School of Art, Design and Architecture

BA (Hons) Fine Art with Foundation

UCAS tariff 32 - 48
UCAS course code W105
Institution code P60
Duration 4 years
Course type Full-time
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.

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.

Fine Art with Foundation

In Conversation (2017) detail – Bradley North

Providing rewarding experiences

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

A practice-based programme

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!

Collaboration, placement and exchanges<span class='gicon-star'></span>

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.

Exhibitions, open studios, trips and visiting artists

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.

Register in advance for Clearing

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Find out more about Clearing

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.

Discover where your fine art degree could take you

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 visual communication related degree programmes:

Course details
  • Foundation year (Year 0)

  • 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

    • Contemporary Fine Art 1: Skills, Themes and Contexts (ART413)

      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.

    • Interdisciplinary Art Practice 1 (ART414)

      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.

    • Interdisciplinary Art Practice 2 (ART415)

      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.

    • Critical studies 1: Critical Review of Contemporary Practices (ART416)

      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.

    • Critical studies 2: Critical Reflection of Contemporary Practice (ART417)

      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

  • Drawing on your work from the first year, you’ll now have confidence to follow your instincts, to choose your own media, to 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 – environmental, health, equality. There is also opportunity to take part in an international exchange programme.

    Core modules

    • Fine Art Practice 2: Studio experimentation and DIY culture (ART518)

      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

    • Interdisciplinary Art Practice 3: audiences and public interaction (ART519)

      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.

    • Critical studies 3: Close reading of influential text (ART520)

      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.

    • Critical studies 4: writing as cultural practice (ART521)

      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 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

    • Fine Art Practice 5 (ART601)

      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.

    • Fine Art Practice 6 (ART602)

      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.

    • Critical Project (ART603)

      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_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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
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 admissions@plymouth.ac.uk, 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 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.

Plymouth art and cultural scene

Plymouth was home to the first arts centre established after World War 2 and the city is a stunning example of mid-20th century modern civic design. After hosting the British Art Show 7 in 2011, Plymouth is poised to welcome BAS9 in 2022. 

You are encouraged to develop work with local arts organisations, such as Nudge, Ocean Studios, Leadworks, Plymouth Arts Cinema and Plymouth Art Weekender, with gallery spaces such as the Levinsky Gallery, The Box and KARST, and with artist-led initiatives, such as Imperfect Cinema, CAMP, JarSquad, Flock and CineSistersSW, among many others.

The University of Plymouth also hosts the Arts Institute, a curated public arts programme which plays a pivotal role in building culture and art in the city.

Copyright Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photo by Mark Blower. 

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.

"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.

"The Fine Art course is one of the most collaborative, open, versatile courses around."

"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.