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Design Colleges in UK

Sonal Vaid Sonal Vaid
Study Abroad Expert

Design colleges in UK are a fast-growing sector to the UK economy that encompasses diverse careers such as fashion, film, advertising, etc. The design colleges in UK are the second most favored study abroad destination among international students to pursue design & art courses after the USA.

  • The UK has some of the best design colleges attracting several international students each year for their top-quality education.
  • As per UK prospects, the design industries in the UK contributed 101.5 billion GBP value to the economy in 2017.
  • A slow yet continuous 2% increase in the salary of the design employees is seen in the future years.

Design degrees at top universities in UK are among the top five programs that received the most number of university applications in 2019. There were around 215,330 applications for creative arts and design programs at UK colleges. This has resulted in an increase in student enrollment for design courses. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency UK, there were a total of 181,830 students enrolled at design colleges in UK. Among these 22,305 were non-EEA students.

Student Enrollment at design colleges in UK

Top Design Colleges in UK

According to QS, UK is home to over 70 universities that offer art and design programs. According to QS Art and Design Rankings 2020, there are 7 design colleges in UK that rank among the top 50 global design universities in the world.

UniversitiesQS Art & Design Rankings 2020Programs Offered
Royal College of Art19 Masters, 1 Doctoral 
University of the Arts London215 Bachelors, 21 Masters, 1 Doctoral 
The Glasgow School of Art88 Bachelors, 8 Masters, 1Doctoral 
Goldsmiths, University of London141 Bachelors, 5 Masters, 1 Doctoral 
Loughborough University243 Bachelors, 9 Masters, 2 Doctoral 
Oxford University301 Bachelors, 1 Masters, 1 Doctoral 
UCL463 Bachelors, 17 Masters, 2 Doctoral 

Design Colleges in UK – Specialization

Degree studies offered by top design colleges in UK prepare professionals for careers in Multimedia, Advertising, Fashion Design, Interior Design, etc. Studies in UK involving design and art are an evolving subject and have quite a few specializations as mentioned underneath.

Graphic DesignArchitecture Design
Product DesignInterior Design
Fashion DesignAnimation Design
Landscape DesignIndustrial Design
Jewelry DesignMultimedia Design
PhotographFurniture Design

The degrees offered at design colleges are as follows:

  • Undergraduate: BA in Graphic Design (Hons), BSc (Hons) Industrial Design, BA in Arts and Design, BA in Product Design (Hons), BA in Fashion Design (Hons).
  • Graduate: MA in Design, Master in Graphic Design and Art, Graduate Diploma in Architecture Design, Master of Design Administration, etc.
  • Doctoral/Ph.D.:  Ph.D. in Arts and Design, Ph.D. in Design.

Design Colleges in UK offering Bachelors Degree

A bachelor’s degree from design colleges in the UK is 3-4 years of duration providing the ability to make the most of your talents and creative vision.

The top design colleges in UK for bachelors degree are as follows:

UniversityProgram offeredCourse DurationAnnual Fees (in GBP)
Goldsmith University of LondonBA (Honors) Design3 years20,550
National Design AcademyBA (Honors) in Interior Design3 years22,950
University of LeedsBA in Art and Design3 years20,750
Loughborough UniversityBA (Honors) in Industrial Design4 years23,100
Coventry UniversityGraphic Design BA (Honors)3 years16,400

Eligibility for Bachelors in Design in UK

The basic eligibility criteria for pursuing a bachelors degree in design from UK universities are as follows:-

  • 78-88% in XII standard examination
  • IELTS – 6.5
  • TOEFL (iBT) – 92
  • PTE - 62

Documents Required

The documents required while applying for admissions at top design colleges in UK are as follows:-

  • Online Application Form
  • Certificate/ transcripts of Higher Secondary and Secondary Examination with their English translations
  • Letter of Recommendation
  • Copy of Passport
  • English Proficiency scores
  • A design portfolio

Fees and Funding for Bachelors in design in UK

The tuition fees spent on pursuing a bachelor’s design degree are 16,000 GBP to 24,000 GBP per year. Apart from these, students are required to pay for living expenses.

Studying in the UK gets exciting because there are a number of financial support options such as international scholarships to study in UK for undergraduate students, loans, etc.

Design Colleges in UK offering Masters Degree

UK is famous for its quality of teaching and a master’s degree that provides fantastic opportunities to engage in a multicultural environment. A master’s in design from the UK is usually a one year program offering a number of study options.

The top design colleges in UK offering master degrees are as follows:

UniversityProgram offeredCourse DurationAnnual Fees (in GBP)
University of LeedsMA in Design1 year20,000
University of Plymouth MA in Design1 year14,800
University of LincolnMA in Design1 year16,000
Middlesex University LondonMA in Graphic Design 1 year14,000
University of Wolver Hampton MA in Design1 year13,350

Eligibility for Masters in Design in UK

The eligibility criteria needed to pursue a master’s degree in design from the UK vary for different universities and schools. The basic requirements and exams required to study in the UK are as follows:-

  • An undergraduate degree with a minimum of 70%.
  • IELTS – 6.0
  • PTE – 58
  • TOEFL iBT – 90
  • CAE (Cambridge English Advanced) – 165

Documents Required

Along with their admission applications, international students must make sure to submit the following documents for admissions:

  • Academic transcripts from all educational institutions attended
  • Evidence of English language proficiency score
  • Copy of passport
  • A personal statement
  • An electronic link or pdf to your digital portfolio.

Fees and Fundings for Masters in Design in UK

The tuition fees spent in pursuing a master’s degree in design from UK colleges are 13,000 GBP to 20,000 GBP per year. The additional costs that are to be paid by students include the pre-arrival expenses, cost of living in UK, and other required expenses.

