Subject Guide – Art & Design

This guide is to be used alongside the Applying to Higher Education as an Adult information. If you are interested in pursuing a career in Art and Design the following information will be useful as a starting point. You can then use the web links provided to find further information.

What can you study?

There are certainly lots of course options available when thinking about studying Art and Design. You will find both general courses in Art and Design and more specialised courses focusing on particular elements of the sector for example illustration, games design, animation or set design. Broadly speaking there are five main areas that capture Art and Design as a subject to study, these are: fine art, graphic design, product design, interior design and textiles/fashion design.

Entry requirements

  • Each institution will have their own entry requirements so it’s important to look up each individual’s institutions requirements before you apply. Some may ask that you are studying an art and design or creative Access course. However, if you are studying another Access subject this may also be acceptable and this will be where you portfolio will be very important to demonstrate your suitability for the course
  • Institutions will ask for you to have successfully completed an Access to HE Diploma and some will ask for a certain number of passes, merits and distinctions (for example in London generally 45 credits at merit or higher) and others may ask for a certain number of tariff points to be achieved, (for example in London this generally ranges from 96-120 UCAS Tariff points)
  • You will most often also be expected to have achieved Maths and English at grade 4, or grade C if taken prior to 2015
  • It is very likely that you will also be asked to submit a portfolio of work as part of the entry requirements (see below for more details).

Other requirements – in addition to the academic qualification you will also need to:

  • Submit a portfolio of work to demonstrate the creative skills and ability you have which should highlight the ways in which you are able to express yourself through various mediums. Each institution will make it clear what they want you to submit, the type of work and the different aspects they are looking for
  • Expect to attend an interview after submitting an application. During the interview students will especially be expected to talk about their portfolio and demonstrate their ability and understanding of their chosen area of Art & Design
  • Evidence relevant work experience or trips to visit galleries or museums to demonstrate you have a keen interest in your chosen area of Art and Design

Choosing the right course – alternative courses

If you decide not to apply to a specific art and design course or have been unsuccessful in securing an offer you may want to look at alternative broadly related courses that still require you to have artist flare but also combine other skills you may be interesting in developing further too.

These courses may include:

  • Marketing
  • Art Therapy
  • Web Design
  • Advertising
  • Arts Management
  • Visual Effects
  • History of Art
  • Theatre Design/Production
  • Computer Game Design

This is not an exhaustive list but will give you a flavour of what else you could consider, however for a fuller list you can search on the UCAS website which has a facility to search by broad subject areas:

Selection process – additional information to know

After you have submitted your application through UCAS, your application will be assessed by each institution you have applied to before they make a decision which you can view on your UCAS Track. As mentioned above you will most likely be asked to go in for an informal interview and to explain your portfolio of work. This will enable staff to access your suitability for the course but similarly provide you with an opportunity to see if the course is right for you.

Useful Resources/web links

Arts Council England: Champion, develop and invest in artist and cultural experiences for everyone. This is a good website to see how you can get involve with the art scene in your area.

Tate: A non – departmental public body. Here you will find some useful information about studying and applying for art and design courses, with information from current students, graduates and lecturers sharing their experience and advice.

Chartered Society for Designers: The internationally recognised body for the design profession and they provide support and guidance for designers at every stage of their career from the learning to finding a career.

Prospects: Offer learners lots of information and advice about graduate careers and opportunities. Here they provide subject specific information on what learners who study Art & Design could do after their degree.

UCAS: Produced a detailed art and design guide covering areas like, what is it, why study it, entry requirements and related jobs.

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