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The University of the Arts, London
The University of the Arts, London is Europe’s largest specialist art and design university formed of six world-renowned colleges providing education in art, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts. Their teaching staff is made up of creative professionals, including artists, photojournalists and game designers.
Their alumni include more than half of all Turner Prize winners, half of the current Royal Academicians, over half of the designers named British Designer of the Year, 12 winners of the Jerwood Photography Award, eight Oscar winners and 14 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) winners.
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The University originated as six previously independent colleges established from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century, which were brought together to form the London Institute in 1986. By 1993 the Institute was able to award its own degrees and by 2004 it was given university status and changed its name to the University of the Arts, London (UAL). The University is home to more than 19,000 students from over 140 countries.
UAL has a global reputation for excellence in the arts. It is ranked second in the world for Art and Design in the 2019 QS World University ranking.
UAL’s six prestigious Colleges offer over 100 courses at degree preparation and undergraduate level with each College providing its own culture, philosophy and focus, and academic staff with their own interests and expertise. Styles of teaching range from well-established traditional methods to those which embrace the very latest technologies.
As a collegiate university, you can choose the College that best suits your talents, interests and ambition. Each College boasts specialist equipment and facilities, including galleries, workspaces and performance venues. Each College has its own library and as a student of UAL you can borrow materials from all the Colleges.
Camberwell College of Arts
Camberwell’s home is in south-east London, at the heart of a vibrant and thriving community of artists, designers, galleries and studios - more artists live and work in Camberwell area than anywhere else in London. The College focuses on two academic programmes: Design and Fine Art, while working closely with Chelsea and Wimbledon Colleges of Arts.
Central Saint Martins
Central Saint Martins (CSM) is a world-leading centre for arts and design. The College focuses on nine academic programmes: Foundation and Access to Higher Education; Art; Culture and Enterprise; Drama and Performance; Fashion; Graphic Communication Design; Jewellery and Textiles; Product, Ceramic and Industrial Design; and Spatial Practices. All of the College’s courses have strong links with industry through visiting lectures, live projects and tutors who are leading practitioners.
CSM occupies a former granary in King’s Cross with walled studios, workshops and lecture theatres.
Chelsea College of Arts
Courses at Chelsea College of Arts focus on four areas: fine art; graphic communication design; interior and spatial design; and textile design. The College’s intimate, welcoming environment revolves around a Grade II listed building in Pimlico, right besides the River Thames and the prestigious Tate Gallery.
London College of Communication
London College of Communication’s (LCC) industry-focused courses reflect the breadth of expertise you would find in a diverse creative agency - journalism, advertising, PR, publishing, photography, film, television and sound, communications and media, graphic communication, spatial communication, design cultures and interactive and visual communication.
LCC is just minutes away from the creative cultural hub of the South Bank and close to major venues including Tate Modern, the Design Museum, the Hayward Gallery and the British Film Institute.
London College of Fashion
The London College of Fashion (LCF) is a specialist global fashion education provider with courses in photography, film and media, performance, illustration and costume design, as well as fashion design itself: menswear, womenswear, footwear, bags and accessories.
Currently, LCF revolves around sites in East London, High Holborn and Oxford Circus, but in 2022 LCF will be moving to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as part of a new development for London known as East Bank prioritising culture, education and innovation. This will enable LCF to bring all of their students and staff together, to increase opportunities for collaboration and to build a different community focused on fashion, but with lots of influences from their new neighbours and from the local areas.
Wimbledon College of Art
Wimbledon College of Art offers programmes in Fine Art and Theatre & Screen, and the College is the largest UK centre to offer design and related studies for stage, screen, costume and special effects. The College works closely with Camberwell and Chelsea Colleges of Arts.
Wimbledon is just a 15-minute train journey from the centre of London, combining green open spaces with easy access to the city’s thriving art and theatre scenes.
- 3D design and product design
- Accessories, footwear and jewellery
- Animation, interactive, film and sound
- Architecture, spatial and interior design
- Business & management, and science
- Communication and graphic design
- Curation and culture
- Fashion business
- Fashion communication
- Fashion design
- Fashion manking and pattern making
- Fashion styling and makeup
- Fine art
- Journalism, PR, media and publishing
- Textiles and materials
- Performance and design for theatre and screen
UAL academics play a prominent role in the creative culture and economy of the UK, influencing international and national policy and practice, and featuring prominently in the media.
