Good University Guide 2023

Norwich University of the Arts

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Norwich University of the Arts

Contact details


Francis House, 3-7 Redwell Street, Norwich, NR2 4SN,

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Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) is one of the biggest climbers in our research quality rating this year, rising 24 places from 86th to 62nd place. The steep improvement is driven by the university’s results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), when 71 per cent of its work in art and design was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. The REF 2021 judges praised two impact case studies on arts, health and wellbeing and public engagement in the Norfolk Broads.

Professor Simon Ofield-Kerr, who joined NUA as vice-chancellor in 2021 from the University of the Arts London, said the university would build on its REF 2021 success “as we embark on our new five-year university strategy”. From 2022-27 NUA hopes to become the place where the debate about the future of creativity and the creative arts education is most passionately engaged. 

The university’s origins can be traced back to 1845, when the Norwich School of Design was established by the artists and followers of the Norwich school of painters, known for its landscape painting. Former tutors include Lucian Freud, Lesley Davenport and Michael Andrews. 

University status was granted in 2012 and, with growth in its sights, NUA has developed a range of fine facilities. Duke Street Riverside opened in 2021, with 100 rooms for first-year students above a lecture theatre and teaching facilities beside the River Wensum. 

The university’s development programme has recently provided teaching facilities for film and moving image production, photography, and fashion communication and promotion. The Sir John Hurt Film Studio, named after the late actor and NUA chancellor, is in a grade II listed building that also houses the School of Architecture and won an award for the design of its renovation.

Next to come is Bank Plain, a 37,000 sq ft city centre site that will combine teaching, research, exhibition and public access spaces when it opens in early 2023. Student support services will also move to Bank Plain, as will the students’ union, a café and social areas including a climbing wall. 

The new focal point should help to boost rates of student satisfaction, which tumbled in the latest National Student Survey. Having done well to rank tenth for satisfaction with teaching quality in the pandemic chaos of 2021, our analysis of outcomes from 2022 shows a precipitous 35-place fall to 45th place. NUA has lost even more ground year-on-year in terms of its students’ evaluation of the wider undergraduate experience, falling from 66th to 108=. 

Declining satisfaction has contributed to NUA dropping 14 places down our main academic league table to 70th place. The university is committed to continuing with “flexible, digital learning” in 2022-23, combining digital teaching methods with practical skills sessions on campus. 

Pre-pandemic teaching earned NUA a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Course design and assessment practices encouraged experimentation, creative risk-taking and team working, the TEF panel found, providing “outstanding levels of stretch for students”.

A degree in creative computing welcomed its first students in September 2022 and will be joined by one in creative technology from 2023. Short courses in creative coding and UX (user experience) design have also been introduced.

However, despite improving graduate prospects, the university remains in the bottom ten in our analysis, compared with its peers — partly because art and design graduates tend to have the lowest employment levels all over the UK. About two thirds of graduates are in high-skilled jobs or postgraduate study 15 months after leaving university.   

NUA leads a regional outreach network in partnership with Cambridge, East Anglia, Anglia Ruskin and Suffolk universities and is in the top half overall for social inclusion (51=). The vast majority of its undergraduates come from non-selective state schools and the proportion drawn from deprived postcodes (16.9 per cent) is among the top 30 nationally. Only six universities have a higher proportion of disabled students (12.6 per cent). 

Applicants are offered a place on the strength of their portfolio and responses to questions in the admissions process, not solely on their predicted grades. The approach is successful, going by NUA’s low projected dropout rate (8.9 per cent) — 2.9 per cent better than the expected level (11.8 per cent) based on its students’ backgrounds and the mix of courses. 

Up to half the entrants are expected to qualify for financial support in 2023, which includes a contribution towards the cost of materials, equipment and other expenses where household income is below £25,000. 

In the absence of their own sports facilities, NUA students have access to the University of East Anglia’s Sportspark, which includes an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The city of Norwich is popular with students and is one of the safest and greenest in the UK. All first-years can be housed in student accommodation.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 70 (56)
Teaching quality 76.6 45th
Student experience 67.9 108th=
Research quality 38.8 62nd
Ucas entry points 130 54th
Graduate prospects 65.6 114th
Firsts and 2:1s 72.2 106th=
Completion rate 84.5 74th=
Student-staff ratio 15.5 49th=

Vital statistics









Applications/places 3,290/1,005
Applications/places ratio 3.3:1
Overall offer rate 77.9%


Places in accommodation 900
Accommodation costs £108 - £165
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) N/A
Fees (overseas year) N/A
Fees (international) £17,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £20,000

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 51=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 93.7%
Grammar school admissions 2.8%
Independent school admissions 3.5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 11.1%
Black achievement gap n/a
White working class males 8.3%
First generation students 44.7%
Low participation areas 16.9%
Working class dropout gap -5%
Mature 11.6%
EU students 3%
Other overseas students 3.2%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Art and design 77.5%
Drama, dance and cinematics 73.5%
Computer science 72.6%