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Art & Design UAL Extended Diploma at Plymouth College of Art

Course description

This exciting, multi-disciplinary, two-year course gives you a fast-paced and engaging practical introduction to materials, techniques and processes, helping you to develop your learning and communication skills, as well as your understanding of contemporary creative thinking.
When you successfully complete the course you’ll gain a Level 3 Extended Diploma – equivalent to three full A-levels, or a maximum of 420 UCAS points – giving you opportunities to study at degree level.

Course content

Pathway 1: Fine Art Practice

  • This is a pathway for creative people who enjoy communicating through unique pieces of work – such as painting, drawing, printing, textiles or mixed media.
  • It will suit you if you enjoy producing work, often as an individual, for galleries, commissions and limited editions. 
  • This could take you into a career as a freelance artist, printmaker, journalist, teacher, or concept developer.

​Pathway 2: 3D Design & Architecture

  • This is for you if you love using your hands to manipulate materials and enjoy solving complex problems.
  • You’ll have the chance to make and design spaces and objects, and explore a range of materials for creating both the very small and the very big in a three-dimensional world.
  • This is about working in teams or individually to deliver large scale projects, small one-off individual objects, as well as motivating yourself to produce design work for clients.
  • This could lead to a career in architecture, theatre, spatial design, props, millinery, glassblowing, community arts, furniture-making or interior design.

​Pathway 3: Visual Communication

  • This pathway enables you to explore the worlds of the media, advertising, graphics, photography and illustration.
  • This is for you if you enjoy drawing, making images, and design (both hand-made and digital) and are excited by films, narrative and graphic novels.
  • Across this broad pathway you will explore the telling of stories, both fictional and factual, through graphics, photography or illustration. 
  • This could lead you into a career in illustration, graphics, fashion, photography, media, journalism, film-making, scriptwriting or editing.


  • Unit 1: Introduction to visual language
  • Unit 2: Introduction to research skills
  • Unit 3: Introduction to critical and contextual awareness 
  • Unit 4: Introduction to materials, processes and technical skills
  • Unit 5: An integrated approach to 2D problem solving 
  • Unit 6: An integrated approach to 3D problem solving
  • Unit 7: An integrated approach to time based problem solving
  • Unit 8: Developing an art & design project
  • Unit 9: Opportunities for progression
  • Unit 10: Characteristics and contexts
  • Unit 11: Preparation for progression
  • Unit 12: Engaging with an audience 
  • Unit 13: Project proposal and realisation (Level 3)
  • or
  • Unit 14: Project proposal and realisation (Level 4)

Entry requirements

We normally offer places to students who have at least four GCSEs at grade A* to C including English and preferably with one in a creative subject, and who show commitment and enthusiasm for art and design through examples of creative work.

Future opportunities

Many of our students go on to creative undergraduate programmes at Plymouth College of Art – studying everything from Fine Art to Photography, Game Arts to Film.

Others take the transferrable skills they’ve developed with us, and go straight into employment or apprenticeships in the creative sector. We have a specialist careers service that will help you make the right decision for your future.

Further information

Throughout your two years on this course, your practical studies will be supported by a contextual understanding of a wide range of art and design practices.

You’ll be encouraged to develop your writing, and to promote yourself as a creative professional.

Throughout the course you will be developing your portfolio as you prepare for further study or employment, sharpening your skills in interviews and presentations about your work.

You’ll also have the chance to go on gallery trips, exhibits and you’ll have regular contact with visiting artists.   

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Plymouth College of Art directly.

Last updated date: 08 June 2016

Key information