University of the Arts London

A collegiate university in London, England, specialising in arts, design, fashion and the performing arts


University of the Arts London (UAL) is a collegiate university in London, England, specialising in arts, design, fashion and the performing arts. The University has a world-class reputation and is made up of six equally renowned institutions: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion, Wimbledon College of Arts; and one institute, UAL Creative Computing Institute

It was formerly founded in 1986 by the merger of seven previously independent art, design, fashion and media colleges as the London Institute, but it was established as a university in 2003 and took its current name in 2004.

Currently, there are more than 18,000 students enrolled, of which 14,760 are undergraduates and 3,530 graduates.


The university has its origins in seven previously independent art, design, fashion and media colleges, which were brought together for administrative purposes to form the London Institute in 1986. They were: Saint Martin’s School of Art; Chelsea School of Art; the London College of Printing; the Central School of Art and Design; Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts; the College for Distributive Trades; and the London College of Fashion. The colleges were originally established from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century.

Under the Education Reform Act 1988, the London Institute became a single legal entity, and the first court of governors was instituted in the following year, 1989. The first appointed rector was John McKenzie. The institute was granted degree-awarding powers in 1993 by the Privy Council. Sir William Stubbs was appointed rector after the retirement of McKenzie in 1996. A coat of arms was granted to the institute in 1998. Will Wyatt was appointed chairman of governors in 1999, and Lord Stevenson of Coddenham was installed as the first chancellor in 2000.

On the retirement of William Stubbs as rector in 2001, Sir Michael Bichard was appointed and encouraged the London Institute to apply for university status. The London Institute originally chose not to apply because its individual colleges were internationally recognised in their own right. In 2003, the London Institute received Privy Council approval for university status; it was renamed University of the Arts London in 2004.

Wimbledon School of Art joined the university as a sixth college in 2006, and was renamed Wimbledon College of Arts. Sir John Tusa was appointed chairman, replacing Will Wyatt, in 2007. Nigel Carrington was appointed rector in 2008, replacing Michael Bichard.

From 2008 to 2010, staff were made redundant and courses closed. At the London College of Communication, where 16 of the 19 courses were discontinued in 2009, staff resigned and students demonstrated and staged a sit-in in protest at the cuts in budget and staff numbers. Central Saint Martins moved to a purpose-built complex in King’s Cross in June 2011.

In 2015 Grayson Perry was appointed to succeed Kwame Kwei-Armah as chancellor of the university.


UAL offers students pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in art, design, fashion, media, communication and performing arts. 

This is the full list of subjects:

  • 3D design and product design
  • Accessories, footwear and jewellery
  • Animation, interactive, film and sound
  • Architecture, spatial and interior design
  • Business & management, and science
  • Communication and graphic design
  • Creative Computing
  • Curation and culture
  • Fashion business
  • Fashion communication
  • Fashion design
  • Fashion making and pattern cutting
  • Fashion styling and make up
  • Fine art
  • Illustration
  • Journalism, PR, media and publishing
  • Languages
  • Performance and design for theatre and screen
  • Photography
  • Textiles and materials

Students have access to state of the art facilities, including workshops with letterpress machinery, studio theatres and gallery space. Students can also make use of the University’s libraries and archives for research into hundreds of years of the greatest artists and designers..

UAL’s inspiring teaching faculty is made up of professional artists, practitioners, designers, technicians, critics and theorists, all on hand to deliver cutting-edge programmes and courses.

The University dominates when it comes to fashion education with 2 of the world’s top 4 undergraduate fashion courses taught at UAL Colleges according to the Business of Fashion (Bof) Rankings in 2017. UAL was rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2017 for our Foundation Diploma in Art and Design.


The University of the Arts London is a federation of six arts colleges: Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, the London College of Communication, the London College of Fashion, the Wimbledon College of Arts; and one institute, the UAL Creative Computing Institute

Camberwell College of Arts

Camberwell offers courses in design and fine art. Its unique studio culture gives students the freedom to explore their creativity and use facilities that embrace digital technology and traditional craftsmanship.

Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martins is a world-famous arts and design college.

Chelsea College of Arts

Chelsea specialises in curating, fine art, graphic design communication, textile, product, interior and spatial design. It provides students with a stimulating space and supportive atmosphere so they can develop their practice.

London College of Communication

London College of Communication is a pioneering world leader in creative communications education. It works at the cutting edge of new thinking in Design, Media and Screen and prepares its students to become the future of the creative industries.

London College of Fashion

London College of Fashion is a world leader in fashion design, media and business education and has been nurturing creative talent for over a century.

