20 of the best part-time courses to help you retrain for a creative career

If you dread Mondays, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the day job and retrain for the creative career you’ve always dreamt. Part-time study offers a risk-free approach to gaining new skills and doesn’t require you to take a break from paid work. Instead, it allows for flexible learning, at a time to suit you.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Due to the popularity of part-time creative courses, there’s a wealth of options available. Here is our list of the top 20 best part-time courses to help you retrain for a creative career.


1. Graphic Design - Shillington

Shillington offers part-time courses in Graphic Design, at its campuses in London, New York, Manchester, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Over just nine months, you’ll learn relevant industry skills from expert professionals, alongside building a polished portfolio to help you land your dream design job. It’s a fast track, affordable option with proven results.

Upcoming intake starts 19 September 2016

2. Design - Manchester School of Art

Manchester School of Art offers a range of part-time courses, from its city-centre campus. From art and design to landscape design, a whole host of creative subjects are on offer for exploration over a two – four year period.

Upcoming intake starts September 2016

3. Design and Innovation - Open University

If studying from the comfort of your home suits you better than visiting a campus, the Open University is a flexible option for those hoping to secure qualification in design. The BA (Hons) Design and Innovation course can be taken over six years, on a part-time basis.

Upcoming intake ends 8 September 2016

4. Graphic Design - Open College of the Arts

The Open College of the Arts is an educational charity, whose purpose is to encourage participation in arts education, through its flexible distance learning. Students receive support from a dedicated tutor, and the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) accredits all of the part-time qualifications on offer.


5. Art and Design - School of Arts & Media at Salford University

Salford University’s School of Arts & Media currently houses over 4,000 students, undertaking a variety of creative courses. With a focus on collaboration, the department offers part-time study and strong links with the BBC and other established companies located at MediaCityUK. Throughout the summer, short courses in subjects such as performing arts are also available.

Find out dates for upcoming open days

6. Art - Birkbeck University

London-based university, Birkbeck, is a champion of the creative part-time course, offering BA qualifications in subjects such as History of Art, Visual Art and Arts and Humanities to be taken during a four – six-year stint. If curation or historical archiving is your dream job, then this could be your best route.

Upcoming intake September 2016

7. Arts and Cultural Research - University of Brighton

There are few destinations more creative than Brighton, which makes it the perfect place to study Fine Art. The University of Brighton offers a range of visually creative courses for part-time study, from Arts and Cultural Research, to Digital Media Arts. MA qualifications can be undertaken during two years.

Upcoming intake September 2016

8. Creative Short Courses - Goldsmiths

New to 2016 are Goldsmiths’ creative short courses, which began in June. Although only offering a small selection of subjects currently, including music and performance, more options will be added soon – offering the prestige of studying at Goldsmiths, without the pressure of time.

Visit the website for more details


9. Photography - London School of Photography

If formal study isn’t your cup of tea, but you’d still like to develop your creative skills, then the London School of Photography could be right up your street. It offers a combination of workshops in seven modules and is specially designed for anyone willing to pursue photography as a career, or to develop a professional portfolio, committing to one session per week (every Wednesday from 10.30am to 4.30pm) for six months.

Ongoing intake from August 2016

10. Photography - University of the Arts London – Central Saint Martins

Famed for producing a wealth of successful alumni, UAL – which comprises six creative universities, is a stellar choice when it comes to learning an artistic trade such as photography. Central Saint Martins offers part-time and short courses in Digital Photography, Fashion Photography and Portrait Photography, for all levels.

Ongoing intake from August 2016

11. Photography - Falmouth Institute of Photography

Falmouth University’s Institute of Photography is renowned for its longstanding, international reputation. Some of the best in the industry studied here, and thanks to a range of part-time courses, you could be next. Through the university’s Flexible Learning initiative, an MA in Photography can be taken online over two years.

Upcoming intake September 2016


12. Fashion - London College of Fashion

The London College of Fashion is UAL’s dedicated fashion arm and offers a range of part-time courses to help budding designers see their dreams come to fruition. Whether it’s pattern cutting, women’s wear or fashion marketing, courses can be taken at the college’s central London location, or through an online short course.

Upcoming intake September 2016

13. Access to Fashion - Morley College

Morley College is located in London’s SE1 and offers a varied range of creative, flexible part-time courses. In contrast to the rising university fees, the college’s Access to Fashion course can be taken over 34 weeks, for a fraction of the cost of a three-year degree.

Upcoming intake 12 September 2016

14. Fashion - Fashion Retail Academy

The Fashion Retail Academy, located in London’s Oxford Street, is an employer-led college with charitable status. It was founded in 2005 after a realisation that the fashion industry faced an overwhelming skills gap for entry-level jobs, and offers short courses to help kick-start careers in the creative sector.

Upcoming intake 12 September 2016

Web development & Digital

15. Coding - Makers Academy

The promise from the Makers Academy is that students will “learn to code in 12 weeks”, thanks to its onsite and remote course options. The Web Developer “bootcamp” aims to teach the principles of software craftsmanship to help secure that all-important first job.

Ongoing intake from August 2016

16. JavaScript - Northcoders

Northcoders will help to launch its students’ software development career through a 13-week programme of learning. The course – which focuses on full-stack JavaScript – has been designed to provide all the skills needed to succeed in an entry-level software developer role.

Upcoming intake 17 October 2016

17. Digital - Hyper Island

As well as having the skills to undertake your first creative role, it’s also essential to have confidence. Manchester-based Hyper Island offers part-time and intensive courses in all areas of digital strategy building and implementation.

Ongoing intake from August 2016


18. Artisan Skills - Craft Courses

If you’re looking to hone your skills in the artisan and craft sector, then Craft Courses should be your first port of call. Curating the best part-time courses across the UK, everything from glassblowing to furniture restoration is listed.

Ongoing intake from August 2016

19. Dressmaking for Beginners - Northbrook College

Specialising in practical training, Northbrook College in Sussex helps to develop core skills to make switching careers a breeze. If you’ve dreamt of opening your online clothing shop, then Dressmaking for Beginners (one evening a week for ten weeks) could give you a head start.

Ongoing intake from September 2016

20. Creative Craft - Petroc

When it comes to flexible learning, Petroc is dedicated to offering the most straightforward solutions for budding creatives. Located in Devon, its Short Art course is open to all levels and can be taken over ten weeks.

Intake from September 2016


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