University for the Creative Arts offers pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate courses in art, design, architecture, fashion, graphics, communications and media.
Originally formed from the Kent Institute of Art and Design (KIAD) and the Surrey Institute of Art and Design (SIAD), it was the University College for the Creative Arts until September 2008, when it was granted full university status.
The University has five campuses across the South East of England at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham, Maidstone and Rochester.
Workshops and Equipment
As a specialist arts institution, UCA provides cutting-edge, industry-standard facilities and technician support for students alongside a wide range of more traditional dedicated workshop spaces, equipment and tools.
What's available differs form campus to campus (depending on subjects taught on site) but across all five it includes purpose-built studio spaces and workshops, a Gerber pattern-cutting suite (one of only a handful available in a UK university), 3D printers and laser cutters, digital and traditional film and photography resources (darkrooms, studios and editing suites), extensive workshops for ceramics, glass, wood and metals (kilns, glass blowing), journalism and broadcast media spaces (live news feed, TV studio and radio suites).
More details of which facilities are available at each campus can be found here 
Most campuses also include a Media Store (or similar) giving you access to equipment such as cameras, lighting, laptops, and projectors. These have a huge range of industry-standard equipment and will loan you everything you need from HD Video cameras to top of the range digital SLR’s, along with a wide selection of accessories to help with lighting and sound work.
The technicians who run the stores offer a great service and are always on hand to help you out with any issues with equipment or advice to get the best results. What’s more is that it’s all free with your student card.
There is a UCA library on every campus which combine to create one of the most comprehensive visual arts resource in the South East, with library collections from the Universities 150 year history. UCA libraries received a government Customer Service Excellence Award in March 2011 and specialist staff are on-hand at each campus to deliver subject-specific learning and research support.
Through the UCA library network, students have access to:
- 300,000 print and digital books
- 14,000 print and digital journals
- Over 20,000 DVDs and videos
- More than 50 specialist databases including image collections, newspaper archives and business data
- E-stream, delivering TV recorded content to desktop
- UCA Image Bank and The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS), providing access to a wide variety of image collections and learning resources.
Opening times vary between sites with later hours being offered during terms times (some also offer some weekend opening in term-time). More info on libraries at UCA is available here:
The library has the benefit of allowing students access to resources across all the five campuses. This means that if you can't find what you’re after at one site, you can order it in from another.
The libraries also have a range of up-to-date issues of the most popular creative magazines, covering all subjects taught at each campus, along with back issues going back decades in some cases.
All the libraries have workspaces to plan group projects, quiet areas for when you decide everyone else is too loud, and loads of Macs (as well as a few PCs) which come with all the software you need to work on your projects.
IT and computing
There are many IT suites with both PCs and Macs located in each campus's Library. Extra facilities are available in dedicated course media suites. There are also dedicated spaces to bring in your own laptops if you prefer.
Standard packages on all machines include Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel and Power Point), full Adobe Creative Suite software (including Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop) and Adobe Acrobat. Further specialist packages and software are made available at course and subject-specific level.
There’s wireless network access across all UCA campuses, with a good signal available in all libraries and across each campus. You can also benefit from price discounts on a range of hardware and software items when bought through the IT scheme.
Galleries on Campus
UCA has galleries at each campus which are open to the public, staff and students and offer a range of exhibitions through the year. In May and June all the campuses open up for degree shows, which showcase all the graduating student’s work.
At the Canterbury campus there is the Herbert Read gallery that hosts exhibitions throughout the year relating to the subject taught at the Canterbury campus, in particular fine art and architecture.
Although there is no dedicated gallery space at the Epsom campus, student work is displayed around the campus, especially in the reception area which leads to the library.
On the Farnham campus there is the James Hockey & Foyer gallery, which showcases work from a wide range of artists, from graduates to renowned international artists. There's also the sculpture park, which houses some great pieces for students to look at, wander amongst, and generally get a bit of inspiration from.
At the Rochester campus there is the Zandra Rhodes gallery, which shows work from the staff and students based at Rochester. For further information on the programme of events visit the galleries and exhibitions page 
Kent and Surrey, UK
Various (see below)
Applicants per place:
Welfare and Student Support
UCA has student support staff on each of its campuses. They can offer practical help, advice and support across a range of financial and welfare areas including:
- Disability and Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD – including dyslexia) support
- Financial issues (eg: student loans and budgeting)
- Legal issues
- Student counselling services
- Study skills (including English for Academic Purposes)
- International student support. 
