What are the Best Universities for Art in the UK

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Thousands of students apply to art universities every year. But how do they decide exactly which ones to apply to? What makes a particular university the ‘best’ university for art. There are many factors that may contribute to a university being placed on this list. Some of these include art supplies, campus appearance, distance from home and university fees. We’ve compiled a list of 6 excellent universities that we believe are near, if not at the top of every art student’s list of desirable art universities.

Disclaimer: There is a possibility that the opinions expressed in this article will not completely align with your own. The opinions expressed in this article, and of the Universities listed on it, is not the only opinion. This article solely aims to act as an informative guide. Please make sure you undertake your own research.

Are you are currently doing an Art GCSE, an Art A-Level, or just really love the subject? Are you looking into where to apply for further education in Art? Make sure to continue reading this article and carefully consider every listed university, as well as your own personal favourites.

University of Oxford

When thinking of impressive and prestigious universities, a specific one everyone will be able to name is indeed Oxford. Not only is Oxford ranked as the 2nd best university in the World, on world QS, but is also ranked in 1st place for art in the UK by the guardian in 2020.

The degree lasts only 3 years, as it is a condensed, intense course. Students are very integrated and are required to work very collaboratively. It also includes educating the students in the international history of contemporary art, as well as many critical viewpoints surrounding this theme.

Some artists prefer independent work that does not focus on art history. Whether or not this is you, ensure you visit the Fine Art page on the Oxford website before finalising your decision.

The complications that come packaged with this university being so desirable is that it is very competitive. This means that the university has very high entry requirements. Offers are generally conditional, requiring a 3 A’s or sometimes 2 A’s and 1 B in any subjects. However, it is recommended that students take art in their final few high school years. A lot of hard work must go into getting a place at the University of Oxford for Art. No tests are required to be completed, but a digital portfolio must be presented during the application process.

An interview will also take place if you qualify. Around 26% of applicants make it to the interview stage. Around 12% are successful after the interview stage, in obtaining a place for Fine Art at this university.

University College London

London is famous for its art universities. You’ll find a majority of the universities on this list are located in the Capital. This might be a huge positive for you if you enjoy living the city life. When deciding on a university, remember to also look into its location.

UCL is located in Bloomsbury, London. This impressive university’s Fine Arts degree lasts 4 years. The course focuses on three particular areas which are: painting, sculpture and fine art media. Theory of art and history of relevant art is also integrated into this course.

Entry requirements include 1 A and 2 Bs for A-Level. If you are doing IB, you need 34 points in total. However, contextual offers lower these requirements. Contextual offers aim to increase participation from underrepresented groups. Visit the UCL website to find out more on contextual offers as well as the Fine Arts course itself.

Goldsmiths, University of London

At Goldsmiths, you may have to make the difficult choice of the three art undergraduate degrees that they offer there. The three of them have a few minor differences, the first being the generic BA Fine Art Degree which you can find out more about here. Alternatively, you may choose to do a joint Fine Art and History of Art, which you can visit here. Finally, they offer an “Extension Degree” for BA Fine Art. Look into the final option at this link.

There are several upsides to this particular university. It is described to have a lively, interdisciplinary and constructive environment. This will allow you and all other students to meticulously study and make modern art. You will also receive an individual studio space from when you start, equipped with exceptional facilities.

Finally, there is a large and experienced crew of staff. Every member of staff is either a writer, an artist, or a curator. If you’re not yet fully convinced: 8 former Goldsmiths alumna have won the Turner Prize along with the 30 who received nominations.

The entry requirements for this University, specifically the BA Fine Arts Degree, are successful completion of A-Levels, or IB and other equivalent courses. They also require the completion of an Art and Design Foundation Diploma. This Diploma only lasts one year. Find out more about it on the complete university guide.

University of the Arts London

UAL provides many courses at all levels making it accessible to all students. It is made of 6 colleges located throughout London. They offer pre-degree courses, undergraduate courses, postgraduate courses and finally short courses. This university is ranked 2nd in the whole world for Art and Design, by the QS World University Rankings of 2021.

They also offer a wide variety of subjects in the course. Some of these include Art and Design, Accessories footwear and jewellery, Photography, Animation interactive film and sound, Fashion, Fine Art, Illustration and many more.

When applying to UCL, first choose your specific course. As shown above they offer over 100 different Art courses. You must do this because the different course will have varying entry requirements. In general, many practice-based courses will require a personal statement, academic references as well as a portfolio of work. Find out more about the application of the UAL website.

If you are not a native English Speaker, you may also be required to meet an English Language requirement. Many students applying to an undergraduate course also choose to pre-degree course to help them adapt and progress better. However, this is optional and is not an entry requirement.

Newcastle University

A Fine Art BA Honours Degree at Newcastle is aimed at creative, developing and enthusiastic artists who excel best through practical work. It is based on contemporary visual art Similar to most other university degrees, this one lasts 4 years and is full time.

This university is ranked as 3rd in the UK in the Art and Design Category by The Complete University Guide 2022. Newcastle is also rated 2nd in the UK by the Guardian is the Art Category. There are also opportunities available to do a year abroad. This may be a huge drawing factor for many people.

Newcastle offers more than 20 different specialist workshops. These include photography, 16mm film, oil painting and several others. During your time at this university, you will be able to work in the studio through live projects, exhibition opportunities as well as a renowned final-year degree show. During this show, your art receives the opportunity to be displayed to hundreds of visitors.

Entry Requirements generally vary from 2 A’s and B to 3 B’s for A-Level. Alternatively, for the International Baccalaureate Program, 32 to 35 points in total are required. The admission board also conducts a thorough inspection of a portfolio of your work. Candidates who have been successful in the portfolio stage will then be eligible for an interview. For overseas candidates, this may occur over a zoom meeting. Find out the details at the Newcastle Website.

Liverpool John Moore’s University

John Moore’s university provides students with large amounts of choice. This is because there are a wide range of subjects for courses available. This includes Fine Art, Fine Art with Foundation Year, Graphic Design and Illustration, Graphic Design and Illustration with Foundation Year as well as some History of Art courses.

One of the many attractive factors of this university includes the scenic, modern campus. A virtual view of this campus is available here on the LJMU website. The location is also highly ideal because Liverpool contains more museums and galleries than any other city in the UK. These places can prove very useful for inspiration and development of your art. The fact that foundation years are also included in the main course is quite useful, especially for those artists who have just left school.

Entry Requirements for A-Levels are three D’s in any subject. Alternatively, 20 AS Points and above are accepted. Students who only take 2 A-Levels are also eligible.

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