Leeds Arts University

Leeds Arts University is one of only a few specialist arts universities in the UK and the only one in the North of England. Its students enjoy a small, close-knit community in a creative atmosphere where anything feels possible. The university believes this is the best environment in which to grow as an artist, designer, musician or filmmaker.

City Centre
City Centre

In or close to the centre of a city


Specialises in a single subject area, or a small range of subjects

UCAS Code: L28

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

TEF Silver is awarded to institutions that deliver high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for their students, and consistently exceed "rigorous national quality requirements" for higher education in the UK. Find out more about TEF.

Student Statistics

Student population


Level of study

  • Undergraduate 98%
  • Postgraduate 2%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 98%
  • Part Time 2%

Where students come from

  • UK 92%
  • EU 2%
  • Other 6%

Student gender

  • Male 23%
  • Female 77%

Student Services and Facilities

Libraries and Information Services

  • Students have access to two specialist arts libraries, offering access to important study resources.
  • Study resources include international journal subscriptions, specialist collections of artists' books, photobooks, illustrative books, graphic novels, scores and recordings, access to specialist archived and current TV and radio programmes, subscriptions to image, journal and fashion databases, and much more.

Student jobs

  • Leeds is one of the UK's most prosperous and fastest-growing cities, with an employment rate above the national average – which is good news for students looking for part-time work.
  • Students are able to become student ambassadors, with paid work at open days, UCAS fairs and other university events.

Careers advice

  • Leeds Arts University works to maximise students' contact with industry and with practising artists, musicians, filmmakers and designers, offering opportunities for students to complete live briefs, enter competitions, put on performances and exhibitions, and engage with industry.
  • It will also help students with CV, interview and business skills, and preparation for going freelance (becoming self-employed) so that they feel confident to enter the world of work after successfully completing their course.
  • Students at Leeds Arts University have access to a careers specialist who supports higher education students in the creative sector.

Counselling and Mental Health Support

  • Student Welfare can organise personal counselling for students. Sessions last for 45 minutes and are usually weekly or fortnightly. Counsellors are professionally trained, and have extensive experience of working with students; all belong to relevant counselling/therapy professional bodies.

Disability support

  • Leeds Arts University has a diverse mix of creative students with a variety of learning styles and differences that enrich both its student population and the learning environment.
  • Learning Development staff are always happy to talk to students about any aspect of their progress and to offer additional support.
  • Support can include the provision of small items of specialist equipment, communication support workers for learners with hearing impairment, assistive technology, and also specialist and general study skills support for students with dyslexia-type learning differences.

Other services and facilities

  • Course resources include workshops and studios equipped to industry standards and run by highly skilled staff who contribute significantly to teaching; most with a drop-in facility so students can carry on working in their own time.
  • Specialist equipment is available to loan, including digital and film SLR cameras; medium and large-format film cameras; medium-format, high resolution digital cameras; portable flash gear; and continuous lighting.
  • Dedicated course studios set up to facilitate specialist disciplines are complemented by open working areas designed to enable students across courses to meet up, work, and socialise together.

Students' Union

  • Throughout the year the Students' Union organises activities, campaigns, events and fundraising, runs the student magazine – NEST – and supports societies, sports teams and the student representatives.
  • Joining one of the SU's societies is a great way to meet other students. These groups are set up and run by students, with the support of the SU, and are open to all. Previous societies have included life drawing, a film society, a cheese society and hula-hooping.
  • Students can stand for election to run the Students' Union for the forthcoming year, enabling student opinions to be addressed through various forums.


  • Leeds Arts University was founded at Leeds School of Art in 1846 by the merging of the Leeds Mechanics' Institute and the Literary Institute.
  • In the past it has been known by other names, including the Jacob Kramer College from 1968–1993,  Leeds College of Art and Design and until August 2017, Leeds College of Art.
  • In its 170th year the University gained its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers and in 2017 it became the only specialist arts university in the North of England.

Fascinating Fact

  • In 2018, Leeds Arts University's former student Ria Sharma was named in Forbes '30 Under 30 Asia' for her work supporting of survivors of acid attacks, founding a pioneering not-for-profit organisation, Make Love Not Scars.

Notable Alumni and Famous Faces

  • Henry Moore – sculptor best known for his semi-abstract monumental bronze sculptures.
  • Barbara Hepworth – artist and sculptor; one of few female artists of her generation to gain prominence.
  • Damien Hirst – most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists.
  • Kenneth Armitage CBE – sculptor and former royal academician.
  • Alison Britton OBE – ceramic artist with an international reputation.
  • Eric Bainbridge – sculptor and professor in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland.
  • Marcus Harvey – artist and painter, one of the Young British Artists.
  • Omar Kashoura – menswear designer.
  • Thomas Houseago – contemporary visual artist who now lives and works in Los Angeles.
  • Clio Barnard – British director of documentary and feature films, winning widespread critical acclaim and multiple awards for her debut, The Arbor.


Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9AQ