Open College of the Arts

The Open College of the Arts (OCA) offers an alternative to campus-based learning, whether studying for a degree or to find a voice as an artist for personal development. All OCA courses are offered through online and distance learning; students are not tied to term times and can study at a time that suits them. All OCA’s undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses are accredited by the University for the Creative Arts.

Student Services and Facilities

Libraries and Information Services

  • Students have access to a library of resources to support them and widen their understanding.

Student jobs

  • Studying part-time allows students to fit the course around other working commitments, taking around five or six years to reach degree level. In the meantime they can earn a living or build their experience through an internship. 

Careers advice

  • The creative sector employs 1.5 million people in the UK alone. OCA’s focus is on developing students as creative practitioners qualified to degree level. By studying with OCA, students can kick-start their career in the creative industries by working part-time or through an internship, and gain academic qualifications at the same time. 

Disability support

  • Study is via online and distance learning, enabling students cope with a disability or with caring responsibilities.

Other services and facilities

  • Students follow a programme of study with course materials providing a structured learning pathway. A personal tutor gives regular feedback on work.
  • Advice and support includes an online induction, guides to help students understand the key elements of the learning experience and support from OCA staff.

Students' Union

  • There's a thriving creative community where students can interact with fellow students on the OCA student website, and through membership of the OCA Student Association as well as the NUS.
  • In addition, OCA runs regular optional study visits to galleries, exhibitions and arts festivals across the UK, bringing students into face-to-face contact with one another.


  • OCA is an education charity founded in 1987 by Michael Young (Lord Young of Dartington). He was one of the inspirations behind the Open University and also founded the Consumers’ Association.
  • OCA aims to widen access to creative arts education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, offering students the chance to take arts courses without formal entry requirements.
  • More than 50,000 people have studied with OCA since its start.


OCA, Michael Young Arts Centre, Redbrook Business Park, Wilthorpe Road, BARNSLEY , S75 1JN