A short student film about UCAs welfare and support services can be viewed here 
Student advice managers are available on every campus to help with health and wellbeing issues (including help with registering with local doctors and dentists).
Student counselling services are also available on every campus.
All campuses are located pretty much within walking distance of the nearest town centre so groceries and other essentials as well as some more unusual shops are within easy reach (Maidstone is a little further out but still close).
Each campus also has an Art Shop which stocks equipment and supplies that are most relevant to the subjects studied at the campus. By train, London is only between 30 minutes (Epsom) and 60 minutes (Canterbury) from any UCA campuses.
Canterbury Campus: Good high street shopping along with a lot of independent shops in Canterbury town centre.
Epsom Campus: There are plenty of clothing, coffee, phone and art shops around town.
Farnham Campus: On campus there is the art supplies shop, which will be your best friend whilst you study at UCA. There are many times it has saved me when I needed a blank CD or a plastic wallet.
In Farnham town, whilst it seems like there is an abundance of women's clothing shops and hairdressers, it does have everything that any other town has. If you want to spend a lazy day shopping, Guildford and London aren't too far away.
Rochester Campus: The High Street has a good mix of independent shops and a lot of art and crafts places as well. The Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham, in the other direction from campus, has mostly high-street shops.
While it varies by location, campuses are located close to town centres and you have a lot of options available for eating out.
Canterbury Campus: For a proper Full English Breakfast, anytime during the day, try the Longport Café. The Lady Luck or The Black Griffin provide alternative pub food. There’s also Tacos Locos for Mexican, The Olive Grove for Moroccan and Italian, or La Trappiste for Belgian food.
Epsom Campus: The UCA cafe has recently been refurbished and the refectory area has become much more of a social hub. There is good, varied menu each day including freshly made (huge) pizzas. The subway-style sandwich bar is also a great addition, plus a real coffee machine! Around Epsom there are a ton of great restaurants, often with student offers.
Farnham Campus: The canteen on campus provides good food cheaply. There is also a snack bar, where you can grab a pre-packed sandwich. In Farnham itself there are a few restaurants, including a Prezzo and a Slug and Lettuce.
Rochester campus: Try Blueberry Park in Chatham for lovely sandwiches. Alternatively there’s Poco Loco for Tapas, Pizza Express for Italian or Selale Restaurant for Greek and Turkish food.
Being located near the centre of towns, most of the campuses are close to more than one high street bank. In terms of accessing your money, there are Link cash machines on campus (charges made for withdrawals).
Each of our campuses is only around a 20 minute walk (or less) from a mainline train station – giving fantastic links to the south-east, and London. The Kent campuses are well connected to Ashford, making it easy to catch the Eurostar to the rest of Europe. Being near town centres, there is also a good connection with buses and road networks.
The UCA Careers Service provides a range of services including:
- one-to-one confidential guidance service and dedicated careers library on every UCA campus
- online publishing of careers information, graduate vacancies, residencies, competitions and events info
- practical business advice for creative enterprises
- and on-going support for 3yrs after graduation
The Job Shop on the Student Union website lists jobs available on campus and in the local area. The Careers section of the UCA website has an extensive list of part-time jobs, many of which are related to the creative arts meaning you can gain relevant experience as well as make some extra cash. 
The towns have a tonne of job opportunities for students, with large supermarkets, clubs and bars as well as retail stores. Most student find part time work around the town.
The university employs students as 'Student Ambassadors' to speak about student life and the university to prospective students at events such as fairs and open days.
There is a multi-faith service at every campus at UCA; they’re available to every faith as part of UCA’s welfare provision. They organise social activities on campus as well as offering help to students with any problems they might have.
There are Christian Unions at Canterbury, Epsom, Farnham and Rochester campuses. They meet once a week on campus. The meetings are a great opportunity to meet other Christians on campus, built up new friendships, have fun, chat, pray, worship, share in discussions and debates where all views will be respected, listened to, and challenged.
