The BA (Hons) Drawing Open degree gives students the unique opportunity to study drawing as a distinctive creative practice. Drawing has taken a significant role within today’s contemporary arts environment and therefore provides students with a platform for studying and engaging with drawing as the central part of their creative practice.

Degree overview

Through studying the OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree, the student will be introduced to drawing in its purest form as well as providing a context for studying drawing through the exploration of its history, meaning and traditional and contemporary use in today’s creative world. Students will be encouraged to use drawing as a means of developing their creative thinking as well as learning through experimentation. Critical and theoretical issues that contextualise drawing in the contemporary world will be explored through the courses alongside guidance at all stages through tutor feedback.

The Drawing Open degree programme aims to complement the practical engagement of all forms of drawing with the critical and theoretical issues that surround the use of drawing in contemporary culture. In this way a student will develop their personal language through the building of skills as well as furthering a deeper understanding of how their ideals and approaches integrate into the contemporary world.

The pathway structure aims to introduce students to key aspects of drawing as well as building a critical approach to understanding their work in order to create a structured progression for learning and development of a personal voice. At level four students will undertake two core units to build their skills and the technical requirements of drawing as well as learning to express ideas within their work, they will also have the opportunity to elect a relevant unit that either explores a medium that interests them or expands their theoretical understanding of contemporary culture. At level five they will build a robust working method as well as investigating different contemporary approaches to drawing and defining the context by which they see their work operating within. At the final level six stage of their OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree studies, the student will be able to create an advanced body of work, contextualise their ideas and develop an understanding of a professional practice.

drawing banner image

Degree aims

  • To ensure students gain the technical skills in drawing to form a solid foundation for further development
  • To provide an intellectually stimulating programme of study based on high quality study material and tutor support
  • To develop students’ creative capacities and their ability in interpretation and application
  • To develop students’ critical understanding of the theoretical and conceptual issues central to the practice of drawing and the social, historical and cultural context in which it is practised
  • To provide an environment in which the student has the possibility of changing their view of the world and their interaction with it both artistically and intellectually
  • To foster high level ethical and professional standards and an awareness of the possibilities offered by existing and new developments in areas of the creative arts to expand their application areas
  • To develop autonomous learners capable of applying intellectual and practical skills in a chosen area of contemporary drawing activity appropriate to employment, further study or life-long learning.

Course content

Full details of the content of the Drawing Open degree, and pathways available can be found through the OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree handbook, Programme Specification and pathway documents, downloadable below. If you need more information about the content of this Open degree and the course units available through it, please call the office to speak to an advisor.

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 14.36.24

The OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree handbook

Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 14.36.43

The OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree pathway

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.5 million people in the UK alone. By studying a Drawing Open degree with the OCA, you can kick-start your career in the creative industries by working part-time or doing an internship whilst gain ing your academic qualifications at the same time.

Achieving a degree in Drawing prepares you for a career in a variety of fields. Through the broad practical and theoretical skills you will have acquired during your studies, you will be highly employable not just for a career specifically in the fields of art and design, but in a range of industries and sectors. As well as a career as an exhibiting Fine Artist or Illustrator, you will have careers such as teacher, lecturer, art therapist, illustrator, curator, art editor or art consultant, amongst many more, open to you.

Due to the OCA’s emphasis on practical work, you will have a substantial portfolio of work to take with you to potential employers, and if you opt to use a blog to document your learning journey throughout your studies, you will already have a rich online presence which can be a useful asset in promoting your future work to the world. For more information on the careers your OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree can lead to, please see the Fine Art section on

Doug Burton

Programme Leader for Creative Arts and Drawing

I am the Curriculum Leader for Creative Arts and Drawing at the OCA and tutor Drawing, Printmaking, Sculpture and Creative Arts across all HE levels. My role as curriculum leader has given me an overview of students’ diverse approaches to studying at the OCA. It is an exciting process developing a students unique interdisciplinary approach to making and thinking within the Creative Arts Degree pathway. Prior to joining the OCA I have been a tutor and assessor at Byam Shaw School of Art in London and have also been a technical assistant to a number of leading artists including Sir Anthony Caro.

Through an investigation into the morphology of matter and the history of its material presence my work captures the surface of the world around us to create Drawings, Sculptures and Animations of an altered physical materiality. I am interested in capturing a material history that is found in our immediate environment, and allowing my powers as an artist to augment its physical state. The morphology of surface-structure and ideas are central to my current practice. In a catalogue essay written by David Lillington in 2008 (Doug Burton and Nicky Hirst, Morphology) Lillington describes my working process as “…problem solving, ways of thinking, ‘the idea of the interconnectedness of all things’ – the architecture of thought as much as the architecture of matter and space – are at the heart of his work. They constitute its real subject.”

Doug Burton - Curriculum Leader

OCA BA (Hons) Drawing Degree course units

The available course units for the BA (Hons) Drawing degree can be viewed below.

Level 1 (HE4)

Level 2 (HE5)

Enquire About this Degree

Please fill in this form to enquire about the BA (Hons) Drawing degree or one of OCA’s other undergraduate Open degree programmes. You are not committing to anything by filling in this form.

UCA logo

All of our degrees are awarded by the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist universities.