Study Art & Design, why & how to

An Art & Design degree includes concept creation, practical art or design skills and the implementation of industry-changing designs.

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Cicely Oliver
14 Jan 2022
Creative student painting at university
What’s Art & Design?
What Art & Design degrees can you study?
What do you need to get onto an Art & Design degree?
What topics does an Art & Design degree cover?
How will you be assessed?
Why study Art & Design?
What do Art & Design graduates earn?
What jobs can you get as an Art & Design graduate?
What are the postgraduate opportunities?
Similar subjects to Art & Design
Have any questions?
What’s Art & Design?
Any range or product of creative human activity can be defined as art. Most well associated are the visual arts, such as painting and sculpture. As well as fine art, this subject area also includes design disciplines, from graphic design and illustration to fashion, costume, craft and industrial design.

A lot of the process includes planning and testing out different styles and techniques. Coming up with ideas is just as important as the creation of the art itself.

What Art & Design degrees can you study?
Undergraduate degrees in Art & Design include:

Creative Technology BSc
Fashion Jewellery BA
Fine Art BFA/BA
Graphic Design BA
History, Communication and Curation BA
Product and Industrial Design BA
Options may include an integrated foundation year (Year 0), study abroad or professional placement year.

Find an Art & Design undergraduate degree
About Art & Design foundation diplomas
Types of undergraduate degrees
What do you need to get onto an Art & Design degree?
Entry requirements for an Art & Design degree at a university range from 64–165 UCAS points. This could include the qualifications below.

A Levels: AAA–C
Scottish Highers: AAAAA– BBC (Advanced Highers: AAB–B)
International Baccalaureate: 38–24
Good subjects to have studied include:

Art, design and essay-based subjects at A Level (or equivalent)
General studies and critical thinking A Levels may be excluded from offers
GCSE grades may also be considered
Some courses will ask for a foundation diploma in the subject area; others will include a foundation year as part of a longer undergraduate course
Experience that would look good on your application:

Work experience or shadowing related occupations, such as in a gallery, design agency, print workshop or photographer’s
Volunteering with an arts organisation, or involvement in workshops or clubs for children or families
Entering exhibitions or taking part in competitions
Developing your artistic skills and knowledge through extra courses or online learning – you may be able to find free online courses/MOOCs
Reading books or arts journals, going to galleries and exhibitions or using Google Arts & Culture or national gallery websites to find influential practitioners that inspire you, past and present
Finding out about careers through the websites of professional bodies, the Crafts Council, Artquest or the Artist’s Information Company (a-n)
If eligible, attending an art summer school run by the Sutton Trust
Other requirements for this subject include:

Pass in the practical element of science if taken at A Level
An interview may be required by some universities
Entry requirements
About UCAS points
Alternatives to A Levels
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What topics does an Art & Design degree cover?
Some courses – such as Fine Art – may have few specified modules, focusing primarily on studio practice, art history and contemporary practice. Typical modules for design courses may include:

Communication design
Core ideas and concepts of graphic design practice
Design culture
Design methods: the lab, the studio and the workshop
Digital competencies and production skills
History and influence of graphic design
Idea generation and communication
Industry briefs
Typography and writing systems
How will you be assessed?
Study an Art & Design course and you’ll mainly be assessed through coursework. Assessments may include:

Continuous coursework assessment
In-class reviews
Observed practical work
A dissertation is usually a final year option
Why study Art & Design?
If you are self-motivated and passionate about visual art or love the challenge of working creatively to a design brief, an Art & Design course might be suitable for you.

Career-specific skills:

Practical skills in your area of expertise, whether in the use of art materials and methods or design software and techniques
Knowledge of historic and contemporary practice that influence creative directions
Transferable skills:

Creative problem solving
Critical thinking and analysis
Digital skills
Entrepreneurial skills
Professional accreditation:

Design degrees may be accredited by a related professional body – for example product design may be accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology
Some degrees may include accreditation in the use of software, such as Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)
Read Reasons to study Art & Design
What do Art & Design graduates earn?
Art & Design graduates can expect an entry-level salary of around £17,000–£21,000.

Artists generally need income from sources aside from their practice, particularly when starting out. Working in arts administration, you could earn £20,000–£30,000 with experience – though you may opt for part-time employment to allow time for your artistic work. Train to become an art therapist working in the NHS and you’d start on £32,000 (Band 6), rising to £45,800 for a lead therapist with over five years’ experience.

For a graphic designer, a starting salary might be £15,000–£25,000, depending on your location in the UK and the company you work for. A senior designer may earn an average of £37,500, while a move to creative director could boost your income to £60,000 or more.

See what students do and earn after graduation
What jobs can you get as an Art & Design graduate?
If you have the skills and talent, an Art & Design degree can lead to an exciting career. Artists commonly supplement their income with jobs in a related area. Design graduates are likely to work in their specific field. However, your adaptability and skills will suit a wide variety of career paths.

Advertising art director
Art therapist
Arts administrator or officer
Community arts worker
Digital marketer
Editorial assistant
Film set designer
Graphic designer
Model maker
Multimedia worker
Product designer
Web designer
What are the postgraduate opportunities?
Postgraduate study in Art & Design provides the chance to specialise. To become a teacher, Art & Design graduates will need to complete postgraduate teacher training, which may include a PGCE. Examples of taught master’s and research degrees at postgraduate level include:

Arts, Enterprise and Development MA
Conservation of Archaeological and Museum Objects MA
Ergonomics and Human Factors PGCert/PGDip/MSc
Fine Art DPhil/MFA
Graphic Design and Visualisation MA
Find postgraduate courses for Art & Design
Types of postgraduate degrees
Similar subjects to Art & Design
If you appreciate the arts or enjoy the creative process, you could also consider:

Communication & Media Studies
Creative Writing
Drama, Dance & Cinematics
Film Making
History of Art, Architecture & Design
Interior Design
Have any questions?

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