Department profile

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

University of Plymouth
2017/18 edition

About Faculty of Arts and Humanities

There is an exciting and vibrant arts scene at Plymouth University. Through the provision of creative learning we build a culture of ingenuity, diversity and distinctiveness, a culture that has far reaching benefits that go beyond the faculty, beyond the University and reach out into the community, industry and economy at large.

There are four distinct schools within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities -

  • The School of Art, Design and Architecture
  • The School of Art and Media
  • The School of Humanities and Performing Arts
  • Plymouth Institute of Education

The School of Art, Design and Architecture

The School has a strong and long-standing tradition of high-quality delivery of teaching, as well as an increasingly vibrant research character influencing all its activities. We are research based, through the work of the research groups associated with the School, but our study is always in touch with - and seeking to benefit - the real world. The combination of different cognate disciplines puts 'under one roof' experts of design at different scales, from the serially-produced object to the urban neighbourhood. Its embedded knowledge and focus on sustainable futures makes its thinking and practice current and ethically aware.

Postgraduate student and staff research activities in the School are centered on our three distinct research groups: Culture-Theory-Space, Environmental Building and Design Knowledge. All three groups have roots in the School’s history of pioneering research in sustainable building, vernacular production, and historic preservation, with interactions and exchanges between all three groups. All research active staff and postgraduate research students are placed in one of the three research groups and interactions and exchanges between the three groups are fostered through regular joint thematic seminars and research skills workshops. The activities of the three research groups have moved beyond the traditional, university-department format of research-in-progress presentations by individuals to include regular round-table thematic discussion groups, research skills workshops and collaborative projects for conferences and publications. There are also researcher exchange programmes with universities in Brazil and America, and participation in international research networks such as the AHRC-funded Transatlantic Exchanges Network.

Course Spotlight:
MSc Sustainable Construction:

Our pioneering MSc Sustainable Construction Cost Management and MSc Sustainable Construction Project Management programmes at Plymouth are delivered with the busy working professional in mind, as distance learning is combined with block teaching sessions delivered on campus.

The course is professionally accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed to equip and empower built environment professionals to take a leading role in raising the sustainability performance of their industry and delivering sustainable construction solutions for their clients.


The School of Art and Media

The School of Art and Media offers an exciting range of taught and research based postgraduate opportunities encompassing creative disciplines from: fine art to media; film-making to communication design; and publishing to creative digital technologies.

The School provides access to a range of well-resourced workshops including: digital video and sound editing; printmaking and letter press; professionally equipped video and photographic studios; The latest software is available on our fleet of Macs; darkrooms for chemical photography, both B/W and colour, as well as a range of digital printers enabling small to large scale photoworks; wood, metal and ceramics workshops. All are supported by dedicated technicians who are on hand to support student learning.

Course spotlight:
MA Publishing:

MA Publishing brings together key practices within the publishing industry into one programme of study. You can choose your own postgraduate exit award and individually tailor your qualification. Students will have the chance to develop specific and vital skill sets, increasing their employability in a diverse and ever changing industry.

Specialist Strands/Exit Awards

  • Design Commentary
  • Digital Futures
  • Editorial Design
  • Illustration

The core award and the strands have been developed to reflect the diverse nature of the publishing industry, where managers, writers and editors alike work in close collaboration with editorial designers and image-makers, to deliver visual content. Combining numerous opportunities for professional practice experience and the specialist knowledge of our teaching staff, this course enables students to study towards an industry relevant qualification and gain indispensable work experience.

The School of Humanities and Performing Arts

The School of Humanities and Performing Arts is an enthusiastic, energetic and richly diverse community of students and staff in History and Art History, Dance, English and Creative Writing, Music and Theatre and Performance. We are the largest school in the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, with around 1100 students.

Research-led teaching and excellence of student experience are at the heart of our programmes. We value the local and the global perspective, in our programme content and in the opportunities available for students. Community events and a strong tradition of cultural engagement mark the Plymouth experience.

Our staff are committed to excellence in teaching and in internationally-recognised research and practice, publishing and performing widely in the UK and overseas. We also work with professionals from the wider world of Humanities and Performing Arts to bring you a host of different opportunities to enhance your studies.

Course Spotlight:
MA History:

This masters degree will give students a detailed knowledge and understanding of historical methodology and of aspects of British, European and world history from the fifteenth century through to the present day.

The course draws from, and is based upon, considerable staff research expertise. Tutors are all actively engaged in research relating to the MA, contributing to a range of publications in their respective areas of expertise. Key areas include 16th and 17th century British and European social, religious and political history; imperialism, colonialism and decolonisation in the modern period, with particular reference to South Asia; the political and social history of 19th century Britain; Ireland since 1900; British military and diplomatic history during the 20th century; European integration; politics and society in the USA since 1900; and British social and political history from the First World War to the era of ‘New Labour’.


Plymouth Institute of Education

With a longstanding reputation for high-quality teacher education in early years, primary, secondary and further education sectors, the School builds on research excellence to offer an international perspective to individuals and organisations. As well as undertaking research into many aspects of education and running a successful PhD in Education, we offer a wide range of postgraduate and continuing professional development programmes. We provide opportunities to study flexibly on our masters and Doctoral programmes including our modular International Masters Programme and our innovative taught Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD).

Course Spotlight:
Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD):

The Professional Doctorate in Education (EdD) is a doctoral level programme for anyone involved in an educative role within a professional discipline. Its focus is on the ways in which learning can be understood and might be developed in a professional context. It provides a fantastic opportunity for anyone working in education – whether it be in schools, colleges, HE institutions, or as an education professional within a private or public sector organisation – to explore their work at a deeper level, leading to the award of Doctor in Education. It is offered part-time, and therefore ideal for those who combine their studies with a busy professional life.