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Studying art and design degree guide

While art has traditionally been associated with beauty and aesthetics, it can also be used as a means of challenging social and moral conventions, as it plays a key role in reflecting and challenging culture and society.

Eleanor Foulds
by Eleanor Foulds
Last Updated:
03 Nov 2022

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A degree in art and design explores creative techniques and disciplines, so if you love to create new things then this might be the subject for you. This subject includes a diverse range of topics to study and presents several interesting and stimulating job opportunities.

Find art and design courses.

What do you need to get on an art and design degree?

Average entry requirements for art and design are:

  • UCAS points: 144–88

  • A-Levels: AAA – CCD

  • BTEC Nationals: D*D*D* – MMM

  • International Baccalaureate: 38–29

Please be aware that these are average entry requirements and may change depending on the course and institution you select. Always confirm this for the particular university/course you're interested in.

In order to study art and design, a solid portfolio of work is often more important than your A-level grades. Some courses will ask for a foundation diploma in the subject area, while others will include a foundation year as part of a longer undergraduate course.

What art and design degrees can you study?

Degrees in art and design include:

  • BA Art and Design
  • BA History, Communication and Curation
  • BSc Creative Technology
  • BA Fashion

What topics does an art and design degree cover? 

Common modules for art and design include:

  • History of art
  • Fine art
  • Sculpture
  • Fashion design
  • Exhibitions
  • Media studies
  • Graphic design
  • Musical and theatre art

“Instead of all graphic design students being lumped into one group all doing the same projects, starting from year two we are divided into six studios. Each studio works under a different tutor and doing completely different projects. This means that whether your leanings are towards photography, typography, storyboarding, computer-based graphics, or whatever it is your heart desires, you can pick a studio that focuses on your preferred branch of graphic design and develop the relevant skills.” – Julia, BA Graphic Design graduate of the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design (now known as the London Metropolitan University) 

What do you learn studying an art and design degree? 

Studying an art and design degree will help you gain industry-specific skills like:

  • Developing your artistic style
  • Understanding the different approaches towards art
  • Developing your chosen field(s) of art and design
  • Managing prospective clients

More general, transferable skills you’ll pick up include: 

  • Creative thinking 
  • Independent thinking 
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Hand-eye co-ordination
  • Communication skills 

“The freedom of choice really allowed me to expand my interests, but what I found the most helpful was that the [course] really wants its students to be able to navigate the creative industry. We've had dozens of talks from industry professionals telling us how they broke into the business, CV writing workshops, guides for handling and pricing freelance jobs, mock clients we worked for, and real clients in our (optional) work placement module.” – Julia, BA Graphic Design graduate of the Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design (now known as the London Metropolitan University) 

What professional accreditations can you get with an art and design degree?

  • Several professional organisations, such as Arts Council England, offer specialised positions for art & design graduates. 

What can you do with an art and design degree? 

As an art and design graduate, there’s a variety of opportunities available. Some common roles include:

Where to study art and design?

How long is an art and design degree?

Most courses will be three years in length, although some unis offer four-year courses that give students both an undergraduate and a Master’s qualification.

How will you be assessed?

Depending on the specific course, art and design degrees usually involve assessment through:

  • Coursework 
  • Theory-based modules with essays 
  • Presentations
  • Written exams
  • Practical observations 

What are the postgraduate opportunities? 

Your options for further study include:

  • PGCE course
  • MA in a related field, such as animation, arts journalism, advertising, design management, graphic branding, media design, photography etc.

What alternatives are there to an art and design degree?

Not sure if an art and design degree is right for you? Check out these related subjects:

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