Europe is home to some of the best-known and most exclusive art colleges in the world. In this article, we will talk about some of the best art colleges in Europe. Attending any of these is a great way for new artists to start their careers, improve their skills, and learn from the very best in their respective fields.

Top Art Schools in Europe

1. Zurich University of the Arts

Founded in 2007 following a merger with other art colleges, the Zurich University of the Arts is known as one of the best art schools in Europe. Following its establishment, it has grown to be the largest arts university in Switzerland, with nearly 2500 students in attendance.

As of today, the university offers the broadest range of art courses in Switzerland. Whether one is interested in fine art, music, dance, or theatre, the university will have something to offer. Degrees are available at both a bachelor’s and master’s level. The university also offers several Ph.D. programs in collaboration with other Swiss universities.

The Zurich University of the Arts is also one of the best-ranked art colleges in the world. According to the QS World University Rankings, the university is the 35th best in the world for students interested in Art & Design.

2. Goldsmiths, University of London

Goldsmiths, one of the most highly regarded art colleges in the UK, is home to perhaps the widest variety of arts programs in Europe. The college is home to a number of unique subjects that are not available elsewhere, such as creative writing, theatre, design, and academic languages. As well as this broad range of courses, the university offers them at all levels, from the bachelor’s to the Ph.D. levels.

This leading arts school has one of the most vibrant campuses in London. With 35 student-run societies and 18 sports clubs, there is always something interesting to get involved in at Goldsmiths.

3. Oslo National Academy of the Arts

Located in the capital of Norway, the Oslo National Academy of the Art stands as one of the best art schools in Europe for students interested in developing their skills. Ranked by QS as one of the top 100 art schools in the world, students can be assured that they will be studying the cutting edge of this exciting field.

Degrees are available at all levels and are divided between several academies. For example, students interested in studying dance would take a course from the Academy of Dance while a student of Opera would look into the Academy of Opera.

The university is also part of the Erasmus+ program, giving students the chance to study abroad in one of many European universities.

4. Royal College of Art

Founded in the early 19th century, the Royal College of Art is one of the oldest and most well-known art colleges in the world. Today, the university is attended by 2,300 students across several campuses in London at White City, South Kensington, and Battersea.

The RCA is home to a huge number of courses. Just some of the degrees offered by the RCA include design, contemporary art, illustration, and textiles. Degrees are available at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels.

5. Design Academy Eindhoven

Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) is one of the premier art colleges in the Netherlands. Founded in 1955, the university is home to a wide variety of programs for students interested in the arts. Currently, the university is ranked as the 12th best art college in the world, according to the QS Rankings.

Prospective students have several excellent choices. At a bachelor’s level, students choose to join one of eight studios, where they can practice their chosen discipline (art, architecture, design, etc).

6. University of the Arts London

The University of the Arts London is the 2nd best art college in the world on the QS rankings. The university has earned a reputation for the quality of its graduates, who learn from the best in their respective fields.

The University of Arts London has a large number of courses available at all levels. Just some of the options at the bachelor’s level include jewelry design, architecture, fashion photography, and music production. Students of this top art school who wish to continue their studies at UAL have plenty of options to choose from at the master’s and doctoral levels.

London is one of the most culturally diverse and economically important cities in the world. Students attending UAL should certainly explore the Tower of London, the British Museum, and the Westminister Abbey.

7. Aalto University

The Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture has a reputation for being one of the top art schools in Europe. The QS Rankings places Aalto University’s art programs as the 6th best in the world, further demonstrating the quality of the university.

Aalto University offers degrees at all levels in a large number of topics. Just at the bachelor’s level, there are programs for students interested in studying design as well as digital systems and design. There are many more options available at the master’s level, including visual studies and film editing.

The university is well-connected to a huge number of universities across the world. Some options include the University of Melbourne, Musashino Art University, and the University of Gothenburg.

8. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the most prominent universities in Europe, if not the world. Founded in the 11th century by a group of enthusiastic scholars, the quality of education offered here is as rich as its history.