You can find a list of local worship centres on our Faith Services pages 
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Bars, pubs and clubs
Canterbury is a university town and has bars, clubs and events for students. Chill night club runs a student night on Mondays. If you prefer rock to dance you can go to Lady Luck who play rock, metal and punk and have live music and DJ night. You can go to Alberry’s wine bar or the Fountry Brew Pub if you wanted something quieter.
I had some fantastic nights at the two local clubs in Epsom, Boogie Lounge and Elements. Kingston nearby has plenty of big clubs like Oceana or the Hippodrome, with regular big names and live music events.
Epsom does contain the standard student-filled Wetherspoons for a good cheap drink, as well a large selection of more traditional pubs. London is always an option too.
The SU is the only nightclub in Farnham. There are plenty of pubs, but if you want to have a lengthy night out, go to Guildford. That's not to take away from the SU though. It's run totally independently from the university, and for a small university, manages to get some really good guests to come and perform. In the past few years we've had Radio 1 DJs and chart-topping bands.
Rochester has a couple of clubs: Tap ‘N’ Tin play live music, Krystals and Vanity is a bar and nightclub, and Oliver’s is a wine and cocktail bar. Casino Rooms nightclub has just reopened and is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The University organises regular trips abroad. Locations students have been to recently include Tokyo, Paris, Milan, Berlin, Barcelona, New York, and Amiens in France.
Clubs and societies
There are lots of clubs and societies for you to get involved with and meet new people. If you're passionate about something and want to set a club up, it's easy to do.
Clubs: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Capoeira, Football, Netball, Rugby, Snow sports, Tennis, Thai Boxing, Volleyball, Yoga
Societies: Break dance, Christian Union, Cinema, Drama, Greek and Cypriot, LGBT, Life Drawing, Street Dance, Salsa, Poker, Musicians, Tech Crew, Student Magazine
Canterbury Campus University accommodation is at three separate sites offering flats and houses with en-suite and standard single study bedrooms for up to 164 students.
Ian Dury House is on campus and Hotham Court is a 30 minute walk from campus and a 20 minute walk from the city centre. Some rooms at Ian Dury House have been adapted for disabled use.
See UCA Canterbury Accommodation video here 
Epsom Campus The University's four accommodation sites offer flats and houses with en-suite and standard single study bedrooms, enough for 216 students.
Worple Road and the recently-built Wilberforce Court are on campus, with some bedrooms adapted for disabled use. Ashley Avenue offers flats in Epsom town centre, with more flats and houses available at Woodcote Side, about a 20 minute walk from the campus, supermarket and town centre.
See our UCA Epsom Accommodation video here 
Farnham Campus The Farnham campus is home to UCA's award-winning Student Village, and further accommodation is available in the Main Hall.
Both sites are on campus and offer flats and houses with single and shared study bedrooms for around 370 students, with a very small number of en-suite bedrooms. A number of rooms in the Student Village have been adapted for disabled use.
See UCA Farnham Accommodation video here 
Rochester Campus The University's residential accommodation at Doust Way offers flats with single en-suite bedrooms for up to 215 students.
Located by the river, it’s a 5-minute walk from the train station, town centre and campus. Two study bedrooms have been adapted for disabled use.
See UCA Rochester Accommodation video here 
Allocation of UCA accommodation is based on distance from the campus, except in cases where students have a special need.
If you aren't placed in University accommodation then UCA will give you assistance to find private accommodation.
University accommodation ranges from on-campus halls of residence to University-managed flats and houses. All accommodation is self-catering, and the majority is in single study bedrooms. All of the rooms have a bed, wadrobe, desk and a chair. A number of the rooms across all campuses have en-suite facilities. Internet is provided as standard.
If you don't get a place in University accommodation you are sent a register of privately rented accommodation, which can also be accessed on-line.
You can also have your contact details added to a "Sharer's List" of students looking to share privately rented accommodation. This lets new students organise into groups to look for a student house together.
The Students’ Union plays a key part in student life on campus, welcoming all students and supporting them through their time at UCA as well as representing UCA students at local and national level. They also run clubs, socities and events at each campus. Visit the UCA Student Union site here. The SU also run ‘Glue’, UCA’s student media - giving students the chance to get published, or take part in their radio broadcast. Go to the GLUE website  to find out more, read blogs and see student showcases.
