School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Fine Art

Realise your artistic potential. Guided by practising artists, you’ll develop creative approaches to making artwork, through opportunities to explore different techniques and technologies in dedicated fine art studios and specialist workshops. You will expand your art practice through a vibrant mix of studio work, and creative and critical thinking, which will deepen your understanding and refine your skills, to enable you to contribute to the expanding field of contemporary fine art.

With excellent international links offering opportunities to travel and flexible placements, you’ll have everything you need to practice independently as an artist beyond graduation. Graduates in fine art find employment in a diverse range of careers, from practicing artists to art education, working in art galleries to art therapy. We’ll help you fulfil your career aspirations and train for your future.

In Conversation (2017) detail – Bradley North

Call our Clearing hotline: 0333 241 6929

Contact us today to discuss your options and secure your place on one of our courses with vacancies this September.

Find out more about Clearing

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Adam Garratt:

“With art and exhibitions, apply to anything that’s free, search for something to take part in at least weekly, and keep a circle of creative friends. I took part in an exciting exhibition called DIY in a warehouse with other artists from around the country. It was a month long creation period then a two week exhibition. It was great fun."

Read more from Adam in his case study.

Where could your fine art degree take you?

Key features

  • Hone your existing talents and discover new ones with your own, dedicated studio space – as well as specialist shared spaces and facilities for textiles, metal and woodworking, plasterwork and ceramics workshops and life drawing classes.
  • Connect and collaborate with others from around the world, thanks to our excellent links with overseas art and design institutions and international exchange opportunities in your second year.
  • Explore the best way to express yourself – try drawing, video and sound, painting, printmaking, photography, performance and sculpture – to find the medium that’s right for you.
  • Discover the possibilities of technology with fully equipped print and photo facilities, computers, audio-visual equipment, sound studio resources and expert technicians to support and guide you in your exploration.
  • Enhance your understanding of art and the cultural context of your work with visiting lecturers and field trips to museums and galleries throughout the UK and Europe.
  • Seize opportunities to enter local, national and international competitions and awards. Our students have been recognised in the Jerwood Drawing prize, travelled to Amsterdam for the Hans Brinker Trophy and won a contest to design the trophy for the prestigious Abercrombie Award.
  • Develop your professional practice and engage with different audiences, through multiple opportunities to test your work, such as internal and external pop-up shows and exhibitions, open studios, and test spaces.
  • Get gallery-ready and showcase your final project in a real exhibition space alongside students from our 12 art and design degrees. The Art and Design Degree Show is your chance to introduce friends, family, prospective employers and the general public to your work.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • Your first year is about exploration of materials, processes and ideas. You’ll examine the diverse traditions and history of fine art. There’s plenty of studio time to try out different techniques and technologies from metalwork to photography. Building critical analysis skills through discussion and interaction with other students and teaching staff will boost your confidence. All this will create an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for you as an artist.
    Core modules
    • ART413 Contemporary Fine Art 1: Skills, Themes and Contexts

      This is a diagnostic module introduces students to the diverse nature of fine art practice and the role of the studio within it. Critical contexts are also introduced. The studio-based projects include seminars and workshops to relate examples of contemporary fine art practice to explorations of relevant concepts, material processes and techniques.

    • ART414 Interdisciplinary Art Practice 1

      An introductory module to fine art interdisciplinary practice in which students will be introduced to relevant approaches to generating art practice through tutorials and seminars.

    • ART415 Interdisciplinary Art Practice 2

      Students are required to respond individually or collaboratively to a given theme through the appropriate exploration of aspects of interdisciplinary art practices, in the context of the studio. Supported by seminars and workshops, practice will be informed by a developing awareness of ideas and approaches established in recent work within the field of contemporary art practice.

    • ART416 Critical studies 1: Critical Review of Contemporary Practices

      This module provides an introduction to key ideas, methods, and approaches in fine art to inform students’ practice. This is achieved through seminars and lectures on contemporary Fine Art, which includes introduction to cultural theory and visual culture tutorials, use of online materials, and other research processes.