Times Higher Education ranks the University of Oxford as the best in the world, according to the World University Rankings, and 4th for Arts and Humanities. Its fine art school – The Ruskin School of Art – is a reputed art institution in the UK offering various courses and degrees, including a recently introduced DPhil program. It is famous for its contemporary approach to Art and research-led culture. Notable alumni include Oscar Wilde, Erwin Schrodinger, Edward Heath, and many more. In fact, the university has more Nobel prize winners than scientists. It’s no surprise that the University of Oxford joins the list of top Art schools in Europe.

9. University of Cambridge

With a mission to strengthen society via education and research, the University of Cambridge is a hub for academics. It is the world’s third oldest university and an architectural marvel. The university offers 30 undergraduate courses spanning over 65 subjects, including Architecture, Arts, and Art History. It is home to over 23,000 students from 140 countries – a diverse and secular place to study.

Apart from education, sports and extracurriculars are considered just as important. The university has 80 sports clubs and numerous student societies. With museums, language centers, and around 100 libraries, the University of Cambridge is an academic hotspot. It is ranked 3rd best university for Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education and justly so.

10. LMU Munich

The Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich is a leading university in Germany. Its Academy of Fine Arts – which considers itself “an experimental laboratory” – offers first-class education and research opportunities. Courses range from Sculpture and Scenography to Art Education. Founded in 1472, LMU is the 6th oldest university in Germany.

The university has an extensive library with over 140,000 volumes, 1700 audio-visual media, and 100 journals, allowing students to deepen their knowledge and sharpen their abilities. It also hosts workshops on subjects like lithography, new media, and typography. Ranked 18th best institution to pursue Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education, LMU helps students cultivate the skills required to accomplish their goals.

11. University of Edinburgh

With the university established in 1538 and its Faculty of arts founded in 1708, the University of Edinburgh is one of Scotland’s four age-old universities. It has contributed significantly towards establishing Edinburgh as a center for academics.

The university offers unique courses such as landscape architecture, performance costumes, and even studies on the History of Art. It is ranked as the 10th best university for Arts by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and comes within the top 30 universities in the world. The city of Edinburgh offers a vibrant student life and plenty of inspiration. It’s the perfect place to discover your potential while having the best time of your life at one of Europe’s top Art colleges.

12. Royal Danish Academy

The Royal Danish Academy is one of the most reputed universities in Europe. Established in 1754, it has been educating students for over 250 years with the same intention: to better the quality of architecture and craftsmanship, to work towards the upliftment of artists, and to ensure “good taste” – a high standard of art.

The university is ranked 5th for Arts by Time Higher Education and 19th by the QS World University Rankings. It offers many unique courses, such as Architecture Anatomy, Object Conservation, and Pictorial Art. With unparalleled experience, the Royal Danish Academy is a dream university for any student.

13. University College London

University College London is a historically significant university – the first to be established in London and to admit students of all religions. It is ranked as the 11th best university in Art according to the QS World University Rankings; its reputation speaks for itself.

Located in Bloomsbury, in the iconic city of London, it offers over 400 undergraduate courses and is home to 42,000 students from 150 countries. No wonder it’s known as London’s global university. Its art school – the Slade School of Fine Art – is one of the top art schools in Europe and is known for its academic excellence. It plays a crucial role in the advancements of Contemporary Art. UCL has educated 30 Nobel prize laureates, proving its passion for high-quality education.

14. Politecnico di Milano

The Polytechnic University of Milan is Italy’s largest and oldest technical university. It was established in 1863 and is home to over 47,000 students. Ranked as the 6th best university in the world for design and, according to the QS rankings, the 3rd best in Europe, it is a popular choice for students who wish to study in a competitive environment.

The university has six campuses and offers numerous courses: 25 undergraduate and over 45 at the master’s level. Illustrious alumni include the Nobel laureate Guilio Natta and architects Renzo Piano and Aldo Rossi.

