University of the Open Arts

Norwich University of The Arts LogoUniversity of the Open Arts

The Open College of the Arts (OCA) is an open learning independent arts college, with a Head Office in Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. Founded in 1987 by Michael Young, it is a registered charity and the distance learning partner of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). As of the 2016/17 academic year, the full cost of a part time degree with the Open College of the Arts is less than £10,000.

University of the Open Arts


The OCA offers BA honours degrees in the following areas:

  • Creative Arts
  • Drawing
  • Fine Art
  • Moving Image
  • Music
  • Graphic Design
  • Illustration
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Textiles
  • Creative Writing
  • Visual Communications

An award winning MA in Fine Art was launched in 2011. Degrees are awarded by the University for the Creative Arts.

The OCA has an open-door academic policy for its level 1 courses. Each student is assigned one of the college’s 115 specialist tutors, who are arts practitioners and have experience teaching in higher education. The tutors’ responsibilities are limited to marking and providing feedback on student assignments.

Courses offered by the OCA are frequently updated or rewritten and new courses are added from time to time. Recent introductions are graphic design, illustration, digital film production and visual culture and there are new courses in photography and printmaking, adding to existing courses in these areas. Students and tutors all work from home and there is a well attended programme of study visits.


As a charity the OCA is overseen by a board of trustees.