Subject Guide

Art Degree

Uni Compare  · Nov 30th 2021

Art as a product, concept and as a creative aspect is a tricky one to define as the notion of ‘art’ itself is always changing.


When you complete an Art Foundation degree, you’ll be able to move into a range of artistic careers. Here, we paint a picture of all the different jobs you might consider with your Art degree.

So what can you do with an Art degree?

Art Degree

What can I do with an art degree?

The career of a fine artist is not one you will find advertised in the jobs pages, as it is a self-driven pursuit. Creating sculptures, collage or paintings, you can work the hours you choose, and sell to individuals and organisations with a price that you set. It sounds wonderful, but it comes with financial uncertainty and a lot of competition. You’ll have to be motivated and possess a degree of sales ability in order to market your work through exhibitions and other routes.

Another way to use the skills from your Art foundation degree is to become an illustrator. Illustration is all about complimenting a story or concept, so you’ll need to be a thoughtful listener and thinker with good communication skills, in addition to your artistic talents.

You could work in graphic design, creating digital images for websites, adverts, clothing and more, or you could get your hands dirty as a print maker.

If you’re interested in locations and spaces, you could go into visual merchandising, designing and creating window displays, catalogue pages and events visuals. Or perhaps you could use the skills from your foundation degree Art to become an interior designer, collaborating with clients to produce curated aesthetics for homes, offices, hotels and restaurants.

But Art degree courses don’t only prepare you to make art, they also teach you to appreciate it. Check out some art jobs that take a slightly different angle…

What can you do with an Art degree?

How about working in an art gallery? As a gallery manager, you organise the staffing, strategy and business side of things, and oversee the operation of the gallery. A gallery curator seeks out work to display and organises it in cohesive collections, while an exhibition designer organises the layout and details of the gallery space. Or, if you have strong communication skills, you could become a gallery education officer, leading talks and tours and running workshops and children’s events at the gallery.

An Art degree can also be a step towards becoming an art critic, though you would probably need to refine your expertise even further by studying an Ma or PhD. You could sell fine art in a shop or through auctions, or even go into art restoration.

If the idea of giving back to the community appeals to you, there are several Art degree careers that could help. Complete a postgraduate teaching qualification to become an art teacher in schools or colleges, or earn an Art Therapy qualification to become an art therapist. You could also become a community arts worker.

Individuals with talent, skill and a hard work ethic may find employment and enter a very exciting and rewarding industry.

Although art was traditionally focused on beauty and representation, it is also concerned with challenging moral and social conventions. It plays a vital role in our society by reflecting on culture and everything connected to it.

What A Levels do I need?

An impressive portfolio of work holds more weight than actual A-level grades when it comes to studying a degree in Art and Design. Exact entry requirements depend on the institution that students apply to, for example, the University of Oxford may ask for three A grades for their Bachelor’s in Fine Art degree; however, this will differ on the university.

Students are advised to check with their desired universities and chosen courses to understand what they need to gain admission, the entry requirements will vary from each institution. You can search Fine Art degree courses here and search Art degree courses here.

You can also see our Design personal statement examples; these will help you to gain an insight into what you need for your personal statement.

What are my study options?

There are many different directions that students can take when it comes to Art and Design, for example, there are BA Art and Design courses, BSc Creative Technology, BA Fashion and BA History, Communication and curation as well as courses in Art Management or even a History of Art degree.

Most degree courses will be the standard three years in length, although some universities will offer candidates an integrated degree – which is a Bachelor’s (undergraduate) and Master’s degree qualification together. Integrated degrees usually take four years and students will continue to their postgraduate qualification after completing their undergraduate but will be included in one course.

Most art courses will predominantly focus on the practical side of studying and teach individuals a wide range of artistic mediums, such as; painting, sculpting and even electronics to create that masterpiece. Modules may include art history and movements to gain a better insight into the development of art itself.

Students will still attend lectures as part of their degree course but will need to conduct independent research outside the classroom to aid learning. Students will most likely have to work on their art pieces alongside studying, an assessment will vary.