15. Humboldt University of Berlin

The Humboldt University of Berlin is a premier institution in Germany. It has been associated with several significant discoveries by students and professors such as Albert Einstein, Max Planck, and Hermann von Helmholtz, to name a few. The university boasts over 50 Nobel Prize Laureates. Its reputation for academics dates back several generations.

Established in 1810, it is one of Berlin’s oldest universities and was termed the “university of excellence” by the German Universities Excellence Initiative. Courses here are offered in the form of mono degrees or combined degrees. The university is ranked among the top 30 best universities for Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education.

16. University of Durham

Founded in 1832 after an Act of Parliament, the University of Durham is a prestigious university situated in the North of England. It is ranked amongst the top 50 universities in 12 subjects by the QS World University Rankings and 6th by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Durham is ranked 26th best university for Arts and Humanities.

It offers a broad spectrum of courses, visual arts and film, liberal arts and visual cultures, making it one of the top Art schools in Europe. The university also has an impressive range of degrees: BA, BSc, MA, LLM, and MD. The university also stresses the enrichment of students with over 200 student societies and state-of-the-art sports facilities.

17. Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University

PSL is a research-intensive university located in the scenic city of Paris. It is ranked as the 19th best university for Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education and comes amongst the top 50 universities in the world. With 140 laboratories and over 2000 researchers, this university is the ideal place to explore new possibilities.

Recently termed a collegiate university, it offers numerous courses in Arts, Design, and Theater and currently has over 17,000 students. PSL is an intellectual academy with students who are serious and passionate about their field of study. It allows them to broaden their knowledge and make remarkable contributions to science, history, and art.

18. KU Leuven

The Katholieke Universiteit (KU) Leuven is a leading state university in Belgium. Since its founding in 1425, the university has provided an exceptional quality of education for nearly six centuries. It occupies a central location in the heart of Europe and boasts a diverse and rich cultural heritage – 20 percent of its students are from overseas.

Additionally, KU Leuven is well-known for its research-intensive approach to learning. With numerous partnerships and research funds (including the ERC grants by the Europe Research Council), the scope for doctorate students is endless. The university offers many courses and an even broader range of programs such as Bridging, Advanced Masters, Honours, and Academy programs. It is ranked 76th best university in the world and 46th for Art and Design by the QS World University Rankings. For all these reasons, KU Leuven makes it to the list of leading art schools in Europe.

19. King’s College London

Founded in 1829, King’s College is one of the founding colleges of the University of London. It is a member of organizations such as the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the European University Association, and the Russell Group – a body composed of the most significant universities in the UK. It is associated with various historical breakthroughs, having been the academic home of fourteen Nobel prize laureates and prominent scientists, researchers, governors, and actors.

The university offers a range of courses, such as culture media, film studies, and liberal arts. Scholarships are available at all degree levels and in quite a few areas, including merit, sports, choral, and scholarships for international students. Ranked 30th best university for Arts and Humanities by Times Higher Education World University Rankings, King’s College is an incredible place to build knowledge and develop skills.

20. Brunel University

The university was named after one of the greatest engineers of the nineteenth century – Isambard Kingdom Brunnel. Although established in 1966, its origins can be traced back to the late 1700s.

Located in Uxbridge, West London, Brunel University offers a range of courses such as digital media, product design, industrial design, and unique ones like Art Psychotherapy. The university places heavy importance on extracurricular activities with over a hundred student societies and events like Brunel Arts. Job shops allow students to acquire an income while studying. Ranked among the top 100 leading universities in the world for Art and Design by QS World University Rankings, the reputation of this university is befitting.

21. Loughborough University

Loughborough University is ranked 31st for Art and Design by the QS World University Rankings and the best in the UK for Fashion and Textile by The Guardian University Guide. Founded by Dr. Herbert Schofield, the university has a reputation for its research programs and focus on originality: to ensure artists develop a unique sense of style. It’s no wonder Loughborough University is among the top Art schools in Europe.

Courses offered here include Creative Arts, Fine Arts, Communication Media, and Architecture. It also focuses on spreading awareness about issues such as global warming and climate change and promotes principles like sustainable development. Affiliated with the Institute of Advanced Studies – a capital for leading research opportunities – the university allows students to contribute to their field and gain valuable knowledge.

