Illustration (Extended Degree) at Arts University Plymouth - UCAS

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Course summary

Arts University Plymouth is an arts university for the 21st century, preparing students who are uniquely placed to provide creative solutions to the complex global challenges of a changing world. Formerly known as Plymouth College of Art, we were granted full university title in Spring 2022. We are now the city of Plymouth’s first and only specialist arts university, allowing us to offer our students a dynamic and unique learning experience. If you want to pursue a creative degree at Arts University Plymouth but feel you have yet to acquire the experience and range of skills necessary, our Extended BA course 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 focusing on your Illustration degree. Through this industry-informed degree, you will explore and define what it means to be an illustrator today. You will learn how to apply your understanding to commercial briefs just as much as to personal self-expression, and build a sustainable and fulfilling lifelong practice. Through both creative self-expression and challenging ideas, illustrators have the ability to present powerful propositions, develop alternate realities and evoke emotions in audiences and individuals. Taught by a dedicated illustration teaching team, you’ll develop and build on a variety of conceptual and image-making methods, breaking down and tackling the ‘ingredients’ of illustration and how you might apply them to your own creative practice. Using these you’ll become an effective practitioner in the areas that you feel most connected to – from editorial and advertising to narrative books and research – all informed by the expert experience of your tutors who work in those fields. We’ll challenge you to develop a culturally curious attitude and be sensitive to the ethical responsibilities that illustration comes with. Throughout this degree you will develop an authentic selection of skills and attributes, placing high value on curiosity and perseverance. You will be challenged to develop authentic ways of working, assuming agency and autonomy as an image-maker and learning what this means to you as a practitioner. Our industry- informed curriculum will present projects aimed at developing an understanding not only of the creative industries, but also of how your work has the potential to function within them, as well as change them. You will work within a supportive studio environment, exploring your subject both as an individual and as part of collaborative, interdisciplinary teams. You’ll approach independent work with a critical mindset, considering the purpose, rationale, production and application of your own original work, whilst seeking opportunities to collaborate with the creative community of artists and designers around you. We will encourage you to foster and engage with our many nurturing and student-led communities across the university, showcasing your final outputs as part of enterprising collectives, pop-up shops and curated exhibitions. We place equal emphasis on the specifics of commercial practice (including the in-depth business tools you need to operate as a freelancer) and on providing encouragement to explore and follow the value of your own ideas and passions. As you develop and extend the boundaries of your visual language and critical thinking, we’ll support you to build a truly fulfilling creative practice – sustainable far beyond your time with us. Our graduates are enjoying brilliantly colourful and diverse creative careers, illustrating toys for LEGO, articles for The New York Times, packaging for Marks & Spencer and greetings cards for Hallmark. Graduating from BA (Hons) Illustration at Arts University Plymouth will leave you empowered, capable and excited for a thriving creative future.


The first year of an Extended Degree is not a qualification in its own right, but when you successfully complete it you are guaranteed a place on our full undergraduate programme. You’ll develop confidence in your use of drawing, visual research, contextual studies, digital imaging and design methods, and you’ll have the chance to experiment with a range of materials, equipment, processes and software. As the year goes by you’ll specialise in your chosen undergraduate subject (illustration, graphic design, fine art, etc.), helping you to become a confident, independent and creative artist, designer or maker.

How to apply

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Foundation

International applicants

Plymouth is the largest city in the county of Devon, and the safest big city in south-west England, listed in the top ten safest cities in the UK. The city has excellent travel links via car, train and ferry, with direct train services to London Paddington and the rest of the country and easy access to three nearby airports (Bristol, Newquay and Exeter). Plymouth is the gateway to the South West of England and is approximately 3 hours from London by train. The best airport to fly into is London Heathrow, which has a direct rail line to Paddington station. Our dedicated international team will be able to support you throughout your application and enrolment with us, giving you expert advice and guidance on everything you need, from accommodation to what to do once you arrive in the UK.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Your application will tell us about your qualifications and previous experience, but studying the arts is about more than can be captured on forms. We need to find out about your creative potential, your abilities and idiosyncrasies, so we will invite you to talk about your work with a member of our HE academic team. You can tell us about your aspirations, and why you want to study at the university. It is also a good moment to find out what we can offer you. We encourage you to visit the university, so that you can see our facilities, meet our teaching and technical staff, and discuss any other queries you may have; however we appreciate this may not be possible, and are happy to talk to you via an online platform (such as Google Meet or similar). We accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

Additional entry requirements


If your application meets our entry requirements, we’ll invite you to submit your portfolio, so that we can review your work and find out more about your creative potential. You will have the opportunity to submit your portfolio digitally, or in person at one of our Applicant Experience Days. At an Applicant Experience Day, you'll also get the chance to discuss your portfolio with a member of our academic team.

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)6IELTS (Level B2):overall score of 6.0 with minimum scores Listening: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5
Trinity ISEPassIntegrated Skills in English II (Level B2), minimum grades required: Reading: Pass Listening: Pass
PTE Academic50PTE Academic (Level B2), minimum grade required: Listening: 50, Reading: 50, Writing: 50, Speaking: 50

Click here to find out the most up-to-date information on our English Language requirements

Student Outcomes

Operated by the Office for Students
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250 Year 1
EU £16500 Year 1
Channel Islands £9250 Year 1
England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £16500 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.
Illustration (Extended Degree) at Arts University Plymouth - UCAS