    • ART417 Critical studies 2: Critical Reflection of Contemporary Practice

      This module provides a further introduction to key ideas, methods, and approaches within contemporary art practices and related areas to inform students’ practice. This is achieved through seminars, lectures, tutorials, use of online materials and the students’ own research leading to a body of critically reflective writing.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, there’s the opportunity to take part in an international exchange programme. Drawing on your learning from your first year, you’ll now have confidence to follow your instincts, you’ll choose your media, inspirations and intentions then outline your project aims and research strategy. You’ll further develop your critical skills by reflecting on your own work and that of others. In groups you’ll handpick and curate a selection of your own work.
    Core modules
    • ART518 Fine Art Practice 2: Studio experimentation and DIY culture

      This module provides an opportunity for students to develop a negotiated art practice through sustained experimentation and a DIY studio culture. The studio based module will develop an awareness of contextual frameworks in relation to art practice and enable students to research and experiment with materials, processes, concepts and environments in preparation for a public show of art practice

    • ART519 Interdisciplinary Art Practice 3: audiences and public interaction

      This module provides an opportunity for students to develop professional practice or links within a discipline of associated research through placement participation. Develop outputs that can be disseminated to a public audience that are appropriate to the student’s area of professional interaction, introduced through a series of seminars and/or workshops This module also is aimed at developing the student’s professional portfolio.

    • ART520 Critical studies 3: Close reading of influential text

      This programme of seminars, tutorials and independent study will examine key theories and ideas which relate to contemporary fine art practice through close reading of selected texts. The influential texts will be used to explore areas of artistic inquiry as well as strategies for researching, writing and engaging in practical research within a group and individual framework.

    • ART521 Critical studies 4: writing as cultural practice

      This programme of seminars, presentations, tutorials and independent study continues to explore key theories and ideas which relate to contemporary art practices. Selected works and texts, and modes of writing, will be used to explore areas of inquiry as methods of engaging in practical research within a group and individual framework.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll produce a comprehensive body of your own work. You’ll explore the social context of your work, and the relationship between artist and audience. We’ll continue to prepare you for your career in art by helping you to develop a research portfolio for use when you graduate, which may be paper-based or digital depending on your practice.
    Core modules
    • ART622 Fine Art Practice 3: Public Exhibition

      The students will refine a negotiated conceptual framework for individual and/or collaborative creative methods, with reference to contemporary practices, approaches and theories. The module will enable the development of student learning towards an increasingly independent enquiry into source material and appropriate practices, linked to theoretical research, which is developed into a body of work for final presentation that is suitable for public exhibition.

    • ART623 Critical Project

      Students will undertake a critical project on an appropriate subject through independent study supported by tutorials. The project may be a thesis (an illustrated extended essay) or a critical commentary on personal practice. With tutorial support, students will choose the mode of research and presentation most relevant to them.

    • ART624 Interdisciplinary Art Publication

      In this module students are encouraged to embrace a more open and flexible approach toward the interdisciplinary art publication. This module enables students to expand the possibilities of art publication through individual or the merging of art disciplines and in association with their studio practice.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Fine Art Programme Specification 2019 20 0506

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96 - 144

A level 
A minimum of 2 A levels, General Studies accepted.

International Baccalaureate
26 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM. 

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.

English language requirements.

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered, please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.


A portfolio presentation is a requirement for entry onto this course.

Find further information on our portfolio guidance page.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Meet your lecturers

Portfolio advice 

A portfolio is a collection of pieces of work that give us an insight into you as an artist. Your portfolio tells us a lot about about how you think and work as a practising artist. We've compiled some helpful tips, portfolio advice and ways to avoid unnecessary stress before you meet with us.

Follow our tips and advice for your portfolio 


Our facilities

With two-thirds of your time on the course spent in the studio, the facilities for you to create your own artwork need to be exceptional...and they are. From ceramics workshops to dedicated photography darkrooms, you’ll have access to the tools you need.

Find out more about the variety of facilities on offer



Fine art and art history careers

"The intellectual and practical demands of the fine art degree have enabled me to develop my thought processes and research methodology." – Sue Austin, BA (Hons) Fine Art graduate

Graduates in fine art find employment in a diverse range of careers, from teaching to professional practice, working in museums to art therapy. We’ll help you find your niche and train for it with flexible internships.

Find out more about potential careers and internship opportunities

Read our fine art blog.

View up-to-date images of our studios, workshops and exhibition spaces by visiting our fine art Instagram channel.


Epilogue

Fine Art Degree Show 2019 

These postcards celebrate the work of 2019 graduates of the BA (Hons) Fine Art and BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History courses. 

The degree exhibition represents for each student the culmination of three years of study and development, their acquisition of skills in a broad range of practices and, in particular, their willingness to take risks, and learn from both their successes and failures.

