BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking


Program Description

By offering specialist technical and critical study in painting, drawing and printmaking at degree level, our BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking programme is exceptional in the UK.

This dynamic programme is aimed at students who are excited by the prospect of a rigorous materials-based and process-driven education in art practice. 

You’ll study materials and techniques, while also developing and contextualising your own professional practice within the arts.

Based in large open-plan studios with double-height ceilings and north light windows, you will be encouraged to develop an ambitious working practice across all three disciplines. 

In the 2017 National Student Survey (NSS) our BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking programme had a 90% overall student satisfaction rating, with 100% of students agreeing that “the library resources and services are good enough for my needs”, “feedback on my work has been timely” and “my communication skills have improved” as a result of the programme.

Your progress throughout the three years is driven by a comprehensive series of technical workshops, underpinned by the teaching of drawing as a core component of your studio practice.

You’ll also gain a thorough, critical understanding of the key theories in contemporary art as they relate to your emerging practice, and will have opportunities to take part in live exhibitions and projects, preparing you for your professional career after graduation.

What will I achieve?

You will study painting, drawing and printmaking, alongside taking part in a wide range of professional opportunities to explore the kind of artist that you want to become. 

You will develop an ambitious working practice based on an investigation of the material and technical possibilities of your creative work, with drawing at the centre of all you do and make.  

We will encourage you to think through making, with your own studio work providing you with a centre of enquiry and a point of departure through the deep learning of a core discipline.

As well as working on their technical painting skills, our students also get the chance to exhibit at and curate shows at Plymouth’s many professional galleries and art spaces.

Thinking & making

Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our academically robust and intellectually stimulating degree programmes are delivered by our team of academics, technical demonstrators and invited experts who together deliver excellence in learning, teaching and assessment. Our programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.

We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practice while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas, and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.  

Opportunities for studying abroad are available at our partner institutions.

BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking — Highlights:

  • Develop essential techniques, taught by practising artists, in oil painting, water-based painting, drawing and fine print.
  • Experience freedom to pursue your own creative voice and work in a group of like-minded students who all share your commitment to painting, drawing and printmaking.
  • Work in your own creative space in our purpose-built studios, which are some of the most inspiring spaces to practise art in the UK.
  • Practise drawing in taught sessions on a regular basis throughout your entire three-year degree.
  • Develop your professional practice through opportunities such as residencies, live briefs or internationally through the Erasmus + scheme; or find out about teaching drawing and painting in our own Creative School for 4-to-16-year-olds.
  • Gain a high-quality, critical and technical education in painting, drawing and printmaking.
  • Exhibit and curate, with frequent shows throughout the programme and encouragement to develop your own gallery opportunities, as well as build connections with other professional galleries and art spaces.
  • Leave with a deep understanding of your own art practice, its techniques and the theories behind it, along with an ability to collaborate across other creative disciplines. We’ll teach you to reflect critically on your own professional identity as an emerging artist, and equip you with the necessary skills to step forward into your creative future.


Year 1

  • BAPD101 Introduction to Painting, Drawing & Printmaking
  • BAPD102 Painting & Drawing
  • BAPD103 Printmaking & Drawing
  • BAPD104 Introduction to Collaborative and Professional Practice
  • BAIS300 Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BCOP100 Contexts of Practice 1

Year 2

  • BAPD201 Guided Studio Practices 1
  • BAPD202 Painting, Drawing and Printmaking Professional Practice
  • BAPD203 Guided Studio Practices 2
  • GCOP200 Contexts of Practice 2

Year 3

  • BAPD301 Research and Experimentation
  • BAPD302 Creative and Professional Development
  • BAPD303 Creative and Professional Conclusion
  • BAPD304 Contexts of Practice 3
    • Pathway One - Written Research Project (WRP) is an opportunity to conduct a substantive piece of independent research, which is focused on an area related to creative practice. 
    • Pathway Two - Contextual Enquiry Project (CEP) is a practice-led research project with critical commentary, in which students conduct an in-depth inquiry intended to inform and reposition their creative practice.

