Art and Design BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
ABB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBC at A Level and a Pass in the Access to Leeds module.
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students working on their 3d design projects in the studio

Studying our BA Art and Design course teaches you to become a creative and critical thinker, engaging with society and exploring practical applications of art and design. You’ll be equipped with a broad range of resilient skills that are adaptable within the ever-changing design landscape. Through a variety of modules, you’ll learn about creative technologies, art and design theory, and develop the ability to respond creatively to social and environmental challenges in a lasting and positive way.

Our course values research activities and contextual studies and sees them as integral to contemporary creative practice. Through making, reading, and writing, you'll become a creative thinker and critical practitioner. You’ll work in multidisciplinary and connected ways in collaboration with others to address the problems and challenges that require imaginative responses.

Learning through doing, you’ll develop imaginative and rapid approaches to artefact and image making that utilise the exciting fabrication and digital opportunities of the School of Design. You’ll learn skills in developing and making traditional and digital images and objects, design history and design research, utilising a range of practical skills to critically examine, question and address contemporary challenges.

At every stage, you can tailor your optional modules to address your passions and concerns. In addition, you are offered the transformational opportunity to undertake a year in industry or study abroad. The course prepares you to develop final projects that address future challenges and provides you with the skills and knowledge to develop your distinct and personalised approach to creative practice to support your future career.

Specialist facilities and support

Take a virtual tour of our facilities.

The School of Design offers excellent facilities and technical support for developing your creative skills. We have a range of dedicated spaces where you can work independently. We also have several practical workshop studios and specialist facilities: sculpture programme studio, studio spaces, fashion design studio, knit and weave studio, photography studio, digital print workshop, laser cutting and 3D print workshop, printmaking workshop, XLab for Immersive Technologies and 3D workshop. We provide you with access to a team of excellent technicians across the full range of skills who can help you to realise your work to reach its potential.

We also provide a range of other support to enhance the student experience and prepare students for the workplace: free dedicated software, a wide range of technical induction programmes, free access to LinkedIn Learning Tutorials, free camera and video recorder loan, supporting a Degree Show, external promotion, Yorkshire Fashion Archive, visiting speakers from industry or other institutions around the world.

Course details

The need for societal change is at the heart of our course, which develops your understanding of how you can use art and design to address issues of diversity, inclusivity and sustainability. You’ll learn and create with your fellow coursemates from the School, responding to contemporary challenges through cross-disciplinary design and creative thinking.

We highly value research activities and contextual studies as integral to contemporary creative practice. We believe that this means you’ll graduate with the flexibility, adaptability and resilience that employers are looking for.

Year 1

In your first year, you’ll learn about design culture, the histories and technologies relating to art and design, and how societal change drives creative practice. You’ll gain research and analysis skills and write critical essays in response to contemporary and historical design perspectives. We introduce skills in visual communication for a range of purposes. At Level 1, you’ll also be creatively challenged by varied design ‘jams’ to establish skills in rapid creative idea generation.

Simultaneously, you’ll engage with an exciting range of practical design projects, starting to build your portfolio from Year 1. Developing skills in various 2D, 3D and digital media, you will begin to realise your distinct creative practice. 

Year 2

In your second year, you’ll develop an awareness of professional standards within art and design as you expand your portfolio of practical work. You’ll use your academic knowledge to conduct and undertake critical analysis and evaluation, creating art and design-led responses to a variety of contemporary challenges.

You’ll also build skills in immersive and interactive design as you continue to expand your design knowledge and learn about more advanced ways of conducting research in industry.

Year 3

All of this will prepare you for your final year, in which you’ll apply all of the practical and academic skills you’ve gained. This will culminate in creative projects, where you’ll demonstrate your advanced art and design insights and communication skills. You are given room to expand your interests with two independent projects that will demonstrate your in-depth research and rigorous responses to a topic in the field.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1
Compulsory modules

Design Studies: Foundations (20 credits) - This module provides opportunities to develop the foundational skills of scholarly research, academic writing and critical thinking. You’ll be immersed in key issues and debates informing the changing values and future of design and consider how these have been influenced by social and historical forces. It will equip you with the skills to read and understand academic texts and apply theoretical ideas to your own design practice. You’ll also be introduced to research methods for finding and analysing texts and images.

You’ll develop your awareness of the complexity of challenges that design and society faces and an ability to analyse the relevance of and make connections between the contexts, issues and subject fields that will shape your future studies and professional careers.

