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When it comes to studying art, the UK is a hub of creative ingenuity, boasting a multitude of prestigious art universities. Each institution offers something unique, from a rich history of academic excellence to cutting-edge facilities that can make any artist’s dreams come true. This blog aims to provide an exhaustive guide to the best art universities in the UK. We’ll delve into various disciplines such as Graphic Design, Fine Art, Art History, and Film Studies.

The UK is home to a plethora of world-renowned art universities. Aesthetic appreciation, coupled with academic rigour, creates a perfect storm for fostering talent and imagination. Whether you’re an aspiring graphic designer, a budding fine artist, a history buff enthralled by art history, or a film enthusiast looking to make your mark in the cinematic world, there’s something for everyone. Read on for a comprehensive guide to selecting the best art uni for your specific interests.

Hickman Design: Studying Printmaking at Norwich University of the Arts

Hickman Design pursued a BA Fine Art at Norwich University of the Arts, specialising in the intricate field of printmaking. The course structure, accentuated by state-of-the-art studios and an individualised teaching methodology, provided a fertile ground for honing skills and developing a unique artistic voice.

Leading to the Creation of This Site

Capitalising on the robust education and hands-on experience gained, Hickman Design took the entrepreneurial route after graduation. The insights acquired from both the technical and theoretical facets of printmaking inspired the creation of this website. This platform serves as a space to showcase a portfolio, share thought leadership in the form of blogs and articles, and even offer printmaking tutorials for aspiring artists.

By leveraging the comprehensive education received at Norwich University of the Arts, Hickman Design has managed to build a digital presence that not only showcases artistic prowess but also contributes to the larger community of printmakers and art enthusiasts.

Best Universities for Graphic Design

In the digital age, the field of Graphic Design is more relevant than ever, serving as the backbone of branding, advertising, and visual storytelling. It’s an industry that brilliantly marries creativity with technology, allowing artists to bring their visions to life through various mediums. In this ever-evolving landscape, choosing the right educational institution can set the groundwork for a rewarding career.

The UK, in particular, is home to universities that offer comprehensive Graphic Design courses which focus on a blend of theory and practice. Here, we examine some of the best universities for Graphic Design, spotlighting their unique offerings, industry connections, and why they stand out in churning out the graphic designers of tomorrow.

University of the Arts London (UAL)

  • Location: London
  • Notable Features: Six Colleges including Central Saint Martins and London College of Communication
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Broad Curriculum: UAL offers a variety of modules that encompass traditional design elements as well as emerging digital platforms.
    • Industry Connections: Being in the heart of London, students have unparalleled access to leading design studios, fostering opportunities for networking and internships.
    • Alumni Network: UAL’s alumni include stellar designers who have made their mark globally, adding to the credibility and allure of this institution.

Northumbria University

  • Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Notable Features: Excellent facilities, including state-of-the-art software and hardware
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Integrated Learning: The courses here are structured to incorporate theoretical and practical skills, ensuring well-rounded development.
    • Collaborative Environment: The university frequently collaborates with businesses and institutions to provide real-world design challenges.
    • Reputation for Employability: With a solid reputation for producing employable graduates, Northumbria ranks high for student satisfaction and post-study employment rates.

Top Institutions for Fine Art

The world of Fine Art is vast and multi-dimensional, serving as a platform for artists to express, innovate, and question societal norms. This discipline encompasses an array of mediums, from the traditional canvas and sculpture to digital art and performance pieces. It’s a field that requires not only technical skill but also a deep understanding of the human experience.

The UK has long been a hub for Fine Art studies, offering a diverse range of courses to satisfy the creative hunger of aspiring artists. In this section, we’ll explore the top institutions for Fine Art, focusing on what makes them the ideal environments for cultivating talent and expanding one’s artistic boundaries.

Norwich University of the Arts

  • Location: Norwich
  • Notable Features: Exceptional printmaking studios, strong community ethos
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • State-of-the-Art Printmaking Studios: The university boasts some of the best printmaking facilities in the country. From traditional methods like etching and screen printing to modern digital printmaking techniques, the studios are fully equipped to cater to all sorts of artistic ventures.
    • Individual Attention: Unlike larger institutions where you might get lost in the shuffle, Norwich University of the Arts maintains smaller class sizes, ensuring individualised attention and feedback.
    • Holistic Approach: This art uni adopts a holistic educational approach that combines technical skill-building with conceptual thinking. This integrated learning helps students to not only master their craft but also understand the theory and history behind it.
    • The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL

The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL

  • Location: London
  • Notable Features: Part of University College London, rich history
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Heritage: Founded in 1871, it has a deep-rooted legacy that speaks to its commitment to nurturing fine artists.
    • Diverse Mediums: Courses cover a broad spectrum, from painting to sculpture to digital media.
    • Global Exposure: Numerous exhibitions and international tie-ups offer students a cosmopolitan experience, exposing them to various styles and techniques.

