Originally the Falmouth School of Art, founded in 1902, the university’s research centres on the fourth industrial revolution and how human-centred design, innovation and storytelling can bring meaningful value to digital technologies. Such academic direction reflects the breadth of courses, which have grown from a wide range of art and design options to encompass film, performance, business entrepreneurship and marketing, journalism, game development and architecture.
Light-filled creative spaces and subtropical gardens distinguish the campus at Falmouth, near the town centre and a short walk from the popular Gyllyngvase beach. Teaching facilities for photography include an in-house photo agency that takes on live industry projects.
The purpose-built Penryn campus nearby is shared with the University of Exeter. It gained a social space in 2021, positioned for striking views down the Penryn River, built sustainably and featuring informal workspace alongside a bar and café.
Performing arts students have the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts at Penryn, where facilities include a cinema, motion-capture studio, video-editing suites with specialist animation software, fully sprung dancefloors, rehearsal studios and theatre space. It is also a performance venue for student and visiting productions.
Awarded gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), Falmouth impressed assessors with students’ personalised learning, partly through individual timetabling and a “data-driven approach to monitoring contact and teaching patterns”. The majority of teaching is practice-based in studios, workshops or industry-based environments. All of this takes place in-person, and the university notes that less than 7 per cent of teaching and learning happens within a traditional lecture format. That said, lectures are captured for playback.
Falmouth’s students expressed their agreement with the TEF panel, results of the latest National Student Survey suggest — with Falmouth ranking 15th for teaching quality in our analysis this year (up 23 places). Scores for satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience rose too and Falmouth ranks 25 places higher in our student experience measure this year.
The TEF panel also praised the university for stretching students and ensuring that they acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding most highly valued by employers. In line with its “Doing it for real” ethos the university interviews all applicants and asks them to prove their potential via their portfolio or audition. Once enrolled, students across all academic departments have opportunities to work on real projects or live briefs in collaboration with industry partners.
However, Falmouth appears near the bottom of our graduate prospects ranking again this year, in 128th place. This is in common with most specialist arts institutions and is unlikely to be a surprise to those considering careers in creative fields, many of whom settle into professional life later than the Graduate Outcomes survey’s measure 15 months after graduation.
Falmouth’s growing curriculum acquired seven new degrees in 2022, with media production, architectural design and technology, esports and interior design (online) among them. From September 2023 another two undergraduate options will be offered, in music business and sound design.
Applications were 8 per cent higher by the end of March in 2022’s admissions cycle, compared with the same point the year before.
Around one in five students qualified for financial aid in 2022’s incoming cohort. Those from low-income households are awarded a Falmouth bursary of £250 to £500 per year of study and there is further assistance for those with dependants and for students leaving care. Help with the cost of materials (a significant outgoing for arts students) is offered to 400 students and worth £100. Up-to-date details on talent-based scholarships can be accessed via the university website.
Raising Aspirations, an outreach programme in schools and colleges in areas of high deprivation and low progression rates to higher education, offers portfolio planning guidance, workshops about creative careers and campus visits among its activities.
The sports centre on the Penryn campus has a four-court sports hall, fitness studio and gym, as well as multi-use pitches and outdoor gym. Spinning, yoga and Zumba are some of the classes offered. Watersports on the Cornish coast are a huge part of the Falmouth student experience and part-time jobs in the tourist trade help with living costs.
There are residential places on both campuses and accommodation is guaranteed to all full-time first-years who apply in time.
Cornwall’s star is in ascendant, its coastal charms having attracted pandemic-hit city dwellers to its different pace of life. In terms of student-friendly social scenes think pop-up bars, clubs on farms, contemporary galleries and arthouse cinemas. Jam, a shop on Falmouth’s High Street, offers the twin appeal of vinyl records and Monmouth coffee. Students can opt in to having their meals catered at the Glasney Student Village accommodation, the location of more than1,000 of the university’s 1,676 bed spaces. A place in halls of residence is guaranteed to all first-years who apply by the deadline.