London has numerous Universities, colleges and schools that can help to give you a great start in an art profession. And what could help your creativity more than living and studying in such a vibrant and varied capital city? Artists such as Henry Moore studied in London, so you know that there are some good choices here. But with about forty universities and higher education institutions, it can be hard to choose which University would be best for your subject. There are some specialist colleges that specialise in art and design, or more general universities that have good art courses. To help you choose, we’ve put together a list of the best art universities in London.
But first, let’s have a look at some questions you might have about art courses.
What qualifications are needed to study art?
The qualifications you will need to study art will depend on the art school you choose and the course you would like to study. According to The Uni Guide you will generally need a diploma in foundation art and design, a BTEC National Diploma in art and design, or an A-Level in Art or a design related subject. It is also a good idea to have a portfolio of the work you have completed in these subjects.
Other A-Levels that can help with your application include design technology, photography subjects and history of art. If you are planning to specialise in your art course in London, you may also need a specific qualification, so be sure to check before applying.
What career prospects are there with an art degree?
An art degree may not necessarily be a vocational subject, but it can still prepare you for the world of work. Any degree will help you to develop transferable skills, and art is no different. However, if you were wanting to specialise in an art profession, an art degree can help open the doors for professions such as:
- Professional Artist
- Graphic Designer
The best art universities in London
The best art university in London depends on your own personal preferences and what course you want to do. However, there are some that definitely stand out when it comes to art courses and degrees. So, in no particular order, here are fourteen of the best art universities in London:
Royal College of Art
Established in 1837 the Royal College of Art (RCA) gained university status in 1967. The university is an influential postgraduate of art and design and is the only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the UK.
With 18 courses to choose from, split over 4 schools, you can take your art degree to the next level and specialise further. The RCA is known for its historic campus in Kensington, the Darwin Building here is a grade II listed building and dates from the 1960s. Other campuses are found in Battersea and White City.
In 2020, the QS ranked the RCA as the top art and design university in the QS World University Rankings, in which the Royal College of Art received an overall score of 98.9.
City & Guilds of London Art School
The City and Guilds of London Art School is a small, specialist art college. This art school in London was founded in 1854 and was first known as Lambeth School of Art. The City and Guilds of London Art School was also actively involved in helping to rebuild the architecture and monuments in London after World War II.
Courses here are intense, with students expected to dedicate five days a week to onsite study. There are nine courses (some BA and some MA) to choose from at this small school, as well as short courses. The course offering includes the Historic Carving Postgraduate Diploma is the only remaining course in the country that offers such a high level of training in this subject.
Students at this art school have their own working space and access to various tools and materials across the various schools. With the highest tutor to student ration in London, if you choose to study here an expert will be on hand to help you every step of the way.
Goldsmiths University is part of the University of London, and specialises in the arts, design, humanities and social sciences. In 1891, this university was established as Goldsmiths’ Technical and Recreative Institute and became a Constituent College of University of London in 1904.
When it comes to studying art and design at Goldsmiths, there are five undergraduate courses to choose from, as well as postgraduate and short courses.
The teaching space for the Department of Art and studio is in the seven-storey Ben Pimlott Building. This building with its distinctive “scribble in the sky” has become a signature of modern Goldsmiths.
Wimbledon College of Arts
Wimbledon College of Arts is a specialist in film, theatre and television, and offers courses such as Theatre Design and Costume for Theatre. This college was established in 1890 and is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London.
Thanks to its suburban location, this art college in London offers more studio space than more central universities.
Wimbledon College of Arts is known for being a collaborative school. Course projects include team work to produce theatre, performance and other live events, reflecting the world of work within this industry. With industry connections in the National and Lyric, students can also gain valuable work experience whilst studying at this London art uni.
Chelsea College of Arts
First founded in 1895 as the South-Western polytechnic, it wasn’t until 2013 that this college became Chelsea College of Arts (with a few name changes before that). A constituent college of University of the Arts London, this college offers courses up to PhD level in the arts.
Celebrated sculpture Henry Moore once studied at Chelsea College of Arts, among other artists. This college once taught trade professions but now focuses on art subjects and boasts three on-site exhibition spaces.
This college offers undergraduate courses in subjects such as Fine Art, Graphic Design, and Textile Design.
University of the Arts
The parent University of the two colleges above, UAL has six constituent colleges in total. The University of the Arts was established in 1986, as the London Institute and gained University status in 2003. In 2004 it changed name to the University of the Arts (UAL).
