If you are thinking of studying for a degree within the fields of arts and design, the UK is a great place to study thanks to its focused courses that give students the tools they need to succeed in their career. You'll experience an in-depth course of study in a chosen field, taught by world-class academics in a country that is famous for its art, theatre, music, comedy and more. You can take degree courses in everything from fine art and fashion, to animation and graphic design. The UK is home to some of the world's greatest design institutions, and many universities have long-standing relationships with leading companies and creative giants, opening up a world of opportunity and career support to those who choose it as their country of study. Wherever you choose to study art and design, you'll be on the right path to a successful and enjoyable career, with inspiration at every turn from world-renowned galleries, theatres, festivals, music events and cultural cities like London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Glasgow to explore.
Build a strong network with other creatives while studying at university
If you study art and design at a prestigious art and design university in the UK, you have the opportunity to grow and expand your professional network and to mix with other creative people in your chosen industry.
Visual arts have for example been practised and taught at Falmouth University for over a century, and a strong reputation for creative excellence keeps Falmouth at the forefront of British art schools. Working within Falmouth's inspiring fine art studio spaces, learning from experienced practitioners and collaborating with industry partners, students are supported to build the foundations for an enduring art career, and can take opportunities presented to them through their network.
Falmouth University will provide you with opportunities to access industry insights and experiences through placements and partnerships with leading organisations, including the National Gallery, Tate St Ives, Penguin Books, Harper Collins and more. The Falmouth School of Art exclusive guest speaker programme provides all students with a valuable opportunity to hear from established and high-profile artists and practitioners from a range of backgrounds. Past speakers have included renowned creators Cornelia Parker, David Shrigley, Gavin Turk, Ben Rivers, Deanna Petherbridge and Michael Salu.
Falmouth University has a dedication to ensuring students are career-ready, which is exemplified through their focus on professional practice. You'll develop a creative identity and technical abilities, and will be taught industry-facing skills and introduced to connections to enhance your employability. From being taught how best to break into different areas of the creative industries and how to create a professional portfolio, to understanding contracts and commissions, writing tax returns and developing the tools and platforms for self-promotion – you'll discover it all.
For example, Falmouth's illustration students have the opportunity to showcase their work through Falmouth’s unique professional online magazine, Wunderkammer. Wunderkammer is circulated to art directors, editors and designers all over the world, providing a crucial marketing platform for graduating students to target clients for commissioned work, kick-starting their careers.
Falmouth University is proud of its wide range of industry connections. Its art and design courses are very well-respected in industry, so you can expect a strong network of connections to call upon from current working artists and illustrators, agents, art directors and publishers. It’s very common for Falmouth’s final year students to already be getting industry commissions or having industry representation before they graduate. The results speak for themselves. Falmouth alumni have gone on to become award-winning freelance and in-house artists and illustrators, working in areas such as graphic design, branding, book design and more.
Gain experience through an art and design professional placement opportunity
Many UK universities provide professional placements within the art and design sectors, enabling students to gain valuable experience and work on the skills learned during their degree.
At De Montfort University for example, placements are a popular and successful part of the DMU Works programme. You'll be given the opportunity to take up a long or short-term placement to help you gain professional skills in the workplace. Placements range from a business insight visit, to a sandwich year placement working for an employer as a designer. Students can also sign up for an enterprise placement year, and develop their own business idea over twelve months, while earning credit towards their degree.
Placements can have a big impact on employability. Short placements provide flexibility, and if you decide on this option, you can spend from 2 to 10 days based in a business or technical workplace, learning from industry experts. Sandwich placements are also a popular option at DMU. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, on average over 400 students each year went on a twelve-month placement working for a wide range of employers in Leicestershire, the UK and abroad. In 2020, all 370 students on a year-long placement were able to successfully continue and complete their placement module, with many switching to working virtually for their employer. Placements usually take place between the second and third year of undergraduate study, and will give you a great insight into jobs you can do for a career in your field of study.
Every faculty has a specialist placement team to manage employer partnerships and help students access placements within a wide range of industries and organisations. DMU placement employers range from large multinational corporations, to specialist local firms. In the past two years, DMU has placed students with Rolls-Royce, Pfizer, NHS, Leicestershire Police, EA Games, MMT Digital, the Government Economic Service, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, PwC, Hewlett Packard, Next, The Walt Disney Company, Tommy Hilfiger, Airbus, IBM and Netready, among many others.
In 2017, 95.1% of graduates from DMU who had been on a year-long placement were working in high-skilled graduate jobs six months after graduation, compared to 84.6% of other students.
In addition to taking up a placement, art and design students at DMU will be encouraged to experiment and nurture their own creative style. You will tackle real-world problems and propose new futures, all realised through award-winning facilities. Staff at the university encourage an open-ended spirit of enquiry and collaboration across disciplines, which reveal new ways of thinking and making. Your work will respond to contemporary issues supported by expert tutors from industry and academia who will give you personalised feedback, empowering you to forge your own path in the creative industries.
If you're considering a career in art and design, and want to study for a design degree in the UK, you may be wondering what career support will be available to you. UK universities are renowned for giving all students the career support and professional placement opportunities they need to kickstart their career and find a job they are passionate about. You'll be encouraged to think independently and creatively, and will be provided access to notable figures and brands in the creative industry to expand your network of contacts. You will also have plenty of opportunities to take up professional placements in which you can fine-tune your skills and learn how your degree can prepare you for various creative roles.
For more information, you can visit the Falmouth University and De Montfort University websites.
Falmouth University: https://www.falmouth.ac.uk/
De Montfort University: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/