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What is UAL?

UAL is University of the Arts London, a University comprised of 6 distinct Colleges. Each College has a rich history dating back to the 19th or early 20th century, and each has earned a global reputation for supporting students to produce work of outstanding quality. Our colleges are: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts.

Beyond discovering who we are, it's important to understand that there are some significant differences between the US and UK education. Read on to gain more insight and explanation of our Colleges, subject areas and study levels, as well as what's important for you to consider as an applicant from the US.

6 Colleges 1 University

University of the Arts London (UAL) is comprised of 6 Colleges, each with their own unique identity and heritage. Together they make up University of the Arts London. As a student you'll choose to apply to one or more of the 6 Colleges based on the course(s) you select.

Our Colleges are located at different sites across London. As a student at UAL you will have a home base at your College but be able to access other College sites to use certain facilities, such as libraries and learning zones to meet other students.

Learn more about our Colleges.

students sitting in garden
UAL Students at Camberwell College of Arts, by Alys Tomlinson

Subject areas

At UAL we specialise in the creative arts and as a University we offer over 200 courses across pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate level – taught across our 6 Colleges. To make it a little easier to navigate these courses, we've grouped them into 19 subject areas.

Our subject areas are intended to help you self-select in terms of the area you'd like to study within.

Learn more about our subject areas.

patterned painting
Frances Hogg, BA (Hons) Fine Art:Painting, Camberwell College of Arts


In the UK it's common practice to study at pre-degree level before progressing onto undergraduate and beyond. Pre-degree courses at UAL include Foundation Diploma in Art and Design qualification, as well as subject specific Preparation courses in Fashion, Design, Media and Screen.

1-year Pre-degree courses are often pre-reqs for application to undergraduate courses at UAL. Pre-degree is the usual entry point for applicants from US high school, or for applicants who may have completed some college or university study in other subject areas.

It's a fantastic time to explore and experiment across a range of creative areas to discover or confirm an area of specialisation, as well as to further develop your portfolio.

Application to a pre-degree course, including the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design (you may know this as a freshman year) usually requires US students to have a High School Diploma and a portfolio of work. Watch our 'preparing a portfolio for foundation study' video to learn more.

Learn more about our pre-degree courses and studying from US Student Sister Emerson.

girl wearing a helmet
Jemima Wright, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Central Saint Martins


This is the study level where you'll really start to get stuck into a specific discipline and gradually refine your practice over a 3 year period. We don't expect our undergraduate applicants to be masters of their craft, but they should show an understanding of the area they want to progress into.

Application to an undergraduate course (you may know this as a bachelor's degree) usually requires US students to have a High School Diploma, where needed, a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design or relevant pre-degree qualification and a portfolio of work. Watch our 'preparing a portfolio for undergraduate study' video to learn more.

Learn more about our undergraduate courses and studying from US Student Jaya Twill.

ceramic sculptures
Naomi Anderson-Subryan, BA (Hons) Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts


If you choose to continue your studies you may want to apply to one of our postgraduate courses. This is an area where courses are much more specialised and come with a clear identity. We expect applicants to this level to have work which is more refined and sophisticated than the previous levels.

Postgraduate study at UAL includes a range of MA, MSc, MBA, MPhil and MRes courses. At this level, applicants are expected to show a high level of engagement with the subject area together with a well developed portfolio of relevant work.

Application to a postgraduate course usually requires applicants to have an undergraduate degree in a related subject.  In addition, application requires supplementary documentation that can include a personal statement, a study/research proposal, a CV and references. Watch our 'preparing a portfolio for postgraduate study' video to learn more.

Learn more about our postgraduate courses and studying from US Student Mary Morgan.

hand holding a pearl
Xiyuan Xiao, MA Photography, London College of Communication


Join a vibrant community of research at UAL.  We offer theoretical and practice-based research programmes to MPhil and PhD qualifications.  There are currently over 250 research students across UAL who enjoy full access to our College resources as well as training and support.

Find out more about research programmes.

Creative Processes with Adrienne Bennie, PhD Research Student © Alys Tomlinson