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Best Universities to Study Art & Design in the UK | 2024

Welcome to our guide to the Best Universities to Study Art & Design in the UK for 2024! Aspiring artists and designers seek institutions that nurture creativity and excellence. The UK, renowned for its rich cultural heritage and esteemed educational institutions, offers a plethora of options. Join us as we explore the top universities shaping the future of art and design in the UK.

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What do Art & Design Students Study at University?

Art and design students at university study a wide range of subjects related to visual expression, creativity, and aesthetics. They engage in a combination of theoretical study, practical skill development, and creative exploration to prepare for careers in various fields such as fine arts, graphic design, advertising, illustration, animation, and more. Some key areas of study include:

  • Art History: Understanding the evolution of art, major movements, and influential artists throughout history.
  • Drawing and Painting: Developing skills in traditional and contemporary techniques for creating visual art.
  • Graphic Design: Learning principles of layout, typography, and visual communication to create designs for various purposes like branding, advertising, and digital media.
  • Sculpture and 3D Design: Exploring techniques and materials for creating three-dimensional art forms and installations.
  • Digital Media: Studying digital art, animation, and multimedia production using software tools and technology.
  • Photography: Learning techniques for capturing and editing photographs, as well as exploring the artistic and conceptual aspects of photography.
  • Art Theory and Criticism: Analyzing and interpreting artworks, understanding cultural contexts, and engaging in critical discourse about art and design.
  • Studio Practice: Engaging in hands-on studio work to experiment, create, and develop a personal artistic style or design approach.
Best Universities to Study Art & Design in the UK | 2024

Why Studying Art & Design in the UK Is a Good Choice?

The UK’s reputation for excellence in art and design education, coupled with its vibrant creative scene and industry connections, makes it an attractive destination for aspiring artists and designers worldwide. Studying Art & Design in the UK can be a smart choice for several reasons:

  • Top-notch Institutions: UK universities like the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins consistently rank among the best globally for art and design education. They have a strong reputation in the industry and are recognized internationally.
  • Creative Scene: Cities like London, Bristol, and Manchester have vibrant art scenes, with numerous galleries, studios, and events. From street art to underground galleries, these cities offer diverse spaces where artists thrive and showcase their work. Students can also draw inspiration and forge connections within the vibrant creative environment.
  • Industry Connections: Many UK universities collaborate closely with industry partners. For example, students might work on real-world projects with companies like BBC, Burberry, or Tate. These partnerships offer invaluable experience and networking opportunities for budding artists and designers.
Best Universities to Study Art & Design in the UK | 2024

Why Studying Art & Design in the UK can be a Bad Choice?

While studying Art & Design in the UK offers many advantages, it’s essential for prospective students to carefully weigh these potential challenges before making a decision:

  • High Cost of Living: Cities like London, known for their vibrant art scenes and prestigious universities, also come with a high cost of living. Tuition fees and accommodation expenses can be significant burdens for students.
  • Competitive Admission Process: Entry into top UK art schools can be highly competitive, with limited spaces available for applicants. This can make it challenging for some students to secure admission to their desired programs.
  • Limited Funding Opportunities: While some scholarships and grants may be available, funding options for international students studying Art & Design in the UK can be limited compared to other fields of study or countries.
  • Post-Graduation Visa Issues: International students face uncertainties regarding post-graduation visas and work opportunities in the UK. Changes in immigration policies and visa regulations may impact their ability to remain in the country after completing their studies.
Why Studying Art & Design in the UK can be a Bad Choice?

What are the Best Universities for Art & Design in the UK?

Best Universities for Art & Design in the UK by The Complete University Guide (2024)

According to The Complete University Guide’s 2024 rankings, the top universities for Art & Design in the UK have shown some shifts compared to the previous year. The University of Oxford maintains its position at the top, followed by University College London (UCL) climbing to the second spot. The University of Glasgow and Loughborough University have also retained their places among the top four, though Loughborough has slipped from its previous ranking. University of Leeds has surged to the fifth position from eighth, while Kingston University notably rises to the sixth spot from sixteenth. Newcastle University and Lancaster University have maintained their positions within the top ten, though Newcastle has slightly fallen in rank. Meanwhile, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Dundee complete the top ten, with the latter making a significant leap from its previous ranking.

UK Rank 2024 UK Rank 2023 Institution City/Town
1 1 University of Oxford Oxford
2 3 University College London London
3 4 University of Glasgow Glasgow
4 2 Loughborough University Loughborough
5 8 University of Leeds Leeds
6 16 Kingston University Kingston
7 5 Newcastle University Newcastle
8 7 Lancaster University Lancaster
9 9 University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
10 25 University of Dundee Dundee

Best Universities for Art & Design in the UK by Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2024)

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2024 show the top universities for Art & Design in the UK. The University of Cambridge is at the top, followed by the University of Oxford and University College London (UCL). The University of Edinburgh and King’s College London are fourth and fifth, while Durham University and Lancaster University are sixth and seventh. The University of Manchester and the University of York rank eighth and ninth, with the University of Glasgow completing the top ten.