With 67 undergraduate courses available in Art and Design, there’s plenty of specialist and broader subjects to choose from.
UAL ranks second in the world for Art and Design according to the QS World University Raking. Courses range from fine art to fashion across the six constitute colleges.
Inchbald School of Design
Established in 1960 by Jacqueline Ann Duncan (Jacqueline Inchbald at the time). The school was first located in the family home and offered a ten-week course on interior design.
Now you can study courses that include Diplomas, Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses. The school is a leading provider of interior design and garden design courses in the UK.
Central Saint Martins School of Arts and Design
Another of the art universities in London that is a constituent college of the UAL, Central Saint Martins is found in Kings Cross. Established in 1854, the college went through a few name changes before becoming Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 1989.
Undergraduate courses at the art uni in London range from fashion history to fine art degrees. Fashion courses at Central Saint Martins are especially renowned as they allow students to specialise in many subjects, such as knitwear. There are also short courses and post-graduate courses available.
This art college boasts a range of well-known alumni, including the Turner-Prize winning artist Laure Prouvost.
Slade School of Fine Art
Consistently ranked as one of the top art and design schools in the UK, Slade School of Fine Art is another constituent college of University College London (UCL). The school was established in 1871, though it can trace its roots back to 1868.
The Slade was ground-breaking when it opened, as it aimed to elevate art education to the same level as other humanities subjects. It also offered equal access to both men and women. Slade School is still known for its modern approach to art education and is centered around history and theories. This allows students to approach art in an experimental and research-oriented way.
The art school offers two undergraduate courses, as week as two Masters and a PhD. The Slade also boasts its own art collection. The collection began in 1987 and displays works from students and staff.
Royal Academy Schools
Established in 1768 and part of the Royal Academy, this unique university is independent and privately funded.
As such, places are given only to carefully selected students. Only 17 are chosen each year to study at this school. The course offered is a three-year post-graduate course where students can expect a high tutor-to-student ratio which offers them in-depth discussion and access to specialist workshops. Previous students include William Blake and JMW Turner.
The Royal Academy Schools offer large studios for students to work in. Tuition and studio space are free for students.
Camberwell College of Arts
Camberwell College of Arts is a constituent college of the University of the Arts. This college was established in 1898 and is closely linked to the South London Gallery, which it shares one of its sites with.
This art college offers undergraduate courses that include specialist subjects such as Fine Art: Painting and Fine Art: Photography. There are also post-graduate courses and PhD courses available.
London College of Communication
Not much to look at from the outside, being in a tower block on Elephant and Castle’s roundabout near urbanest Battersea, inside the college has a lot more to give. Housing the extensive Stanley Kubrick Archive, the college is known for nurturing creativity.
This college is also a constituent college of UAL and specialises in media-related subjects. It was established in 1990 and is organised into three schools: the design school, screen school and media school.
At the London College of Communication, there are a range of specialist undergraduate courses available, such as animation and virtual reality, as well as post-graduate courses. The school has bespoke partnerships with organisations which gives students the opportunity to work on live briefs and undertake placements.
Although this university is not a specialist art uni, it boasts highly recommended studios and workshops for its art students. Kingston University offers ten undergraduate courses, within the art and design field. The fashion degree at Kingston is one of the best in the Business of Fashion ranking.
This London art university was founded in 1899 and gained university status in 1992. It is a public research university with various campuses.
Kingston also runs the Stanley Picker Gallery and Dorich House Museum, which gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience within the art world.
Ravensbourne University London
One of the UK’s newest universities, Ravensbourne was established in 1959 and only gained university status in 2018.
The courses are split into two main clusters, the Design School and the Screen School. There are nine undergraduate art and design courses available at Ravensbourne, plus post graduate courses. The university prides itself in offering practical, vocational courses that range from animation to fashion.
With a growing demand for creative talents and working in close partnerships, students are treated as professional creatives. This attitude and quality of courses leads to a high post-graduation employment rate.
Found in North Greenwich, the building is a noticeable sight. With over 28,000 shining tiles, inside students will find a range of workspaces, technology hubs and even a broadcast facility.
Whichever art university you choose in London, you can be sure you have access to a great experience. At Urbanest we offer a range of private accommodation across the city. Check out our London accommodation to find a place to stay whilst you study.