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Arts University Plymouth

Founded in 1856, Arts University Plymouth 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. 



Founded as the Plymouth Drawing School in 1856, and been teaching art and design since, Arts University Plymouth is one of the last remaining specialist arts schools in the UK. 

The university has been delivering higher education for over 20 years, previously as the Plymouth College of Art, and since May 2022 as Arts University Plymouth. 


Arts University Plymouth is an independent arts university, run by artists and designers for artists and designers. We offer foundation programmes, degrees and master’s in art, design, craft and digital media programmes. These programmes will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive at the forefront of the creative industries.

We pride ourselves in our small classes and workshops, where you are taught by specialists in the field with experience in academia and industry. 


As a specialist arts university, Arts University Plymouth’s research, innovation and knowledge exchange activity reflects and underpins our vision, ethos, purpose and values. As a community of practice-led artists and leaders we are focused on academic and innovation opportunities that respond to the social, cultural and economic needs of Plymouth, the South West region, and the wider UK creative economy.

There are three research groups: Making futures, Making learning and Memory, Site & Artefact. 


The creative sector is the fastest-growing part of the UK economy, contributing £111.7 billion each year. A government report published in 2016 shows the creative sector is worth a massive £9.6million per hour – with data proving the trend is set to continue

Our students begin their professional careers the moment they step into the university: we encourage everyone to think of themselves as practitioners – photographers, illustrators, designers, filmmakers – from day one.

We provide opportunities for students to liaise with a wide range of creative industries, alongside our expert academics - all practicing artists, designers and makers in their specialist field.


Student services

  • International Office
  • Library 
  • Academic Skills
  • Careers and Enterprise
  • Learning Technologies

Housing services

At Arts University Plymouth, our accommodation is only a stones throw away from campus. We work with two private accommodation providers, Host and Cross House, to supply accommodation to our students. 

Most students in their first year choose to live in a Student Hall of Residence. These provide a fun and safe introduction to independent living: all halls rooms offer ensuite bathrooms, and have bright and airy communal areas, with cooking, dining and social facilities.

Rooms are fully furnished to a modern standard, and you can usually stay for up to 43 weeks of the year. 

Accommodation is from £116 p/week. 

Library services

Our library is an enviable resource, with over 25,000 items comprising physical and digital resources including books, journals, DVDs, and subscriptions to over 130 printed publications.

ICT services

We have a mix of PCs and Macs located for students to use, as well as Mac suite with has a plethora of applications to assist with design and interactive applications. 

Technical support is available to students. 

Medical services

The university offers a variety of free in-house services through the Student Support team, including mentoring, student counselling, health services and referrals and wellbeing workshops. 

There is also a Health Care Centre located a short walk from campus where we advise students to register in their first year. 

Student Life

Campus life

Arts University Plymouth is a small city-based campus, located a 2 minute walk from the main shopping centre.

The city of Plymouth has something for everyone, from a lively arts scene to national parks. It is nestled between the Dartmoor national park, and the Ocean. 

Sports facilities

There are no sports facilities on campus, however there are lots of gyms catering to students in the nearby area as well as local sports clubs. 

Student clubs

Clubs and Societies are entirely student-led, but these are supported with advertising and occasionally funding from the Students' Union. You can see the ones we currently have below, however if someone wanted to create a new society they’d only need 6-10 other people to sign up with them!

  • Animal Rights Society
  • Book Club
  • Cat Society
  • Christian Union
  • Cinema Society
  • Climbing Society
  • Creative Art Society
  • Crochet Society
  • Dungeons and Dragons Society
  • Events Society
  • LGBTQ+ Society
  • Musical Theatre Society
  • Photography Society
  • Podcasting Club
  • Poetry Club
  • Sea Swimmers Society
  • Upcycling Fashion Society
  • Video Games Club
  • Wilderness Society
  • Witchcraft Society
  • Zine Society

Plymouth, England, United Kingdom

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