Tuesday, February 27, 2024

The best UK universities for creatives

New research has named University College London (UCL) as the best university in the UK for creative students. The analysis was conducted by creative resource Font Bundles, who calculated an index score based on university rankings according to the Complete University Guide’s rating of artistic and creative courses, along with data from Companies House and the ONS, such as the average salaries in each city.

UCL comes in first place in this analysis, but the university is ranked in second place in the Complete University Guide. London is well-known for being a creative hub, with 293 registered creative businesses in the area. Salaries in the capital city are also famously higher than elsewhere in the country. The average annual salary in central London, where the university is based, is £35,496. Famous creative alumni from UCL include Christopher Nolan, who directed the Dark Knight trilogy, sculptor Anthony Gormley and illustrator Raymond Briggs. 

Which are the best universities for creatives in the UK?

The University of Oxford is ranked in first place by the Complete University Guide and is generally considered one of the top universities in the world due to its high quality of teaching and facilities. However, the 926-year-old institute only places in third place for creatives in Font Bundles’ ranking.

There are 238 registered creative businesses in Oxford and the average salary in the city is £27,012 per year. These figures give the University of Oxford an overall index score of 18, which is just one point behind the University of Glasgow.

The University of Glasgow is one of three non-English universities ranked in the top ten best universities for creatives in the UK. Glasgow’s university is ranked fifth-place by the Complete University Guide, Heriot-Watt University is ranked in 15th and the University of Edinburgh is ranked in sixth.

People in Glasgow earn an average of £23,292 each year, whilst the average salary in Edinburgh is £25,584. There are 996 registered creative businesses in Glasgow, which is the highest in the survey. Edinburgh has 684 registered businesses in the creative industry. There are also a number of creative events that occur annually in Edinburgh every year, such as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe which is the world’s largest arts festival.

Heriot-Watt University has an overall index score of 26, which is just three more points than the University of Edinburgh. The University of Glasgow has an index score of 17.

The table below shows the ranking of the best art universities for creatives in the UK. It features the index score, which was calculated using the average salary in each city, along with the number of registered creative businesses and the university’s ranking.

Rank University Ranking on Complete University Guide Number of registered creative businesses in the area Average salary per area Index Score 
University College London (UCL) 293 £35,496 12 
University of Glasgow 996 £23,292 17 
University of Oxford 238 £27,012 18 
University of Reading 292 £27,804 20 
University of Leeds 598 £23,304 22 
University of Edinburgh 14 684 £25,584 23 
Newcastle University 307 £22,236 23 
Heriot-Watt University 15 684 £25,584 26 
Kingston University 10 105 £29,856 27 
10 Goldsmiths, University of London 96 £30,504 30 

The University of Reading is rated as the fourth-best university for creatives in the UK. This high position was largely due to the average salary of £27,804 per year, as well as the 292 registered creative businesses in the city. Although the University of Leeds has a much higher count of 598 registered creative businesses, the university is ranked fifth due to the lower average salary of £23,304.

Further north, Newcastle University is ranked as the seventh-best university for creatives in the UK. The average annual salary in the area is £22,236, which is the lowest salary in the survey. However, the overall index score for the university is improved by the 307 registered creative businesses in the city. Newcastle University is also ranked as the third-best university by the Complete University Guide.

Kingston University has been given an overall index score of 27, which places the third London university in ninth place. The university is located in Kingston upon Thames, which is in South West London. People in this area of London earn an average salary of £29,856 each year, which is the second-highest salary in the survey. However, the number of registered creative businesses in the area is only 105, which is the second-lowest figure of the ten cities in the survey.

Goldsmiths, another college of the University of London, ranked tenth in the best university for creative students list, largely due to the low number of creative businesses in the area. There are only 96 registered creative businesses in southeast London, which makes it the only featured area on the list to have fewer than 100 such businesses. The average salary in New Cross where the university is located is £30,504, which is the second-highest salary on the list. The Complete University Guide ranked the institute as the ninth-best university in the country.

Surprisingly, the University of Arts London was one London university that didn’t make the top ten list. The arts university features a huge variety of creative courses such as graphic design and fashion design. However, the capital city is one of the best places in the UK for creative arts graduates who are looking to start out in one of the creative industries.


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