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The Best Education for Becoming an Artist

By Joseph, published on 29/07/2019 Blog > Arts and Hobbies > Drawing > Studying an Art Degree

“An artist must be a reactionary. He has to stand out against the tenor of the age and not go flopping along.” – Andre Maurois

There are plenty of places all over the UK where you can get formal art training.

What better way for students to start their career in art than through education?

In this article, we’re going to have a look at the best places to study art once you’ve finished studying art at school.

Art Schools in the UK

The UK is home to plenty of universities with the oldest (Oxford) dating back to to the 11th century! Of course, oldest doesn’t necessarily mean the best (even though Oxford does regularly top the league tables). Each university has its pros and cons and a university that’s good for studying one subject may not be good for another.

The QS World University Rankings is a useful website to check out if you want to look at top UK universities.

With tuition fees in the UK almost the same at every university, the cost shouldn’t affect your decision too much. Of course, if you’re an international student, you may be expected to pay more than a UK citizen but there are bursaries and scholarships available.

Royal College of Art

If you’re looking for art graduate programs at one of the UK’s top universities, then this is probably the place to go. However, this university doesn’t offer any undergraduate degree programs. Don’t worry, though, there are plenty of universities for undergraduates in this article you can go to before you do your postgraduate degree.

Just make sure you don’t forget about this school once you’ve finished your three-year undergraduate degree!

University of the Arts London

The world’s second-best university for art and design according to the QS rankings, the University of the Arts London offers a variety of artistic subjects including:

  • 3D design and product design
  • Accessories, footwear and jewellery,
  • Animation, interactive, film and sound
  • Architecture, spatial and interior design
  • Business & management, and science
  • Communication and graphic design
  • Creative computing
  • Curation and culture
  • Fashion business
  • Fashion communication
  • Fashion design
  • Fashion making and pattern cutting
  • Fashion styling and make up
  • Fine art
  • Illustration
  • Journalism, PR, media and publishing
  • Languages
  • Performance and design for theatre and screen
  • Photography
  • Textiles and materials

That’s a pretty good selection, right?

Find out more about other art qualifications.

The Glasgow School of Art

The Glasgow School of Art was founded back in 1845 and focused on design in the manufacturing industries. Over time, the school evolved and shifted its focus towards fine art and architecture towards the late 19th century and now embraces digital technologies.

In terms of undergraduate degrees, courses include 3D modelling, interior design, architecture, printing and printmaking, product design, communication design, product design engineering, sculpture and environmental art, fashion design, silversmithing and jewellery, fine art photography, games and virtual reality, textile design, and interaction design!

They also offer a broad choice of graduate degrees and doctorates for those continuing their studies after their undergraduate degree!

University of Oxford

Oxford’s reputation probably precedes it as it’s difficult to talk about universities in the UK without mentioning it or Cambridge. However, it’s bitter rival doesn’t actually feature in the top 20 universities in the UK for art and design. Oxford, along with Cambridge, however, is a member of the Russell Group, universities that focus on research and have a reputation for great academic achievement. Unsurprisingly, a number of the universities in this article are also members of the Russell Group.

Which are the best universities in the UK? Oxford is widely considered one of the best universities in the world and it’s the same for art. (Source: MichaelDBeckwith)

University College London (UCL)

The UCL, like the University of Oxford, also belongs to the aforementioned Russell Group. It was founded in 1826 as London University and was the first in England to be entirely secular and to admit women.

There are plenty of art degrees including Fine Art, History of Art, Materials and Technology, Classical Archaeology and Classical Civilisation, and plenty of combined subjects including foreign language options with History of Art and even an Italian Studies and History of Art Double Degree with the UCL and Venice!

This is a good choice for those wanting to do something alongside art.

Find out how to survive at art school.

University of Brighton

The University of Brighton started life as the Brighton College of Art in 1858 and was granted university status in 1992. With its art heritage, it’s no surprise that there are many art undergraduate degrees on offer including Fine Art Painting, Games Art and Design, Printmaking, History of Art and Design, Critical Practice, and Sculpture.

Graduates can move onto Master’s Degrees in Fine Art, Art and Design by Independent Project, Digital Media Arts, Inclusive Arts Practice, or an Art and Design PGCE.

Additionally, Brighton is a thriving hub of art so your life outside of class will be full of inspiration too!

Where can you study art in the UK? Brighton is home to a great university for art. (Source: pearly-peach)

The University of Edinburgh

As another member of the Russell Group, it’s no surprise that the University of Edinburgh has a stellar reputation. It’s the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world and was founded in 1582!

The Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh offers undergraduate degrees in Fine Art, Intermedia, Painting, Photography, and Postgraduate degrees in Art, Contemporary Art Practice, Contemporary Art Theory, Interdisciplinary Creative Practices, and Material Practice.

A fantastic city where you can get a fantastic art education!

Which is the best art university in Scotland? In addition to being a wonderful city, Edinburgh is home to several great places to study art. (Source: kolibri5)

Newcastle University

Newcastle University is another member of the reputable Russell Group of universities and has a highly-reputable art department offering Fine Art degrees taught by artists and art historians. There’s also the Visiting Artists Programme that the university’s very proud of.

The university also collaborates on interdisciplinary research projects and provides support for students working on painting, sculpture, drawing, performance, film, video, and installation.

Newcastle is an eclectic and lively city that blends history and modernity and can provide you with plenty of inspiration!

What is the Russell Group? Newcastle is home to a Russell Group university and one of the best universities for studying art in the UK. (Source: MichaelDBeckwith)

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield was first established as the Sheffield Medical School in 1828 before becoming the University College of Sheffield. In 1905, it became the University of Sheffield and is one of the first red brick universities and the fifth Russell Group university to feature in the top 20 UK universities for art and design.

If you’re looking for somewhere to study art, Sheffield might be the place to go!

University for the Creative Arts

The University for the Creative Arts ranks highly in the Guardian University Guide, the Complete University Guide, and the Times and the Sunday Times Good University Guide.

You can study undergraduate degrees in Animation, Ceramics and Glass, Computer Animation Arts, Creative Arts, Drawing, Fashion, Textiles, Film and Digital Art, Fine Art, Games Art, Garden Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design, Jewellery and Silversmithing, Painting, Photography, and Textile Design.

Of course, if none of these universities takes your fancy, there are plenty of other universities in the UK with good art programmes. In addition to all the reputable universities we mentioned previously, there’s also the following Russel Group universities:

  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cardiff University
  • Durham University
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • London School of Economics & Political Science
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • Queen Mary, University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York

These universities have a reputation for academic excellence and having attended one will always look good on your CV.

Your art education doesn’t stop once your classes are over, either. You can learn more about art with private tutorials from one of the many talented tutors on Superprof!

There are three main types of tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials, and each comes with its pros and cons in terms of learning and cost-effectiveness.

Face-to-face tutorials are taught with one student and one tutor and they tend to be the most cost-effective type since every minute in the lesson is spent focusing on you as the student.

Online tutorials are similar to the face-to-face tutorials but take place either on a call or via webcam. Online tutorials are usually cheaper than face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn’t have as many expenses to worry about.

Finally, group tutorials are classes with one teacher or tutor and multiple students. These tend to be the cheapest per student per hour since the cost of the tutor’s time is shared amongst all the students in attendance. The bigger the class, the cheaper it’ll tend to be per student.

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