Their research results in creative outcomes that enhance cultural life and impact on a diverse range of beneficiaries. These include museums and galleries, cultural institutions, creative practitioners, manufacturing and business, publishing sector, charitable bodies, scientific community, government, and the general public.
The University is closely integrated with the creative sector in the UK and has successfully demonstrated that academic research can enrich cultural life, enhance public awareness and understanding of major issues, and are of benefit to the creative industries.
International & Industrial Opportunities
UAL is committed to developing and promoting opportunities for both students and staff to study and work abroad as part of their University experience. The Erasmus+ programme offers UAL students to study in one of their partnered universities in Europe.
Some programmes at UAL give students the opportunity to undertake a work placement or traineeship during their degree.
Fees & Finance
Scholarships & Bursaries
UAL offers a wide range of scholarships, bursaries, awards and hardship funds provided through generous donations from individuals, companies and philanthropic charities, as well as from University funds.
Eligibility will depend on criteria such as your chosen subject or course, level of study and nationality. Some awards are based on financial need, while others are offered to students who show academic excellence or creative potential. The amount of funding provided by each award varies, with some covering the full cost of tuition and others providing a contribution towards living costs.
The University’s libraries have outstanding collections of books, journals and digital resources that cover art, design, fashion, communication, performance and more.
As well as libraries, the University holds a wide range of archives and special collections that can be accessed by all UAL students. These include: African-Caribbean, Asian & African Art in Britain Archive; Stanley Kubrick archive, relating to his films and filmmaking process; Tom Eckersley archive, including examples of his famous graphic design and poster work; and Walter Crane collection, holding over 150 books by and about the illustrator and social reformer. The Archives and Special Collections Centre at LCC is a specialist hub for material about filmmaking, printing history and graphic design.
Whichever College you study at, you’ll have access to the libraries, resources and study spaces at all six Colleges, including the Learning Zones at CSM and LCC. The Learning Zone provides technology-rich workspaces to encourage creative thinking and collaborative working.
UAL’s Academic Support services are available to all students, and are designed to help with study skills such as essay writing, managing information, making presentations and working collaboratively. Support is provided through workshops, tutorials and one-to-one sessions across UAL at all Colleges and libraries, allowing you to meet and learn with students across a range of creative disciplines.
UAL’s language centre at High Holborn offers the ability to learn another language during your time at UAL. Classes are available in French, German, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish, and combine learning a modern language with exploring the country’s art and culture.
Each of the colleges has its own specific learning facilities such as 3D workshops, printmaking, digital media, gallery, theatre and much more. You can view their facilities by visiting the UAL website.
UAL’s students’ union in Holborn (Arts SU), offers a range of services including an academic advice service, opportunities to showcase your work in London’s museums and galleries, and over 40 student-run societies and sports clubs.
Made in Arts London (MiAL) is a not-for-profit enterprise that promotes and sells the work of UAL students and recent graduates. It’s part of Arts SU, and supports its artists to develop the skills, experience and connections needed to sustain their creative practice and to break into the art and design world. MiAL has a programme of events, exhibitions and talks, and works with renowned brands, art fairs and a growing list of industry professionals.
Whether it’s trying out a project on a smaller scale before making it BIG or staging your first solo or group exhibition, Arts SU has four FREE Exhibition and Project Spaces for you to use in whichever way most benefits you and your work. The spaces are at Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Fashion (High Holborn), Central Saint Martins and London College of Communication.
Arts Unlocked organises over 100 events to help you settle into UAL, and delve into London's art scene. The events introduce you to London's local artist communities, and the UAL graduates that are part of them. These events are designed and delivered by UAL students and recent graduates, especially for you, including creative life drawing classes and artist-led workshops to tours of exhibitions, theatre visits, nights out, and yoga classes.
Commonplace, a website created by UAL students, offers friendly, practical tips and advice on university and London.
Religion & Spirituality
The Chaplaincy Service at UAL offers pastoral and spiritual care to students and staff. The chaplains also organise events and activities in relation to faith, spirituality and the arts. There are two Anglican chaplains at UAL and they are part of a wider network of Chaplains that support London universities.
The chaplains can meet students at each of the College sites, and can also provide telephone and email support. UAL students are invited to speak to the chaplains about anything which is on their mind at any point during their studies.
Health & Wellbeing
The University’s student mental health advisers offer information, advice and guidance to students who have an existing mental health issue or students that have concerns about their mental health and well-being. They can act as the link between the University and mental health services in the NHS to help you obtain treatment, if needed, and make recommendations about other sources of support you can access in the community and from voluntary organisations.
