Probably against your family’s best wishes, you’ve decided that you’re passionate enough in your creativity and artwork to pursue an art degree. As with any degree, there are many realities to keep in mind – everything from the financial viability of your degree in terms of job opportunities to how to market your artwork in a curatorial sense. The very first thing you should consider, however, is what exactly you want to do.
Art is probably one of the vastest fields in the world, and for a good reason. Artwork has affected human activity since the beginning of recorded history, that very history actually having been pictorially depicted in the first place. This also means, of course, that there are an infinite amount of art degrees at your disposal. From basic drawing and painting qualifications to media arts to metalsmithing, even the most world-weary alumnus wouldn’t be able to detail all the different types of art programs that might interest you.
Whether you’re aspiring to run your own art studio one day or dream of becoming a graphic designer, understanding what programs are available at which schools, both in the UK and abroad, is a vital step in choosing a university. This guide can give you a better idea of what types of art education are out there and how to get started on building your portfolio.
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What type of Art Program is Right for You?
Before you start looking into which school of art will be right for you, there are some distinctions between study programs that you should take the time to learn.
The area of art can typically be broken down into three broad categories: the visual arts, performing arts and literature. Obviously, there is a lot crossover that happens between these categories – but we will be focusing on the different types of programs within the first and second.
The definition of fine arts is pretty broad and can be a bit confusing because of it. As mentioned, the bachelors and masters programs covered under the umbrella term fine arts includes a lot of crossover from all three categories of art. These programs can range from theater and photography specializations to illustration and digital media.
The differences in the types of art that will be included in this degree will vary from university to university. That being said, there are many common programs you will find in this field. These can include:
- Art design
- Drawing and Painting
- Studio arts
Within each of these different categories, it is possible that you will find schools that deal specifically with these subjects. For example, a design program can be found both in universities with a focus on fashion as well as universities with general fine arts degrees.
That being said, film schools are an entirely different beast. While you may find film programs in a lot of different university programs, there is a copious amount of schools dedicated solely to developing the technical skills involved in film.
This can mean that you can find lecture-based programs that specialize in components like film theory or universities in which you will be directing or filming movies the majority of the time. Some of the most common types of programs you will likely encounter in this kind of school are:
- Computer animation
- Film and television production
- Game art
Another avenue to explore if you’re interested in learning more about your craft, or even if you don’t have any sort of artistic ability, would be to study art history. Whether you’re studying in a design school, taking art classes in an academy of art, or studying part-time in a college of arts – art history is one of those subjects you can find in nearly any university.
There are many different types of art history programs you can study, either specializing in a specific period as a major in and of itself or simply choosing to study it in tandem with your bachelors or masters of fine arts.
Best Arts Schools in the UK
Whether you’re looking into going to school at an art institute, liberal arts school with an art center, or simply sticking to visual art like painting and life drawing – any of the art schools you will be looking into will require tuition.
If financing your art journey will be difficult for you, there are several options you can look into. Being close to the European Union, looking into more affordable schools in schools just a plane ride away can be a viable option. On the other hand, looking for scholarships within your college of art or government grants can also go a long way in relieving the cost burdens of your college tuition.
That being said, here are the best universities in the UK to study architecture, art and design differentiated by the discipline they specialize in. The application requirements will also be different from school to school, so make sure to watch out for these distinctions.
- Arts University Bournemouth – this film program doesn’t just pride itself on being interdisciplinary, but it also has the record to show it. Responsible for producing award-winning films, it even has programs focusing on performance design.
- University of London Goldsmiths – London is clogged up with great, film-orientated schools. What makes this art college unique is that the courses in its arts degree includes things like script development and social activist film-making.
- University of Edinburgh – A giant amongst art schools, this university can lead to a powerful master or bachelor of fine arts. If you’re interested in learning more, check out their renowned film festival.
- Royal College of Art – If you’re looking for a school of design, look no further than this school of arts, which is often cited as being one of the most influential arts and design universities in the world.
Fine Art Colleges
- University College London – If you’re interested in looking at a variety of programs and courses, ranging from the bachelor all the way to the doctorate level, be sure to check out UCL’s Slade School of Fine Art
- The Glasgow School of Art – This university of the arts is one of the best center for arts in the UK not only because of its excellent reputation, but also because of the range of programs that it offers. Here, you can find everything programs in 3D modelling, painting and printmaking, or even engineering with architecture.
- University of Sheffield – This university has actually been recognized as the best place to study architecture in the whole of the UK. Start by checking out their BA programs, which include Architecture, Architecture and Landscape, and Structural Engineering and Architecture
- Newcastle University – This university is worth looking into if you’re looking for a degree where you can study interior architecture and working on model-simulations.
Art Universities Abroad
Whether you’re looking for pre college programs to participate in, a four year arts education, or simply a semester abroad in collaboration with your college of fine arts – checking out universities in other countries can enrich your cultural and professional experience alike. Be sure to check out these schools around the world, both at their university art and the type of message they’re giving to a prospective student like you.
- Perhaps you’ll find the right school of art and design in North America:
- Parsons School of design, United States
- Rhode Island School of Design, United States
- Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico
- Looking for a European College of Art and Design?
- Politecnico di Milano, Italy
- Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark
- International students looking for Art Schools on the African continent:
- University of Cape Town, South Africa
- Lagos School of Design, Nigeria
- Top universities in Asia for art and design:
- Tongji University, China
- Seoul National University, Korea
- National University of Singapore, Singapore
Finding Jobs After Graduation
One of the hardest things about university, whether you’re an undergraduate or have already been initiated into the art world, actually happens after graduating: finding a job.
Whether you want to get your art work featured in galleries or are looking to score a spot as an artist in residence at a university, young artists should always try to get into contact with alumni. Getting student work into an exhibition or integrated in studio art is a struggle alumns will know well – try to get some advice from them!
Some of the fields open to you can range from being an art teacher, art educators at museums, leaders in workshops around the world, being a regular feature in an exhibit, or even becoming a university provost.