Wimbledon College of Arts

Wimbledon has a range of performance courses. It encourages practical experimentation as a way to learn the skills needed for a successful career in the arts.

UAL Creative Computing Institute

The UAL Creative Computing institute offers innovative new courses, research opportunities, partnerships and events – exploring computer science and creative practice.

Notable Alumni

The University of the Arts London is one of the best renowned art universities worldwide and, as such, has given many famous and talented professionals along these years. Among its seven colleges, we can find the following:

Central Saint Martins

  • Stella McCartney (fashion designer)
  • John Galliano (fashion designer)
  • Alexander McQueen (fashion designer)
  • Maria Björnson (fashion designer)
  • Helen Marten (Turner Prize nominee and winner in 2016 and 2017)
  • Lubaina Himid (Turner Prize nominee and winner in 2016 and 2017)
  • Laure Prouvost (Turner Prize winner)
  • Jarvis Cocker (musician)
  • Sarah Burton (fashion designer)
  • Zac Posen (fashion designer)
  • Riccardo Tisci (fashion designer)

Camberwell College of Arts

  • Novera Ahmed (sculptor)
  • Gillian Ayres RA (1989 Turner Prize nominee)
  • Franko B (artist)
  • Irene Bache (artist)
  • Jeff Banks (graphic designer and TV presenter)
  • Roger “Syd” Barrett (musician, artist)
  • Kate Blacker (artist)
  • Quentin Blake (artist)
  • Alan Burgess (artist, potter, educator)
  • Seth Cardew (potter)
  • Gillian Carnegie (2005 Turner Prize nominee)
  • Lady Sarah Chatto (artist)
  • Sue Clowes (fashion designer)
  • Darren Coffield (artist)

Chelsea College of Arts

  • Anthea Alley (sculptor)
  • Rita Angus (painter)
  • Sophie Aston (painter)
  • Franko B (artist)
  • Gwen Barnard (painter, printmaker)
  • Celia Frances Bedford (painter, printmaker)
  • John Berger (art critic, novelist, painter and author)
  • Quentin Blake (children’s illustrator)
  • Flavia Blois, painter
  • Delphine Boël, (papier-mâché sculptor)

London College of Communication

  • Tracy Brabin (Labour Co-operative MP for Batley)
  • Dana Lixenberg, (award-winning photographer)
  • Rebekah Brooks, (former chief executive of News International)
  • Jane Root, (former controller of BBC Two)
  • Charles Saatchi (the advertising executive and art collector)
  • Ralph Steadman (cartoonist and illustrator)
  • Neville Brody (graphic designer)
  • Sir John Hegarty (advertising executive)
  • Louise Minchin (journalist and presenter)
  • Jefferson Hack (editor)

London College of Fashion

  • Jimmy Choo (shoe designer)
  • Ioana Ciolacu (fashion designer)
  • Emma Hope (shoe designer)
  • Lina Hamed (fashion designer and owner of Analeena brand)
  • Driss Jettou, (prime minister of Morocco)
  • Anushka Khanna (fashion designer)
  • Rachel Stevens (English singer, songwriter, actress)
  • Joanne Stoker (shoe designer)
  • Rosenthal Tee (fashion designer)
  • William Tempest (fashion designer)

Wimbledon College of Arts

  • James Acheson (costume designer)
  • David Alesworth (artist)
  • Hurvin Anderson (artist, Turner Prize nominee 2017)
  • Sophie Aston (artist)
  • Ilan Averbuch (sculptor)
  • Martin Aynscomb-Harris (artist)
  • Jeff Beck (musician)
  • Nik Borrow (artist)
  • Pauline Boty (a founder of the Pop Art movement)

College Mission and Vision

The University has a world-class reputation and they intend to keep the reputation by including the latest Strategic Plan 2015-2021. In there, there are four major aims they aspire to achieve. First, to be the best teachers in creative education. Second, to generate new knowledge that will address the challenges of today, fascinate students, and grow our income. Third, to increase our influence and impact as we become a global university. And fourth, to build the best physical and digital context for creative education, valuing traditional tools and workshops as much as emerging technology.

Likewise, and in order to achieve that strategic plan, the University of the Arts London follows these values:

  • To uphold the values of social justice and environmental stewardship through our teaching and research, as well as in the way we live, work and conduct our operations. 
  • To ask original questions and arrive at new insights through the creativity and rigour of our practice and research. 
  • To draw on and develop the natural enterprise and curiosity of our students, encouraging them to be the next initiators and innovators in their respective fields. 
  • To respect students’ and staff’s individual voices and collective endeavours, celebrating the breadth of backgrounds and cultures represented at UAL.