They also offer free, one-to-one, confidential counselling for stress, course-related problems, relationship issues, low mood, anxiety, loss, bereavement, loneliness, homesickness etc, to students, as well as workshops on assertiveness, presentations and confidence.
UAL’s Disability Service works with a range of students, including those with specific learning difficulties, sensory impairments, physical impairments, long-term health or mental health conditions and those on the autistic spectrum. It offers confidential advice and can: arrange dyslexia screening and/or assessments; help you access funding; arrange extended library loans and other library support; arrange support workers such as note-takers; help you talk to other staff who work with you such as your Programme Team, or housing officer; and refer you to other relevant support services.
UAL’s dedicated Careers and Employability service supports students and graduates embark on their professional futures in the creative industries. Services they provide include:
Advice – the service offers online advice, guidance and useful links about all aspects of getting a job or setting up a new business.
Artquest - helping visual artists connect with resource, opportunities and networks.
Awards and funding - Careers and Employability provides a range of funding opportunities and awards that recognise and support UAL's budding entrepreneurs.
Creative Opportunities is UAL’s jobs and work-placement website advertising as many as 500 vacancies each month, while ArtsTemps is the University's in-house recruitment agency, which recruits students and recent graduates for paid temporary jobs across UAL, providing hands-on creative experience and the opportunity to work on a range of projects tailored to your skills.
Events and workshops such as the Creative Enterprise Week, which is a week long programme of talks, practical workshops, and activities designed to give UAL students and graduates the skills they need to get ahead in the creative industries. Over 35 events take place across UAL with many external companies and partners sharing their expertise and first-hand insights and advice.
Internships, where graduates can apply to selected companies who are offering paid work experience in the creative industries.
Mentoring - providing UAL's students and graduates with the opportunity to be mentored by experienced creative professionals.
Showcasing opportunities - offers their graduates and students a number of opportunities to exhibit and sell their work.
As well as UAL careers guidance, each College offer it's own, unique support to students.
In addition, UAL has developed a Creative Attributes Framework that provides guidance for embedding and enhancing enterprise and employability within the curriculum. The framework provides a structure to inform staff, students, and other stakeholders how students and graduates develop the wide-ranging qualities, experience and behaviours that prepare them for the future and enable them to develop and sustain a rewarding professional life.
Self-catered (per week)
UAL has approximately 3,300 places in 12 self-catered halls across the capital. Most rooms have a private bathroom with a shower, toilet and basin, and residents share a kitchen. Some are ‘room only’, where students share their bathroom and kitchen, and there are also self-contained studios. The University and halls are located across London, so check to see where the College you are applying to is located so you can apply to the nearest halls. You can apply to your top five choices.
All UAL's halls are staffed 24/7 and either have a Residence Manager or Accommodation Manager who manages the team in each hall.
There are more than 30 Social and Wellbeing Representatives who are current students and live in halls. They provide peer to peer support throughout the year and run the events programme.
The Social Reps organise and run a wide range of events and activities, from movie nights to art gallery excursions in every hall throughout the year. There are regular cross-halls events, giving you the opportunities to meet people from across UAL; all events are free or at very low-cost, so everybody can take part.
Wellbeing Reps also host weekly drop-in sessions, so if you want advice on how to look after your health, would like some help with managing deadlines or just fancy a chat, they are there to listen.
English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language, UAL asks for a proof of your language ability. The IELTS requirements at UAL vary, depending on the course and level of study. The requirement for each course is shown on the individual course, and vary from a score of 5 to 7.
Presessional courses are also available to prepare you for your main UAL degree course. You will improve your English in London, experience academic life at UAL and learn about British culture.
UAL offers a wide range of scholarships, bursaries, awards and hardship funds provided through generous donations from individuals, companies and philanthropic charities, as well as from University funds. Please check the University website for the scholarships on offer.
The Student Advice Service team has advisers who are specially trained to give immigration advice, and guidance on other matter such as opening a UK bank account, accessing medical care and visa options for when you have graduated.
UAL’s Language Centre offers courses and tutorials for students who wish to improve their English language skills in an art and design context. The Centre also offers free classes to full-time UAL students whose first language is not English. Most classes relate directly to your main course content, while others teach general academic skills. Face-to-face and online tutorials are also available to give you individual support with the written assignments, or any other areas of study you’d like help with.
The International Student House (ISH) arranges social and cultural events for international students in London.