UK Universities are a global education attraction and provide numerous graduate international scholarships in UK, thus helping with the overall cost of attendance.

Design Colleges in UK offering Diploma Degree

Not only does the UK offer a bachelor’s or graduate degree in design, but there are also a number of diplomas and graduate diplomas offered to students looking for short term programs. The diploma in design course provides you with the necessary skills you need to design your own project or enter a new career.

Below are the design colleges in UK providing diploma degrees:

UniversityProgram offeredCourse DurationAnnual Fees (in GBP)
Royal College of Art Graduate Diploma in Art and Design9 months18,800
Chelsea College of ArtsGraduate Diploma in Graphic Design1 year22,920
Goldsmith University of LondonGraduate Diploma in Design1 year14,880
Coventry UniversityDiploma in Art & Design1 year13,900
De Montfort University LeicesterCertificate in Art & Design 1 year8,470

Design Colleges in UK offering Ph.D. Degree

A Ph.D. degree from a design college in the UK demonstrates that students have made a meaningful contribution to their respective fields. UK helps international students to grow culturally and academically after pursuing a Ph.D. course.

The top design colleges in UK for a Ph.D. degree are as follows:

UniversityProgram offeredCourse DurationAnnual Fees (in GBP)
Brunel University LondonPh.D. Design 3 years19,280
Lancaster UniversityPh.D. in Design3 years16,095
University of EdinburghPh.D. Design3 years20,100
Birmingham City UniversityPh.D. in Arts & Design3-4 years12,800
University of LincolnPh.D. in Design2-4 years16,100

Eligibility for Ph.D. in Design in UK

The eligibility criteria for doctoral admissions in design courses for international students are stated below:

  • Academic profile: 3.0 GPA in an undergraduate course and a minimum of 65-70% in masters degree in a relevant subject
  • English Language requirements: Minimum of IELTS -7.0, TOEFL (iBT) – 100, PTE – 67, CAE and CPE – 185

Documents Required

  • Academic transcripts and certificates with their English translations
  • Valid ID Proofs, passport & passport-sized photographs.
  • Language proficiency scores
  • Work experience along with letters of recommendation
  • Update resume
  • Statement of Intent
  • Design portfolio
  • Research proposal

Fees and Funding for Ph.D. in Design in UK

With tremendous opportunities for research being offered in the UK, pursuing a doctorate degree will be worth its cost. Although doctorate courses cost between 12,000 GBP to 22,000 GBP per year, there is plenty of financial support available to complete the course without any hassle. These include international doctoral scholarships, research stipends, etc.

Design Colleges in UK Scholarships

The UK Government has come up with numerous financial aid options for international students that include scholarships, private loans, and other types of financial aid. Some well-known scholarships for international students to study in top design colleges in UK are:

ScholarshipsProgram offeredAward value (GBP)
International Excellence ScholarshipUndergraduate8,000
Dean Scholarship 2020/21 intakeMaster5,000
Chevening partnership scholarshipMasterFull free waiver
Commonwealth Split-site ScholarshipsPhDFull tuition off 
Country Scholarship 2019/20 Academic YearPhD 12,000
Vice-Chancellor ScholarshipUndergraduate50% of the tuition fee
Commonwealth Master’s ScholarshipsMasterFull tuition fee waiver
Professional Experience ScholarshipMaster4,000
GREAT ScholarshipUndergraduate10,000
Irene Hallinan Scholarships Master and Doctoral4,900

Design Colleges in UK Scope and Job Opportunities

According to UK Prospects, more than two million people work in the creative industries in the UK since 2011.

  • As per UK prospects, seven of the top ten jobs held by graduates employed are related to design where 82.3% are employed.
  • The average design engineer salary in the UK is 21,000 GBP to 41,000 GBP per year.
  • Professionals in the creative industry with a Ph.D. degree earn 23% more than a master’s degree.

Some of the top-rated employers of design graduates in the UK are tabulated below:

GraduatesEmploying Companies
AdvertisingAMV BBDO, Grey UK, Leo Burnett, McCann
Cultural heritageEnglish Heritage, National Trust, National Museum Wales, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Galleries of Scotland
DesignJaguar Land Rover, Harrods, AKQA, Big Active
FashionArcadia, ASOS, Burberry, John Lewis & Partners, Marks & Spencer, Next
Film/TVEaling Studios, Endemol Shine UK, Pinewood Studios, Sony Pictures, ITV, BBC, Channel 4
MusicOpera North, Sony Music UK, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group
PublishingBloomsbury, HarperCollins UK, Oxford University Press, Penguin Random House
Video gamesRockstar North, Codemasters, Sports Interactive, Creative Assembly

Design graduates can look for a number of job opportunities in the UK or can even be self-employed. Here’s a detailed account of various job roles and salary packages after graduating froma design college in UK:

Job TitlesAnnual Salary (GBP)
Director of Graphic Design110,000 – 120,000
Creative Designer115,000 – 125,000
Art Director120,000 – 130,000
Assistant Art Director90,000 – 92,000
Commercial and Industrial Designer92,000 – 94,000
Graphic Artist115,000 – 120,000
Graphics Design Supervisor100,000 – 105,000
Interaction Designer80,000 – 90,000
Sketch Artist 82,000 – 85,400
UX Designer80,000 – 88,100

To summarize, design colleges in the UK are at the forefront with many departments conducting endless opportunities. Increasing demand for skilled professionals in the arts & design domain has resulted in a rise of students pursuing these programs. The UK is one of the best destinations with a number of options for international students.

Thus, studying in the UK for a design course proves to be the best of both worlds for international students - a fun-filled with a top-quality education.

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