All modules listed are compulsory.

Careers & alumni

We have an impressive roster of visiting artists and professionals who can give you the benefit of their industry experience. The programme has a strong network of industry contacts, such as art suppliers Winsor & Newton, Art Mill Gallery, who host yearly exhibitions with our students, and with Q-art, who frequently collaborate with students for their renowned Crit Club, most recently at Tate Modern.

You will have the chance to show your work right from the beginning of your first year, in a professional exhibition open to the public, organised, curated and produced by your group.

Our Careers & Enterprise office provides support from a dedicated team who are focused on employability and developing creative opportunities for students. And this doesn’t stop once you graduate – we want to keep in contact with you through our growing alumni network.

Our strong international connections also allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.

Current students are given the opportunity to visit Madrid for the ARCO Art Fair, to work with and gain experience at Port Eliot Festival, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery, Plymouth contemporary art space KARST, Plymouth School of Creative Arts, Maker Heights, and also visit the Rabley Contemporary Drawing Centre.

Graduates become:

  • Painters
  • Drawing Artists and Visualisers
  • Fine Printmakers
  • Studio-Based Artists
  • Illustrators
  • Art Therapists
  • Public Artists
  • Gallery Owners
  • Lecturers/Teachers
  • Arts Entrepreneurs

‘Careers & Enterprise in the Curriculum’ at Plymouth College of Art 

Professional practice is embedded within all of our programmes.  Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to develop the key professional, transferable skills for employability in the creative industries and potentially work in partnership with other sectors locally, regionally, nationally or internationally.

From writing and making the most of your CV to gaining industry experience, the acquisition of professional skills has been written into the programmes of study by our staff teams, who have ‘real world’ experience. They are also supported by our Industry Liaison Groups, who help inform the development of the higher education curriculum.

Graduates of BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking will have a broad portfolio of expertise to accompany specialist knowledge in a particular field. The majority of graduates will progress to art-related employment or self-employment, whether as a studio-based artist, public artist or through employment in the realm of arts management or arts administration. The course also attracts many students wishing to pursue a career in teaching.

The MA courses at Plymouth College of Art provide logical progression routes for BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduates. All Plymouth College of Art graduates receive a tuition fee discount if they choose to continue with their postgraduate studies at the college.

Our students say

Julie Ellis, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking

"I chose Painting, Drawing & Printmaking at Plymouth College of Art because I was really impressed with its vision. There aren’t many other places in the country where you can do this course so I was excited to be one of the first on it!

My tutor has been brilliant at guiding me and I’ve had a couple of great things happen, such as having my work displayed in an open art display in the city centre which I applied for on my own and was lucky enough to be selected for. I won the Corporate Student Prize this year as well, so was really over the moon with that.

"At the moment, doors are opening and opportunities are coming along all the time. Professional development is an important part of our course, and that’s all about getting your work out there, networking, meeting people, and exhibiting your work. I would love that to be my job but I’m also really passionate about art education for children, so that might be the path I go down."

Caitlin Lewis, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking

"My time on BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking at Plymouth College of Art has been an experience that I could never have envisaged.  I chose this course after learning that as part of it, life drawing sessions run weekly, we are encouraged as individuals, and that by the time we’re in our third year, we are encouraged to get ourselves out in the professional world.

First and second year allowed for a lot of experimentation which, for me, was in the print room learning all kinds of processes like aquatint, screen-printing, drypoint, and more.  Over the three years of my course, I have developed my practice by being open to challenging myself, knowing that support was always there when needed. The tutors are enthusiastic and encourage ideas from students. Print Club was one of these ideas, which resulted in a small group of us running a workshop at Tate Exchange in 2018.