22. Ecole Nationale Supérieure (EnSAD)

The National School of Decorative Arts was founded by King Louis XV in 1766 to expand trade related to art and improve the quality of products. The history of its education dates back over two centuries, having played an instrumental role during the Arts Deco movement in the 1920s.

EnSAD promotes the importance of research and operates the first research laboratory for Art and Design in France, which takes up countless research projects. It offers courses in 10 areas of specialization, including interior design, art space, graphic design, and textiles. EnSAD is ranked the 30th best university by the QS World University Rankings, making it a premiere institution for studying.

23. University of Vienna

Established in 1365 by Duke Rudolph IV, the University of Vienna is the oldest university in Germany and the third oldest in Central Europe. Initially composed of a single campus, the university now consists of sixty campuses spread throughout the city of Vienna. It also comprises an observatory – the Vienna Observatory – and the Institute for University Sports.

The university offers courses in archaeology, literature, language studies, musicology, and theater. There are about 25 Art courses to choose from. It is also a hub for research with over 7000 academics and is ranked 38th most prestigious university for Arts and Humanities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. With 650 years of education, 90,000 students, and over 170 degree programs, the University of Vienna is the epicenter for those seeking to develop their skills.

24. University of Warwick

Ranked 54th worldwide for its Arts Faculty by the QS World University Rankings, the University of Warwick is known for its outstanding level of education. It was established in 1965 to improve college education and currently has over 29,000 students and an experienced faculty. The university is ranked 48th worldwide for Arts and Humanities by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, making it one of the top Art universities in Europe as well.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 confirms that over 90 percent of research is ‘world-leading or internationally excellent’ – attested by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021. In fact, research projects are available at the undergraduate level as well. Offering courses in archaeology, film, linguistics, and theater studies, the University of Warwick provides innumerable opportunities in education, extracurriculars, and research.

25. Umeå University

Umea University was one of the first universities to open in northern Sweden in 1965, providing access to education; a historical event. The university offers 150 programs and over 1,800 courses, including Arts, Design, Media, Fine Arts, and Linguistics. To expand the scope of learning, the university offers single-subject courses in addition to regular ones.

The university is known for its academic accomplishments, notably the discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors, a breakthrough that won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020. It is ranked 43rd worldwide for Arts by the QS World University Rankings. Thus, its reputation for academics is unmatched.

26. Universität der Künste Berlin

Although founded in 1975 and originally called “Hochschule der Künste” (College of Arts), the university has a rich history of over 300 years. It was renamed the Berlin University of the Arts in 2001. The departments are divided into four colleges: the College of Fine Arts, the College of Architecture, Media and Design, the College of Music, and the College of Performing Arts, covering all aspects of the arts in exceptional detail.

Home to 3,600 students and with 40 courses to choose from, the Berlin University of the Arts is one of the largest in Europe. It is ranked 33rd worldwide for Arts by the QS World University Rankings. It is one of the few art academies in Germany with full university status, able to award doctoral and post-doctoral degrees.

27. Lancaster University

Offering courses in Design, Drama, Theater and Performance, Film and Creative Writing, and Fine Arts, Lancaster University is one of the top 15 universities in the UK. Ranked 11th by The Complete University Guide and 45th for Arts by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, its reputation goes without saying.

The quality of research done at Lancaster University is appreciated worldwide, with over 90 percent certified as ‘internationally excellent’ by REF 2021. The university, which is among the top Art schools in Europe, offers merit-based and faculty-based scholarships ensuring that no student is limited by financial boundaries. Situated on a scenic landscape near the Lake District (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Lancaster University provides students with an inspiring and diverse learning environment.


The universities we have discussed above are just some of the great art colleges in Europe. All of these institutions give students the chance to develop their skills and expand their portfolios, laying the foundations for a successful art career. I hope that you found this article on the best art schools in Europe informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Programs in Europe for International Students to know more!

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