.

The teaching day starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm.

Wednesdays are an extracurricular day where interdisciplinary opportunities are offered on a voluntary basis.

At Plymouth College of Art every Wednesday is an extracurricular day, where our students are free to explore creative skills outside their usual programme of study by choosing from a rich, rolling menu of workshops led by our excellent technical staff, offered free of charge, with everything from CV writing and job search workshops to glass bead making, Adobe Indesign sessions and website building workshops on offer.

Workshops and LABs throughout the college not only support timetabled curriculum delivery but also provide open access to students at all levels throughout the week (subject to availability) who want to further develop their skills.

These activities are designed to enhance your curriculum but will not be explicitly connected to academic and assessed learning.


Work submitted for a summative assessment component cannot be amended after submission, or re-submitted.

Extensions to deadlines for submission of coursework may not be granted by members of academic staff.

A student who misses a deadline or believes that they will miss a deadline should submit extenuating circumstances in accordance with the college's Late Coursework and Extenuating Circumstances Regulations.

Coursework which is submitted after the deadline will be assessed but the results will not be entered onto the official record until any claim for extenuating circumstances has been considered. Feedback may be given on the quality of the work submitted and an indicative grade awarded. If the circumstances are deemed valid, the actual result achieved will be entered onto the record and submitted to the Progression and Award Board.

A student leans across a print table covered in large sheets of paper coloured with inks ready for heat transfer printing to fabric.

Directed learning is an extremely important part of art and design undergraduate and postgraduate education, and you will be strongly encouraged to develop the ability to take responsibility for setting aims for your work.

This will sometimes also be referred to as directed study on timetables or other programme information.

Directed study provides students with the opportunity to engage in individual self-directed study in support of learning outcomes. This will be in discussion with, and supported by, your lecturers.

The organisation of studios and workshop spaces is designed to encourage the exchange of ideas and promote peer group learning outside timetabled sessions.

At tutorials you will work with one tutor either individually or in a small group of students. Tutorials are used to discuss goals in relation to work in progress or your longer term progression to further study or employment.

Individual tutorials will be undertaken in accordance with the Tutorial Practice Guidelines - a minimum of six scheduled tutorial opportunities throughout each academic year with the addition of a feedback and exit tutorial for final year students.

Individual tutorials are also used to give formative feedback on progress to assignments for modules. Group tutorials can be used to discuss work in relation to a project.

The title of programmes, programme specifications, outline module descriptions and an introduction to programme staff are all provided on our website under each subject area, and the College takes reasonable steps to ensure the provision of the educational services as described in our Prospectus.

Programme details are under constant academic review and may change from time to time. It is important to appreciate that we will be responding continually to your feedback as a student to make improvements and naturally this will include modifications to curriculum content.

Equally, from time to time new staff will join and existing staff will leave. In the extreme, courses may be discontinued or replaced. Wherever relevant, we will take all reasonable steps to keep students abreast of potential developments and to minimise any disruption which might result from any changes.

We have published a Student Protection Plan on our website (under Reports and Legal Information) to explain the measures we take to protect students’ interests in the event of material change i.e. a significant event or major change affecting students on one or more programmes. This plan makes reference to our Student Tuition Fee Refund and Compensation Policy detailing that the College will consider paying to students affected by the closure/withdrawal of an academic programme.

With effect from the 2020/21 Academic Year, all Higher Education and Diploma Supplements are issued hard copy to student home addresses and digitally via ‘PremierCert+’, which is a secure online graduate document portal. All students are issued with a log-in to this system upon graduating from PCA.

If you cannot find your log-in details, please email registry@pca.ac.uk and we can assist you.

If you have lost your certificate or diploma supplement and require this to be reissued, there is a charge of £50. Please email registry@pca.ac.uk to request this.

For students who graduated prior to the 2020/21 Academic Year who require access to their documents, please email registry@pca.ac.uk and we can provide you with further information. Please note that charges for duplicate certificates are set by the Open University.