1. Architecture Association School of Architecture (AA)
Located in the heart of London and established in 1847, AA is arguably the most prestigious architectural school in the world. AA is also the oldest independent school in the UK of its kind. It offers courses all the way from foundation to PhD. It has a library containing almost 46,000 titles of works, books, journals and more. Notable alumni include Will Aslop, Zaha Hadid and Ron Arad.
AA is selective with who they choose to study there as they have a high expectation on the quality of work they have to review for applications. Being a top architectural school, they emphasise on creating work to a very high standard. Your portfolio needs to be excellent in order to get into this school.
2. Edinburgh College of Art (ECA)
Established in the 1760’s and located in Scotland, ECA is an internationally renowned art institute for both teaching and researching. In 2011, ECA formally merged with the University of Edinburgh and comprises of five schools: Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), School of Art, School of Design, History of Art and Reid School of Music.
All of these schools offer undergraduate and postgraduate courses. ECA is equipped with a comprehensive range of facilities such as studios, workspaces, concert halls and more. Together they offer a creative yet supportive learning environment to artistic talents across these fields. Edinburgh is also home to world-class events, galleries and museums, such as the Edinburgh Art Festival. They will help you immerse yourself in this culturally rich city.
3. Falmouth University
Falmouth is located in Cornwall, the south-west of the UK. Falmouth University found its way to a digital innovation hub in a century. It positions itself as a multidisciplinary art & design institute. The school teaches traditional courses such as Fine Art, Graphics and Illustration. Notable alumni include Tacita Dean, Hugh Pym and Rex Crowle.
Falmouth University is strong in Illustration. It dedicates to innovate, which is reflected by allocating its resources into digital media, such as animation, games and virtual reality. These areas are the upcoming trends of the industry. It also has a well reputed business school. Falmouth hosts a range of events, such as festivals and nights out. The vibrant community can provide you a pleasant studying experience.
4. The Glasgow School of Art (GSA)
GSA is located in Glasgow, the northern part of the UK. Glasgow is considered one of the safest cities to live in. GSA is founded in 1845 and it is one of Europe’s leading institute for art and design. Using a studio-based approach, it brings various disciplines together to find new innovative solutions. The school can be categorised into 5 academic areas: architecture, design, fine art, simulation & visualisation, and innovation. Its Open Studio hosts vocational courses to the public, allowing people to experience what GSA can offer.
GSA is a more traditional art school when compared to some of the top art schools in the UK. Graduates have found fruitful careers in fine art, illustration, film, animation and more. Some notable alumni include designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Douglas Gordan and Martin Boyce.
5. Goldsmiths, University of London
Located in London, there are a number of galleries, museums and more to explore in nearby Greenwich Village. Well known for its creativity and innovation, Goldsmiths’ reputation is backed up by its remarkable academic standards. Notable alumni include Sir Antony Gormley, Vivienne Westwood and Damien Hirst.
Goldsmiths offers a wide range of subjects across various departments and are particularly well-known for their Fine Art courses. The university strikes a good balance between their art courses as well as academic and its research contributions are highly recognised. They are also highly focused on the arts and humanities subjects besides visual arts.
6. Loughborough University
Located in Leicester in the UK, Loughborough University is primarily known for its sports-related courses and accomplishments. The university is ranked 28th in the world for art & design* and have 3 departments under art & design which are 1. Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, 2. Arts, English and Drama, and 3. Design.
Loughborough University has a great reputation overall, offering you one of the best university experiences across the UK. Their Design School facilities are considered some of the best facilities available in the UK. Many of its students appreciate the university’s effort to give them a great living experience.
7. Ravensbourne University London
The foundation of the school can track back to 1878. Ravensbourne is located in Greenwich (UK) and is an industry and community focused university which is known for its digital media and design courses, available from Foundation to Masters level. It also offers a range of vocational courses to cater to different needs and adult students. Alumni have multiple awards at national level, for example: Royal Society of Arts Design Awards, British Design in Art Direction Awards and more. Notable alumni include David Bowie, Clare Waight Keller and Bruce Oldfield.
The university works with employers to prepare its students with appropriate mindsets and skillsets for the creative industries. You will gain practical skills during your study in Ravensbourne which is transferable and applicable at workplaces.
8. Royal College of Art (RCA)
Located in London, a vibrant city influenced by rich historic and cultural diversity. Ranked as the world’s top university in the art and design field for the fifth consecutive year*, RCA is a public research university that consists of only postgraduate students. Its alumni excel in an extensive range of industries, including Fashion Design, Illustration, Painting, Industrial Design and more. Programmes are offered based on four schools:
School of Architecture
School of Arts & Humanities
School of Communication
School of Design
If you are looking for art & design courses at Masters level and above, or if you are a working professional in this field, RCA is an excellent choice for pursuing higher education.
9. University of the Arts London (UAL)
UAL is composed of 7 colleges located in London. It is currently ranked second in the world for Art and Design*. UAL offers an extensive range of courses in art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts. The colleges are:
Camberwell College of Arts
Central Saint Martins
Chelsea College of Arts
London College of Communication
London College of Fashion
Wimbledon College of Arts
Creative Computing Institute
Each of these colleges under UAL are renowned for different subjects, such as:
Central Saint Martins (CSM)
CSM is the most well-known and is the oldest school under UAL. It has a world-renowned fashion department and is very strong in Fine Art, Architecture and Jewellery Design. CSM’s fashion courses are extremely competitive to get into. Notable alumni include Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney and more.
London College of Fashion (LCF)
Another well-known fashion school. Besides their fashion courses, their footwear and accessories courses are very reputable.
London College of Communication (LCC)
This college focuses on everything to do with Visual Communication and is a great option if you want to study Graphic Design and other related courses.
Wimbledon College of Arts
A specialist in contemporary theatre, theatre design and screen production.
If you want to enter a top art & design school, study and work with the elites of the industry; then you should consider UAL. Numerous UAL graduates enjoy successful careers and some become the pioneers in their chosen industry.
10. University for the Creative Arts (UCA)
UCA has been providing education for creatives in the U.K. for over 160 years. It is named the “Modern University of the Year” by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019. Highly specialised in the creative field, its graduates have a remarkable employment rate.
As a creative hub, the school builds a unique community for students, artists and academics. Collaboration between courses is encouraged, where students can share their creative process and inspire each other. UCA offers an extensive range of courses across its campuses, including animation, game design, architecture, business, jewellery design, fashion and more. Notable alumni include fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and the multi-disciplinary artist Tracey Emin.
*According to QS World University Subject Rankings 2019.
**According to QS World University Rankings 2019.
***Facts and statistics of universities are available from their official websites.