Creative Challenges and Communication (20 credits) - This module involves a range of rapid and team-led design jams as you are taught a variety of design thinking skills that are both broad and discipline specific. Being able to visually communicate design solutions in a range of formats is fundamental to this module – principles of type choice, layout and image usage are taught.

Process, Making and Meaning (40 credits) - This module introduces you to the processes of research, design thinking, visualisation, experimentation, development and delivery of images, artefacts and objects integral to contemporary art and design practice. You’ll explore a selection of 2D, 3D, 4D, craft, industrial and digital making processes. The relevance of processes and making to contemporary art and design practice are discussed and you will reflect on the meaning of creative choices and strategies through visual and written research into current critical debates and challenges addressed by artists, designers and the creative industries.

You must take one module (each 20 credits) in a defined area of design study based on staff specialisms. These may include modules in areas such as:

  • Drawing Beyond Itself

  • Materiality in Design

Optional modules

(Each 20 credits)

  • Creative Thinking

  • Introduction to Photography

  • Colour Design and Application

  • University of Leeds Discovery Module

Year 2
Compulsory modules

Design Studies: Exploration (20 credits) - This module will develop your research and analysis skills and show you how these can be used to tackle the complex challenges faced by society today. You’ll learn how to apply a range of different research methods to explore the role design plays in our lives. This module will equip you with an understanding of how you can use visual and contextual research to create positive change in the world and the confidence to put this knowledge into practice.

Design for Interaction and Experience (20 credits) - This module teaches skills in planning and designing post digital experiences. Team-based demonstrations introduce you to the potential of emerging technologies that may shape the future of design. You will engage with current media theories that help contextualise your work. Practical principles of designing for physical interaction (such as designing installations or digital experiences) are introduced and you learn how best to present your creative ideas using a range of techniques.

Ideation, Technologies and Material (40 credits) - This module introduces more advanced methods for the research, development and consolidation of ideas in order to arrive at a critical understanding of the relationship between materials, concepts and processes. You’ll be introduced to visual research methods appropriate for a more focused engagement with creative practice through an advanced understanding of ideas, material processes and critical appraisal.

You must take one module (each 20 credits) in a defined area of study. These may include modules in areas such as:

  • Books Arts

  • Advanced Branding

Optional modules

(Each 20 credits)

  • Marketing Creativity and Innovation

  • Contemporary Photography

  • Advanced Colour

  • Contemporary Illustration

  • Collage Culture

  • University of Leeds Discovery Module

Year 3
Compulsory modules

Major Research Project (40 credits) - In your final year, you’ll carry out an academic research project, building on the research and analytical skills developed throughout your studies. You’ll select from a range of project types, enabling you to focus on a subject of specific interest, developing the skills required for your future career.

Art and Design Self-Directed Project (40 credits) - The module provides students with the opportunity to explore in-depth concerns that are relevant to contemporary art and design practice. It builds upon skills and understanding developed at Levels 1 and 2. You’ll select from the various media, materials and technologies available on the course to create and develop design, artworks and or artefacts informed by the use of selected references and related research material.

Art and Design Innovation (20 credits) - This module introduces you to innovative ways to present work, research and on-going practice to diverse audiences. You’ll be introduced to relevant and current modes of engaging different audiences, publics and stakeholders in art and design.

Optional modules

(Each 20 credits)

  • Contemporary Advertising

  • Collaborative Marketing and Promotion

  • Fashion Styling and Photography

  • Social Design

  • University of Leeds Discovery Module

Learning and teaching

Creative problem solving and design thinking methods are central to our teaching in the School of Design. Your learning will be enhanced by a range of contemporary teaching methods which encourage active learning and are underpinned by inclusive and authentic learning activities, including team working, creative sprints and industry-facing scenarios.

We follow a campus-based blended learning approach, you’ll have a range of resources in the virtual learning environment which are always accessible, including videos and pre-work to help you prepare. You’ll attend lectures designed to invite engagement and participation, seminars which enable you to delve deeper into key topics, workshops to learn and practise design making, and critiques and tutorials to discuss work in progress.

Collaboration with staff and your peers is the foundation of our teaching and learning, giving you input into your learning journey. Some of your core modules will be studied with your coursemates from other design disciplines, so you will benefit from our community of learners, encountering diverse perspectives and exchanging your ideas with global industry practices in mind.  Your module tutors have dedicated office hours, which means there is always the opportunity to ask questions.

A typical week in your first year may include eight to 12 hours of in-person and online study, one to three hours of specific workshop and studio activities, regular personal tutor sessions and private study. You’ll also have the ongoing support of your Academic Personal Tutor.

