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What can I do with my degree?: Art and design

Many graduate employers want to recruit people who are lateral thinkers and creative problem-solvers - natural qualities of artists and designers...

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Experience in related areas is always valued by employers so it's a good idea to develop your skills, knowledge and experience as much as possible while studying. Taking part in exhibitions, shows and competitions and undertaking commissions helps to develop useful skills and can be used as evidence of drive, determination and initiative. Completing a period of voluntary work or work experience also helps develop skills in commercial awareness, communication and negotiation.

Networking is a crucial tool and may lead to future work opportunities. Try to build useful contacts and keep in touch with anyone you've previously worked with.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

There are opportunities in the creative industries, plus creative roles in various sectors including media and internet, teaching and education, and marketing, advertising and PR. Employers include local councils, advertising agencies and design consultancies, educational institutions, and publishing or multimedia companies.

Self-employment's also a common option, particularly for those with experience and contacts. This may include designing and producing work for exhibitions, direct sales or through retail craft outlets. It can also involve working in an advisory or consultative capacity. For advice on setting up a business, see self-employment.

Skills for your CV

Art and design courses equip you with a combination of practical skills mixed with theory. Specific skills differ according to the art and design discipline, but the following transferable skills are common to all subject areas:

Photo: Artist's brushes in a glass
  • imagination, creativity and resourcefulness;
  • critical awareness of self and external factors and the ability to be reflective;
  • interpersonal and social skills;
  • an appreciation of diversity;
  • creative problem-solving and decision-making;
  • teamworking;
  • the ability to work independently;
  • oral and written communication;
  • visual presentation;
  • information and research;
  • self-motivation and self-management;
  • organisation and planning;
  • IT, particularly using creative software.

Further study

Some art and design graduates choose further study in an area related to their first degree or one that allows them to gain specific vocational, technical or specialist skills.

For those interested in self-employment, a business, finance, marketing or management course may be useful. These courses are also relevant for a range of roles in the creative and other industries.

Some art and design graduates choose to go into teaching and gain qualified teacher status (QTS) through the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), or the Scottish Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do art and design graduates do?

More than eight-in-ten art and design graduates are in employment six months after graduating. A further 6% are in either full-time further study or a combination of work and study.

Seven of the top ten occupations held by art and design graduates employed in the UK are directly related to their degrees. The top occupation is graphic designer with almost 1,500 graduates in the occupation just six months after graduation.

Graduate destinations for art and design
Destinations Percentage
Employed 81.8%
Further study 3.7%
Working and studying 1.9%
Unemployed 7.8%
Other 4.8%
Types of work entered in the UK
Arts, design and media 41.1%
Retail, catering and bar work 19.6%
Marketing, PR and sales 9.1%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 4.8%
Other 25.4%

For a detailed breakdown of what art and design graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Further information

Written by AGCAS editors
January 2014

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