BA (Hons)


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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.


The BA (Hons) Drawing 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, you 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. You will be encouraged to use drawing as a means of developing your 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.

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.

Degree prospectus

Full details of the Drawing degree can be found in the Programme Specification below.

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The Open College of the Arts is the distance learning college of the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist art and design universities.

“I chose the OCA because it looked flexible, more reasonably priced than conventional university based degree courses and to be honest. less threatening. At my age, I didn’t want to feel intimidated by confident young people, when I was just starting out on my degree journey. Also it helps me carry on my normal working and family life so that the art fits around it.”


Catherine Levey, Drawing student

Programme Leader for Creative Arts and Drawing

Doug Burton

My role as Programme Leader for Drawing has allowed me to shape a new BA (Hons) Degree that considers the importance of drawing within a contemporary context. It’s exciting to see students develop their creative voices using drawing as a tool for investigation, invention, communication and experimentation. 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.

In my creative practice I use drawing as a tool for investigating surface structures and inventing ways to consider drawing within both a physical and digital context. My 'matter-drawings' become a stratification of history, picturing the future of the world as artefact. I’m interested in making a rubbing, an indelible impression extrapolated from the world and regurgitated as a drawing artefact frozen in time.

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.9 million people in the UK alone.

By studying the OCA BA (Hons) Drawing degree, 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

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Fees, funding and other costs

OCA degrees are paid for on a unit-by-unit basis and are around a third of the cost of a degree at a campus university. Unit costs depend on the level of the unit, and also where you live, in the UK or Rest of the World:

Per Unit – Level 1 (HE4) Per Unit – Level 2 (HE5) Level 3 (HE6 – Entire Level)
Per course unit (3 x 40 credit units required) Per course unit (2 x 60 credit units required) For the whole level (composition varies depending upon the subject area being studied)
UK £1,315 £1,630 £3,260
Rest of World £1,460 £1,800 £3,600

If you started studying with OCA before 01 August 2017, please contact as different fees may apply.

If you are funding your course yourself you can either pay for units in full or you can spread the cost by taking advantage of our deposit and instalment facility for which a £50 fee is included in the deposit you pay.

All OCA courses are listed with Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allowing eligible students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the cost of fees, you may also be able to apply for a maintenance loan and / or Disabled Students Allowance to assist you with the cost of study.

We’ve made this super-helpful guide to take you through the application process, making applying for Student Finance a piece of cake – Student Finance Guide

The OCA Learner Support Scheme can provide partial bursaries towards course fees for students who are not eligible for funding via Student Finance, based on financial hardship.

Other sources of funding may include employer contributions, Enhanced Learning Credits (for Armed Forces Serving Personnel and Service Leavers) and Prisoner Education Trust.

Other costs you may find on your degree include purchasing materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research. These can be around £500-700 at Levels One and Two, and £800-1000 at Level Three. Work is largely submitted to tutors and for assessment via email, however postal costs would be expected at £40 per assessment for sending materials depending on quantity and weight of materials. Rates for overseas students will be higher.

Enquire now

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.