Private study is important at university and a potentially significant change from the way you have been taught previously. This is time where you can reflect and critique materials from taught session, including further reading, writing, designing and making. You’ll be guided through this process by your tutors to help you develop your knowledge and research skills. The ability to work independently is a key skill for your development as a creative professional and thinker.

There is an active visiting speakers course, formed of industry and academic experts, including School of Design alumni.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


The nature of assessment will change as you progress through your course:

  • at Level 1 assessments focus on your acquisition and understanding of new knowledge and practical, digital, academic and professional skills

  • at Level 2 assessments focus more on establishing how well you understand, analyse and apply this new knowledge and new skills in relation to real-world, local and global settings

  • in your final year study becomes more self-directed with forms of assessment often being negotiated and agreed with tutors

Throughout each year of study, it’s expected that you’ll find that assessments are progressively more challenging. To support you as you navigate assessment at the different levels of study, we provide formative as well as summative assessment. Formative assessment gives staff an opportunity to give you feedback on personal progress, in good time before a summative deadline. Given the range of assessment types in any one level of study, formative assessment and feedback enables you to reflect upon your personal progress and establish which forms of assessment allow you to play to your strengths.

Authentic assessment means relevant assessment, in terms of contemporary contexts and relevant to your personal interests and your future aspirations. The authenticity of assessment is an important consideration in how we design assignments and project briefs. This means that we think carefully about the relevance of assessment outcomes; not only in academic terms but also in terms of your chosen career path, skill development needs and the future of work in your chosen discipline. Where appropriate, there will be an element of choice in your assessment. Some projects will allow you to choose the focus and format of your submission.

Dialogic teaching methods emphasise in-class discussion and support student-staff debate. This approach to teaching and learning enables staff to hear all student voices. In turn, for some modules, this in-class dynamic may facilitate and inform the co-production of assessment tasks. Co-production of assessment tasks means that staff and students work together to devise fair and inclusive assessment; both formative and summative. This allows staff to consider the requirements of a module alongside opportunities to allow students to harness their strengths.

While remaining considerate of module and course learning outcomes, where relevant and beneficial, we strive to adopt a flexible approach to assessment design. This flexibility allows us to respond to student voice, maintain an agility that allows us to react to global, social and cultural change and respond swiftly to opportunities to devise projects with our industrial partners. We aim for all assessment to be relevant, meaningful and engaging.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB including an Art/Design subject. Excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.

If you have not studied art/design at A level, we may also consider your application based on a high grade at GCSE along with a portfolio of recent and relevant work. Please contact us for more information about portfolio submission.

GCSE: 5/6 A-C (or 4+) including English

Other course specific tests:

If predicted A in a relevant EPQ, alternative offer of A in EPQ plus BBB.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


DDM in art/design. Excluding Art Foundation Diploma; please see Other Qualifications section.

Cambridge Pre-U

M1, M1, M2 including art/design or media.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 5 in Visual Arts and 4 in English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 including art/design.

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

BB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers OR B in Advanced Highers and AAABB in Highers OR AABBBB in Highers.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Please note that we don't currently accept the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Other Qualifications

UAL Extended Diploma: Distinction in the UAL Extended Diploma (or High Merit where available).

Art Foundation course: Whilst we welcome art foundation students, this is not a formal requirement for entry and doesn’t usually count towards entry requirements.

In exceptional cases, we may make you an offer conditional on achieving an Art Foundation qualification; we may consider your application if you’re taking a validated Art Foundation course and have ABB or above at A-level not including Art or Design.

If you’re taking the EPQ, we may make you an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. In this case that would be BBB, plus EPQ grade A.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year


We also accept a range of international qualifications. Please visit our international equivalencies page for more details on recognised qualifications from your region.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Additional cost information

There are additional costs of study that students need to cover. We estimate that these additional costs could be as described below, but this amount may vary depending on how you decide to respond to university briefs and the range of materials and techniques you decide to adopt.

Equipment and material costs
Students need to cover the cost of printing their work during the course, including specialist print workshop costs. Students also need to cover costs of copying and supplying their own basic materials (eg pens, pencils, cutting tools, paper, ruler) and more course specific materials (eg sketchbooks, specialist papers, specialist fabrics, sculpting materials, specialist tools) as well as print portfolios.

The approximate cost of these items in recent years has been:

• Level 1 – £100 - £170
• Level 2 – £100 - £150
• Level 3 – £200 - £600

Computers and digital equipment
To ensure you can make the most of your studies at Leeds, you’ll need to make sure your laptop meets the system requirements for your course.

