About us

Welcome to the School of Art at Aberystwyth University.

As one of the highest-ranking art departments in the UK, our aim is to introduce you to the best scholarship in the arts, to assist you in reaching your potential and to gain the knowledge, confidence and skills to forge a career in today’s market.

Here in the School of Art, we are not just an academic institution but a caring community of staff and students from different backgrounds and nationalities. With that diversity in mind, we offer a range of stimulating, creatively challenging courses in Fine Art, Photography, Art History and/or Creative Arts - degree schemes that provide you with the opportunity to combine the practical, historical, theoretical and curatorial study of art.

The School of Art occupies one of the finest examples of architecture in Aberystwyth. Opened in 1907, the Edward Davies Building is set in its own grounds and has been adapted to meet today's educational needs while retaining many of its original features. It is an elegant symbol of the School's aim to bridge past and present by relating the tradition to contemporary practices.

The research of our staff of exhibiting artists, publishing art historians and practising curators actively informs our teaching. It promotes critical and interdisciplinary thinking and provides you with an inspiring learning environment. Learn more about the research of our staff by clicking on 'Research' in the main left-hand menu and find out about our facilities, our graduates, our reputation and living and studying in Aberystwyth by clicking on the tabs below.

Why not come and visit us in person? Easily accessible by both rail and road, Aberystwyth is as an ideal environment for study and quality of life. Take the opportunity to come and meet our staff and students, and to experience the School of Art, university and town for yourself. Book your place on one of our Open Days!

Our graduates

The practical and transferable skills you learn here opens up a wide range of career options.

100% (HESA 2016 & 2017) and 99% (HESA 2018) of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating. Our former students are entering careers in the creative industries as artists, children’s book illustrators, graphic designers, university educators, researchers and curators. Since 2015, five of our graduates have featured on Sky Arts Landscape Painter of the Year – including the 2017 winner Tom Voyce – and on Sky Arts Portrait Painter of the Year.

Alumna Edwina Ellis has designed several coins for the Royal Mint, including four £1 coins depicting Welsh, English, Scottish and Northern Irish bridges, a £2 coin marking 150 years of London Underground, and, in 2019, a 50p coin commemorating Stephen Hawking with a design inspired by his theories on black holes.

Our reputation

While numbers cannot tell the whole story, the success of our specialised and combined courses in drawing and painting, book illustration, photography, printmaking, new media as well as our vocation-oriented, hands-on education in art history is borne out by statistics. We continue to perform exceptionally well in the National Student Satisfaction survey (NSS) and other league tables. In the NSS 2021, the School of Art at Aberystwyth was ranked overall in the Top 10 of UK providers. The relevance and currency of our schemes are reviewed in light of such feedback.

We also perform considerably ahead of national sector-wide averages. In The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, art at Aberystwyth was ranked No. 8, while our art history programme stood at No. 2 in the UK. We have been No. 1 in Wales since 2017.

The Guardian University Guide 2021 ranked us No. 8 in UK among Art & Design providers: we were placed No. 3 in UK for ‘satisfied with course’, No. 3 in UK for ‘satisfied with teaching’, and No. 2 in UK for ‘satisfied with feedback.

The Complete University Guide 2021 ranked the School of Art No. 11 out of 86 UK providers and No. 4 in the UK for ‘overall student satisfaction.’ Our art history programme was ranked No. 4 in the UK. We were No. 2 for 'overall student satisfaction' and No. 1 for 'graduate prospects'.