View postcards

Megan Wakelam

“Studying on BA (Hons) Fine Art at the University of Plymouth enabled me to form the artistic career I am now embracing, as a graduate. Each year on the BA programme was a stage of growth and development, where I had the freedom to experiment and find what drives my creativity. With access to a dedicated studio space, and a wide range of lectures and workshops to attend, my technical and critical skills strengthened. The guidance from tutors and practicing artists and other vast opportunities expanded my knowledge and kept me informed within the art world. Now based in Somerset I continue to paint, exhibit and sell my artwork. In May, 2019 I was awarded the Creative Pathways Bursary and have been producing new work at Clayhill Arts.”

Alice Benbridge

Current third year student Alice Benbridge's practice is heavily performance-based. Her most recent works include using someone else's shopping receipts for a week as a set of instructions for her own shopping behaviour, as well as others that involve the active participation of other people. Alice shares her experience of the BA (Hons) Fine Art course as she approaches graduation: 

Adjusting to the first year

"Because I hadn’t done a foundation year before I started the fine art course, what I really wanted to do was to experiment and see where I could take my ideas. The first year was ideal for that, as we took part in a series of mini projects, which were between three and eight weeks long. In these projects, we often started with a prompt – an object or a word – and developed responses to that.

"One of the objects I chose was a framed butterfly, and I ended up making kaleidoscopic wallpaper, though other people’s outcomes included photography, sculpture and miniature paintings. At the same time, we were signing up for workshops in a whole range of techniques from screen-printing to analogue photography and the darkroom, to metal, textile and plaster work. The workshops really helped open things up for me.

"Alongside these projects and workshops, we had weekly theory sessions which introduced us to different practices and theories of art and throughout, we had visiting lecturers and artists such as Mark Farid. Some of them offered us tutorials, which was a great opportunity, as you can share your ideas with someone outside the University. In the first year, we went on a field trip to Berlin, which coincided with a collaborative project based on the trip, and later, in Year 2, we went on a field trip to Barcelona, where we created work and exhibited it at a small gallery." 

Exchange opportunity in The Netherlands

"In the second year, I also went on a five-month exchange to the Netherlands. It was great to experience another culture and another school’s way of working. It also felt more independent, like a taste of the artist’s life after university. The second year was much more about developing our own identities as artists and pursuing the practices that interested us."

The final year

"In our final year, we were encouraged to be more independent still, and initiated our own projects. At the same time, we were writing our dissertations, which meant we had to balance our studio practice with our writing tasks. I’m starting to work on my end of degree show now. I’m still deciding what it will consist of, but I know I’m interested in people and how art can be a platform for communication so it’s likely to be a live piece of art." 

Laura Hopes

Laura discusses her time studying BA (Hons) Fine Art at the University of Plymouth, and how her research has shaped her as a person, as well as an artist, and inspired her to go on to further study.

Eleanor Neason

BA (Hons) Fine Art student Eleanor Neason explains her final project The Lived Body. Eleanor's project explores our subjective experiences, how we perceive and experience ourselves in our surroundings and space.

"I go into a space with the idea that I’m going to create a mark."

Paige Alexander

A graduate of Fine Art at Plymouth, Paige's work is inspired by colour and the relationship between art and the viewer.

“Going to a university based right by the sea made an incredible impact on me. Studying here helped my art grow in so many ways. If I could have my dream studio it would have to be near the sea again – I would love it to have open skylight windows and natural beam work.”

Experience the wonder of colour – discover more about Paige's colourful works and her time studying at Plymouth.

Fine art study opportunities and events

Fine art at the University of Plymouth offers a unique opportunity for students to follow their own path through a range of subject areas and forms of expression. We offer a broad-based programme of study at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the cutting edge of contemporary art practice.

Studio practice lies at the core of this, alongside the development of theoretical and research skills, underpinned by international trips, regular exhibitions, open studios and a talks programme of visiting artists, curators and critics.

Be part of the study opportunities and events on offer

Fine art students' work lights up festival

Illuminate is an annual spectacular light festival that connects the Mayflower 400 destinations across the UK and internationally.

The festival offers an immersive experience, with projections and light installations set out across the historic Royal William Yard in Plymouth, live performances and opportunities for audiences to interact with the works.

Illuminate 2018 featured international artists included Xavi Bové and Thomas Voillaume, as well as Plymouth graduates Juliet Middleton-Batts and Paige Alexander and a collection of our current fine art students exhibiting their work.

Find out more about our fine art students' work at the festival

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni is updated annually in September.