This courses require the development of work using industry standard specialist software. As/if required by your course, the School will provide this to you when you arrive. We also use a blended learning model where you’ll need to access course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile device (eg laptop, tablet, smartphone). Costs for a laptop will vary depending on the exact specification. You should expect to pay between £1,500–£2,500.

If you’re buying a new laptop for your studies, then we recommend that you wait until you’re registered as a student so that you take advantage of discounts given to university students. Delaying purchasing also allows you to find out from your course leader what you need. Depending on your circumstances you can benefit from a laptop loan or further support from our Financial Assistance Fund.

You’ll also have access to further digital equipment in our studios and by using our loan scheme. You may decide to purchase your own equipment (from Year 1 or as your studies progress) which will result in additional optional costs. Examples include a drawing tablet (£150–£500) or a digital camera (£200–£1500).

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Documents and information you’ll need

If you have not studied art/design at A-level (or equivalent), we may also consider your application based on a high grade at GCSE along with a portfolio of relevant work. Please contact us for more information on portfolio submission.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Design

Contact us

School of Design Undergraduate Admissions


Career opportunities

Flexibility, resilience and transferable skills are desirable attributes for creative industry professionals. In the School of Design, as well as providing you with research-led, industry-informed subject-specific knowledge, we aim to equip you with the best possible skills for a variety of careers. Design thinking, combined with excellent research and criticality skills are increasingly valued across a wide range of sectors; therefore, your degree from the University of Leeds opens opportunities across disciplines and multiple industries, as well as in your course-related specialism.

Our Art and Design degree will equip you with a wide range of skills. As well as specialist art and design practice skills, you’ll develop sound professional awareness and be able to research different topics independently.

Our graduates have pursued a wide range of careers. Many continue with their own practice as either artists or designers, and a selection of exhibitions by recent graduates include the London Original Print Fair – Royal Academy of Art, Baltic Gallery, Jerwood Drawing Prize, Saatchi’s New Sensations, Arts at Trinity Leeds and Art in Unusual Places, Leeds.

Others have chosen careers related to art and design in a variety of roles including art gallery manager, fabricator, illustrator, editorial assistant, graphic designer, journalist, theatre staging design, lecturer, learning support worker, artist in residence and study centre assistant. Graduates have worked for a wide range of companies and institutions such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, Penguin Random House, National Portrait Gallery, Arts Council Collection, Pinewood Studios, Cath Kidston and Channel 4.

Some graduates have decided to move onto postgraduate studies in disciplines such as fine art, design, material futures, art and science, environmentalism, advertising, landscape architecture, illustration, set design, scenic arts, museum studies and curating. Others have stepped into careers in accounting, law, marketing, journalism, education, medicine and retail.

Careers support

We fully support you to prepare for your future throughout your degree. We run regular workshops with employers and have a popular visiting speaker programme which involves established artists and researchers from the field presenting their experience which is a great opportunity to gain an insight into possible career options that may be available to you.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Year in industry

The School of Design has a successful and well-established Year in Industry option for students. This is a fantastic opportunity which around 100 students take advantage of each year to enhance their personal and professional development. Our established industry programme has allowed us to build relationships and links with big and small successful businesses, meaning we can assist you in finding a suitable and attractive placement. You’ll also be supported to prepare for placement in Year 2, with focused seminars and help with CVs and interviews.

You’ll continue to be supported by University staff and have an allocated Placement Tutor to offer guidance and contact throughout the year. You’ll also be invited to campus to discuss placement experiences with your peers.

During this optional additional year, which takes place on the third year of your course, you can spend a year immersing yourself with one organisation or try a series of shorter placements to explore different organisations and career paths. As well as building on your learnt skills, placements allow you to experiment with differing work environments to find what suits you. Our Art and Design students have successfully gained placements in a range of roles including graphic design, illustration, creative marketing, events and production. Practical work experience is extremely valuable to potential employers and some students have been offered permanent roles at their placement companies.

Find out more about our Year in Industry in the School of Design.

Student profile: Saba Siddiqui

The careers service is also available to us as alumni after we graduate which will be so helpful for advice on my CV, interviews, and freelancing.
Find out more about Saba Siddiqui's time at Leeds

Student profile: Amelia Sharples

The course covered all aspects I was searching for in a degree, it can be tailored to your own interests via the many modules on offer whilst providing a good balance of creativity and academia.
Find out more about Amelia Sharples's time at Leeds

Student profile: Abigail Egwunyenga

As an Art and Design student, you have access to so much, from the print studio to the workshops and the laser cutters, and even students of other design backgrounds to collaborate with.
Find out more about Abigail Egwunyenga's time at Leeds