Choosing the right university is no easy matter. With each establishment using different teaching methods and appearing on any number of league tables, by the time you’ve gone through all of the material out there, it can be a little confusing. Choosing the right arts university is a whole different playing field; questions of taste and personal opinion enter the mix and more than ever, it can be a dizzying prospect.
Never fear! We’ve been doing a little digging of our own and have unearthed the very best UK universities for art. Grab your pencils; you’re going to want to take some notes.
See Also: Top 10 US Universities for Art 2015
1. UCL - Slade School of Fine Art
Nestled in the heart of London, UCL isn’t just lauded for its arts courses; it is widely known as the best University in the capital and boasts a huge international pull. If you want to be a serious artist, Slade is probably the only institution that you should set your sights on. With alumni like Tacita Dean, Derek Jarman and Raymond Briggs, the talent pool of Slade graduates is seriously impressive. Slade famously follows experimental art so if you’re into self-expression, this is the place for you. UCL charges its students upwards of £9,000 for annual tuition fees.
Enjoying international accolade and prestige, it’s not often that you hear about Oxford’s fine art course. Strange, given that it’s one of the very best in the country. Combining courses in theory, practice and criticism, Oxford sends fully formed artists out into the world after graduation. The course also has the benefit of Oxford’s world famous libraries, in which students can really get to grips with art history. Tuition cost from £9,000 per year.
Located in the North of the country, Newcastle University is doing incredible things with art. Most of the lecturers on the course are artists in their own right, so if you’re looking for an authoritative degree, this is definitely the place to come. Better yet, the course features a regular intake of guest artist and curator speakers, offering the students the best possible insight into the world of art. Annual tuition begins at £9,000.
Proving that no-one quite does it like the Scots, the University of Edinburgh offers its undergraduates a 5 year fine art course, sending them out into the world in the best prepared state possible. Split between the History of Art and practical modules, the degree gives its students a completely rounded understanding of the subject, from theory, to history and methodology.
Students can also expect regular museum and gallery visits, a fact that attracts people from far and wide. Edinburgh charges Scottish residents £1,820 and all other students from £9,000 annually.
London-based Goldsmiths University is renowned for its varied and contemporary fine arts course. Located in cultural East London, Goldsmiths is right in the heart of the city’s cutting edge art scene and, as a result, tends to produce some of the most interesting artists around.
As well as access to top of the range research laboratories, students are equipped with their own studios from the word go, encouraging them to discover their own working voice. Former students have been nominated for the coveted Turner prize more than 30 times, a fact that keeps prospective students coming back. Tuition is charged annually and starts at £9,000 for British students.
6. Glasgow School of Art
Glasgow School of Art has an international reputation for excellence, and it’s not hard to see why. Offering courses steeped in vast studies of historical art, the entire University is packed with the best experts in their fields. Their fine art course takes an in depth look at the history and practice of photography, so if you’re interested in branching out artistically, this could be the place for you. Tuition costs £1,820 annually for Scottish residents and from £9,000 for all other students.
Each student at Lancaster University has their own studio space, which is accessible at any point during the day or night. This Northern University aims to treat its students as artists and experts from the get go, forming their studies around the most professional and informed modules. The course also offers a group and solo show for each student on their graduation, propelling them into the world of art. Annual tuition starts at £9,000.
A seaside town renowned for its cultural inhabitants, Brighton is a place like no other in the UK. Its main University is known as a centre of excellence for art, and it’s no wonder that students flock there in their hundreds. Looking at modules like painting, sculpture, printmaking and art criticism, the fine art course is incredibly thorough and a great starting point for any prospective artist. Fees start from £9,000 annually.
Located in the midlands, Loughborough University offers a well rounded and diverse course on fine art. An incredibly flexible course, the degree looks at artistic disciplines ranging from sculpture, film making, photography and emerging media. Students are encouraged to exhibit their work as much as possible and there is even the chance to produce commissioned work for businesses. Tuition fees start at £9,000 per year.
One of the most popular up and coming cities in the UK, Leeds has an extensive and renowned art programme. A recognised leader in museum studies, history of art and fine art, the Unversity boasts some of the most accomplished lecturers in their profession. The art school runs with a focus on research and history, so if you’re interested in antiquity, this is a great place to start. Annual tuition begins at £9,000.
Whatever you’re looking for in your degree, there’s something out there for you and no matter if you’re into photography, painting, ceramics, filmmaking or beyond, there’s a specialist establishment out there. If you’re looking to make a career as an artist, these UK universities are the best place to start.
Have you studied at any of these schools or are you looking to attend? Leave us a comment below and share your experience!