Many students also look into the possibility of a distance learning Art degree or a part time Art degree, if they are unable to study at university in-person or maybe even an online art degree. Although not all students can carry out independent study as part of an Art degree online and may need other resources to help them out.

Art Degree

What should I expect from studying Design)?

Art modules will vary from the degree course chosen – a more theoretical degree will feature less practical work, while a practical degree may feature the production of a portfolio and learning of techniques.

Regarding design, some universities will split students into different groups during the course, and students can choose which disciplinary area they wish to specialise in. For Graphics students, they will most like to choose from computer-based graphics, typography, photography and storyboarding.

Certain universities offer students the chance to choose modules from other schools, or degree courses meaning students can completely tailor their degree and specialise in areas that their heart desires. There are plenty of opportunities for candidates to find out what they want to do within that creative field throughout the degree.

Students will gain insight into art concepts, techniques, what makes a ‘good design’ and the intellectual side of designs and pieces.

During the final year, candidates may be expected to put a professional portfolio together as part of their final piece and to aid them in gaining experience or employment upon graduation. Even though Art courses are considered practical and usually completed by creative types, there are theoretical and writing assessments required. Most Art courses still require for students to complete a written dissertation (which may be a part of complementary to a practical piece of work) during their final year.

Studying Art isn’t just about producing work, and does require critical thinking and theoretical learning alongside creating; therefore students should understand this before applying for a degree that they feel isn’t suited for them. The modules involved will vary from each institution, it’s highly recommended that students visit university open days, helping students choosing a degree course that suits them best.

How will I be assessed?

The majority of assessments will be in the mode of coursework for Art, as you cannot produce a piece of work through a controlled environment such as an exam! However, that will mean students may spend more time on an assessment piece than students from other degrees as work can take hours or even weeks to complete.

Although art was traditionally focused on beauty and representation, it is also concerned with challenging moral and social conventions.

What skills will I learn from studying Design?

Universities tend to run workshops to aid students throughout their degree and their journey after through employment. There may be CV writing workshops, guides on pricing and gaining freelance jobs, optional work placement modules and mock client scenarios and will definitely help you with finding digital work, but also Fine Art degree jobs.

Students will gain insight into critical thinking and the processes that it takes to create a piece of work, and how to do it correctly. Those who attend university will gain skills that are transferable throughout life and employment. Candidates will gain organisational and time management skills through the completion of coursework and even social skills through presentations and group work.

Why study Design?

Art and design is a fascinating and rewarding subject to study, from understanding the processes it takes to create a truly wonderful piece or portfolio, to knowing that you created something beautiful. Students will gain an understanding not only from a creative perspective but a historical one through their modules. Practical skills will be learnt that will allow individuals to develop their artistic style and understand the different approaches towards art.

For creative types, studying an Art and Design course will place you with industry professionals and like-minded people who will provide opportunities to network as well as feeling inspired and enthusiastic.

Art is a diverse area where students can tailor their degree and direction, from fine art, sculpture, history of art, garden art, fashion design, digital art degree, media studies, exhibitions, musical and theatre art, graphic design and art management.

Art Degree

What happens after I graduate?

Many students will go into the world of work and find employment within curators, arts administration and PR roles. However, other candidates enter Art degrees in hopes to find employment as an artist or design, or to set up their own business selling their work or to work on a commission basis.

Will it help me get a job?

There are Art degree jobs that require specialist training at postgraduate and undergraduate level. Students may wish to study a PGCE course, or a Master’s to teach art at a school or university level.

Another way to use the skills from your Art foundation degree is to become an illustrator.

Tailoring the degree to suit your strengths, interests and ability will help students in knowing which sector they wish to enter when they graduate.

What types of jobs can I get from studying Design?

Individuals with talent, skill and a hard work ethic may find employment and enter a very exciting and rewarding industry. Employment opportunities include; fashion designer, graphic designer, illustrator, community worker, an artist, textile manufacturers, museum curator, advertising exec and multimedia worker, as well as setting up your own business.

What can I study after Design?

Master’s programmes include; animation, arts journalism advertising, design management, games design, graphic branding, documentary, media design, photography, illustration and photojournalism and art management.

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