Image Credit: Mertbiol, University for the Creative Arts, Epsom campus, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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The University of the Creative Arts
The University of the Creative Arts (UCA) is organised around four separate campus communities in Kent and Surrey which reflect the subject areas studied there, creating unique communities of artists, designers, makers, writers and researchers. Each campus boasts state-of-the-art facilities and accommodation, while the University has over 150 years of experience in supporting and developing creative arts students, and have a long list of successful alumni who have developed careers at the heart of the creative industries, both in the UK and abroad.
Complete University Guide (2022)
Guardian League Table (2021)
Teaching Excellence Framework
Green Credentials (2019)
Young vs Mature
Male vs Female
UCA was formed in 2005 with its origins lying in a number of independent public art and design colleges in Kent and Surrey, almost all of which had origins in the Victorian period. In the 1990s, they merged to form multi-campus art and design institutes in their respective counties, before merging into one organisation in 2005.
UCA was granted full university status in May 2008 and adopted its current name officially in September 2008.
The University is spread across four campuses in the south of England.
The Canterbury campus is a short walk from the city centre and has a range of purpose-built studios, workshops and lecture theatres for nearly 1,000 students of Architecture, Fine Art and Graphic Design and is also home to a vibrant further education department running the Foundation Diploma. The Canterbury School of Architecture is the only ‘school’ in the country to maintain its roots within a specialist art and design institution, and this distinctive environment allows close collaboration between budding architects, designers and fine artists, immersed in a culture that celebrates experimentation and innovation.
UCA Canterbury houses on-campus accommodation, a café, a newly-refurbished bar and a range of art facilities including a specialist library, an art shop and the Herbert Read Gallery, while there is a large artistic community in Canterbury with opportunities to find local mentors, funding and work placements in many thriving creative industries.
Epsom campus offers a range of Fashion courses as well as Graphics and Music Marketing and it’s also the home of the University’s Business School for the Creative Industries, which offers a variety of courses in business management and marketing specifically aimed at working within the creative industries.
UCA Epsom regularly hosts exhibitions and talks by high profile industry figures, and has links with employers – from small, niche companies to large and established multinationals. This gives you the chance to take part in live projects and gain work placement opportunities.
UCA Epsom is a 10-minute walk from the train station with trains to London taking 35 minutes, Heathrow and Gatwick airports are within easy reach.
Epsom is a lively and cosmopolitan area, close to London, but on the edge of the beautiful Surrey Hills. Its multicultural, metropolitan centre has excellent shopping, bars and cafés. UCA Epsom’s Student Union organises lots of social events, providing great entertainment during the week and hosting societies and clubs.
Farnham Campus is the biggest of UCA campuses, is a hub of creativity with over 2,000 students studying a wide range of creative arts including fine art, photography, textiles, crafts, animation, graphics, journalism and advertising. To support these study areas the campus has extensive facilities, including specialist workshops for textiles, ceramics, glass and jewellery; fine art and animation studios; film and sound editing suites; journalism newsrooms; photography studios and darkrooms.
The campus is home to the James Hockey & Foyer galleries which are open to the public; they host a diverse range of exhibitions by visiting artists as well as UCA’s staff, students and graduates. A number of research centres are located on this campus, including the Animation Research Centre, the Centre for Sustainable Design and the Crafts Study Centre, a purpose-built museum and gallery for the crafts.
Farnham train station is a 15-minute walk from the campus with direct trains to and from London taking just under an hour. Heathrow and Gatwick airports also are within easy reach.
Farnham is a charming market town, surrounded by beautiful countryside and close to Guildford and London. It has a range of friendly pubs, and shops with lots of interesting boutiques, high street favourites and an independent department store. The Students’ Union at UCA Farnham provides nightclub entertainment during the week, and also hosts a range of societies and clubs.
The campus is a creative hub for students studying a rich variety of courses in fashion, photography, product design and digital animation.
The Zandra Rhodes gallery at UCA Rochester provides a focus for local interest in the arts with a broad range of exhibitions. The campus is close to Maidstone TV Studios, where you can study TV Production.
Central London is only 40 minutes away by train, and Gatwick and Heathrow airports are also within easy reach.
Located in the Medway area of Kent, Rochester City has a rich history and literary heritage with a medieval cathedral and castle. The city offers a wide choice of restaurants, bars and cafés fused by a radical arts and music scene and vibrant popular culture.
- Animation, Computing & Games
- Architecture & Interior Design
- Craft, Jewellery & 3D Design
- Creative Education
- Fashion & Textiles
- Film & TV
- Fine Art
- Graphic Design, Advertising & Illustration
- Marketing, Promotion & Management
- Media & Journalism
- Performing Arts
- Pre-degree and Foundation Studies
The latest Research Exercise Framework (REF 2014) confirmed UCA’s position as one of the top ten research communities in art and design, with 93% of their research designated as internationally recognised for quality, and 64% of their research submissions classed as world leading and internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and thoroughness.
International & Industrial Opportunities
UCA offers you the opportunity to study abroad as a fully recognised and accredited part of your degree course. They have strong collaborative links with over 80 partner institutions worldwide across Europe and further afield, including Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Korea, USA, and more, through a funded Erasmus+ exchange or an international exchange, each of which normally lasts three to five months.
The University invites leading names to create live briefs for you during your course, guaranteeing that the curriculum is tuned to the needs of the commercial world, while showcasing your talent and build links with potential employers.
For most courses, UCA requires a portfolio of work to be submitted (either in person or online) to provide evidence of practical and visual ability appropriate to the course you are applying for. You should include a range of work which demonstrates your particular areas of interest. This may be in different formats and in a variety of media.
