BA (Hons) Illustration

How to apply Come to an Open Day


Watch our 2023 Illustration showreel

Studying Illustration at ARU

Hone your illustration skills and learn how to succeed as a professional artist while studying in the creative powerhouse of Cambridge.

Join a course that scored 94% for Teaching on my Course and 91% for Learning Opportunities in the National Student Survey 2023. With its vibrant studio culture and small class sizes, combined with excellent printmaking, 3D, photography and life-drawing facilities, our illustration course has consistently high student satisfaction ratings.

We know that our students want to learn from the best, so all of our tutors are professional illustrators. They’ll help you find your visual style and kick-start your career. But they’ll never forget the reason you chose to study illustration in the first place. At Cambridge School of Art, you’ll find there’s always time to experiment, discover, discuss and create.

Course options

Course options

The three-year and placement year versions of this course have now closed for 2023. You can still apply for the foundation year version.

Key facts

Looking for different course options?

Entry Requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

Fees and Paying for University

Facilities and showcase

Industry-standard facilities

As well as our dedicated illustration studio, where you’ll have your own desk, you’ll have use of the following facilities:

  • Life drawing studio
  • Ruskin Gallery, a professional digital art gallery
  • 3D workshops for physical media including wood, plastic, metal, and clay
  • Specialist printmaking workshop including etching, screen-printing, and lithography
  • Dedicated Mac and PC suites with latest software including Adobe Creative suite
  • Photography and media facilities including darkrooms; studios; film processing; digital printing suite; video editing; and professional equipment loans.

Futures Lab and workshop equipment

Our new digital workshop includes a variety of computer aided manufacturing machines, helping you learn up to date manufacturing and design processes as well as supporting many traditional techniques. These technologies include:

  • 3D printers and scanners - FDM printers; material-specific extruders; SLA Formlabs printers; SLS Formlabs Fuse1; structured light 3D scanners
  • 2D printing and cutting machines - laser cutters; Roland BN20 vinyl printer & cutter; Gerber substrate cutter; Mimaki TX300P sublimation printer.

Take a closer look

Our Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on what makes ARU creative and cultural – our spaces, places and people. Find out more about our community, the difference we make, the stories we tell, and the things that inspire us.

Meanwhile, Present is an exhibition that you curate for yourself. Explore the work of our graduating students in this eye-catching virtual degree show.

Alternatively, take a guided tour and meet our students.


The creative industries are booming in the UK, employing more than two million people. With a wealth of careers to choose from, our graduates have found success as book illustrators, graphic designers, luxury homeware designers and more. Want to follow in their footsteps?

Cambridge is the perfect place to gain experience – a creative hotspot that’s home to thousands of established businesses and start-ups.

There are plenty of opportunities to get your work seen, too. At the end of your final year, you’ll take part in our degree show and the New Designers graduate exhibition in London – the perfect launchpad for your career.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us, of course. You might decide to stay at ARU and study for a Masters, such as our renowned MA Children’s Book Illustration. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.

Employability and personal career development

Informed by employers, our courses support an integrated approach to employability. You’ll have opportunities to develop the skills and abilities they are looking for and gain a deeper understanding of how your academic learning relates to the world of work through Live Briefs and Ruskin Modules.

To amplify your career ambition, you will need to actively dedicate time outside of your studies, whether you choose to explore placements, internships or volunteering. Or you could make a social impact by collaborating with our partner organisations through our volunteer scheme Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE). These all give you an edge, providing you with experience that you will be able to evidence on your CV and talk about in interviews.

Our Employability and Careers Service offers a range of expert advice and support to build your unique professional profile, including tailored career appointments, advice on writing your CV, and help to complete job applications. You’ll have 24/7 access to the Careers Centre, our comprehensive online digital resource, which empowers you to start building a Personal Career Development Plan from the very start. Design your future at ARU.

Association of Illustrators

We’re a member of the Association of Illustrators (AOI), giving you access to practical information and support – and the chance to make professional connections.

Catherine Rowe

"My images have been licensed for greetings cards, puzzles and ceramics – and I'm proud to say that my fabric is available to buy from Liberty London."

Catherine Rowe

BA (Hons) Illustration graduate and founder of Catherine Rowe Designs

Catherine's story

Apply now for BA (Hons) Illustration

Life in Cambridge

Our friendly, bustling campus is a stone’s throw from the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

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Want to talk to someone?

Do you have a question that we haven't answered so far? Talk to our application experts. You can also ask our Student Ambassadors about life at ARU.

We're here Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm (please note we close at 3.30pm on the first and third Thursday of the month for staff training), and Friday 9am-4.30pm.

Build your portfolio

Applying for one of our art and design courses? Get expert advice on putting together a portfolio that showcases your skills.

Portfolio tips and advice