School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History

Do you enjoy analysing art as well as creating it? Want to understand and develop your own work in the context of what’s gone before? As the boundaries between art history and practice blur and merge, this course prepares you for a career in the real world of the arts. Master the skills needed to analyse, critique and write about visual art. Travel to major European cities to see art in context. And harness your new knowledge to feed and improve your own work.

You will prepare for a successful career with an internship. You will expand your horizons with the option of three months of study at a European art school, and enhance your understanding of art history and the cultural context of your own work with visiting lecturers and field trips to museums and galleries throughout the UK, plus a fieldtrip to a major European city. Students in previous years travelled to Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Florence, Paris and New York City.

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Sarah Hodge:

"Go to every event, performance, talk, lecture, film, exhibition, and music venue going as you never know who you’ll meet or what conversation will spark a new line of work."

Read more from Sarah in her case study.

The Careers service has put together some advice and guidance for fine art and art history graduates

Key features

  • Benefit from our forward-thinking, focused research. In the last national Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014) ‘Art and Design: History, Theory and Practice’ at Plymouth scored 100 per cent for its ‘world-leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ research environment, and 90 per cent for the international impact of its research case studies. This makes our unit a top five performer among University of Plymouth's research groups overall.
  • Hone 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.
  • Prepare for a successful career with an internship. Thanks to the flexibility of the course, you can do it during term time or over the summer – whatever suits you. Our students have recently interned at Tate BritainSotheby’s, the National TrustPlymouth Arts Centre, The Arts Institute and the Wallace Collection.
  • Expand your horizons with the option of three months of study at a European art school.
  • 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 history and the cultural context of your own work with visiting lecturers and field trips to museums and galleries throughout the UK, plus a fieldtrip to a major European city. Students in previous years travelled to Rome, Vienna, Berlin, Florence, Paris and New York City. Field trips in 2016 will include Washington, DC.
  • Learn from our dedicated staff who frequently work on major book and exhibition projects. Our degree curriculum contains a number of research-orientated modules so that our staff can teach the subjects they’re passionate about – which means you become an expert too.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, there’s lots of supported studio time to try out different materials and ideas. You’ll sample processes including painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and time-based / digital media. We’ll also introduce you to art history, exploring popular periods including contemporary critical writing and the Italian Renaissance. Visits to outstanding local and national galleries will help you to expand your horizons and bring your study to life.
    Core modules
    • ARHI413 Modernisms and Modernities

      French art of the later nineteenth century has probably been more popular with the general public, in the past three or four decades, than any other kind of art. This module is designed to offer both an introduction to the art made in France between about 1855 and 1900 and an introduction to the current concerns that make the art of this period so important.

    • ARHI414 Introduction to Art History and Visual Culture

      This module provides Single Honours and Joint Honours Art History students with a comprehensive understanding of the paradigms of Art History and their methodological implications for visual culture. Basic research literacy will be developed in a number of exercises and group-based activities.

    • ARHI415 Cultural Practices in Context

      This module is geared toward fieldwork and independent study in a museum and/or gallery context. Following a Fieldtrip to public collections in London and/or the Southwest students complete an Object Report on an object of their choice seen in situ.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll expand your critical and theoretical knowledge and gain confidence in how to divide your time. There are opportunities for studio and site-based work, as well as lively debates on European Art from the 14th century to the present. Choose your areas of interest – from the influence of power and patronage to considering artistic representations of gender. A fieldtrip to a major European city will help you to consider the issues of collecting in Western museums.

    Choose an option from our new group of modules on future societies and the environment:
    In your second year of study, you will be able to choose from modules across english and creative writing, history, and art history (ARHI516, ENGL527, HIST511) on our theme of ‘Future Societies and the Environment’. Aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the modules focus on the challenges for future societies, including sustainable communities and the environment, and the ways in which the humanities can engage and make a difference.
    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

    Optional modules
    • ARHI502 Collecting and Exhibiting Cultures in the 19th and 20th Centuries

      This module examines historical and contemporary cultures of collection, exhibition, and display. Artworks and objects will be considered from a range of international contexts. Specific attention will be given to the politics and ideologies of art ownership, theft, looting, and repatriation.

    • ARHI506 International Field Trip

      The module is an intensive 1-week period of study of painting, sculpture, architecture and environments which are not available in this country. The emphasis is upon sustained first-hand study of artefacts and buildings, through staff-led visits and group-work, introducing students to advanced fieldwork skills.