Goldsmiths, University of London

  • Location: London
  • Notable Features: Interdisciplinary focus, unique course offerings
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Innovative Courses: Unlike traditional Fine Art courses, Goldsmiths pushes boundaries by merging disciplines and encouraging experimental techniques.
    • Alumni Success: Goldsmiths’ graduates are often recipients of prestigious art prizes and have a strong presence in galleries worldwide.
    • Urban Setting: Located in the bustling city of London, the setting offers a plethora of inspirations for any aspiring artist.

Leading Universities for Art History

Art History is more than just the study of old paintings; it’s an exploration into the past, offering insights into culture, politics, and societal values through the lens of visual art. This academic discipline invites students to peel back the layers of history, helping them to understand the evolution of art forms and the context in which they were created.

The UK, steeped in a rich historical tapestry and home to world-renowned museums and galleries, provides an ideal setting for Art History studies. In this segment, we’ll delve into the leading universities for Art History in the UK, highlighting their academic rigour, extensive resources, and the unparalleled learning experiences they offer.

University of Oxford

  • Location: Oxford
  • Notable Features: Prestigious reputation, comprehensive curriculum
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Academic Excellence: The rigorous courses cover a sweeping range of art history periods and styles.
    • World-renowned Faculty: With lecturers and professors who are leading experts in their fields, Oxford offers an unparalleled academic experience.
    • Resources: With access to numerous museums and an extensive library collection, Oxford is a treasure trove for art history enthusiasts.

University of Edinburgh

  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Notable Features: Diverse course options, historic city
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Course Versatility: Students have the option to study art history alongside other subjects, enriching their academic journey.
    • Cultural Exposure: Edinburgh itself is a historical city, offering a rich tapestry of art and architecture.
    • Student Support: The university offers robust student support services, making it a nurturing environment for study.

Best University for Film Studies

University of Warwick

  • Location: Coventry
  • Notable Features: Interdisciplinary focus, modern facilities
  • Why It’s Considered One of the Best:
    • Cutting-Edge Curriculum: Warwick offers a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, essential for breaking into the film industry.
    • Networking: The university has strong links with the industry, often inviting guest lecturers who provide insider perspectives.
    • Facilities: From screening rooms to editing suites, Warwick offers top-notch facilities to support your filmmaking journey.

Understanding Different Course Levels: BA, MA, and Beyond

The landscape of higher education can sometimes feel like a maze of acronyms—BA, MA, PhD, to name a few. These represent different levels of university courses, each with its unique set of requirements, durations, and outcomes. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for prospective students to make an informed decision about their educational paths. Below, we dissect the differences between these various course levels, focusing on what each offers and who they are most suitable for.

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

  • Duration: Typically 3 to 4 years
  • Focus: Foundational skills and broad understanding
  • Who It’s For:
    • High school graduates
    • Individuals looking for entry-level positions in their field
  • Key Aspects:
    • The BA courses are designed to offer a wide range of subjects and a solid foundation in the chosen field.
    • They often incorporate both theoretical and practical elements, with options for internships or work placements.
    • It’s the starting point for most students and generally mandatory for pursuing higher-level courses.

Master of Arts (MA)

  • Duration: Generally 1 to 2 years
  • Focus: Specialised knowledge and advanced skills
  • Who It’s For:
    • Graduates with a relevant BA degree
    • Professionals looking to advance in their field
  • Key Aspects:
    • MA courses go beyond the foundational aspects to offer a deeper, more specialised education.
    • Students usually undertake a significant research project or dissertation.
    • It’s a stepping stone for higher academic pursuits or for enhanced job prospects in specialised roles.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • Duration: Typically 3 to 4 years
  • Focus: Original research and contribution to the field
  • Who It’s For:
    • Individuals with a relevant MA degree
    • Academics and researchers
  • Key Aspects:
    • A PhD is the pinnacle of academic achievement, focusing on original research.
    • Candidates are expected to contribute new knowledge to their field.
    • A PhD is often essential for roles in academia and advanced research positions.

Other Qualifications

  • Postgraduate Certificates/Diplomas: These are shorter courses that focus on career-specific skills, generally taking less than a year to complete.
  • Foundation Courses: These are preparatory courses designed to equip students with the essential skills needed for a full degree course.

Understanding the distinction between BA, MA, and other course levels can help you better align your educational journey with your career goals. Whether you’re starting with foundational studies through a BA or seeking to make a scholarly contribution via a PhD, each level offers different opportunities and challenges that can be tailored to your academic and professional aspirations.


Selecting the right art uni in the UK can be a daunting task, given the wealth of excellent options available. The best universities for art history, good art universities for fine art, top-notch institutions for graphic design, and even the best university for film studies can all be found in this wonderful country. This blog post has aimed to provide a detailed insight into some of the best choices, factoring in various disciplines and what each university uniquely offers. Your ideal university is out there; all it takes is some research and a passion for your craft to make an informed decision.

So, whether you’re a future graphic designer, a fine artist in the making, an art history aficionado, or a filmmaker looking for the perfect place to hone your skills, the UK has something incredible to offer. Happy hunting!

Luke Hickman is a printmaker and artist with over 15 years of experience. He studied at Norwich University, graduating with a BA (Hons) Fine Art, and has worked in both the commercial printing and digital marketing industries for over 7 years. Luke's work revolves around the idea of creating art that can illustrate a story with topics covering war, politics and history.

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