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Newcastle Uni | © Neil Sim
Newcastle Uni | © Neil Sim

The Best Art and Design Schools in England

Picture of James Leeland
Updated: 24 December 2017

There are few graduate careers that offer you such varied work opportunities as art and design, including photography, animation and furniture design. But first, once your results are in, there’s a huge decision to be made and you need to ensure you’re choosing the right school for you. Find out who we have chosen as some of the best art and design schools in England, below.

University College London

University College London is a member of the elite Russell Group of universities and was ranked second in Europe and fourth in the world back in the 2014 QS World University Rankings. World-renowned for being one of the finest international art institutes, University College London offers its students two undergraduate programmes (the BA and BFA in Fine Art), two master’s programs (the MA and MFA in Fine Art) and the PhD in Fine Art, alongside affiliate student programmes to suit all levels.

University College London Steve Cadman

University College London | © Steve Cadman/Flickr

Newcastle University

Another member of the elite Russell Group, Newcastle University has held university status since 1963. The university is classed as a ‘red brick’, referring to the nine civic universties founded in the major industrial cities of England, in the 19th century. Home to an outstanding reputation in the world for fine art, notable alumni include Bryan Ferry CBE (Singer/Songwriter) and Sean Scully (Artist).

University of Oxford

John Ruskin first opened his school of drawing, the Ruskin School of Art at Oxford, back in 1871. This research-intensive university allows up-and-coming artists, historians and theorists of art to work closely together. Inspiration comes from all, and this exceptional teaching- and research-fuelled environment’s reputation speaks for itself.

University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is an internationally recognised leader in History of Art, Museum Studies, Cultural Studies and Fine Art. Allowing you to produce, analyse and exhibit your work yearly, your syllabus will also help develop your analytical and creative approach to your work by employing, practical, creative and critical techniques.

parkinson Building leeds university Tim Green

Parkinson Building Leeds University | © Tim Green

Aberystwyth University

The first university of Wales, Aberystwyth University currently has more than 8,500 students enrolled. Founded in 1872, Aberystwyth University is the only university in the UK to offer every student a year’s work placement as part of their degree, leading to a better than average employability level. Notable alumni include Jan Pinkava, an Oscar-Winning animator of Pixar.

Oxford Brookes

Learn in a lively, stimulating and focused environment at Oxford Brookes. Excellent tutors, lecturers and practising artists/designers will help inspire, guide and educate you on how to get the most out of your work, whether you are studying the foundation in art and design, the undergraduate programmes in Fine Art or the MFA (Master of Fine Art). Currently ranked fourth in the UK, Oxford Brookes will help prepare you for a stimulating career in the arts.

Kingston University

Located on the outskirts of London, in the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, sits Kingston University. Following the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 60% of Kingston University’s overall submission was rated as world-leading and internationally excellent. An unbelievable result, with the top performing unit being art and design: history, practice and theory.

Nottingham Trent University

Best known for its art and design, Nottingham Trent University gained full university status in 1992. Spread across three campuses, two in Nottingham and one just outside the city, Nottingham Trent is one of the largest universities in the UK. Ninety-two percent of Nottingham Trent’s 28,000+ students would recommend studying at the university following the National Student Survey.

NTU School of Art & Design graduation 2014 Brett Jordan

NTU School of Art & Design graduation 2014 | © Brett Jordan / Flickr

University of Northampton

The university’s faculty of arts, science and technology adds to the experimental and creative side of Northampton by bringing all disciplines together, helping to create a stimulating environment for all. An ever-growing reputation of research excellence, state-of-the-art facilities and the latest technology ensures Northampton’s students have access to everything they could possibly need during their time at the university, including extensive libraries, equipped studios, learning spaces and laboratories.

Goldsmiths, University of London

Founded in 1891, Goldsmiths, University of London is a famous arts and social sciences university based in South-East London. Their department of art is recognised as one of Britain’s most prestigious, and ranked in the Top 5 UK Universities across all art categories. Currently over 8,000 students from over 100 countries are enrolled, with famous alumni of the university including Lucien Freud (Painter) and Damien Hirst (Artist).