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Guide to studying Art & Design

An Art & Design degree includes creating expressive artwork and the implementation of industry-changing designs.

Creative student painting at university


  1. What's Art & Design?

  2. Why study Art & Design?

  3. What jobs can you get as an Art & Design graduate?

  4. What qualifications do you need?

  5. What degrees can you study?

  6. How will you be assessed?

  7. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

What's Art & Design?

Any range or product of creative human activity can be defined as art. Most well associated are the visual arts, such as painting and sculpture.

The design is the preliminary planning, when the first seeds of what may become a great work of art are sown. Being taught to come up with the ideas are as important as the creation of the art itself.

Similar courses for Art & Design include: 

  • Design Studies
  • Fine Art

Why study Art & Design?

From history to sculpture, theatre to fashion, there's a wide variety of different areas you can study in an Art & Design degree course. This diversity will keep you engaged, where an interesting course structure helps stretch your creative mind for fresh ideas.

The heritage of art in British culture is huge and distinct. Galleries can be found across the nation housing some of the UK's and the world’s most cherished artists, such as J.M.W Turner, David Hockney and Tracy Emin. This accessibility to art gives you the resources to build ideas and excel in your own work.

Skills you’ll develop during an Art & Design course include creative thinking, independence, problem solving, hand-eye coordination and communication.

Whether it be one term or a whole year, many universities offer the chance to study abroad as part of the course. This helps to further broaden your skills and knowledge, as well as giving you an opportunity to live and learn in a different culture.

The range of occupations graduates can enter into is vast. From illustration to TV production, teaching to museum curating, Art & Design may not be the low-vocational degree you originally thought.

Art school student

What jobs can you get as an Art & Design graduate?

If you have the skills and talent, an Art & Design degree can lead to a very exciting career. Particular job roles, as well as artist, include community worker, fashion designer, graphic designer, illustrator, textile manufacturer, advertising executive, multimedia worker and museum curator.

Several professional organisations, such as Arts Council England, offer specialised positions for Art & Design graduates.

Professional job: Usually needs a degree
Non-professional job: Doesn't usually need a degree

What qualifications do you need? 

You may be selected based on your GCSE scores as well as your A Levels (or equivalent) in art- and design-related subjects. Some courses will ask for a foundation diploma in the subject area; others will include a foundation year as part of a longer undergraduate course.

Grades and other requirements can vary between institutions. Always confirm for the particular university/course you're interested in.

What degrees can you study?

  • BA Art and Design
  • BA History, Communication and Curation
  • BSc Creative Technology
  • BA Fashion

Examples of modules in an Art & Design course: 

  • History of Art
  • Fine Art
  • Sculpture
  • Fashion Design
  • Garden Art
  • Exhibitions
  • Media Studies
  • Graphic Design
  • Musical and Theatre Art

How will you be assessed?

Study an Art & Design course and you'll primarily be assessed through coursework. Theory-based modules will be essay and coursework based, and in some cases, there may be presentations, written exams and practical observations.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

Examples of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level include MAs in Advertising, Animation, Arts Journalism, Design Management, Documentary, Games Design, Graphic Branding and Media Design, Illustration, Photography and Photojournalism.

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