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School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Fine Art with Foundation

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UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W105
Institution code P60

4 years

Course type


Study location Plymouth

The foundation pathway provides students with non-standard entry points to progress onto the BA (Hons) Fine Art programme. The foundation year allows you to develop skills across a range of media and introduces creative best practice in preparation for the first year of the undergraduate programme. During the foundation year you will have the opportunity to explore creative processes relevant to visual design, animation, illustration, print-making, fine art, and photography.

Careers with this subject

BA (Hons) Fine Art will equip you with a diverse range of transferable skills, including independent study, goal setting, workload and deadline management, critical and professional writing, problem-solving, spatial planning, resource management, complex project management and collaboration – skills that are key to contemporary, globalised, flexible working in many different sectors. You'll also graduate with a body of self-directed art practice that demonstrates critical, theoretical and contextual understandings of contemporary fine art.Our mix of seminars and tutorials, placements and residencies, workshops and studio practice and your development of independent, collaborative and social practices will ready you to launch your professional practice, find employment in the cultural sector or act as a catalyst for further post-graduate study.

Key features

The course is designed to encourage visual exploration and creative discovery within an engaging and vibrant studio setting. Upon successful completion of the foundation course, you will join the undergraduate BA (Hons) Fine Art programme equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to successfully complete an undergraduate degree.
Key Features of BA (Hons) Fine Art:
  • Studio culture. Our main teaching and learning space is the studio and we place emphasis on creating a friendly, supportive, vibrant, creative, critical and reflective studio environment.
  • Thinking through doing. This is a practice-based programme, which means that critical enquiry is at the heart of making work. We encourage you to be exploratory and experimental, to think through making and to embrace uncertainty and not knowing. 
  • Facilities. You will have inductions in and access to a wide range of specialist workshop facilities to advance your artistic enquiry, including letterpress and printmaking, ceramics, woodworking, metal, video, audio, XR and 3D printing.
  • Interdisciplinary. Studio practice modules and the common challenges and dissertation modules offer you opportunities to work in interdisciplinary research areas across the arts, humanities and sciences.
  • Degree show. Showcase your final project in a faculty-wide exhibition alongside students from our 12 art and design degrees. The Degree Show is your chance to introduce friends and family, your new creative network and art community, prospective employers and the general public to your work.
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 related degree programmes: 

Course details

  • Foundation year

  • 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. It will help develop your practical, technical and creative skills through studio and workshop based projects and provide training in key learning skills for further undergraduate study and build an awareness of practise, context and theory.

    Core modules

    • Materials, Methods and Media (ADA001)

      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.

    • Image, Type and Narrative (ADA002)

      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.

    • Risk and Resolution (ADA003)

      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.

    • Critical Themes in Art & Design (ADA004)

      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

  • Your first year is about exploration of materials, processes and ideas. You’ll examine the diverse traditions of fine art up to the present day. There’s ample studio time to try out different techniques and technologies from painting to digital media. Building critical analysis skills through interaction with other students and teaching staff will boost your confidence, and you will be introduced to interdisciplinary art practices, working in response to the global challenges that we face today.

    Core modules

    • Fine Art Studio 1: Processes and Materials (ART418)

      This introductory module introduces students to the diverse natures of fine art and the role of the studio within it. It aims to provide students with the skills to identify and investigate individual and collaborative interests and concerns through practical engagement in the studio and through interdisciplinary research; to develop students' capacities for self-criticism through informed debate; to develop student confidence in recognising and using processes and materials relevant to their developing practice; and to introduce practices of documentation. Lectures, seminars, and workshops support students to relate examples of contemporary fine art practice to their own, studio-based explorations of relevant concepts, material processes and techniques.

    • Interdisciplinary Approaches 1 (ART419)

      This practice-based module introduces students to interdisciplinarity and to how artists have worked collaboratively in multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways with researchers and communities. Students will learn a range of approaches and methods and will experiment with and test their artistic responses to themes that draw on interdisciplinary research.

