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Subject areas - The Open College of the Arts | Distance Learning Degrees and Courses
To find out more details about the transfer to The Open University see A New Chapter for OCA.

Subject areas

Interested in distance learning art courses? We offer an exciting range of UK online art and design courses across the creative and visual arts.

Browse courses by subject

Creative Arts

The production and expression of artistic work through the use of your own imagination and original ideas, drawing upon and combining multiple disciplines including fine art, photography, visual communications, music, creative writing and textiles.

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Creative Writing

The ability to evoke the senses through description, style and individual character. You can build a world, evoke imagination, drive engagement and encapsulate your audience with the creative use of words.

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Drawing is valued for its readiness to impart knowledge, express an idea, represent something observed, or conjure something directly from invention. This broad context, from figure drawing to map making, is at the heart of drawing practise at OCA.

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Fine Art

The study and combination of the fine arts, traditionally drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture, and contemporary, time-based works, performance and installation.

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Graphic Design

The fundamental design skills centred around typography, publishing, layout and brand. Graphic Design encompasses the visual aesthetics of the creative industry to communicate messages and feeling.

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Illustration is a mode of communication and visual storytelling. Your illustrations can provide explanation, define a text, concept, or process. Illustration covers a range of visual narratives through digital and traditional image making.

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Interior Design

It’s all about space, how we use it, how we shape it, how we can dress it, how we frame it, how we can present it and how we can help it to evolve.

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Moving Image

Moving image says a thousand things at once with the power of film or animation. Enlighten your audience with a story or explanation, bringing characters, environments, and concepts to life.

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Expression without words. Music evokes every feeling, capable of making time stand still, or go faster. Vocal, instrumental or both combined, you can produce form, harmony and awaken emotions.

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Painting is the original virtual reality experience. Creating new landscapes, dimensions, and characters through paint, texture, and colour you can invent your own world and language to describe it.

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Photography captures a moment, providing a wealth of information open to interpretation. Photography communicates many contexts within a single frame. It’s up to the photographer to present these.

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An art form of so many different cultural contexts.

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The study of art is not confined by two dimensions. Sculpture using different materials elevates, enhances and engenders new possibilities to explore.

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The ability to create endless artwork through material, manufacturing and technique. From historic weaving techniques to new age fashion, textiles can convey status, provide comfort or deliver a product through detail, method and pattern.

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Visual Communications

Visual Communications encourages exploration, experimentation and imagination to navigate and display the context and important aspects of a message through a visual language.

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On top of the flexible self-paced schedule and peer group support, the most valuable aspect for me was the relationship I built with my tutors. I was guided through personal growth and exploration.

Dewald Botha - Photography student

Student showcase

Find the right UK online art courses for your specialism

OCA have a wide range of UK online creative courses available to students worldwide. These courses follow a UK programme, and all of our qualifications are awarded by the Open University.

If you’re unsure about which UK online art course is the right one for you, our cross-discipline creative arts programmes incorporate a range of specialisms into one course. If you know which specialism you’d like to pursue, we have experts in a range of fields ready to share their knowledge through our specialist UK online art and design courses.

OCA offer distance learning art courses at your level

OCA believes in making art and design more accessible to all, this is why every UK online art course we run is open access – this means that you don’t necessarily have to have completed a previous qualification in that particular subject. Our approach to education is multidisciplinary, so there’s lots of overlap across our subject areas.

We offer online UK art courses at different study levels to give anyone wanting to pursue art and design the opportunity to learn and progress. This includes art foundation courses, bachelor’s and master’s degree level courses, personal development courses, and short courses.