Leeds Arts University is one of only a few specialist arts universities in the UK. Its students enjoy a small, close-knit community in a creative atmosphere. Leeds Arts University was founded at Leeds School of Art in 1846 by the merging of the Leeds Mechanics' Institute and the Literary Institute. In the past it has been known by other names, including the Jacob Kramer College and Leeds College of Art. In 2016 the University gained its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers and in 2017 it became the only specialist arts university in the North of England.

Key Facts


  • #56 in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020
  • #94 in the Complete University Guide 2020

Latest undergraduate enrolment

  • 1,400

Latest postgraduate enrolment

  • 40

Year founded

  • 1846

  • Course resources include workshops and studios equipped to industry standards and run by highly skilled staff; a significant number of whom are practising artists or designers, enhancing the students’ exposure to the creative industries. 
  • Specialist equipment is available to loan, including digital and film SLR cameras; medium and large-format film cameras; medium-format, high resolution digital cameras; portable flash gear; and continuous lighting. 
  • The University recently received an 87% satisfaction rating in the latest National Student Survey, the highest ranking for any specialist arts university. 
  • It is ranked within the top 10 modern universities in the Times and Times Good University Guide 2019 and was named University of the Year for Student Retention. 
  • At the Whatuni Awards Leeds won Best University Facilities twice in recent years (2014 and 2016) and came second in 2017 and 2018. 
  • Damien Hirst is one of the university's most famous alumni. 
Areas of recognition

As a specialist arts university, Leeds Arts is highly regarded in this area. In the Guardian 2020 League Tables, Leeds Arts University is ranked number five in the country for Design & Crafts.

Kings alumni at Leeds Arts University

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