    • ARHI507 Victorian Values

      This module examines the visual culture of the Victorian age, Pre-Raphaelitism, Aestheticism and British Impressionism, say, to question modern stereotypes about `Victorian Values¿ both moral and cultural. We will not only consider the definitive role of social principles in the art of this period, but also debates about art and beauty as independent realms of meaning and value.

    • ARHI508 Questions in Contemporary Art History

      The module introduces and examines selected questions raised in the last three decades concerning the methodologies and aims of contemporary art history. Case studies drawn from art history, critical and cultural theory, and where appropriate related disciplines, will be examined.

    • ARHI515 Power, Patronage and Ideology: Aspects of Renaissance Art

      This module offers historically based study in the art and culture of Europe c.1300 - 1600. It uses focused treatments of particular periods/regions/groupings to analyse the relationship between power, patronage and ideology. Attention will be paid especially to closely focused studies of selected historical instances of art practice and/or historiographical and methodological issues of relevance.

    • ARHI518 Decolonizing Modernism: Art 1890-1940

      This module aims to explore the history of the beginnings of modern art across Europe and/or the United States, incorporating its theory, practice and reception, through an analysis of the development of selected moments, schools and individuals central to the Modernist tradition. The module also addresses the impact of colonial structures on the creation, distribution and consumption of art.

  • Final year
  • By your third year, you’ll be ready to choose a subject to explore in your dissertation. Past examples include the depiction of prostitution in 19th century French art and the myths surrounding Leonardo da Vinci. You’ll create a body of artwork that ties into the theme of your dissertation and learn how to present your studio work for discussion with peers, tutors and examiners. There are also additional optional modules in Art History.
    Core modules
    • ARHI605 Dissertation 1: Theories and Methods

      On this module students research and write a dissertation on a topic of their own choosing, negotiated in consultation with Art History staff.

    • ARHI608 Dissertation 2

      On this module students research and write a dissertation on a topic of their own choosing, negotiated in consultation with Art History staff.

    • 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.

    Optional modules
    • ARHI607 Victorian Values

      This module examines the visual culture of the Victorian age, Pre-Raphaelitism, Aestheticism and British Impressionism, say, to question modern stereotypes about `Victorian Values¿ both moral and cultural. We will not only consider the definitive role of social principles in the art of this period, but also debates about art and beauty as independent realms of meaning and value.

    • ARHI616 Working with Culture: Professional Development Project

      In this module students will be asked to identify a specific professional working relationship with a mentor in which they will undertake a period of first-hand work and learning experience. This initiative, chosen in consultation with a member of staff who will act as a project supervisor, should reflect the student's personal development planning aims and support their career ambitions and life-long learning.

    • ARHI620 Questions in Contemporary Art History

      The module introduces and examines selected questions raised in the last three decades concerning the methodologies and aims of contemporary art history. Case studies drawn from art history, critical and cultural theory, and where appropriate related disciplines, will be examined.

    • ARHI623 Decolonizing Modernism: Art 1890-1940

      This module aims to explore the history of the beginnings of modern art across Europe and/or the United States, incorporating its theory, practice and reception, through an analysis of the development of selected moments, schools and individuals central to the Modernist tradition. The module also addresses the impact of colonial structures on the creation, distribution and consumption of art.

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 and Art History programme specification 2126

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

104

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.

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

An interview and portfolio presentation are requirements for entry onto this course.

Find further information on our interview and portfolio guidance page.

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

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £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.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

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.

Fine Art and Art History course brochure

Facilities with BA (Hons) Fine Art

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 our facilities

BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History student insight - Caitlin Law

Combining art history with fine art as a joint honours student has been one of my most successful choices. Learning about curatorship and gallery spaces within art history encouraged me to gain experience in a working gallery for myself.

Caitlin volunteered at a local gallery in her second year giving her an insight into gallery management and enhancing her studies.

BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History graduate profile - Sarah Hodge

I had such great experiences on the course and on campus. Go to every event, performance, talk, lecture, film, exhibition, and music venue going as you never know who you’ll meet or what conversation will spark a new line of work.

Since graduating from Plymouth University in 2014, Sarah Hodge has gone on to help prisoners and ex-offenders rehabilitate through art.

Learn more about Sarah Hodge

The Young Explainers programme

Experience is invaluable when it comes to securing employment in arts. Get involved with the Young Explainers programme at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, and get a headstart in your career.

Enhance your career prospects with practical experience of working in culture, heritage and business.

Meet your lecturers

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

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Graduate Outcomes survey (GO) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.