Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) is a leading UK university offering three year undergraduate and one year graduate programmes in art, design and media disciplines. For 170 years NUA has offered studio-based, practice-led learning that prepares graduates for success in the creative industries.
A specialist education
A specialist art and design education is focused entirely on the development of creative skills through practice. It’s about learning through making to a professional standard. Throughout their studies, students explore and master practical techniques and approaches relevant to their discipline. They develop a reliable creative process through critique, critical reflection, research, collaborative working and real-world work experience. Process and practice go hand in hand for graduate success.
Instead of formal classrooms, specialist students are at home in studios and workshops. The academic and technical staff are themselves artists, designers and accomplished researchers in their field. Students are assessed not through exams, but the work they generate. Most importantly, from the moment students walk in the door through to graduation they are preparing for success after graduation by making: honing practical skills, learning lessons from mistakes and successes, engaging challenging ideas and making up their own minds, discovering the stories they want to tell, working for real clients and building a portfolio to kick-start their career.
A huge range of projects are undertaken during the course of an NUA degree programme, though the curriculum is not made of different modules. It is carefully constructed of units that build on each other so that every year advances the quality, complexity and professionalism demonstrated in the student’s portfolio. This means students complete their studies on time, without the worry of missing out on work placements or travel abroad.
3-year undergraduate degree courses are standard in English universities, so all undergraduate degrees are three years in length. NUA also offers a 4-year degree option in some subjects. Students on this pathway enrol on what the University calls Year 0 courses, which are one year in length and provide foundation-level instruction. Successful completion of Year 0 leads directly onto the first year of a normal BA degree. Upon graduation, students are awarded their Bachelor Degree with Honours. UK Masters degrees are 1 year for international students. They run September to September each academic year.
A vibrant British cultural hub
Norwich is a vibrant and charming city on the east coast of the UK. The cost of living is much lower than elsewhere in the UK, despite boasting a high standard of living. Historical landmarks dominate the city centre, though they feel part of everyday life. Norwich Castle and Norwich Cathedral – both over 900 years old – are still used every day. While celebrating its rich cultural heritage, Norwich is a progressive and forward-looking city. It's home to a thriving contemporary art scene, dozens of annual festivals and a rich pub and cafe culture.
To secure a place on an NUA course, candidates must first submit an application, which includes a personal statement, academic history, and a reference. Next, applicants will be asked to submit a digital portfolio of creative work and an academic essay or research paper. We offer guidance on what is expected for each course and can advise candidates on their individual portfolios. Applicants will then have the opportunity to arrange a Skype interview with a member of the relevant course team. If candidates are in the UK or wish to travel to the UK, live interviews can be arranged. Applicants are told of the decision within a week of interviewing.
At Norwich University of the Arts, you can study a range of creative degree programmes across the visual art and design disciplines. Full course listings and details are available on the University website.
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The best thing about studying here is that if you’re motivated and passionate, you have the opportunity to go as far as you want. The tools are provided and there’s space for you to consider things. At a regular University there’s not enough space. You might be in the middle of filming, but in the back of your head you’re worried about a math exam! If you know that you want to go into the arts, why would you even bother going to a four year university? The reality is that studying here is much cheaper, it’s only three years, you enter a creative arts community and you have a lot of control. It’s a no brainer. NUA is for students who are going to work hard, who are passionate and willing to explore different art forms. If you ask for things at this University, people are willing to help. You spend three years with the faculty and they really invest time in you. And I think what makes it a real gem is that it’s a small community. For someone who is an independent worker and really motivated there isn’t a better choice.
Artists need to constantly be asking questions of themselves and their work and thinking critically, which they pushed us to do at NUA.
The University has given me the chance to enter competitions and get experience. If they separated studio projects and told us to enter the competitions on our own, that wouldn’t be good. As students we’re already very busy. If we had to do the school projects and make work for the competitions? Impossible. So our lecturers tell us: this is school work you can enter into competitions.
I wanted a career change when I joined NUA. I wanted to be an illustrator while growing up, and as an adult I wanted to pursue children’s book writing and illustration. But life took me down a different path. While I have been very lucky with my current job in the cultural heritage sector, that burning desire to create was always there. Because I was interested in illustration, I looked into the MA Communication Design course. What attracted me most was the course’s subject specific and cross-discipline approach. I wanted the opportunity to work with creatives from a variety of backgrounds. I was not disappointed. The interdisciplinary tutorials were frequent and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow in a rich, diverse atmosphere. We freely and critically bounced ideas and feedback between fellow students across disciplines. There was also an away-day in London, which not only gave us a chance to see major exhibitions and spaces, but also provided that extra opportunity to bond, free from the context of the classroom, into what I think will develop into long term (post-NUA) relationships. What I most loved about my experience, is that the MA teaching and support staff is incredibly hands on, generous and engaged with each of the students. I’ve benefitted tremendously from the wealth of information they liberally share. I appreciate the positive feedback, but also critical, considered opinions at each stage of my work’s development. I would not have been able to achieve success with some of my projects without the copious and generous support from my tutors. These characteristics – collaborative, supportive and positive – best define the NUA experience and the academic culture.
The UK was the most appropriate for me. I knew I didn’t want to go to Australia and America was out of the question because it’s too expensive. Obviously there are big name UK universities, but compared to three years in London, the price of living in Norwich is cheaper. I have friends who study in London and they say the same thing: London is really busy and the people can be rude. I’m not too bothered by that, Singapore can be like that, in a way. But you can immerse yourself in an “Asian bubble” when you go overseas. I know a lot of people that study overseas and they just end up hanging out with Singaporeans. They have this mini-Singapore and they don’t get exposed to English people. What’s the point of going all this way to hang out with people that you can hang out with back home? I’m the only one in my year that is Chinese, so I have to hang out with a bunch of people from a different culture.
The 3D workshop is invaluable, the materials available allow me to explore testing methods and prototype materials to see my concepts become more physical.
The studio is where my creative thinking happens, being surrounded by other students keeps me motivated and challenged constantly.
Our workshops give you more confidence, insights and understanding of materials, colour theory and market audience - it's prepared me for what to expect in industry.