The student union are a really friendly bunch of people, and will go out of their way to help any students with issues they may have around the campus. They allow students to create and fund societies for almost any subject you can think of. Despite being small campuses, the SUs regularly organises events such as the Summer ball, with big names from the entertainment industry taking part. They are also very open to helping students create their own events on and off campus.
The SU is run entirely separately from the university. In the day it is social area and there is something on almost every night.
The prices in the SU are good value, better than you'd get on a night out in town or in London.
Students at UCA Epsom have been lucky enough to have a whole new building pop up over the last couple of years. The new building houses a selection of seminar rooms as well as a large lecture theatre.
Most beneficial are the new printing and laser cutting facilities, with regular workshops and open access sessions. They provide state of the art equipment to print and create great portfolio pieces.
For me these areas have been the most productive and motivational places to get my work done outside of my regular timetable.
There are lots of nice Tudor-period and Georgian buildings in Farnham. The Farnham campus was mainly built in the 60’s and 70’s so the buildings are pretty typical of that period. The quad is a good social area on a nice day. The library on campus is pretty new and has a lovely curvy roof.
UCA Rochester is on top of a fairly steep hill but the payoff is that it has one of the best views in the Medway. You can see the cathedral, the castle and the river from the balconies. The campus is all contained in one building – which is good on wet, cold days.
The Canterbury campus isn’t the most beautiful from the outside but it has huge, open studios for Diploma, Fine Art and Architecture courses inside. A lot of the features are original from when the building was built in the sixties so it has a kind of a retro vibe.
Canterbury is a university town - UCA shares with with Kent and Canterbury Christ Church. The town has a lot of bars, clubs and events for students. The city has been around since Roman times and a lot of the buildings are from the Medieval period.
Epsom does pretty well for clubs, bars and restaurants, as well as a big shopping centre and cinemas. The Music Journalism students organise gigs in town for new bands. From Epsom train station you can be in Central London in half an hour.
Farnham is a quiet town, but it does have a large student population, meaning that university life is entirely what you make of it. You can study quietly or you can be a party animal. It's up to you. Having spent the past three years in Farnham, and being a bit of both, I really feel an affinity for the place that's looked after me during the most important time of my life (so far).
Chatham and Rochester have got a growing student population – the art and music scene are pretty active and there’s a good selection of bars and pubs. Alternatively Strood has a multiplex cinema. Rochester is an old Cathedral city with a lot of historic buildings - the centre of the city is pedestrianized with a lot of independent shops.
Teaching quality on my course at UCA is excellent. We have had a large number of regular and sessional staff to teach various subject throughout the 3 years.
Tutors are passionate and really care about the work that each student produces, and encourages them to get the best out of their course. The staff are extremely knowledgeable on their respective subjects and are a pleasure to work with. They are all practising within the industry, which I think is essential for design courses.
What’s really special is the personal relationship you gain from them, being small year groups. It’s never a case of ‘them and us’ as we don't really have lectures as such.
All of our time spent at uni is in a more casual environment where tutors and students interact constantly, much more like a creative studio than a teaching environment.
I really can't fault the teaching quality on my course. All my tutors are either ex-industry, with an exceptional background or are still in the industry and lecturing part time.
I really think university is entirely what you make of it. It's not secondary school, it's not even sixth form. Nobody's going to hold your hand and tell you what to do. It's up to you.
Applying to University for the Creative Arts
If you live in the UK or an EU country, you should apply for Undergraduate courses via UCAS. All applications for FE/Pre-degree courses should be made direct to UCA, using the University's online application form.
If you are applying for 2014 entry you should apply through Route A. (deadline for equal consideration is 15th January 2014).
If you're still considering study for 2013 entry but haven't made your UCAS application yet, it's not too late to apply. Find out about applying to UCA for 2013 entry or watch a video from our Head of Admissions here
Although the official UCAS deadline for equal consideration was the 15th January, we are still taking applications from students who would like to study one of our creative degree courses and start this September.
Find out more about applying to UCA here 
Thinking of applying to University for the Creative Arts? Why not read some Personal Statements which were used for applying here?
Other University for the Creative Arts Articles
Why not read these other University for the Creative Arts Articles?
- University for the Creative Arts Homepage
- UCA Students Union Homepage
- The Creative Arts Discussion Forum