Top Art and Design Universities in the UK

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Allaa Ashraf

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05 September, 2022

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9 mins read

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University Life

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Most people think that art is only painting and drawing, while design is working on Photoshop. However, a degree in art or design may land you a job in various industries such as fashion, textiles, photography, TV production, multimedia, museums, jewellery, furniture, and much more. When creativity and passion are combined with education, artful masterpieces are created. So, if you have a passion and want to develop a career in the art or design field, going to one of the top art and design universities in the UK would be a huge advantage. However, choose the correct course before applying through UCAS as each school has different specialisations and modules. This blog will list some of the top art and design universities in the UK with their courses and modules. 

1. Royal College of Art (RCA)

According to the QS World University Rankings for Art and Design, the Royal College of Art was ranked number one internationally in 2020. It is an entirely postgraduate public research university in London offering postgraduate degrees in art and design. By enrolling in the Art and Design Graduate Diploma, you will prepare yourself for your Master's studies at the RCA. When enrolling, you can choose to specialise in fine art, fashion and textiles, humanities; and products, interiors, or spatial design. If you pass the programme with distinction, you will have the opportunity to enter an MA or MRes programme, depending on the area of study you choose to specialise in during your graduate diploma. This diploma has two intakes per year; January and July. As the world's oldest and most influential postgraduate art and design institution, the Royal College of Art has four schools: the School of Arts and Humanities, the School of Design, the School of Communication, and the School of Architecture.

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2. University of the Arts London (UAL)

Holding its position as the second-best art and design university in the world and tenth in the UK, the University of the Arts London was awarded a silver award by the TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework). Its nine art and design schools offer pre-degrees, undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees and short courses in 18 subjects. For an overview of the main topics you can study at UAL, read our blog " Explore The Main Topics You Can Study at UAL" Here are the nine art and design schools in one of the top art and design universities in the UK: Chelsea College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Camberwell College of Arts, Wimbledon College of Arts, London College of Fashion, London College of Communication, UAL Creative Computing Institute, UAL Social Design Institute, and UAL Decolonising Arts Institute.

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3. The University of Oxford - The Ruskin School of Art 

As one of the top art and design universities in the UK, the Ruskin School of Art holds its position as the first art and design college in the UK. With its excellent teaching standards, it prepares students to become artists by offering a three-year studio-based BFA course. Upon the completion of this course, you will be able to hold one of the following positions: art writer, art teacher, practising artist, and curator in public and private galleries. You may also work in academia, the film industry, and architecture. If you want to continue your education after gaining your BFA in fine arts, the school offers a 9-month MFA in fine arts and a 3- or 4-year DPhil in fine arts to develop your research, theoretical, and practical skills.

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4. University College London

University College London is home to the Slade School of Art, which welcomes talented artists who want to improve their skills and knowledge in the field of painting, sculpture, and fine art media (including film, photography, etc). UCL provides students with a supportive study environment as well as a personal tutor assigned to each student, who has a diverse background in the arts and mainly assesses and guides the student’s education throughout the duration of the course. This university is located in the heart of London, which allows you to have a more hands-on artistic education through easy access to museums, art galleries, and theatres.

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5. Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow School of Art is considered one of the best Art schools in the world. This internationally-recognized school has a high quality of both teaching and research that allows students to succeed and excel academically and artistically. Additionally, Glasgow School of Art offers various courses in different art disciplines, including Sculptural and Environmental Art, Fashion Design, Fine Art Photography, Textile Design, and Painting and Printmaking among others. A number of research degrees and centres are also available, where students can implement their skills and turn their artistic visions into reality.Glasgow School of Art bus

6. Goldsmiths, University of London

The Department of Art at the University of Goldsmiths in London is renowned for its diverse student community. It is a gathering point for many skilled artists from all around the world. The University has a supportive and nurturing learning environment for students to engage in. Professors at this University have amazing art skills, with their work often showcased at renowned galleries and museums. At the undergraduate level, the department offers these courses: Fine Art (BA), Fine Art & History of Art (BA), and for overseas students, there is an offered course called  “Year 0”. At the postgraduate level, the department offers MFA Degrees in Fine Art, Curating, and Art Writing.

7. Newcastle University

The School of Art and Culture at Newcastle University has some of the UK’s highest-ranked programs and degrees. The BA Fine Arts degree at Newcastle University is ranked 2nd in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2022, 3rd in the UK by the Complete University Guide 2022, and 3rd in the UK in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022. The school is renowned for its cutting-edge practice and research that allows students to fully learn and express themselves artistically. Newcastle University prides itself on encouraging students to be imaginative and creative, question orthodoxies, cross boundaries, and leave their own mark in the contemporary art world.

8. Loughborough University

This top-ranked UK university is a must for students planning to study an art or design subject in the UK. Loughborough University’s School of Arts, English, and Drama is one of the best in the whole country. Currently, the school offers a wide variety of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The learning environment at Loughborough University is a modern, diverse, and inclusive one. The university also has several hubs and centres for students to implement their artistic talent and showcase their works.