    • Interdisciplinary Approaches 2 (ART420)

      This practice-based module enables students to consolidate their awareness of ideas and approaches to interdisciplinarity and to how artists have worked collaboratively in multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary ways with researchers and communities. Students will deepen their approaches and methods and will experiment with and test their artistic responses to a theme that draws on interdisciplinary work and develops out of Interdisciplinary Approaches 1.

    • Art Writing 1 (ART421)

      This module focuses on exhibition visiting and creative review writing to introduce key ideas, methods, and approaches in fine art practice. Students will begin to develop skills in creative-critical writing through being introduced to examples and excerpts of art writing. Students will visit local and online exhibitions as part of this module and will produce a collection of short experiments in art writing.

    • Creative Reading 1 (ART422)

      This module introduces key ideas, methods, and approaches within contemporary art practices through techniques of creative reading of critical texts. The focus is on concepts, methods and approaches that are current in contemporary art and are relevant to students’ emerging practices and will lead to a coherent expanded essay (choice of written, video, or audio) that evidences a sustained research process.

  • Year 2

  • Drawing on your work from the first year, you’ll now have confidence to follow your instincts, choose your own media, use your inspirations and intentions to outline project aims and research strategies. You’ll further develop your critical skills by reflecting on your own work and that of others. In groups, you will curate a selection of work for a public exhibition and engage in a professional placement or interdisciplinary residency. You’ll also make work in response to common challenges – environment, health and equality. There is also an opportunity to take part in an international exchange programme.

    Core modules

    • Creative Reading 2 (ART525)

      This module will examine key theories and ideas which relate to contemporary fine art practice through close and creative reading of texts collaboratively selected by the tutor and students. These 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.

    • Art Writing 2 (ART526)

      This module focuses on experiments with critical reflection and art writing through key theories and ideas which relate to contemporary art practices. Building on the previous module, selected works, texts, and modes of writing will be used to explore areas of enquiry and textual and print forms as artistic practice.

    • Fine Art Studio 2: Collaborations and Collectives (ART527)

      This module provides an opportunity for students to develop a negotiated art practice through sustained studio experimentation and a DIY/DIWO (Do It Yourself / Do It With Others) culture, including strategies for navigating collaborative practices. 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.

    • Artist Placements in Interdisciplinary Settings 1 (ART528)

      In this module students will undertake research into interdisciplinary contexts and practices of the artist placement, with a particular focus on questions of socially engaged and participatory work across a range of settings. Students will also develop a detailed proposal for an artistic response to the interdisciplinary placement context they have researched, including designs, drawings, models.

    • Common Challenge: Artist Placements in Interdisciplinary Settings 2 (ART529)

      In this module, students will develop and realise a collaborative research-led practice in an interdisciplinary placement and/or residency setting. There will be a specific focus on strategies for collaboration, community-based practice and socially engaged art. Students will work in groups with interdisciplinary partners to develop collaborative outputs to be disseminated to a public audience.

  • Final Year

  • In your final year, you will produce a comprehensive body of work, exploring its social and cultural context and the relationship between artist and audience. Deepen your knowledge of a specific area of artistic practice and its concepts through the common dissertation module, where you can develop critical and creative skills in an interdisciplinary setting. Continue to prepare for a career in art by developing a research portfolio and art publication for use when you graduate. Develop professional and transferable skills in collaborative arts administration and management through curation, design, marketing and installing your degree show.

    Core modules

    • Common Dissertation: Critical Practices (ADA600)

      The module engages students in situating practice through research, contextualisation and critical reflection, in relation to their final stage study and post University aspirations. Programmes can offer: a traditional dissertation; preparation for an extended dissertation; situating existing practice; or the construction of a new body of work as practice-based research.