UK Rank 2024 Institution City/Town
1 University of Cambridge Cambridge
2 University of Oxford Oxford
3 University College London London
4 University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
5 King’s College London London
6 Durham University Durham
7 Lancaster University Lancaster
8 University of Manchester Manchester
9 University of York York
10 University of Glasgow Glasgow

Best Universities for Art & Design in the UK by QS University Rankings (2023)

According to the QS University Rankings for 2023, the top universities for Art & Design in the UK remain consistent with the Royal College of Art holding the top position for another year. The University of the Arts London retains its second spot, followed by The Glasgow School of Art at third place. Goldsmiths, University of London, maintains its fourth position. The University of Oxford rises to fifth place from sixth, while Loughborough University falls to sixth place. University College London stays at seventh position.

UK Rank 2023 UK Rank 2022 Institution City/Town
1 1 Royal College of Art London
2 2 University of the Arts London London
3 3 The Glasgow School of Art Glasgow
4 4 Goldsmiths, University of London London
5 6 University of Oxford Oxford
6 5 Loughborough University Loughborough
7 7 University College London London

What Career Paths are Available for Art & Design Graduates?

Art & Design graduates have a wide array of career paths available to them, thanks to the diverse skills and creative abilities they develop during their studies. These are just a few examples of the many career paths available to Art & Design graduates:


Illustrators bring stories and ideas to life through visual storytelling. The illustration industry encompasses a wide range of opportunities, from editorial illustration for newspapers and magazines to children’s book illustration, concept art for films and video games, and digital illustration for advertising and social media campaigns. For example, they might create illustrations for renowned publications like The New Yorker, National Geographic, or Penguin Random House. With the rise of digital platforms and self-publishing, illustrators can also showcase their work on online platforms such as Instagram, Behance, and Etsy, connecting directly with clients and audiences worldwide.

Fine Arts

Fine artists exhibit their work in galleries, museums, and online platforms. The art market reached $64.1 billion in sales in 2019, with contemporary art leading the market, as reported by Art Basel and UBS. Graduates may specialize in painting, sculpture, printmaking, or mixed media.

Fashion Design

The Art & Design graduates are able to design clothing, accessories, and footwear for fashion brands, retail companies, and personal clients. They may work for luxury brands like Chanel, Prada, or Louis Vuitton. They can also launch their own fashion labels and showcase their collections at events.

Interior Design

Interior designers create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces for a variety of environments, including residential, commercial, hospitality, and institutional settings. Interior designers collaborate with architects, engineers, contractors, and clients to conceptualize and execute design projects. They consider factors such as space planning, color schemes, lighting, materials, furniture selection, and accessibility requirements to create cohesive and harmonious interiors that meet the needs and preferences of their clients.

Industrial Design

Industrial designers blend creativity, technical skills, and user-centered principles to create innovative products and solutions. Graduates can pursue careers in design consultancies, product design firms, manufacturing companies, and technology startups. They may work on diverse projects such as consumer electronics, household appliances, automotive interiors, sports equipment, and medical devices.

Animation and Multimedia: The animation industry is growing rapidly. Graduates can work for animation studios like Pixar, Disney, or DreamWorks, creating animated films, TV shows, video games, and visual effects for blockbuster movies.

User Experience (UX) Design

With the rise of digital technology, UX designers play a crucial role in creating seamless user experiences. Art & Design graduates may work for tech companies like Google, Facebook, or Amazon, designing intuitive interfaces and improving user interactions on websites, apps, and software platforms.

Curatorial and Gallery Management

Professionals in curatorial and gallery management oversee the curation, presentation, and management of art collections and exhibitions in galleries, museums, cultural institutions, and private collections. Gallery managers oversee the day-to-day operations of art galleries, including budgeting, marketing, sales, and client relations. They work closely with artists, collectors, curators, and art dealers to coordinate exhibitions, manage inventory, and facilitate art sales and acquisitions.

most popular degrees in UK


In conclusion, the landscape of art and design education in the UK for 2024 is vibrant and diverse. From traditional art schools to innovative design programs, the UK offers opportunities for students to hone their craft and unleash their creativity. As we navigate the evolving world of art and design, these universities stand as beacons of inspiration and learning, empowering the next generation of artists and designers to make their mark on the world stage.

Best Universities to Study Art & Design in the UK FAQ

Some of the top universities known for Art & Design in the UK include the Royal College of Art, University of the Arts London, Glasgow School of Art, and Central Saint Martins.

Universities offer a wide range of programmes including Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Illustration, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Animation, and Art History.

Admission requirements vary but typically include a portfolio showcasing creative work, academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, and sometimes an interview or audition.

Art & Design graduates can pursue careers in various industries including graphic design, fashion design, advertising, animation, illustration, interior design, art education, museum curation, and freelance entrepreneurship.

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