What is Art and Design?

Art allows students a great degree of autonomy and self-reliance. Tutors offer practical advice or ideas to allow students to begin their exploration of art; students then develop an original and personal response to a theme, artist or idea. Tutors support the student as the work progresses, offering a critical response and helping to establish what techniques will be employed to achieve an excellent final piece.

How is it studied?

Art is taught in small groups, and there is an emphasis on guided practical work. Most of the course will cover work on paper, either via drawing, painting or printing, although some 3D modelling is possible. Students will explore a range of genres including portraiture; landscape; still life; the human form; abstraction; experimental imagery, narrative; and working in a genre. Throughout the course, emphasis is on the student’s own creative process, with the aim of defining both a successful portfolio and ideas about the style and genre of the final examination piece. Visits to local and national art exhibitions are woven into the course to expose students to a range of artists and styles, which they can use or respond to through their own work.

How is A Level Art and Design assessed?


Unit Modules Weighting Format
1 Personal Investigation that includes a portfolio of practical work and a written study of 1,000 words 60% Portfolio and essay produced during course
2 Externally set task 40% External Exam: 15 hours



Exam Board: OCR

What do I need?

Although Art at GCSE or IGCSE would be helpful, many students join the course with no qualification in the subject. Students need to possess some practical skills, although specific techniques are developed throughout the course. An ability to draw is a benefit.

What should I study with Art and Design?

Art and Design can be studied with any subject. With Maths and Physics, it makes a sound basis for Architecture courses. However, its nature means that it can benefit any subject combination by offering a more creative and practical approach. In combination with other art-based A Levels it can support applications to Art degrees and Art Foundation courses, although it can also be studied on its own to allow access to these courses.

What can I do with A Level Art and Design?

Many students go on to Art degrees or Art Foundation courses. The one-year Foundation course builds on the A Level and allows students to explore a wider variety of artistic skills, including working in sculpture, metal or plastic. This is the traditional route onto Art and Design degree courses.

Questions about the course

Is Art an acceptable subject for access to top universities?

Art (or Textiles or Photography) is essential if you are aiming for an Art degree. It is accepted by all universities, but you may need to combine it with less practical subjects if you are aiming to study a competitive academic subject at a top university.