    • Fine Art Studio 4: Going Public (ART626)

      Students will realise a negotiated conceptual framework for an individual and/or collaborative artistic body of work, with reference to contemporary practices, approaches and theories. The module will enable students to realise independent, practice-based enquiries into source material and appropriate professional practices, linked to critical research. This will be developed into a body of work for final presentation that is suitable for public exhibition. The module also requires students to work together collaboratively to develop a Degree Show, drawing on the full range of professional skills required for the creative industries.

    • Art Publication (ART627)

      In this studio module, students will develop an art publication that aligns with their current art practice and areas of research. The module questions what constitutes 'publication' - from artist books to 'zines to broadsheets to video essays to performance lectures – and explores the theoretical implications for contemporary art within a network of communication and circulation.

    • Fine Art Studio 3: Resolving Practice (ART628)

      Students will develop 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 critical research and professional practice. The focus will be on further development of research practices to ground and underpin student practice together with the development of detailed proposals and plans for work to be developed for exhibition at the end this module, which will be carried forward to the subsequent module in Semester 2.

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_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 Diploma: PPP
Irish Leaving Certificate: Irish Highers, H5 in five subjects equivalent to 32–48 points.
T Level: Pass overall
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.
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

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £16,300 £17,100
Part time (Home) £770 £770
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. More information about fees and funding.

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

Providing rewarding experiences

A wide range of collaborative and independent learning activities are designed to equip you with experience, skills and confidence

Facilities with BA (Hons) Fine Art

A practice-based programme
With two-thirds of your time spent in the studio, the facilities for you to create your own artwork need to be exceptional – and they are!

One of the National Care Day pictures projected on campus during a special exhibition of foster children artwork

Collaboration, placement and exchanges
Progress your skills by working with local artists and arts organisations, taking part in a short placement, residency or international exchange.

Work displayed at the BA Fine Art Stage 2 sharing of practice event at Leadworks in Plymouth

Exhibitions, open studios, trips and visiting artists
Pop-up shows and exhibitions, open studios and test spaces develop your professional practice and engage with different audiences.

Plymouth art and cultural scene

Plymouth is home to the first arts centre established after World War 2 by Arts Council England. The city is a stunning example of mid-20th century modern civic design and planning, celebrated in Jill Craigie's film, The Way We Live. Plymouth hosted the British Art Show in 2011 and 2022. From 2023–25, The Box is working with the National Gallery and its bicentenary commission with Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller to develop work that responds to histories of celebration, commemoration and demonstration. 
You are encouraged to connect with these initiatives and develop work with local organisations such as Nudge, Ocean Studios, Leadworks, Plymouth Arts Cinema and Plymouth Art Weekender; galleries such as the Levinsky Gallery, The Box and KARST; and initiatives such as Imperfect Cinema, CAMP, JarSquad, Flock and Take A Park.
The University also hosts the Arts Institute, playing a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city. 
'Narrenschiff', 2017, Kehinde Wiley Three-channel digital film Duration:16.40 minutes. 'Kehinde Wiley: Ship of Fools', The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth | 29 September - 20 December 2020
Copyright Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Mark Blower. 

Meet your lecturers

Encouraging your individuality

Increase your knowledge and develop a critical questioning approach through intellectually stretching multidisciplinary learning.

Laura Hopes

"I have really enjoyed the fact that you learn so many different techniques and disciplines."
Laura discusses her work and how research has shaped her as a person – as well as an artist – and inspired her to go on to further study.

"I go into a space with the idea that I’m going to create a mark."
Eleanor Neason's 'The Lived Body' explores our subjective experiences and how we perceive and experience ourselves in our surroundings and space.

Uploading myself by Fine Artist Molly McAndrews - 

A digital collage made in response to Lockdown and transitioning my work from matter to machine:

"The fine art course is one of the most collaborative, open, versatile courses around."
Molly McAndrews began collaborating with Laura Rosser during her first year. Four years later, they have collaborated on multiple funded projects.

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* These are the latest results from the National Student Survey.