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UAL ranked 2nd in world for art and design in QS World University Rankings 2020

Written by Anna Tsekouras
Published date 03 March 2020

University of the Arts London (UAL) has further established itself as the global leader of undergraduate creative education, according to world rankings released this week.

For the second year running, UAL has ranked 2nd for Art and Design in the QS University World Rankings by Subject 2020, next to fellow London institution the Royal College of Art, which is dedicated to postgraduate Art and Design studies.

London universities claim 3 of the top 20 spots - with Goldsmiths, University of London in 14th - reiterating the UK capital as the world-leading city for studying Art and Design.

The rankings, compiled by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, provide authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 13,138 individual university programmes, taken by students at 1,368 universities in 83 locations across the world, across 48 academic disciplines and 5 broad faculty areas.

UAL Vice-Chancellor Nigel Carrington says:

Retaining our number 2 ranking for Art and Design is testament to the amazing work of our students, staff and graduates. Our position as the global leader for undergraduate arts education underpins UK creative education as the best in the world. This result builds on the recent evidence which shows UAL graduates not only receive a world class education, but that a higher percentage of them go on to become business leaders than from any other UK university. This reiterates how vital creative education is to both our industry and economy.

Despite post-Brexit uncertainty, the UK retained the top 2 spots for Art and Design studies in the 2020 rankings, illustrating the unwavering quality of creative education in the UK.

The UK's continued dominance of the global arts and design rankings bodes well for the growth of the UK industry and economy, given recent evidence that showed a higher percentage of UAL's graduates go on to become business leaders than from any other UK university.The study involved more than 9.5million former students, and revealed that 19.85% of UAL graduates went onto lead businesses and almost 1 in 10 (9.21%) used their degrees to form their own start-ups.

This report followed on from further research in 2019 which reiterated the importance a creative education to the economy, revealing creative graduates were at the centre of a start-up and social enterprise boom across the country which saw more than £822 million generated for the UK economy in 2018.

Former UAL students launched 240 start-ups in 2017/18, the second-highest number from all UK universities behind only Royal College of Arts, according to the report compiled by sales recruitment specialist Pareto Law using data from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

About the QS World University Rankings by Subject


QS Art & Design rankings are based on academic reputation and employer reputation. Other subjects add measures for research by citations and productivity, but these are not applied to Art and Design because our research methodology is so different.

Academic Reputation – looks at which institutions are most-highly regarded by the global academic community. The scores for this indicator are based on over 94,000 responses to QS’s Academic Survey – the world’s largest repository of global academic sentiment;

Employer Reputation – examines which institutions are regarded by the world’s hiring managers as nurturing the most talented, hireable graduates.The dataset for this indicator is derived from insights offered by over 44,000 hiring managers – the world’s largest repository of informed employer opinion about graduate strength.

See the full rankings


Image: Chendi Xu  BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear 2019, London College of  Fashion, UAL