Distance learning

UCA - Open College of the Arts

The University for the Creative Arts offers one of the broadest ranges of course options in the UK for studying in the arts by distance learning, offered through our distance learning college, UCA Open College of the Arts.

Through our Open programme, you can study a one-off course leading to a Certificate or Diploma in Higher Education or build towards a full BA (Hons) or MA degree whenever and wherever you like and at a pace that suits you by distance.

We have validated the educational quality of the Open College of the Arts for many years and OCA is now part of the University for the Creative Arts family, allowing for developments in our portfolio that provide the very best opportunities to students studying at distance. 

Open distance learning can be the perfect solution to studying in the arts at any point in your career. On an Open course you will receive support one-to-one from an expert academic tutor who is also an arts practitioner and you will become part of a thriving UK and international student community.

All of our part-time distance learning courses and degrees are UCA accredited. We have an exceptional range of part-time courses in painting, drawing, photography, music, illustration, graphic design, creative writing, textiles, sculpture, printmaking, art history and film. Our courses are perfect for a portfolio learner. An award-winning online MA Fine Art is also available through our Open programme.

Visit the UCA - Open College of the Arts website

Foundation courses

Creative Writing

The Open Foundations Creative Writing course is designed to inspire and encourage new students to practise independent writing and you will start writing immediately, drawing from personal experience and, with feedback from your tutors, you can expect to make rapid progress.


This Open Foundations drawing course will give you the best starting point to develop basic drawing skills, explore different ways of using materials and tools, and discover drawing as a pleasurable and inventive activity.


It will give you a firm grounding in many aspects of this multi-faceted subject including music theory, basic composition and arrangement, ear training and music history.


This Open course aims to equip you with fundamental creative, visual and technical skills in photography. It is a practical, task oriented course filled with creative approaches to making photographs that will help you develop your photography as a means of imaginative self-expression and experimentation.


This Open Foundations course will help you develop your visual skills and explore different ways of using materials and tools to develop your own textile ideas.

Undergraduate courses

BA (Hons) Creative Arts

This course gives you an exciting opportunity if you have a passion for more than one creative arts practice.

BA (Hons) Creative Writing

This course will allow you to gain experience of writing in a variety of literary forms including life writing, poetry, script writing, short fiction and writing for children,

BA (Hons) Drawing

This degree gives students the unique opportunity to study drawing as a distinctive creative practice.

BA (Hons) Fine Art

The Fine Art degree focuses on the core media within fine arts – Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, and Printmaking.

BA (Hons) Garden Design

To find out more about the new BA (Hons) Garden Design visit the OCA website and complete their degree enquiry form.

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

The course focuses on the visual language of graphic design and application of creative problem solving to deliver visual solutions that communicate effectively.

BA (Hons) Illustration

The course focuses on drawing, image making, narrative and creative problem solving. Drawing and image making are central to the study of illustration and are explored through the use of sketchbooks, figure and reportage drawing and the relationships between ideas, visual research and outcomes in project work.

BA (Hons) Interior Design

The course will encourage you to creatively explore and challenge the notion of space and how it is used, whilst incrementally introducing you to the technical, practical and professional skills of interior design. 

BA (Hons) Music

Centred upon practical work, this degree provides students with the skills required for a career in music, including composition, orchestration and arrangement and the practical implementation of historical knowledge.

BA (Hons) Painting

The BA (Hons) in Painting is for those who wish to focus on drawing and painting to become reflective artists with the skills necessary to effectively develop a personal artistic vision or voice.

BA (Hons) Photography

The course is unique in that it assumes no prior knowledge beyond the basic operations of a camera. It is modular in concept and delivery and the student is free to choose from the available units at each level to suit their own interests and aspirations.

BA (Hons) Textiles

The BA (Hons) Textiles degree programme will develop your textiles arts practice with a wide range of media and techniques. You will also develop your creative capacities in the interpretation and application of imagery, tactile awareness and understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues central to the practice of textile art.

BA (Hons) Visual Communications

The BA (Hons) in Visual Communications builds knowledge across the disciplines of graphic design, illustration and book design all aiming to prepare you to become a visual communications professional, capable of applying your intellectual and creative skills to communications solutions.

Postgraduate courses

MA Fine Art

MA Fine Art prepares students for professional practice in their chosen discipline, supporting the existing practice and aspirations of students working in a wide range of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, installation, performance, time-based work, digital art and photography.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about distance learning courses with UCA Open College of the Arts, please contact the OCA enquiries team on:

Freephone: 0800 731 2116
(From abroad: +44 1226 730 495)

or via the OCA contact page