Extended BA (Hons) Degree - Four-year study


Program Description


If you want to pursue a creative degree at Plymouth College of Art but feel you have yet to acquire the experience and range of skills necessary, our Extended BA programme will prepare you for entry to one of our BA (Hons) undergraduate courses. This four-year route offers an exploratory year, developing your insight into a range of art, design and media skills and approaches, before progressing onto a specialist degree of your choice.

Our Extended BA environment is dynamic and supportive, helping you discover your own particular passions and strengths within the creative arts, whilst building your academic confidence, purpose and direction. 

"Just a quick note to say how excited I was by the work of the Extended Degree students. For a one year course the work that was on show there was utterly marvellous – challenging, technically and conceptually exciting and confident. It is really uplifting to see work of this quality. It must be a credit to the people that are teaching and delivering to these students that they have responded in such a brilliant manner with works of great depth and involvement and spirit."Artist Kevin Tole, on visiting the Extended BA 2019 Summer Show.

You will also gain first-hand experience of your chosen specialism, in the form of a module of specialist personal investigation where you can develop your own interests in your chosen degree subject.

What will I achieve?

Our Extended Degree is intensive and challenging, taught through lectures, workshop and studio sessions, seminars and tutorials. 

You will have the freedom to take risks, generate ideas, experiment, and develop a breadth of approaches to problem-solving. This is an exploratory year, in which you will experiment with materials, processes, methodologies and practices. 

“The Extended Degree is an excellent chance to experiment with everything the college has to offer. The support from staff and use of the facilities helped me to determine the direction in which I wanted to take my career, as well as giving me a broad knowledge of art across a wide range of practices.”Taylor Harford, Extended BA Commercial Photography for Fashion, Advertising & Editorial

You’ll develop a range of critical skills relevant to degree-level study while broadening your use of drawing, visual research, contextual studies, digital imaging and design methods. 

As the year goes by you’ll specialise in your chosen undergraduate subject, helping you to become a confident, independent and creative artist, designer or maker. 

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.  

Applying to study with us in September 2020? 

The list below provides the UCAS codes for each Extended BA (Hons) Degree. Applications must be made through UCAS. 

There’s never been a more exciting time to join our college, as we develop our existing curriculum with the input of our students, alumni, and expert academics. Through close consultation with industry professionals, we can ensure that what you learn with us will prepare you for a dynamic and ever-changing future job market.

Programme UCAS Code
BA (Hons) Animation & Games (Extended Degree)  W618
BA (Hons) Commercial Photography (Extended Degree)  W641
BA (Hons) Costume Production (Extended Degree)  W451
BA (Hons) Craft & Material Practices (Extended Degree) 69K5
BA (Hons) Fashion (Extended Degree)  W234
BA (Hons) Fashion Communication (Extended Degree)  7BD5
BA (Hons) Film & Screen Arts (Extended Degree) P311
BA (Hons) Fine Art (Extended Degree) W103
BA (Hons) Graphic Communication (Extended Degree) W211
BA (Hons) Illustration (Extended Degree) W221
BA (Hons) Interior Design & Styling (Extended Degree) B68G
BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking (Extended Degree) W102
BA (Hons) Photography (Extended Degree) W600
BA (Hons) Textile Design (Extended Degree) J400

Considering an Extended BA, starting in September 2021?

Degree titles listed above are subject to revalidation for the academic year 2021. For more information on courses available and personalised support with your application, please contact admissions@pca.ac.uk


See below for core Extended BA modules. For more detail about individual course modules, go to the specific course page.

Visual Communication for Art, Design and Media

Through a series of taught workshops in studios, IT suites and studios, and other interior and exterior locations, you will be exposed to a range of visual recording, design development, research and presentation techniques and processes which will be of fundamental importance to your future development as a creative practitioner.

From basic mark-making techniques to drawing from life and observation, digital image-making, photographic and experimental film making, and printmaking, (etc.) you will broaden your skills and knowledge of visual communication whilst further developing your aesthetic vocabulary and understanding.

Integrated Art, Design & Media: Research, Ideas & Methods

Through a number of practical assignments in studios and workshops, you will be encouraged to start to deploy and to integrate your practical and theoretical skills within your specialist field. The briefs will be designed to challenge you creatively and will be supported through a range of lectures, workshops and seminars.

Specialist Personal Investigation

Working in pathways that support your specialist area of study you will select assignments that develop you creatively, enhance specific subject knowledge and enable you to extend your practical and technical skills further. The assignments will require you to produce finished outcomes that evidence a clear potential for future progression and demonstrate your personal interest and aptitude for the area.

Essential Study Skills

This module will enable you to identify, develop, and further evaluate the skills you need for successful study at this level.  You will be encouraged to identify your strengths and weaknesses in the pursuit of personal and professional development goals.

Contextual Studies

The knowledge developed in this module should underpin all your practical activity during the programme and establish good research and analytical skills for the future. The module introduces you to the main themes, movements and arguments drawn from historical and contemporary contexts and tries to examine and interpret their influences on current cultural production across art design and media. The integration of your newly acquired study skills will be vital for your success in this module.

Careers & alumni

On successful completion of your Extended Degree year, you will be guaranteed a place on one of our full undergraduate BA (Hons) programmes. 

Many of our past students have gone on to achieve high grades in their degrees, including a large number with First Class Honours.

‘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.

Our students say

“I loved my first year at college on the Extended BA (Hons) programme. The opportunities to learn about so many different new processes and materials and be purely experimental really opened my mind. This openness remains with me on my current degree, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking, and is the reason I never seem to run out of creative ways to move forward. Above all the staff were all so supportive and inspirational, I will always be grateful to them for making it such a great year."

— Julie Ellis, Extended BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking.

“It’s given me back my confidence and aspirations.”

— Jo Dennis Extended BA (Hons) 3D Design Crafts

“Enrolled as a student, came out as an animator!”

— Chris Tuck Extended BA (Hons) Animation

“Extended BA has focused my aspiration and made me believe in myself.”

— Rachel Jewers Extended BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing and Printmaking

“It’s like I’ve been given a new pair of eyes, I now see things I’ve never noticed before.”

— Carol Climo Crisp Extended BA (Hons) Costume Production and Associated Crafts

“I have been able to do something that I’m truly passionate about and explore my making skills.”

— Courtney Macmillan Extended BA (Hons) Costume Production and Associated Crafts


Working with a dedicated team, our Extended Degree offers you the additional study time to develop the necessary skills to successfully undertake your full undergraduate degree.

All Extended Degree students learn together in the studio, with opportunities to work in your specialist area as you progress further through your studies.

You will be introduced to a range of facilities across the college, including our 3D studios, specialist drawing and print spaces, film and photographic facilities, Fab Lab Plymouth, and the comprehensively stocked Equipment Resource Centre, in preparation for full undergraduate study with us. 

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