You may also be invited to come for an interview, which gives you the opportunity to show your portfolio of work and ask about the university.
UK Students (2021/2022)
UCA Creative Scholarships are allocated on merit, with eligibility varying from scholarship to scholarship.
The University has a Financial Assistance Fund which can support you if you’re experiencing financial difficulties beyond your control and you can demonstrate a clear financial need. The fund is open to all full and part-time home (UK) students on undergraduate and postgraduate courses. To be eligible, you’ll need to have applied for all student funding available to you, for example, the student maintenance loan and tuition fee loan or the postgraduate loan. The University also expect you to have taken advantage of any alternative sources of funding available, including an interest free overdraft.
The UCA libraries are the most comprehensive visual arts resource in the South East, with library collections from the University’s 150 year history, giving you access to around 272,000 print and electronic books and exhibition catalogues, plus nearly 700 prints and around 11,400 e-journals.
At UCA you’ll have access to extensive resources to support all your study needs. UCA IT suites are fully equipped with both PCs and Macs for graphic design and general work, video equipment and scanning and printing facilities. You’ll have access to all the latest industry design software such as Adobe, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, Microsoft Projects and Autodesk 3D Studio MAX.
Other resources include: digitalisation unit that provides access to images, streaming media, archives, collections and research material; glass hot shop; bronze foundry; laser cutters for high precision, high quality cutting of a variety of materials; and 3D printing and scanning.
UCA’s Students’ Union provide opportunities such as a programme of parties, gigs and balls throughout the year and a wide range of clubs and societies. The Students’ Union website and Glue (the student magazine) will keep you updated with all the latest union news, events listings, clubs and societies on your campus and volunteering opportunities.
The Student Advice staff can provide information and assistance with financial and welfare issues, including student loans, budgeting and managing your finances, access to medical services, disputes with housemates or landlords and identifying external support agencies and services.
Religion & Spirituality
Multi-faith services are accessible to all students at each of the campuses, as part of the University’s overall welfare provision. The service can offer: time and space to reflect informally upon the wider aspects of life at your place of work and study; involvement with recreational and social activities across the campuses; and information about the activities of the main faith groups in the local area.
Health & Wellbeing
Counsellors are available at all five campuses to help students with any personal concerns they may have. Whatever the problem, the service is offered on a confidential basis by professional counsellors.
The University has its own Disability and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) Support team, who can advise you from the time you make your application to the completion of your course. Their aim is to provide support based on the individual needs of each student. Support is available for students with disabilities and specific learning difficulties that include hearing impairment and dyslexia. Learning Support Assistants and Learning Mentors are also available to help you to fulfil your academic potential.
UCA also has designated members of staff (DMS) for students leaving care, young carers and those who are estranged from their family or have limited family support, and are considering entering the University. DMS provides a seamless support process from an initial enquiry through to your graduation.
The Careers and Employability Service provides a range of services to support you in planning your career effectively, including: workshops and presentations on professional development; one-to-one confidential guidance service; a dedicated careers library at all the campuses; up-to-date careers information, graduate vacancies, residencies, competitions and events; practical business advice and guidance to support new creative enterprises; and ongoing support to graduates for up to three years.
Self-catered (per week) (2021/2022)
Self-catered (per week) (2021/2022)
Self-catered (per week) (2021/2022)
Self-catered (per week) (2021/2022)
At UCA you'll have your own study bedroom consisting of a bed, desk, chair, blinds or curtains and a wardrobe. Each house or flat has a shared kitchen/dining area with a cooker, fridge/freezer, kettle, microwave and dining furniture. Basic cleaning equipment, such as a vacuum cleaner, is also provided. Many of the UCA's study bedrooms have ensuite facilities (own toilet and shower). All UCA’s accommodations are self-catered, however, there is a refectory on each UCA campus, which serves hot meals and cold snacks between Monday and Friday during term time.
At UCA Canterbury the accommodation is located at two separate sites offering flats with ensuite and standard single study bedrooms for around 270 students. Ian Dury House is on campus, while Hotham Court is a 30-minute walk from campus and a 20-minute walk from the city centre. If you don't want to live on campus, there are a wide variety of student houses and lodgings available in and around Canterbury.
UCA Epsom's four sites offer flats with ensuite and standard single study bedrooms, enough for 215 students. The Worple Road and Wilberforce Court accommodation are on campus, with some bedrooms adapted for disabled use. Ashley Avenue offers flats in Epsom town centre, and more flats are available at the new, off-site East Street, about 10-minute walk from the campus. A range of good-quality private accommodation is available as well.
The campus is home to the University's award-winning Student Village, which offers flats with single and shared study bedrooms for around 345 students, with a small number of ensuite bedrooms. A number of rooms in the Student Village have been adapted for disabled use. In addition to this there is a good range of private student housing and lodgings in Farnham.
The residential accommodation at Doust Way offers flats with single ensuite bedrooms for around 215 students. Located by the river, it’s a 5-minute walk from the train station, town centre and campus. The student accommodation office provides lists of approved private student houses and lodgings.
English Language Requirements
To study at UCA, the University requires evidence of your English language ability to meet the requirements for your course. It generally asks for 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each element for IELTS if you are looking to apply for a Bachelor's degree.
If you do not meet the English Language Requirements for your course, the University runs pre-sessional English language courses to help you improve your level of English.
When you arrive you can ask the University for advice on visa issues, working during your studies, your finances, healthcare and getting to know the campus and local area. They can also help you settle in your new environment and make new friends.
Each campus has an English for Academic Purposes tutor who gives free classes and tutorials, and where you can get advice about the academic language in your written and spoken work.