There are a number of opportunities that students can get involved in during the programme. These opportunities led to rich experiences as part of my time on this course, including being part of screenprinting workshops run by Turner Prize nominee, Ciara Phillips, and taking a live takuhon printing project to Santander, Spain as part of Impact 10, an international printmaking conference.

These socially engaged projects have encouraged me to run screen-printing workshops with some of my peers, and we have taken our collaborative workshops to schools as a way of learning, and to charities like St. Luke’s Hospice, helping to create an inclusive environment for participants. I look forward to continuing to run workshops like this in the future."

Entry requirements

2020 onwards: A portfolio and 112 - 120 UCAS points (earned through A-levels, BTEC National Diploma, or Foundation Diploma etc).

We also welcome applications from students who do not have formal qualifications but can provide evidence of their creativity, skills and experience. You will also be required to attend an interview in person or via Skype, Google Meet or similar online platform.

International students

Language requirements for study at Degree level

  • Trinity College London
    • Integrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grade required: Reading: Pass Listening: Pass Certificate valid for two years
  • IELTS SELT Consortium
    • IELTS (Level B2), minimum grade required: IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum score Listening: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5,
    • Certificate valid for two years

Visa requirements

  • As an international student, you will need a Tier 4 (General) student visa which you can apply for online.


Currently, the programme is situated in 5,500 square feet of open-plan, double-height, north-light studio space. That’s enough space to stack 33 London buses with room to spare.

We have tutors and technicians who are active, professional practitioners, making and exhibiting their own work, alongside a range of visiting artists from painting, drawing and printmaking disciplines.

Our professional fine art printmaking studios offer a range of relief and intaglio processes, taught by highly experienced technical staff. Our digital Fab Lab houses the latest laser cutting and 3D printing technologies, giving the scope of your ideas for diverse outcomes.

Facilities at the college include:

Animation, Film and Photography Studios

Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software.

Ceramics and Glass Workshops

With a glass furnace that works at 1,100 degrees, 10 potters wheels, resources for hot, warm and cold glass processes, a plaster room for mould making, 16 kilns, a well-stocked glaze mixing area and individual studio space, our Ceramics and Glass Workshops have a real ‘wow’ factor, rivalling any art school around the country.

Drawing Studios

With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.

Fab Lab

Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.

Fashion Studios

This large professional studio offers a real-life fashion experience in a fabulous space with sea views. Specialist industrial and domestic sewing machines, a range of knitting machines and a wide stock of fabrics and knitting yarns sit alongside a media and marketing Mac suite, a fully operational CAD cutting facility, and a library of designer garments to inspire.

Fine Art Printmaking Studios

A fantastic facility supporting fine art printmaking, our dedicated space caters for a wide range of programmes and processes. You’ll get access to a 150-year-old Columbian press, an Albion press, a historic and rare wallpaper press, and an automatic FAG proofing press, plus a broad selection of metal and wood type, vacuum screen-printing beds, and four etching presses.

Jewellery Design Studio

Housed in our fantastic new Craft, Design and Fabrication Workshops, this stunning space provides everything for contemporary and traditional techniques in jewellery design, including benches supplied with gas and oxygen, in-house metal casting resources, hand and machine-forming tools, facilities for vitreous enamelling, and a separate chemical room for etching, anodising and patternation. We also have larger metalwork equipment for welding, brazing, cutting and grinding.

Textile Studios

With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.

Digital Print Bureau and Equipment Resource Centre

Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services. Our highly experienced Equipment Resource Centre staff can advise you on which of our 6,000 pieces of industry-standard kit – from underwater cameras to traditional large format cameras and all free to hire – will best meet your needs.

Woods and Plastics Workshop

Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.

Last updated Aug 2020

About the School

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom ... Read More

Founded in 1856, Plymouth College of Art is an art school run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We are home to a dynamic, cross-disciplinary community of makers and thinkers for whom making is as important as reading and writing, and where the purpose of learning is inseparable from that of living your life. A place for making things, and making things happen. For making a difference. Read less