How to get into the University of the Arts London

The University of the Arts London (UAL) was founded in 2003 and  formed by the amalgamation of previously independent art, design, fashion, and media colleges,  namely:

  • Central St Martins
  • Camberwell College of the Arts
  • London College of Communication
  • Wimbledon College of the Arts
  • Chelsea College of the Arts
  • London College of Fashion

The university has thirteen halls of residence in various parts of London. It is fourth among United Kingdom institutions by number of international students. 

Each college of the University of the Arts London is situated in the heart of London and specialises in different subjects.

The London College of Fashion and Central St Martins

The London College of Fashion and Central St Martins set Jimmy Choo and Alek Wek on the road to success. Over 50 per cent of the designers who exhibit at London Fashion Week come from Central St Martins, as do the majority of the British Designer of the Year winners, and the college maintains close links with brands such as LVMH and Puma. Unsurprisingly, only six per cent of applicants to Central St Martins are successful, while the UAL as a whole has an acceptance rate of around 21 per cent.

Wimbledon College of the Arts

Wimbledon College of the Arts is theatre-based and teaches screen and performance art, as well as related subjects. The UAL has produced 10 Oscar winners, 30 BAFTA Award winners and half the Turner Prize winners – which demonstrates how its students excel across many fields of the arts.

Chelsea College of Arts

The Chelsea College of Arts produced world-famous artists such as David Hockney, the actor Alan Rickman who played Professor Snape in the Harry Potter stories, Dirk Bogarde and Quentin Blake who has illustrated many of the UK’s most beloved children’s books.

Camberwell College of the Arts

Camberwell College of the Arts offers single degrees in the Fine Arts and focuses on sculpture, painting, drawing and photography. The infamous Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen, the interior designer who has radically transformed perfectly appealing houses into riotous harem-like dens, complete with swings, pictures made of hair and asymmetrical pink wall-art, trained at Camberwell – as did Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine fame.

London College of Communication

The London College of Communication specialises in media-related subjects including advertising, animation, film, graphic design, photography and sound arts. Located in Elephant and Castle,south of the river,it is home to 5000 students and offers 60 media courses .

How to get into the University of the Arts London - best art institution in Europe

In 2024, QS once again placed UAL second in its global rankings for Art and Design, so competition for a place is fierce.

The University of the Arts London offers foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Its online pre-degree course for international students lasts for six months and focuses on an introduction to art, design, and communication.If you do well on the course, you are automatically guaranteed a place for undergraduate studies.

Another popular course is the International Introduction to Study of Design, Media, and Screen, which takes 15 weeks to complete, online, and demonstrates your commitment to the field and the UAL.

The university offers 97 undergraduate courses in performing arts, art, design, media, and fashion, across 18 subjects, including:

  • Jewellery design
  • Product and furniture design
  • Product and industrial design
  • Interior design
  • Ceramic design
  • Fine Art
  • Architecture
  • Illustration
  • Fashion photography
  • Fashion sportswear
  • Fashion illustration
  • Fashion marketing
  • Fashion management
  • Games Art
  • Creative Computing
  • Journalism
  • Advertising
  • Film practice
  • Virtual Reality
  • Sound art
  • Make-up for fashion
  • Animation
  • Technical arts for theatre and performance
  • Theatre design

A quick glance through this list shows that the University of the Arts London students contribute to many sectors of the creative world, and it is hardly surprising that it has produced world-famous success stories, such as John Galliano, Tracy Emin, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen.

If you wish to join this list of alumni, you will have to persuade the admissions board that you offer something unique, exciting, and innovative which will push the boundaries of the subject you wish to study.

Being talented is important, but having a vision is vital.

How to get into the University of the Arts London - the application process

You will need to submit an application through UCAS, the UK’s central admissions system, and upload it to the website by 15 January.

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UAL requires applicants to:

  • Have a GPA of 3.5 +
  • Provide a resume
  • Upload a personal statement
  • Demonstrate their language competency through an IELTS or CAE certificate, with an IELTS score of 5-7.5, depending on the course.
  • Send in final secondary school transcripts and grades from the last three years
  • Copy of passport
  • Proof of health insurance cover
  • Two or more recommendations
  • Proof of funds
  • Submit a portfolio

How to get into the University of the Arts London - The perfect portfolio

The portfolio for the University of the Arts London is the most important part of your application and will be the decisive factor in your application being accepted or rejected -so you need to spend time and thought on putting it together.

The aim of the portfolio is to show how you have developed over time, so it is not wise to just throw in your favourite pieces from your completed work and pick examples which you think might appeal to the application committee.

How to get into the University of the Arts London - Fees, costs, and scholarships

The fees for international students in 2024 are £28, 570. The university notes on its website that fees may go up by 5% every year.

International students are eligible for scholarships and these are listed in the following link.

London is one of the world’s great capital cities and if you study at the UAL, you will have access to a seemingly never-ending stream of exhibitions, as well as a host of amazing shows, museums, plays, outdoor and indoor events, visual riches, and architectural glories.

London’s transport system is cheap and efficient, and the University of the Arts London offers accommodation in its halls of residence, ranging from simple studios to larger units big enough for two people.

Rents vary from £185-£344 per week, depending on whether or not you share a bathroom and choose a standard or premium room.

If you wish to take a virtual tour of what is on offer, ask questions or browse through your options, the best place to start is the university’s accommodation office. 

Cost of living

The cost of living is slightly higher in London than in other regions of the UK and you should budget around £1300 a month, to cover food, accommodation, leisure, daily expenses, and travel.

Of course, costs depend entirely on lifestyle and if you wish to eat out frequently, to enjoy London’s nightlife, to shop in upmarket stores, etc, you will need a larger budget!

Students can radically cut back on expenses by taking part-time work, using budget supermarkets, and shopping in markets, such as glamorous and lively Camden Market, Petticoat Lane and smaller local markets situated in every borough.

Every college of the UAL is on the London underground system, which runs late into the night. Your college will give you information on where to buy materials for your course and what, if anything, you need to supply.

London has a strong heartbeat and sets trends in every artistic area. Studying at the University of the Arts London combines the best of urban living with exceptional education, and you will benefit from simply immersing yourself in this large, multicultural cauldron of influences, ideas, and possibilities.

If art, design, or theatre are your passions, then contact Elab and let us work with you to prepare an application to the University of the Arts London, where you can inspire others and be inspired to live your dream and give free rein to your creativity and ideas. 


If you are worried about your portfolio, we can offer you one-to-one support with portfolio experts and mentors. We also run a 120-hour long workshop – the Art Schools Abroad Programme. Call us and we will give you dates, times and  an outline of the programme.

Certificate Elab Poland Sept 2022-Sept 2025_page-0001
  • Introduction
  • Diagnostics
  • Personal Profile Map
  • Research
  • University Report
  • Final application choices
  • Application process plan
  • Mentor Program
  • Exam and Interview prep
  • Document completion
  • Application portal setup
  • Submission
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-departure procedures
  • Finances
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