School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Fine Art with Foundation

Realise your artistic potential. Guided by practising artists, you’ll find the freedom to try different techniques and technologies. By analysing artistic influences and inspirations, you’ll deepen your understanding of what makes great art and gain the skills to create it. You’ll develop the expertise to feed your emotions and ideas into your work. And with excellent international links offering opportunities to travel, you’ll have everything you need to make your art the best it can be.

This course provides opportunities for students from non-standard entry points to develop the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree. Upon successful completion of your first year, you’ll join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Fine Art course.

In Conversation (2017) detail – Bradley North

Careers with this subject

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.

Key features

Your foundation year will:

  • Welcome you to an engaging, experiential learning environment with a focus on active exploration, experimentation and discovery across a wide range of material, methods and media.
  • Help develop your practical, technical and creative skills through studio and workshop based projects.
  • Provide training in key learning skills for further undergraduate study and build an awareness of practise, context and theory.
  • Introduce you to the accessible community of experienced academics, practitioners and technical staff that will support you on your studies.
  • Give you access to a wide range of enviable specialist workshops, laboratories and facilities across the campus and become part of our vibrant student community through the various opportunities available within the School of Art, Design and Architecture.
  • Enable you to explore and develop your personal interests and strengths as a creative practitioner.

This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) Fine Art degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification in its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of:

Or one of the following visual communication related degree programmes:

When you join the BA (Hons) Fine Art with Foundation, you will:

  • 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.
  • 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 0
  • Core modules
    • ADA001 Materials, Methods and Media

      This module will introduce students to various techniques, materials and mediums through practise-based experiments, play and problem solving. You will be introduced to different creative processes and methods of working that will help you to develop your ideas and engage in critical and reflective practice.

    • ADA002 Image, Type and Narrative

      Students will experiment with media, photography and typography to explore the relationship between image and word. This module enables students to gain knowledge within subject areas and explore the importance of developing an independent voice. Projects will become increasingly student driven as they develop their ability to propose ideas and solutions through self-directed inquiry, discovery and production.

    • ADA003 Risk and Resolution

      Students will consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding in initiating, researching, developing and presenting a final project and exhibition. This module will also enable students to continue to research and develop their strengths as an independent art and design practitioner and prepare them for their next stage of study.

    • ADA004 Critical Themes in Art & Design

      This module introduces students to transformative phases within the historical and contemporary context of art, design, photography and media. Students will learn to ask critical questions and find answers through information gathering, reading and research. Through articulating responses, students will be introduced to academic conventions in preparation for progression to further Higher Education.

  • Year 1
  • 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
  • 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
  • Core modules
    • ART601 Fine Art Practice 5

      The students will refine a negotiated conceptual framework for individual and/or collaborative creative procedures, with reference to contemporary practices, approaches and theories. To enable the development of student learning towards a focused and searching inquiry through practice, with associated research and contextualisation.

    • ART602 Fine Art Practice 6

      Searching and increasingly independent enquiry into source material and appropriate practices, linked to theoretical research, is developed into a body of work for final presentation.

    • ART603 Critical Project

      Students will undertake an illustrated critical project on an appropriate subject through tutorials and independent study. The project may be an extended essay, critical commentary on practice, or a praxis project, which integrates the essay form with a practice based project. With tutorial support, students will choose the mode of research and presentation most relevant to them.

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 with Foundation Programme Specification 2020 21 6746

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

32 - 48

Don’t have 32–48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels: For Level 3 entry the Tariff points entry level will normally be 32–48 points from A level or equivalent. Non-standard applicants will normally be interviewed.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended

Irish Leaving Certificate: Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall

Proficiency in English: Students for whom English is an additional language will need to demonstrate ability in spoken and written English equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.0 and/or successfully complete the university’s special test before entering the foundation year.

English language requirements.

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

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis. Alternatively, if you have any questions or concerns about meeting the entry requirements listed above we would encourage you to contact the Admissions Team on +44 1752 585858 or email, where a member of the team can offer you further advice.

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

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

Amber Hall, a final year BA (Hons) Fine Art student loves to create work in different mediums. 

Watch her story and discover her passion for the arts.

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 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.”

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.

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