9. Lancaster University 

The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts at the University of Lancaster offers a number of different courses in these study fields: Art, Theatre, Design, and Film. Choosing to major in Art at this school covers all art disciplines of painting, drawing, digital art, and sculpture which can be studied separately or in an interdisciplinary program. The institute’s main module of studying is a mixture of studio, professional practice, and theory. At this university, students are guaranteed to learn from the best in the field, as professors and academics there are active artists whose work is nationally and internationally recognized.

10. Edinburgh College of Art

Edinburgh University is one of the highest-ranked universities in the UK and with an internationally-recognized status as well. The Edinburgh College of Arts (ECA) is one of the university’s most famous faculties, attracting students from all over the world. This school has a community of diverse and active artists. The art courses at ECA are a combination of art studio works, personal tutoring, lectures, seminars, and discussions. External courses and events featuring famous artists from all around the globe also take place at ECA. Currently, the art study programs offered at Edinburgh College of Art are the followings: Fine Art – MA (Hons), Intermedia – BA (Hons), Painting – BA (Hons), Photography – BA (Hons), and Sculpture – BA (Hons).

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11. University of Brighton

Located in the centre of the city of Brighton, the School of Art at the University of Brighton is known and recognized for its wide spectrum of art study programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The university provides a variety of courses that allow students to explore several art and design fields, thus making it a destination for art students and one of the top art and design universities in the UK. The undergraduate courses provided at the School of Art at the University of Brighton include 3D Design and Craft BA (Hons), Fashion Communication with Business Studies BA (Hons), Painting, Sculpting, Graph Design, and Illustration BAs among many other courses to attend and degrees to pursue. The postgraduate courses feature an Arts and Design MA, a Craft MA, a Fine Art MA, and an Inclusive Art Practice MA to name a few.

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12. University of Sunderland

The School of Art and Design at the University of Sunderland is a fruitful gathering of artists and creatives from diverse backgrounds that work to elevate and improve their artistic skills as well as the skills of those around them. The university encourages students to pursue their passions in art and design and to push the boundaries of artistic imagination and innovation. The school offers a wide selection of different BA courses and MA courses and has a cohort of PhD students. The available courses are in the fields of Fine Art, Glass and Ceramics, Photography, Video, and Digital imaging, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, and Animation and Game Art. The courses are taught by academic professionals and active artists.

13. University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is a top-ranked university and its School of Fine Art, History of Art, and Cultural Studies is one of the top choices among art and design students in the UK. The school is ranked 8th for art and design in the UK and is an internationally-recognised leader in research and research-led teaching in the history of art, art gallery, museum studies, cultural and media studies, and fine art. The courses offered at the University of Leeds’ School of Arts include undergraduate, master's, and research courses in a variety of fields, including Fine Art, History of Art, Cultural and Media Studies, and Art Management.

14. University of Wales Trinity Saint David

The Swansea College of Art is a leader in art and design education in the UK, and it is a subsidiary of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. The college offers an array of different courses across a variety of disciplines in the fields of Art and Design. Of the available courses offered at the college, you can apply for any of the following: Graphic Design, Art and Design Foundation, Design Crafts, Contemporary Dialogues, Automotive and Transport Design, Set Design and Production, Illustration, and Photography among others.

15. Liverpool John Moores University

The Liverpool School of Art and Design at Liverpool John Moores University makes the list as one of the top art and design institutions in the UK. The school offers students interested in the fields of arts and design the opportunity to enrol in a varying number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as research opportunities. Liverpool School of Art and Design allows students to actively implement their theoretical knowledge, express themselves creatively, and showcase their artwork. The available fields in which you can enrol as an art student include Fine Art, Fashion Design, Architecture, Graphic Design and Illustration, and History of Art and Museum Studies among others.

16. University of Derby

The School of Arts at the University of Derby is one of the top destinations for prospective art and design students. The university offers a welcoming, supportive, and nurturing environment for students to thrive academically and express themselves creatively and artistically. The School of Arts at the University of Derby has undergraduate and postgraduate courses that are led by practising artists, designers, performers, makers and creators with key industry contacts. The available courses span a variety of disciplines, including Art and Design, Fashion and Textile, Film and Media, Music and Music Production, Interior Design, Theatre, Photography, and Therapeutic Arts.

17. University of Kent

The School of Art at the University of Kent makes the list as one of the renowned universities in the UK at which you can study art and design. This school is known for providing students with high-quality education and world-leading research in a number of art and design disciplines, including Art History, Film, Media, Drama, and Music. The offered courses at the School of Art feature unique courses like Comparative Literature and Film, Cultural Studies and Film, Art History and Film, Comparative Literature and Drama, Music, Performance, and Production.

If you are creative, innovative, and have a passion for art and design, follow your heart and study something you love! Seize the day and apply through UCAS to one of the top art and design universities in the UK! Then, book your room with Casita! Casita helps you choose your perfect student accommodation in the UK near the university you are studying at and at an affordable price.


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